We are all trapped in some stereotype or the other. One common stereotype that we constantly hear is that of people in rural villages being less progressive than their urban counterparts. Anandwadi, a village in Maharashtra, proves that stereotype wrong, and makes us realise that all this is more about how people think than where they come from.
Anandwadi is a small village in the Nilanga taluka with a population of only 635. It has about 165 houses, and each of them is in the name of a woman. This was a decision that was taken unanimously by the Gram Sabha after the idea was proposed by one of the villagers. Some villagers have gone ahead and transferred the fields and farms in the name of the woman as well. The nameplates outside the houses proudly display the name of the woman in ownership of the house along with her phone number.
Nyanoba Chame, a member of the Gram Sabha, while in a conversation with Times of India, said,
Like we bring the goddess Laxmi to our house every Diwali, we decided to honour our Laxmis (wives/daughters) by taking this decision. Women shouldn't feel the need to be dependent on anyone, since they run the home. Why shouldn't they also own it? This will also help to get rid of the patriarchal mindset of people.
This village has also been crime-free for the last fifteen years, and has received the best village award under the ‘dispute-free village scheme’. The villagers want to extend this goodwill to others, and have therefore decided to be registered as organ donors as well. Many of them have also decided to donate their bodies for medical research purposes. Once they decided to pledge their organs or body for a greater cause, they also emphasised the importance of health amongst the villagers.
Bhagyashree Chame, Sarpanch of Anandwadi, told Times of India,
Four hundred and ten people from the village have pledged their organs. From now on, the village has taken the responsibility of looking after the health of its residents. So smoking, chewing tobacco, and drinking are strictly banned here.
The progressive moves of the villagers of Anandwadi, whether it is their fight against the patriarchal mindset or them ensuring a lower crime rate, surely serve as a matter of pride for all Indians.