(Folk Tales from Garhwal series)
Narrated by Mrs. Damayanti Kukreti, Jaspur, Pauri Garhwal
A social, political, cultural or religious Movement brings other movements too. Arya Samaj Movement and Independent movements brought many innumerous movements in urban and rural India.
In an Uttarakhand village Jaspur, Malla Dhangu, Pauri Garhwal, Arya Samaj Movement could make awareness among deprived class (Harijan) and Harijan men started putting one Janeu (an auspicious thread). Though there were conflicts and confrontations among Harijan and upper Castes in Jaspur for Harijan putting Janeu.
Jaspur is original village of Kukreti settling in Garhwal long back in fourteenth century. Kukreti brought a Bahuguna Pundit (Guru) from Takoli, Chalasnsyun for perfroming ritual perfromances. Kukreti offered land and a Kukreti girl was married to Chaitram Bahuguna in early or mid-nineteenth century.
In early twentieth century, there were three Brahmin families -Kukreti, Jakhmola and Bahuguna families in Jaspur. Bahuguna comes under High Class Brahmins. In that time, there were many social norms. One norm was that Bahuguna men and women did not take Rice and Dal cooked by Jakhmola and Kukreti especially in Feast. Bahguna used to cook food for Bahuguna people in any feast. In feast row for taking food, Bahuguna women used to sit separately or just one or two yards away from Kukreti and Jakhmola women. Another discrepancy was that Kukreti and Jakhmola men and women used to participate in Bahuguna’s marriage for fetching water, collecting wood, collecting malu leaves for Pattal, making Pattal etc. But Bahuguna women did not participate or help in marriages of Kukreti and Jakhmola.
The above norms created social tension among Kukreti-Jakhmola and Bahugunas. The most critical aspect was that when two sisters of Dabral Brahmin class were married in Jaspur one to Kukreti or Jakhmola and other to Bahuguna, after marriage, Dabral sisters used to get different social status. The Dabral sister married to Bahuguna used to get higher social status than Dabral sister married to Kukreti or Jakhmola. Even in feast, a Dabral sister married to Bahuguna never took food cooked by her own sister married to Bahuguna. In person such discrepancy was not there. The Dabral sister married to Bahuguna did not help to her own Dabral sister married to Kukreti or Jakhmola in marriage ceremony but Dabral sister married to Kukreti or Jakhmola used to work (fetching various works) in marriage ceremony of her sister married to Bahuguna.
When both the sister used to be in their Mayka (mother village) they were equal for every social norm. This norm was creating lowness among Kukreti and Jakhmola women. Kukreti and Jakhmola women tried to fight that social fight many times for many years. However, the religious or caste system was so hard that Kukreti and Jakhmola women could not get results easily in getting equality among them and Bahuguna women.
One day, there was feast and Kukreti and Jakhmola women told that if Bahuguna women and men do not take food cooked by Kukreti and Jakhmola men or women they would not invite Bahuguna in feast and even would not accept the invitation from Bahuguna for their auspicious works. Due to pressure from Kukreti and Jakhmola on their men, Kukreti and Jakhmola people stopped inviting Bahugunas in their feast. Kukreti and Jakhmola women stopped participating in marriage works of Bahuguna families. The situation passed for one or two years. At last, Bahuguna came to terms. Bahugunas accepted the terms of Kukretis and Jakhmolas that Bahugunas would take food cooked by Kukreti and Jakhmola in feast and Bahuguna women would also participate in marriage ceremony works of Kukreti and Jakhmola.
These incidents took place before 1925 or around that time. Today, it looks the fight would be easy but that fight for equality was not easy because nobody wanted conflicts with Guru or High priest as Bahuguna.
When this author asked his mother Mrs. Damayanti Kukreti about time period and she did not remember the exact time. She tells that her mother in law told such story.
Notes on South Asian, Garhwali Folk Stories about Women Equal Rights from Garhwal, Uttarakhand; South Asian, Garhwali Folk Stories about Women equal Rights from village Jaspur , Garhwal, Uttarakhand; South Asian, Garhwali Folk Stories about Women equal Rights from Jaspur Malla Dhangu , Garhwal, Uttarakhand; South Asian, Garhwali Folk Stories about Women equal Rights from Lansdowne Tehsil, Garhwal, Uttarakhand; South Asian, Garhwali Folk Stories about Women equal Rights from Gangasalan Garhwal, Uttarakhand; South Asian, Garhwali Folk Stories about Women equal Rights from Pauri Garhwal, Uttarakhand; South Asian, Garhwali Folk Stories about Women equal Rights from Garhwal, Uttarakhand; South Asian, Garhwali Folk Stories about Women equal Rights from Garhwal, Uttarakhand, North India; South Asian, Garhwali Folk Stories about Women equal Rights from Garhwal, Uttarakhand, South Asia