Sanjay Mishra, Darbhanga
Ahilya had to wait endlessly for lord Ram, to get her salvation. This mythical anecdote is fervently referred to by people in and around Kamtaul area. But villagers of Kumhrauli, which is so close to Ahilya-asthan and Kamtaul, had no such patience nor did they exhibit faith in the intentions of welfare measures of the government. Nothing but hard labor, pumped in year after year, saw fallow lands of Dhamaul Chaur(a bowl shaped land), converted into a fertile area. Today, altogether 80 bighas of sterile land is dotted with wheat crop. The success of Kumhrauli has become a buzz word in the region.
Kumhrauli is 45 kms away from Darbhanga. Situated in Jale Thana, the village is ravaged by floods of Khiroi river of Adhwara group every year. Faced with this, farming is not seen as a productive venture. Young hands have no other option but to flee to other states for jobs. But Vashi Ahmad had something different in mind. “if we could till the fields in Punjab, why could not we do it in our own village”, said Vashi. Like his co-villagers, most of his ancestral lands are in Dhamaul Chaur.
He, along with his brothers, started reclaiming the fallow lands for farming in 2001. Initially, people made fun of them. First three years were challenging for this family. In the meantime, they got a tractor financed from a bank. But it was proving to be difficult to repay the installments. The farming done on 10 bighas of land, however, showed expected results. Vashi then persuaded laborers of his village, who had their lands lying in the Chaur, to join his band-wagon instead of opting for Punjab.
Some of them joined though a bit reluctantly. Now they were not laborers under Vashi. Besides tilling their fields, they worked together on the lands of other farmers taken on lease. The output was distributed among themselves. It reminds us of the working of a commune. In fact, unconsciously, these farmers are showing signs of some sort of a co-operative farming.
“We are all masters and laborers at the same time, there is no question of one dictating the other”, says Ravi Paswan. According to him, going elsewhere for job is not seen in right esteem now. The remarkable thing of this experiment is that the landless laborers have also been roped in. They get their due share in the produce as if they are landowners. The feeling of becoming farmers from laborers, excite them.
Shaping the destiny was not easy as government assistance was not there. Beaming Ram Narayan Yadav, a farmer of this village quipped-“getting government help was time consuming and invited hassles……instead we concentrated in our relentless efforts on the farm”. Wheat worth over 20 lakhs of rupees has been produced this year.
Although this output can not be described as bumper, but people involved in the pursuit are high in spirit. Besides contacting other farmers of Kumhrauli they have sent feelers to nearby villages also. The target is to reclaim 2200 acres of fallow lands of Dhamaul and other Chaurs in the ad-joining area. Their patience is worth praising for they are banking on a single crop of wheat. Paddy crop is not possible due to flood.