International Women's Day (March 8) - Women You Are Valued, Significant and Important
Samuel Thambusamy’s interests are in Popular Culture, Theology and Politics. He has a Master of Theology (M.Th) degree from the Senate of Serampore University. He has served in a wide range of ministries such as children, youth, church and development ministries. He is now involved with Wisdomtree and reaches out to young people through cultural apologetics. He lives with his wife Lanusenla and daughter Vandana Yujasola in Chennai, IndiaView all articles by Samuel Thambusamy
Bread and Peace for All (Ruth 1- 4)
This story is Konjam (little) modern and Konjam (little) traditional.
It’s about two women - Naomi and Ruth - who lived on the other side of a ‘Shining’ India.
Vanga Vango (come come) and listen to this inspiring story.
Despite all the economic boom and 100 billion dollars in forex reserve,
life remains a struggle for many.
Starvation, poverty and poor yield make the struggle for survival for many very difficult.
As a way of escape, some people commit suicide
While others leave to the cities in search of ‘better’ life
sorry… sorry… ‘ to a bitter’ life.
Naomi’s family was pushed to life’s edge.
They migrated to Delhi.
Why Delhi?!!! It could be any city, even yours
Was it to make big money?
Nope! Just to find enough food – Konjam (little) happiness and to survive.
Life in the city was
Grab – grab –grab,
Live – survive – die a nameless death.
Life was not easy but nevertheless it kept them alive.
Jobs were difficult.
To earn extra bucks, she got her two sons married to women from the same basti (slum).
Ruth was 8 std pass, Orpah was 9 std fail.
All of them worked hard.
Work – Work – Work
Toil – Toil - Toil
Still, they didn’t find the money to eat masti Khanna (good food).
They had just roti – dhal , onions and chilli.
Three times a day (if they were lucky).
What’s all this ‘India Shining’ business then?
Ah! We never read economics. We don’t understand economics.
But the ads say, ‘You never had a better time to shine better’.
Haven’t you heard, ‘All that glitters is not gold’?
India shines – A Feel good factor just for those who choose to believe it.
And a feel-fool factor for the rest of us.
For Naomi, Life dragged on until tragedy struck.
First her husband – IYO Ada Kadavulae! (O God).
Then her first son – IYO Ada Devuda! (O God).
And then her second son – IYO enda Deivamae! (O God).
All of them died one by one.
IYOYO! – What do we do?
Yeh Kya ho raha hai? (What’s happening?)
The consequent deaths in the family reduced them to abject poverty.
They were migrant workers.
They were paid poorly.
They were women – widows.
Naomi and Ruth knew that they weren’t safe in this concrete jungle.
Hey! You can’t blame them for their mistrust.
Delhi isn’t a safe place, particularly for women.
Haven’t you watched the NDTV news broadcast ‘Crime in the city’?
Even a big lady working in a big office was raped the other day.
The victim was a Swiss national and so it made big news but it was hushed up.
Women aren’t safe in Delhi.
Howzz it in your City? I guess it’s the same unfortunate situation there too
IYOYO ! – What do we do?
Naomi said, “I know what you can do. Go back to your family”.
We can’t fight the system.
We can’t find food.
We can’t be safe.
Orpah agreed. Ruth disagreed.
Ruth said, “Wherever you go, our network follows”.
Together we can fight poverty. Find bread. Find peace
Clear resolve and commitment to each other
can help women fight the increasing feminization of poverty.
They grew closer to each other by the day.
They grew in faith.
Ruth could smile at her mother-in-law.
Naomi could smile at her daughter-in-law.
A friend-in-need is a friend indeed.
Naomi led. Ruth followed.
They went back to Naomi’s village.
Life back home was a little different.
The sher-ki-ladiki (City girl) Ruth easily found the difference.
People were ready to share their lives.
Whatever little they had.
Give – Give – Give.
Let live – let live – let live.
There was a safety net.
To help the poor – widows and alien.
No one bothered about her foreign origins.
Everyone accepted her as their bahu (daughter-in-law).
Ruth even joined a self-help group.
A support group of women by women for women.
Run to help fellow women-in-need.
Common bonds of poverty, deprivation and discrimination and helplessness easily help women to organize themselves together.
A friend-in-need is a friend–indeed.
Ruth was surprised at considerate men.
They didn’t stare at her.
Exploit her unfortunate situation.
Demand sexual favours to feed her.
A friend in need is a friend indeed
A compassionate society and considerate men
make a lot of difference to the lot of poor women.
Ruth asked, “Why are these men so so different?”
Naomi said, Have you met Boaz? He’s a role model.
Not the kind who walks on the ramp.
Or shows off his macho image.
Not spiritually blind.
And definitely not with a dirty mind.
Boaz is different.
He stands in solidarity with women.
He was born against male chauvinism.
Ruth was surprised, “This can’t be true”
Finally, Ruth met Boaz.
She exclaimed, ‘WOW! He’s really different’
Boaz helped Ruth re-build life.
They were no longer hungry.
They were no longer lonely.
They no longer feared rape.
There was bread – there was peace for all.
Boaz came forward to marry Ruth (Shahbash).
Naomi affirmed Ruth’s womanhood, ‘you are worth it’.
Together they lived happily ever after.
Together they worked in partnership.
To ensure Bread – and peace for all.
Back in Delhi, if not in your city
Grab – grab – grab.
Cheat-cheat – cheat.
Live – survive – die a nameless death.
We hear voices.
We are poor – We are paid poorly.
We are women.
We aren’t safe in this concrete jungle.
Bread – peace for all? Not till
Women join hands – women for women.
Men join in solidarity – men in support of women
To build a compassionate society.
Bread and peace for all is still a dream.
You may say we are dreamers.
But we are not the only one
I hope someday you can join us
To ensure Bread and peace for all…