Assessment and Understanding of Gujjar and Bakerwal Women’s Health in Jammu And Kashmir

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  Assessment and Understanding of Gujjar and Bakerwal Women’s Health in Jammu And Kashmir
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   Journal of Business Management & Social Sciences Research (JBM&SSR) ISSN No: 2319-5614 Volume 3, No.3, March 2014 www.borjournals.com Blue Ocean Research Journals 37 Assessment and Understanding of Gujjar and Bakerwal Women’s Health in Jammu And Kashmir Showkeen Bilal Ahmad Gul, Research Scholar, Department of Education, Aligarh Muslim University, U.P, India   Abstract The focus of this paper was on the assessment and understanding of the Gujjar and Bakerwal women’s health in Jammu and Kashmir. The Gujjars and Bakerwals, the third largest ethnic group in Jammu and Kashmir after Kashmari and La-dakhi, constitute more than 20 per cent population of the State. They are the state’s most populous Scheduled Tribe having a population of more than 20 lakh as per the 2011 census and one fourth of them are living nomadic life. Out of the total nomadic Gujjar and Bakerwals, 66 percent population of nomad Gujjar-Bakerwals who fall under Scheduled Tribe groups in the state of Jammu & Kashmir are living Below Poverty Line, revealed a survey conducted by Tribal Research and Cul-tural Foundation (TRCF), a frontal organization working for the cause of Indian tribes. The Gujjar and Bakerwal wom-en’s health in Jammu and Kashmir is the worst, because of lack of education, lack of awareness about health programs and their way of living nomadic life. Like many other places Gujjar and Bakerwal women’s position in Jammu and Kash-mir has been central in the upbringing of children, grazing their goats and sheep’s and managing domestic affairs. The central government, state government, NGO's and local bodies are jointly working for the improvement of Gujjar and Ba-kerwal women’s health conditions. The objectives of the study were, to understand and explore the Gujjar and Bakerwal women’s health conditions; to explore the determinants and factors of their poor health; and to know the status of aware-ness among them about government schemes. The data was taken from interviews conducted by researcher, the census of  India, report from the health sector of Jammu and Kashmir, papers published in journals and National Human Develop-ment Report of India.   Keywords : Assessment, Understanding, Gujjar and Bakerwal, Health Introduction Jammu & Kashmir State is one of the States of Indian Union. In the seventeenth century when the Mughal em- peror Jahangir set his eyes on the valley of Kashmir. He said that if paradise is anywhere on the earth, it’s here, while living in a houseboat on Dal Lake. “Gar firdaus, baruhe zamin ast, hamin asto, hamin asto, hamin ast” . If there is ever a heaven on earth, it’s here, it’s here, and it’s here. It is also the northern Muslim dominated state of India with population more than one crore as per Cen-sus figures (2011). The State has its own Constitution  besides the Constitution of India and enjoys the special status under article 370. J&K is compounded by militan-cy and armed conflict, which have taken a heavy toll of life and public property besides throwing normal life out of gear. Gujjars And Bakerwals In J&K The Gujjars and Bakerwals, the third largest ethnic group in Jammu and Kashmir after Kashmari and La-dakhi, constitute more than 20 per cent population of the State. They are the state’s most populous Scheduled Tribe contains the population of more than 20 lakh as per the 2011 census and one forth of them are living nomad-ic life. Out of the total nomadic Gujjar and Bakerwals, 66 percent population of nomad Gujjar-Bakerwals who fall under Scheduled Tribe groups in the state of Jammu & Kashmir are living Below Poverty Line, revealed by a survey conducted by Tribal Research and Cultural Foun-dation (TRCF), a frontal organization working for the cause of Indian tribes (Koundal, 2012). The both groups of Gujjar community are without sufficient food, fodder for their animals. They lack basic facilities like proper shelter, health, drinking water, and education. The survey conducted by Tribal Research and Cultural Foundation (TRCF) further revealed that more than 71  percent of nomads were not aware of the schemes of the state and central governments for their upliftment under Scheduled Tribe category. The Gujjars-Bakerwals were listed in constitution of India in 1991 under ST category and schemes were launched by state and central govern-ments to uplift them socially, economically, educational-ly and culturally. The Gujjars and Bakerwals in the state are the poorest, living in sordid conditions, had no access to education as they are of migratory characters. There is need to formu-   Journal of Business Management & Social Sciences Research (JBM&SSR) ISSN No: 2319-5614 Volume 3, No.3, March 2014 www.borjournals.com Blue Ocean Research Journals 38 late a sustainable poverty eradication programme for migratory tribes as they deserved special attention due to toughest lifestyle, lacking economic freedom and food security owing to low-income and deficiency of re-sources. Material And Methods The present study was conducted among Gujjar and Bakerwal women residing in Jammu and Kashmir. Both  primary and secondary sources of data were used in the study. The data was taken from interviews conducted by researcher, the census of India, report from the health sector of Jammu and Kashmir, papers published in jour-nals and National Human Development Report of India. Women’s Health Status In J & K   Any sincere attempt at improving the status of women in general and health in particular, must firmly and simul-taneously deal with such hurdles as social customs and cultural traditions that impede the health status of wom-en. As well as, devise effective means and efficient ways to provide adequate preventive, promotive and curative health care with special emphasis on maternal and child health. The poor health of women is reflected in high maternal and infant mortality rates. Primary health care for women is a must as also ante-natal and post-natal care during pregnancy. There is no exception to the fact that the health status of a woman is determined by sever-al factors, which include literacy, age at marriage, birth intervals, and nutritional status and after all, maternity care. Against the backdrop of the above needs, National Poli-cy on Health (1982) took a serious note of integrating the health services for women and children under the 20- point programme wherein high priority was accorded to the promotion of family planning services. It emphasised a substantial augmentation and provision of primary health care facilities on universal basis. Maternity and Child Health (MCH) were integrated with family welfare  programme. The extended programme of immnunisation and Universal Immunisation Programmes were visua-lised as major aids to MCH for better child survival and safe motherhood. This programme was introduced in 1974 with the objective of reducing mortality and mor- bidity (which is 44 per thousand) in the state due to Diphtheria, Pertussis, and Tetanus. In order to meet the costs of rendering such services each successive plan observed increasing budgetary allocations for health and family welfare in the state. The determinants of Gujjar and Bakerwal women's health are social condition, biological determinant, eco-nomic factor, malnutrition and domestic violence. Gujjar And Bakerwal Women The tribal Gujjar and Bakerwal women of Jammu and Kashmir live in utter deprivation due to poverty, illitera-cy, early marriage, nomadic way of life, superstitions, traditional neglect and lack of awareness about welfare schemes, mentioned by study conducted by Tribal Re-search and Cultural Foundation (TRCF). “The Gujjar and Bakerwal women are not aware of their rights and schemes launched by the government for their education, health and social uplift as they live in far-flung and diffi-cult areas and are nomads moving from one place to another.” The facilities offered to the women in this community are inadequate. “This can be understood from the fact that there are only two Government Hos-tels, one each in Jammu and Srinagar in the entire state for about 1.2 million Gujjar women.” The misery and woes of Gujjar and Bakerwal women of Jammu and Kashmir is surpass the treatment meted to any other women belonging to 12 different Scheduled tribe com-munities of the State. It is an established fact that the Gujjar-Bakerwal women are much more hardworking as compares to the tribal women belonging to Bot, Beda, Balti, Mon, Changpa, Garra, Purig, Shin Dard, Brokpa, Gaddi and Sippi Tribes of Jammu and Kashmir. Unfortunately Gujjar and Bakerwal women life is still  passing through the darkness of superstition and illitera-cy. Although they are quite aware of their duties, they contribute their best for the betterment of the TRIBAL society of State. But unaware of their rights, they contin-ue to suffer as sacrificial goat at the hand of their family and society alike. Since half century back the women in the society, have became enlightened and have brought revolution in their life style to the extent that they have entered the field of Space Research but the unfortunate Gujjar Woman still lives a primitive life for away from the light of learning and devoid of modern facilities.   Journal of Business Management & Social Sciences Research (JBM&SSR) ISSN No: 2319-5614 Volume 3, No.3, March 2014 www.borjournals.com Blue Ocean Research Journals 39 Right To Equality Under Constitution   In Indian everyone has the right to live a happy and  prosperous life irrespective of their caste, tribe, colour, sex, religion, region etc. women became main victim of inequality because when gender compounded with caste, religion, tribe etc. they become multi disadvantaged. In order to provide them equal rights, articles were formu-lated which are as under. Under Article 15(3), the Constitution of India provides for positive discrimination in case of women. The article under Right to Equality States - "Nothing in this article shall prevent the State from making any special provi-sion for women and children." In addition to that, the Directive Principles of State Policy 39(a) states that - "The State shall, in particular, direct its policy towards securing— (a) that the citizens, men and women equally, have the right to an adequate means of livelihood;" Af-ter constitutional 72nd amendment, 11th schedule, 25th entry takes care of women and child development- meaning that Panchayat Raj institutions have power to make legislation in that respect. Gujjar And Bakerwalwomens Health Health status is influenced by complex biological, social, and cultural factors that are highly interrelated. These factors affect men and women differently. Women's re- productive biology, combined with their lower socioeco-nomic status, result in women bearing the greater burden from unsafe sex-which includes both infections and the complications of unwanted pregnancy. Women's health of Gujjars and Bakerwals can be ex-amined in terms of multiple indicators, which vary by geography, socioeconomic standing and culture. To ade-quately improve the health of Gujjars and Baker-wals women in of Jammu and Kashmir multiple dimen-sions of wellbeing must be analyzed in relation to India’s health averages and also in comparison to men in Jammu and Kashmir. Health is an important factor that contri- butes to human wellbeing and economic growth. Cur-rently, women of Gujjars and Bakerwals face a multitude of health problems. Determinants Of Gujjar And Bakerwal Women's Health Social Condition: -  The Nomad Gujjar Women is un-dergoing thorough exploitations. They have to attend all the chores of the house hold from cooking to selling milk and helping their men at farming and cattle feeding. The dull life style and hard working from morning to late night makes her physically as well as mentally fatigued. Beside this the nomad Gujjar Women had been the vic-tim of superstitions and despite her excessive work load. She is not getting due respect and position in the Tribal Society. In Bakerwal-Gujjars the Women and girls are supposed to tend their herds throughout day and walk long distances with their children and house hold lug-gage on their back as they are mostly nomads. They have to cook meals and do some washing on their tem- porary stops and again pack for the next destination. Ultimately they get no time even to think of their social status. Biological determinant Gujjar and Bakerwal women are subject to risks related to pregnancy and childbearing. Where fertility is high and basic maternity care is not available, they are partic-ularly vulnerable. They are not getting proper care and  balanced diet during pregnancy. Certain conditions, in-cluding hepatitis, anemia, malaria, and tuberculosis, can  be exacerbated by pregnancy. Complications of preg-nancy can also cause permanent damage, such as uterine  prolapsed and obstetric fistulae among them. Economic factor  Poverty underlies the poor health status, and Gujjar and Bakerwal womenrepresent a disproportionate share of the poor. Furthermore, the cultural and socioeconomic environment affects Gujjar and Bakerwal women's expo-sure to disease and injury, their diet, their access to and use of health services, and the manifestations and conse-quences of disease.Gujjar and Bakerwal Women belongs to poorest households have much higher fertility rates and which deteriorates their health conditions.   Journal of Business Management & Social Sciences Research (JBM&SSR) ISSN No: 2319-5614 Volume 3, No.3, March 2014 www.borjournals.com Blue Ocean Research Journals 40 Malnutrition  Nutrition plays a major role in an individual’s overall health; psychological and physical health status is often dramatically impacted by the presence of malnutrition. Gujjar and Bakerwal women don’t get proper and ba-lanced diet which leads them to anemic in terms of iron-deficiency. One of the main drivers of malnutrition is gender specific selection of the distribution of food re-sources. Maternal malnutrition has been associated with an increased risk of maternal mortality and also child  birth defects. Domestic violence Gujjar and Bakerwal Women who are in the labour force in J&K often face greater risk of being the victims of domestic violence. Domestic violence is a major prob-lem among Gujjar and Bakerwal in J&K. Domestic vi-olence-acts of physical, psychological, and sexual vi-olence against women-is found across the state. The ef-fects of domestic violence go beyond the victim; genera-tional and economic effects influence entire societies. The prevalence of domestic violence of Gujjars and Ba-kerwals in state is associated with the cultural norms of  patriarchy, hierarchy, and multigenerational fami-lies. Patriarchal domination occurs when males use supe-rior rights, privileges and power to create a social order that gives women and men differential gender roles. The resultant power structure leaves women as powerless targets of domestic violence. Men use domestic violence as a way of controlling behaviour. Government Schemes For Improving Health Conditions Of Women Though the Central as well as the State Govern-ments have launched a number of programmes and schemes for the betterment of rural as well as urban women like Indra Gandhi Matritva Sahyog Yojana, In-tegrated Child Development Services, Janani Suraksha Yojana, Rajiv Gandhi scheme for Empowerment of ado-lescent Girls, Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalaya etc. but the Gujjar and Bakerwal women are still unable to take any advantage. Living in for away places in remote areas they hardly get any information regarding such schemes. Their participation in social as well as in political institu-tions is almost nil. Neither any full time Women wel-fare NGO works for them nor the state Government has started any specific welfare scheme for the Gujjar and Bakerwal women unless the state as well as the NGO's start a special and extensive welfare scheme for the Guj- jar women, their progress shall remain a distant dream. More than 10 Lacks Gujjar women Folk are unaware of their basic rights, facing domestic violence, problem of malnutrition and pace of progress in the Modern age. They are putting a question mark on the tall claims of government and other agencies working for the welfare of women and for securing social change for all the women folk in 21st century. Not that she does not feel it, one can observe her helplessness from her face and eyes  –depicting her inner feelings. In order to know the status of awareness among Gujjar and Bakerwal Women about government schemes, the research went to field situation and conducted a small interview of 100 Women lives nomadic life. A brief description of schemes is as under: 1.   Indra Gandhi Matritva Sahyog Yojana- A cash incentive of Rs 4000 to women (19 years and above) for the first two live births. 2.   Integrated Child Development Services- Tackle malnutrition and health problem in children below 6 years of age and their mothers. 3.   Janani Suraksha Yojana- Onetime cash incentive to pregnant women for institutional/ home birth through skilled assistance. 4.   Rajiv Gandhi scheme for Empowerment of ado-lescent Girls- Empowering adolescent girls of 11-18 years with focus on out of school girls by im- provement in their nutritional and health status and upgradeing various skills like home skills, life skills, and vocational skills. 5.   Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalaya- Educational facilities (residential schools) for girls belonging to SC, ST, OBC, minority communities and families  below the poverty line in educationally backward  blocks. Status of Awareness among Gujjar and Bakerwal women about Govt. Schemes   Schemes Yes, we are getting benefit No, we are not getting benefit Indra Gandhi Matritva Sahyog Yojana 23% 77% Integrated Child Development Services 38% 62% Janani Suraksha Yojana 12% 88%   Journal of Business Management & Social Sciences Research (JBM&SSR) ISSN No: 2319-5614 Volume 3, No.3, March 2014 www.borjournals.com Blue Ocean Research Journals 41 Rajiv Gandhi scheme for Empo-werment of adolescent Girls 27% 73% Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidya-laya 42% 58%   Status of Awareness about Government Schemes for Women 23%12%27%42%77%62%88%73%58%38%0%10%20%30%40%50%60%70%80%90%100%Indra GandhiMatritva SahyogYojana IntegratedChildDevelopmentServicesJanani SurakshaYojanaRajiv Gandhischeme forEmpowermentof adolescentGirlsKasturbaGandhi BalikaVidyalayaYes, we are gettingbenefitNo, we are not gettingbenefit   Results And Discussion  The Gujjar and Bakerwal women are not aware of their rights and schemes launched by the government for their education, health and social uplift as they live in far-flung and difficult areas and are nomads moving from one place to another. Determinants of Gujjar and Ba-kerwal women's health, Social Condition, Biological determinant, Economic factor, Mulniturition, Domes-tic violence. Though the Central as well as the State Governments have launched a number of programmes and schemes for the betterment of rural as well as urban women like Indra Gandhi Matritva Sahyog Yojana, In-tegrated Child Development Services, Janani Suraksha Yojana, Rajiv Gandhi scheme for Empowerment of ado-lescent Girls, Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalaya etc. but the Gujjar and Bakerwal women are still unable to take any advantage. Living in for away places in remote areas they hardly get any information regarding such schemes. Their participation in social as well as in political institu-tions is almost nil. Rajni Dhingra (2011) investigates the health status of Tribal (Gujjar) adolescent girls. The results of the study revealed that adolescent Gujjar tribal girls enjoy a al-anced emotional status along with capacity for strenuous  physical activity. The data of the study showed that the  body mass index (BMI) of the majority (88.1%) of the subjects was low (less than18 kg/m2. ) indicating the highest prevalence of malnourishment among girls of 13 yrs of age. 96(48%) subjects had systolic blood pressure  below 100. The observations for the signs and symptoms of anemia and malnutrition indicated that 90 percent of the subjects had pale cold skin, 89.5 percent had general weakness and 86.5 percent had yellow conjunctiva. Majority (90.5%) of the respondents showed clear cut presence of anemia having hemoglobin less than 10gm/dl. The re-sults hold implications for professionals to introduce health programmes in order to improve the health of adolescent girls in particular. It further concluded that there is need for planning of health programme for Gu- jjar community. Since the group of the study was no-madic, it is important to have health services at their doorsteps. The planner need to educate and implement health services at their doorsteps, which could help them to lead healthy life. A focussed approach to develop awareness regarding their health in general is required so that preventive measures can be taken to protect the young population from major illnesses.
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