Ramechhap, January 17
Until not long ago, it was a taboo for girls and women to till the field. However, women and girls have now started debunking the centuries-old belief and started ploughing fields in Ramechhap.
Women and girls have taken up this new role not because they are interested. Nor are they taking up this work to impress others.
The major reason behind this new situation is the exodus of males from the villages for foreign employment. This has forced women to till the land.
Though they were nervous and panicked in the beginning, women and girls are doing the job as well as the males.
Harimaya Magar from Bijulikot said that females were compelled to till the land after males left home for the want of employment in the villages. “I was nervous and I panicked at first, but, I have managed to do the job as well as any male,” Magar shared.
It has been two years since Harimaya has been tilling the land.
She has become adept at land tilling, sowing maize, and planting paddy. “I started tilling the land after the male members left home and no male tillers were available in the village,” Harimaya said.
Many females from Bijulikot have followed suit. They yoke the oxen on the field themselves. “I tamed and yoked the oxen that even males had failed to tame,” said Sita Sunuwar, 21, who was found tilling the field in Sindhu phant. Sita claimed that there was no work that a woman could not do.
A twelfth grader, Sita does not hesitate at all to till the land. “Earlier, society used to look down on us. But, these days, society has started respecting our work,” Sita said.
Not only in tilling the land, women have started taking up other works too in the village.
They are found to be actively involved in digging canals and carrying heavy weights, among others.
Ram Bahadur Magar said he had heard about women tilling the land through radio in the past. “I am seeing a female tilling the land with my own eyes at present,” he said.
A version of this article appears in print on January 18, 2016 of The Himalayan Times.