BY Nikitha Nandam
A few years ago, the villagers of Patna district are landless and most of the people died due to starvation. There used to be a system called “Deohriya” where the poor farmers had to give 7.5kg of rice in return if they take 5kg of rice from the rich. Because of this, farmers had to pay back even if there were in a position to pay or not and this exploitation led to so many deaths. Now, it is not the condition anymore. The women in villages thought of a plan where they set a bank and named it “Anaj Bank”.
The main objective of this bank is to help the poorest of the poor. Firstly, it was started by a group of girls in Kashi to help the poor where the depositors won’t get interest in return but satisfaction and invocation. This bank only has only two kinds of membership, donor and recipient in which collects food grains from the donors and gives them to the recipients. The donors get themselves registered whereas the recipients are selected by them through their survey. For this survey, they will go to door to door to make a list of malnourished, poor, undernourished men, women and children. Now, these banks are set in 65 villages around Patna and eastern Uttar Pradesh.
In Patna, now the villagers take land in lease from the rich and follow community farming. The farmers will get 5kg of rice and they will return 6kg of rice to the bank after the harvest. In cases of marriage, the bank will provide 1-2 quintals of rice. This bank provided them hope, confidence and strength to stand on their own feet. Because of this, the deaths due to starvation are also reduced. They realized that their families won’t go hungry in the time of scarcity.