ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Womens Work Is Never Done-Dairy Development and Health in the Lives of Rural Women in Rajasthan

The main aim of promoting women's co-operatives in the Operation Flood programme is the provision of employ- menu income and increased status for rural women. On the basis of a field study among the women of Shankpur in Rajasthan, this article examines the class and gender biases in the dairy policy; its effects on the nutrition and health of women, and on food crop production; the employment potential of the programme; and the replication of the inequalities inherent in the Green Revolution, DUSK in an Indian village presents one of those magical moments that vividly impresses the consciousness of any outsider who has visited there. During the seven months we lived in Shankpur,1 a Rajasthani village, it was also our favourite time. Wafts of smoke make large cigar-size curls in the air, wending their way up to the sky through thatched roofs or the empty space over an open chulah, where twigs and cow-dung fuel cakes leave behind an aroma of chalky smoke from the cooking fire. Women and girls tend the evening meal, stirring the boiling rice or kneading wheaten bread, perhaps making some lentils or vegetable as well. The main streets of the village raise their own dust from the hooves of returning animals that had been taken to graze early in the morning. Sometimes there are comical moments when an impassioned buffalo takes to racing wildly down the path, scattering all in its way. Before cooking the evening meal, the women and girls attend to the feeding and milking of the dairy animals; after the meal there are dishes to be washed and the chulah to be cleaned. When this pastoral scene comes to mind, it becomes women's time. More than any other part of the day, dusk is when all women engage in the same activities and partake of a collective consciousness through the enactment of their gender roles.

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