A few stories of faith from Odisha | Milaap
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A few stories of faith from Odisha

During my recent visits in rural parts of Odisha, I have come across with people who have sheer belief in God and themselves. Here I have described a few stories of people in rural Odisha.
"A gupchup sellers wife becoming the ward member of the village"
I entered a cemented one floored house. It had a huge veranda with a number of gunny bags. There was a gas stove larger than usual at the end of the veranda. Ketaki a 32-year-old lady, escorted me into a room. The room had two beds on one of the beds I saw something weird. The bed was covered with a banner of BJD, Biju Janta Dal (A famous political party), which was weird. I thought why would someone lay a banner on the bed. I started talking to her about her life. She is a very soft-spoken lady. She said that she has completed class 10th and did not study further. They belong to the caste of “Gudia” which means “sweet seller”. The caste of these people is to make sweets and confectionery items and sell them in the local market. Her brother in law sells the confectionery items in a small shop. Her husband sells Gupchup otherwise known as Panipuri. A few minutes later a man around 6feet tall step in. She introduced him as her husband. We further had a conversation about my visit. Her husband was quite generous and out spoken. I asked Ketaki what she does. She said that she was a ward member (a powerful political position) of the village. I was stunned. Some one who doesn’t speak well, had managed to speak in public gatherings, rallies, won hearts of thousands and won the election. I asked her how she managed it. She pointed towards her husband saying the he was the one who supported me. “My husband wishes to develop the village. According to him we have all the amenities and resources but still lack development. He always wanted to do something worthwhile for our village. There was a vacancy for a woman candidate in the ward council. My husband wanted me to apply. I knew his wish and I wanted to fulfil it. So, I decided to step in. I represented BJD (Biju Janta Dal).
My husband helped me conduct the meetings, prepare the speeches, attend the ceremonies, etc. I received full support from my family. Soon my husband’s dream turned into mine. I wanted to bring a change. Finally, the day arrived when I won the election.” Her husband’s sheer determination finally led his dream come true.
We were very happy. Sooner we started proposing different types of welfare projects. Its been a year, those welfare projects are legally pending since the ward council also has a few members from BJP (Bhartiya Janata Party) which is the opposition party of BJD. Recently they have arrived at a decision of starting the projects and the project is sanctioned. She was happy that finally some things would change. There would be certain things that could finally benefit her village and the people in it. Finally, her hard work will pay off. There is nothing impossible in this world all you need to do is have faith in yourself.
"A widow and her handicapped son"
On a sultry friday afternoon, I went to Chandikhol to visit an energy loan borrower, Pushpalata and her family.  Pushpalata’s husband’s death 5 years ago had left her no choice but to work in other people’s homes to order to feed her four sons who were not old enough to be able to earn. Few years earlier, her eldest son managed to rent a small shop and started selling grocery in it. Since this wasn’t adequate, he even started catering for small parties or family gatherings in the village. Her second son, being a polio patient was operated few years back, during the time her husband who was a Pujari, (a Hindu priest) was well and alive. The rod which was inserted in her son’s leg in the surgery is now visible through his skin and thus desperately requires another surgery. But due to monetary issues, she cannot afford another surgery.She has faith in God that her problems would soon be over.

"A lady with sheer belief"
Kanchana Sahu hails from Haldididha village in Pritipur district of Odisha. I went to visit her. She told me that” I am a mother of two sons.”. One of her sons who is 16 years old has always been at his grandmother’s house. He has been brought up at his grandmother’s house. Her mother’s house is in Singhipur which is 15 km away from her house. He is studying +2 science in Mounpur college. Her mother and brothers bear her sons educational, and living expenses. I asked She described her encounter with Tuberculosis fifteen years ago. The deadly disease got her to the death bed. The doctor informed her family that she wouldn’t survive for another 24 hours. Kanchana had a year-old son. Her mother and sisters started taking care of her son. Her mother walked barefooted to the Maha Shiva Temple so that her daughter would be cured. Kanchana was miraculously cured.One can surely say that her survival from TB is a miracle . We could say that when God wants you to live, no disease, no demon could kill you. She had the faith in God. She still does. Her house was broken of the discrepancies between her father in law and his brother. She had to leave her house, sell her cattle since there was no place to keep them. They had a small piece of land where a large area is a pond. They had no choice but to fill-up the pond and build a house.
She says its God grace that we depend on since we need a house we had to build one filling the pond despite the danger associated with it. The house that she is building is still undone. She doesn’t have adequate money to build the roof. She says” I have always relied on God’s grace.”
These people have sheer belief that their pain would vanish some day or the other. Their reliance on the Almighty doesn't change in any situation. Every time I meet some one like them, I feel the need to be more hopeful. I learnt that sometimes all you need to have is HOPE. Things may not go your way but hope gives you the strength to survive in adversity.