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9-Laxmangarh.Alwar

Basic information

The work in Laxmangarh block was started in January of 2007. Laxmangarh is a Town in Lachhmangarh Mandal in Alwar District in Rajasthan State. It is located 160 km distance from its State Main City Jaipur. Situated in the north western part of Rajasthan, Alwar is part of Mewat area, located in the triangle of Delhi, Agra and Jaipur. Generally poor, deriving their livelihood from subsistence agriculture and animal husbandry, the population has a concentration of Meos. They comprise over a third of the total population of Mewat and are the largest single ethnic community in this area.

The Meo population is predominantly rural. Mostly they are agriculturalists who also rear sheep and goats. Laxmangarh is among the 14 blocks of Alwar district with a total population of 241708 among whom 29.78 percent belong to SC and ST communities. This block has 185 villages spread over 44 Gram Panchayats. The sex Ratio is 892 which is much lower than Total fertility rate is 4.9 which are the same as in Rajasthan. Infant mortality rate is 99 which show poor health-care facilities. Only 15 percent women are able to receive safe delivery option.

The overall literacy rate in Laxmangarh is 65.19 percent. Female literacy rate is just 33.90 percent. Enrolment ratio at the primary and upper primary level of girls is 46.96 and 39.66 percent respectively.

The Meo community is generally deprived of education and development opportunities as a result of their socio-cultural positioning. The status of women is very low because of traditional mindset and custom of purdah. Generally speaking, girls are sent to 'Maqtabs' (religious schools) for religious instruction. As soon as they attain puberty they are removed from Maqtabs also and expected to remain in the confines of home. The curriculum (Nisab) of the Maqtabs was decided in the 17th century is still in use.

Educational Situation

If the literacy rate can at all be said to be a measure of development, the females in Meo community seem to have registered virtually no development at all. According to reliable estimates, not more than one per cent of all females in Meo community are functionally literate. In the entire community of over a million souls, there are said to be not more than 20-25 female Meo graduates. In most schools of rural Mewat, there are hardly any girls .

Economic Situation

As a result, most Meos can raise just one crop a year, if the rains are sufficient. Rampant exploitation by Bania and Jain moneylenders is another major cause of Meo poverty. Most of the Banias of Mewat live off the interest they charge on loans given to the Meos. The general rate of interest per month is three per cent, which works out to an exorbitant 36 per cent yearly, enough to drive many Meo families deep into debt and penury for generations.

Agriculture and Housework

If the general condition of the Meos is woeful, that of the Meonis, the Meo womenfolk, is even more distressing. In the domestic sphere, the burden is almost entirely on women. Forced by their acute poverty, right from childhood itself, to assist their mothers in household chores, young Meo girls cannot go to school. They tend to younger siblings, graze goats and sheep, and roam the bare, barren slopes of the Ravalli in search of firewood. In the Kharif season, bajra, maize, jowar, Kharif pulses, arhar, sesamum, cotton, guar etc. are sown in about 3,29,088 hectares (42 percent). In the Rabi season wheat, barley, gram, mustard, Rabi pulses etc. are sown in about 4, 52,527 hectares (58 percent). Thus, the total cropped area of the district is 7, 81,615 hectares.

Islamic Education

Increasingly, Meos is sending their girls to Islamic maktabs (primary schools) attached to most village mosques. There they learn to read Urdu and are taught to memorise parts of the Holy Quran. Most maktabs are coeducational. No fixed fees are charged. Parents give grain and money to the maulvis to teach their children, though for poor families this is not compulsory. Girls are withdrawn from the maktabs as soon as they reach puberty (baligh hone ki umar) and are then married off, for from that age onwards they become vulnerable to strange (ghayr) men, including their male teachers. Thereafter, they cannot continue their studies.

Literacy rate 7 years & above

Rajasthan

(Census 2001)

Alwar     district

DLHS Survey 2007-08

 

Laxmangarh   block

60.41

66.90

Person

65.19

75.70

81.80

Male

81.80

43.85

50.60

Female

48.58

 

 

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