Sangeeta Pardeshi is one of the field functionaries who is known as ‘Madhyam Sakhi’. Sangita works in three talukas of Jalgaon, in fifteen villages. Her work is to strengthen the Panchayat Raj effectiveness through the use of media and for the development of villages. Abhivyakti has produced numerous films to spread awareness about the Panchayat Raj institution. Sangita screens the films in the villages and uses the space to dialogue with the women on the issue portrayed in the film.
One of the films is entitled ‘Sarpanch Mandhan and Sadasya Baithak Bhatta’ on the issue of honorarium paid to the Gram Panchayat members. The film was screened in the ‘Vadner Hadsan’ village in the Pachora taluka of Jalgaon. The film was an eye-opener for the members of Gram Panchayat (GP). According to the Government Release, the GP members are supposed to be paid 200 Rs per month and per meeting. But seven of these members of Panchayat had not been paid this amount since one and a half years. The members were denied this amount with the excuse of them have not paid their property taxes, which in reality were not connected in any way. This was mentioned in the film that was screened. These members, mostly women were motivated by Sangita to take the matter to the Gram Panchayat. The women took the matter to the Gram Panchayat officials and showed courage to raise this issue. They also showed this film along with the GR rules to the Gram Sevak and put forth their demands, of getting their dues. The process of negotiation was not easy. The officials were taken by surprise. They had not expected the women to raise such a demand. After much dialogue, the officials agreed, acknowledging their own mistake. The members then received the sum of money for all the past months.
The women were satisfied that they could dialogue and persuade the officials to give them their due. It was a major victory. The women along with Sangita realized the immense power of the media to raise such issues and their own leadership, which had remained dormant in the matter of village development. The women are now demanding more such screenings related to Panchayat Raj and are talking about the increased active participation of women in the Panchayat functioning. For Sangita creating awareness and actions in the village through the use of media and communication is a newfound activity. She is geared for more.