The 7/12 record – so named by the rows and columns on the document – is the most prime record of land holding in India, down to the village level.
MOTHERS OF THE LAND: Name on Land Records – Matori’s Fight to Right
Village Matori, Dist. Beed
Right of ownership on land and houses, alongside the spouse on government’s prime land record extract.
The 7/12 record – so named by the rows and columns on the document – is the most prime record of land holding in India, down to the village level. And in a society where law now equals inheritance between genders, a deeply entrenched male dominated society keeps women’s right to property, a distant dream. That was not to be for 30 Tanishka Foundation members from a small village in an arid district. Led by a spirited elected head woman, decided to change their fate in their favour.
Rekha Jarange, Matori’s own Joan of Arc, took everybody by surprise when she tabled this resolution of equal rights in presence of the block level magistrate (tehsildar) at the village general body special meeting (gram sabha). That too at an opportune time of the state foundation day i.e. Maharashtra Din on May 1st (little coincidence that it also coincides with Labour Day!). Rajabhau Kadam, the tehsildar, sensing the pressure, instructed the officials to complete all administrative procedures, right then and there.
What looks like a quick fix miracle today, has painstaking homework behind it. The study of legalities on right to property, creation of public opinion for women’s dignity at par with men and moving studied debates through subsequent gram sabhas was undertaken by Tanishka Foundation members like Vidya, Surekha, Suman alongwith Rekha. Following Matori, the fire spread to neighbouring villages like Bavi and Yelamb, where a similar resolution was tabled by women as they now await their name on the 7/12 record.