Erosion shatters dreams of fisherwomen; Sweet Home just a memory for them

 “My House is now a memory. I am posting this for the future to remember that there was a house here in the beach. Moreover, I beg pardon of my children and others for not able to protect the traditional house and land that my forefathers gave me. My parent’s lifelong savings, my Sweet Home, is now a memory. The sand and the mud where I grew up playing now belong to the sea,” Raji Solomon’s words scripted in her Facebook page echoes the real life of fisherfolk living near the beaches.

Raji’s words tell the tale of all fisherfolk who have lost their savings of a life time, with the sea engulfing all that they had. She is not just one house wife but one among the thousands of fisherwoman who have similar stories to tell about losing their land and belongings to beach erosion.

After the onset of South West Monsoon, hundreds of houses in across Kerala beach was washed away with the sea eating up the land.    

“We were called Kerala Soldiers and Kerala Army. But we all knew that all these praises were for the time being only. We know that there will be no one to help us and we have realised that fact,” she told kadapuram.com.  

“When I took to FB regarding the destruction of our homes, some people commented that there was no need to lament and asked why the houses were built near to the near to the beaches. Like all others, we were also paying land and house tax. It is not that we have encroached on any property and everyone should understand this reality. We have not gone to the sea but the sea has now come to us and taken all our belongings,” she said.

Meanwhile, Theeradesha Vanitha Federation president Maglin Philomena said all through the years, the sufferings of the people in the coastal region, especially the women folk has only increased. Stating that women who are the backbone of a family suffer more than any one, she said “most of the houses in the beaches have been constructed with a major contribution of the women in the family. We cannot stand the sight of the waves washing away our houses and all our belongings. The hopes of a whole family are washed away along with the waves.”  

On allegations that fisherfolk build houses only near to the beaches, Maglin said that the land that they had on the beaches were their ancestral property and tax was being given. On rehabilitation, she opined that the government had never thought of a comprehensive package. “Our life is related to sea and the beach. We cannot be rehabilitated to a place where we do not belong to. It is like rehabilitating the Adivasis from the forest land to other places. We belong here and rehabilitation should be near the beaches. There are hundreds of acres of land near the beaches,” she said.

Legathal, a heart patient and now in the Buds camp at Valiyathura, says that it was heartening to see the house being washed by the waves. “All our hopes have been lost. There is nothing left. Al our earnings have been washed away,” she lamented.

Catharine, whose house and land has now been engulfed by the sea, said that her life has been shackled. “The small piece of land that we had has been lost to the sea. There is no land left and no House. I am unaware how I am going to marry off my daughters,” she said.  

Kerala Swathanthra Matsyathozhilali Federation Thiruvananthapuram district secretary Jenet Cleetus alleged that no government has ever thought of finding a permanent solution to the sufferings of the people in the coastal belt. Highlighting that it was the woman in a family who toiled hard, she said “Women are the real sufferers. It is the struggle of the women and the earnings by which land has been purchased and houses built. But the pain of losing all these to the waves cannot be said ion words,” she said.  

She also noted that it was the mothers who were worried of getting their daughters married and children educated. “It is the woman who has to see that fire is burnt in the hearth. But no one is addressing the suffering of women,” she said.

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