JLO Increases Family Happiness
Early in the morning last 15 May, the VDC hall of Khayermara VDC of Mahottari was full. Men and women from different VDCs were seated in rows. In front were local leaders from different political parties, the VDC secretary, local school teachers, and representatives of other local organizations. A banner read "Samyukta Purja Sibir" (JLO encampment), piquing the interest of passersby. The event was a JLO camp organized in honor of the couples who already had JLO, in hopes that other couples would similarly be motivated to register for JLO.
Ten couples were recognized during the program. They in turn shared their experiences, particularly about how their lives had changed after acquiring JLO. The entire audience was enthusiastic to hear about the story of one elderly couple – Daulat Singh Ghising, 68 years old, and Sancha Maaya Ghising, 65 years old. They have been married since 1970, living in public land. In 2006, they bought 0.167 hectares of land. Seven years later, they got a JLO.
A man of few words, Daulat merely smiled, and said, “Ramraie lagyo.” (I felt good). Sancha Maaya blushed a little while telling her story: "Mero logne ko jhagada harayo. Paila paila kumlo kuturo bokera hinchu bhantheye. Je kurama pani risaune bani thiyo. Kati palta hinnupani bhayo. Samyukta purja banayepachi dhamkauna hareko cha."(My husband used to terrify me and would pick quarrels with me. He would threaten to leave the house. Many times he did leave, but returned. He would get short-tempered by small things. But after we got JLO, he ceased yelling at me and terrifying me.). She added that once, when they had already gotten their JLO, he was drunk and started a quarrel and threatened to sell the property and leave her. She quickly answered that he could no longer do that as she is an equal owner of the property.
Asked what motivated them to get JLO at their age, their son Krishna Bahadur Ghising replied that it was the land rights forum, particularly Bir Bahadur, the local land rights activist, which was advocating for JLO in the village. He had no registered land of his own, so he advised Bir Bahadur to approach his father instead, with a warning that his father did not listen to anyone. He himself had grown weary of his father, moving out and building a small house on public land. But he remained worried about his mother. “She never seemed happy. So I thought that a JLO might help her. When Bir Bahadur informed me that my father was ready to go for JLO, I was very happy for both my parents, but especially for my mother.” Bir Bahadur recalls that regular meetings were what convinced Daulat Singh. “I almost had five long conversations on JLO, and finally, I succeeded.”