Yes, I am penning about the miraculous story of a village Janwaar where I visited very recently. A few weeks ago, one of my friends told me about the story of a village Janwaar, near to Panna of Madhya Pradesh. He told me about Janwaar where people were used to living only in darkness, Men used to play gambling and drink alcohol by selling paddy fields, women have been insulted, children rarely saw the school, exploitation of girls in the society was on its top and families were breaking. According to him, then some Good people passed by that village and saw the horrible situation of the villagers then they gave one skill to village’s kids which give a new direction to them towards success, happiness, and light. And, now that village is an inspiration to other parts of the nation and villagers motivate the world that ‘If we can do, Anyone can do’
An inspirational story told by my friend was roaming around my mind. My ultimate aim was to visit Janwaar to see “What is that magical Idea?” which transforms the entire picture of the community. I hired a car and left for Panna with just a small bag and spirit of watching Janwaar.
I reached Panna City by 9:3o morning then took Satna Road and reached Janwaar Bus Stop in next 15 mins.
The road was cleaned and maintained. I also very excited to reach Janwaar as soon as possible. After few minutes, I was in the center of the village and asked the local people about “What is that thing which changed the life of this village?” He said nothing but gave me a gesture to follow him. He pointed to a place which was a cemented structure constructed on the ground sketched with vibrant colours. I was curious to know what was that because some cows were roaming on the platform and it seems like they were discussing on some important topic like ‘Beef Ban in India’. I rushed towards it and was stunned to see that it was nothing but a SKATEBOARD PARK. I never thought that I can find a remarkable thing in this so called extreme backward part of the country, which was being badly ignored by the system. (Because in developing country like India, you can hardly find skate park in Metro cities).
Now, My mind was very excited to know more about it and my eyes were searching for the right person, till then that young boy got disappeared. Then, I saw a boy who was passing by the park on a bicycle. I urged him to stop and requested him for his some time to talk about the park and story behind it. He smiled at me said ‘OK’ and our friendship begins. His name was Keshuram.
According to him, 3 Years ago Janwaar village was a place of all social evils. None bad habits left to reside here. Majority men of the villagers were immersed in alcohol and addicted to gambling. From every dawn, this was the only routine of the village and it badly results in their occupation and family. Villagers were losing their agriculture land in gambling and families were destroyed in liquor drinking. Kids in the village have no future because parents rarely took interest in their children’s life. Girl’s molestation was very common in the village and beaten up women were like a game for them. Janwaar was also suffering the pain of caste discrimination. This dark and horror night was endless and it was only our daily life. Then one day some visitors visit our place and felt very bad on our condition. They asked panchayat for some land, we villagers were unknown what they were doing. After 3 months Skateboard Park completed. In initial days, our parents were not allowed to play at the skateboard park or to talk to those unknown visitors. But, as time goes everything gets normal. Trainers gave skateboard and safety equipment to all of us and instructed about How to ride a skateboard. After a few month of basic training, few of us became expert and now trained other kids too. We named SkateBoard Park i.e ‘Janwahr Castle’.
He also said about 3 thumb rules of park i.e
• No School No Skateboard: If any kids do not go to school, they will not allow him on a skateboard.
• Girl’s First: Give first priority to girls to play on a skateboard park.
• Sharing is Caring: Help each other irrespective of caste and creed or any social boundaries.
After a long discussion, time to explore the rural life. He guided me to the home of another skateboarder of the village. Anil, the shy boy with a simple smile also accompanied us. First, He showed me his home which was one of the homestays of the Janwaar and also showed handicrafts made by him only.
On our village guided tour, he has shown me home stays of the village, huts, school,paddy fields and the only shop in the village which was a dream place for an every child. He also showed me the home of Karan who made skateboard of mud to selling them as a souvenir.
At the end, we reached back to Skateboard Park for some action. He showed me Tree House Library, Circular Hut, and other things related to Skateboard Park. Anil and Keshuram beautifully performed stunts on a skateboard. Up, Down, Left, Right, Roll on the wall, Jump and what not! They were now expert of this game. I congratulate them and say ‘You both are best’. They smiled and said, “We are not but the daughters of our village are an expert who all went to school for study this time and another expert is his brother Arun, who is going to abroad soon to participate in some championship”.
We met Arun at his home, he also showed me some stunts on a skateboard.
All things were giving me new experience because their parents told me that now the village has been changed, every individual kid living the dream of becoming a skateboarder and represent the country internationally. There are more than 70 children (Both boys and Girls) practice skateboard daily. Kids are getting skillful and educating equally. Every parent wants their kid to study and play in the park. Families are also earning from homestays. Visitors/ Tourists visit Janwaar and stay with them. Communal harmony slowly coming back on track. According to them, it’s a new dawn for them and they are happy with it.
It’s time take adieu to the village. Before leaving village I saw some faces which showed the glimpse of old days of Janwaar. But I believe, after some time they will also change and follow the path progress.
After all this I can say, there is potential in each and every corner of the country. You just give them a chance, they will perform you better. It was one of the new types of tourism that I have experienced and suggest you all try it once.
How to Reach:
Airways: Nearest Airport is in Khajuraho (40 km) directly connected with New Delhi and Varanasi.
Railways: However nearest railway station to Panna is Khajuraho (40 km) but few trains pass through it. Another major railway station is Satna (75 km) which is connected with important cities of the country.
Roadways: Local taxis are available from Panna Bus stand to Janwaar. Panna is connected with important nearby cities like Chhatarpur, Satna, Katni, Rewa, Sagar, Khajuraho etc.
Where to Stay: Instead of staying in hotels/ resorts in Panna city. I suggest you to staying with locals in their homestays. There are 4 homestays in Janwaar which are ready to welcome with all their hospitality.
What to buy: Don’t forget to buy handmade skateboard of clay as a souvenir. And the artifacts made by locals are also worth to buy.
‘Skill is as important as Study’
Incredible! Our India has such wonderful stories & inspiring places & people.
Great that you visited & shared.
I can say It is must visit unexplored destination of Central India.
For beautifuly telling our story.
We would have loved to have you linking back to our website.
We welcome you as a stakeholder of this open sand box project, by just writing about our story till now you have become a stakeholder.
Look forward to talk to you sometime soon to tell you more about our projects and possibility of exploring collaboration opportunities.
Let’s remain connected.
Wonderful & inspirational story
Wow, I am so amazed to know that the village had a skateboard park too. The kids in that village will have a bright future now.