“My father was arrested because of me. My work as a journalist and my involvement in bringing to light issues faced by adivasis in Bastar had consequences. Over the years, my family paid a heavy price. The men in uniform barged into my home. They couldn’t find me. So, they took my father away. […]Read more "They aren’t pathways or endings. They aren’t records or data. They are human beings…"
There were specks of green shrouded in red dust: a sight not lost on its inhabitants. Dust swirled in the skies, and gathered on the windowsills. The winds carried them further; a dreadful sight to us – the outsiders – who came to these lands to write its tales: some forgotten, some buried and some […]Read more "Conflict, displacement and toxic water: Adivasis of Bastar speak of lost lands and dead lakes…"
“When are we meeting again?” asked Soni Sori, that morning. At the Geedam junction, a few weeks ago, we first met her and Lingaram Kodopi. Their car was parked across the road. There were soldiers stationed outside her home. In all the times that we set foot in her house, over the years, they never […]Read more "Laal paani, laal dhool, laal salaam: In a sea of red, adivasis struggle to find what was once theirs…"
At the end of a lone street, there stood a blue house. Where lay nothing but mud roads that led to settlements near the hills, we passed by that house at a junction in Cholnar. A frail old woman stared ahead at nothing before her. She sat there at the doorstep most days. Her name […]Read more "They called him a police informant. They killed my son: Jogi Mandavi"
From the corner of the road, the paddy fields gleamed in the sun. It had rained a few days ago. Amidst distant hills, wreaths of smoke curled in the air. Some days, a dull roar of engines ricocheted in the distance. The silence returned a while later, almost always. One late summer afternoon, as we […]Read more "In the shadow of the gun, you can’t have peace: Bela Bhatia"
A sense of normalcy prevailed. Unsettling and strange, it belonged here in the midst of a chaotic past and an obscure present. Normalcy: here in the constant is where one often sought its presence. “This is our normal,” remarked Suresh once when we spoke of solitary days and rains underneath an old mahua tree. Like […]Read more "Salwa Judum went very well. It was the birth of a revolution: Chaitram Atami"
His suggestions were unfounded. There was nothing he could do to convince us. “Why would IG Kalluri inquire about us?” we asked him to his annoyance. He didn’t answer. He refused to look up, and scribbled away furiously in an old register at the counter. He overcharged his customers, and sometimes quarrelled with them over […]Read more "Of Conflict, displacement and loss: Tales from an old Salwa Judum Camp"
These farmlands remained unseen. That was a different time, said the elders. Trees were taller, and the flowers bloomed in spring. Summers didn’t last forever. We tread carefully alongside these roads. Where the village ended, dead trees stood upright in corners. Before us, were lands that held nothing anymore; a vast emptiness that shrouded these […]Read more "Entering the Red Corridor…"
Men lost their arms. Men lost their legs. There were those who couldn’t afford to continue fighting for their rights; those who never returned home. More than 100 farmers were killed during protests he partook in over the last four decades. He saw them starve, bury their children. He saw them return home defeated and […]Read more "‘Never thought about anything other than helping someone in need. A human being is far more important than money…’"
At the crossroads, where Masrudi ended and began roads that led to a settlement of nomads, dust billowed in the streets. Lone clusters of trees rattled in the winds. Few people were in the streets. Fewer in the woods. Along the edges of dead farms were shrubs that sprung into action with gusts of wind […]Read more "‘Water. That’s what we will fight over next…’"