“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"
She walked away from her hut, into the brisk breeze settling in outside. His dusty feet dangled on her waist. Hers broke into sores. And yet, she walked. Her feet, seared from the heat, scurried along lanes that led to erstwhile farmlands. A horde of fledgelings squawked in her path dodging her goats astray. She […]Read more "‘You need to give the land time to heal itself’: Thoughts on Organic Farming with Marallusidappa"
“I haven’t filled a pot yet. How can I survive without water?” asked the lady in red as she walked to the hand pump. Her frail features were shrouded in unfathomable expressions. She raised her fists at no one in particular. She muttered curses under her breath, at no one in particular. Perhaps, her anger […]Read more "She was the only farmer left in the family…"
Last evening, sitting on reservoir banks, we glanced at the rugged low-lying hills one last time before the sun descended beneath the horizon. A few children played a game of catch in the narrow alleyways while women discussed prices of vegetables in their courtyard. A young boy sought permission from his mother to continue playing outside. […]Read more "Rest Of My Family Travel Dairy: Day 23"
After a long drive through lush green fields, we took a walk around Bodi town in the afternoon. The relentless onslaught of Tamil Nadu heat scorched the earth as tall lifeless shrubs withered to the ground. The town wore a forlorn look. Sprigs of wilting foliage adorned the parched landscape, as we walked towards the […]Read more "Rest Of My Family Travel Diary: Day 11"
We meant to start our day early to visit the tribal settlements. We wanted to understand what life was like for those who resided in the Muthuvakodi Village and discuss with them about the Lantana-livelihood initiative. However, Fayez was still running a fever from last night. So, we asked him to get some rest and we […]Read more "Rest Of My Family Travel Diary: Day 5"
This morning, we woke up to ashen grey skies and broken branches in a distance. Leaning onto their fellow companions, trees that once stood tall found themselves displaced and scattered all over; their arms numbly collapsing to the ground. The paling shadow of the storm had strung a melancholic note in the soul of the […]Read more "Rest Of My Family Travel Diary: Day 4"