It rained all night. At dawn, a distant swarm of birds adorned the skies far away. Near the railway tracks, in lone farmlands, we spotted a few women sitting under a large mahua tree. At Geedam, in a house situated adjacent to the main road, military fatigues lay haphazardly on a wooden cot. The men […]Read more "Peace can never be attained through violence and weapons: Soni Sori"
These roads led nowhere. While maneuvering irregular edges and giant potholes, the vehicle tumbled slightly to the right. Such rickety paths seldom held form. The rains worsened their structure over the last few weeks. Forest trails were strewn with broken twigs and branches. Occasionally, we would spot squirrels leaping from one branch to another before […]Read more "Whoever had to go away has already gone. Bhima is dead. Nothing will change that: Poje Madavi"
Back towards the crossroads we drove again for the weather turned rogue the third time we travelled to Mardum over the last few days. The village seemed far away. Ahead, the paths turned murky as we drove past signboards that led us back to Dantewada. Storm clouds hovered over the hills and the smoky trail […]Read more "In the middle of the night, they dragged him away from his family. His body was discovered days later…"
In the languid air, branches moved to and fro gently stirring blossoms that adorned these forests in summer. The winds carried broken petals across the road. Some days, riding an invisible current of air were butterflies that fluttered in clusters around plants. The sullen murmur of insects caught his attention. His nonchalant gaze followed our […]Read more "It’s all a game of survival, you know! We were around death, throughout. Men died before our eyes. Some we knew. Many we didn’t…"
“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"