“Freedom is my biggest income. As long as ‘the humanity’ within my heart never subsides, I will continue to remain happy. This is our home. We will try and make our life better here. We all have dreams but not all of us know how to turn them into reality,” said Kumar as we drove […]Read more "‘Sometimes, you don’t need to speak the same language’"
Unknown faces would pass by Kali all day. Some waited for him to finish his story. Some left without listening. Nonetheless, he stood there everyday making his voice heard, his presence felt. “Today, I tell his story. It’s the least I could do to keep his memory alive. My father died five years ago. His real […]Read more "‘We have learnt to draw boundaries on water today’"
The next day we woke up early to continue our journey towards the eastern coast. We took a detour through the hills of Kodaikanal instead of the charted route. On our way, we asked some policemen patrolling the area for directions to Madurai. “Up ahead, you will see a yellow house with a red roof. […]Read more "In search of unspoken tales of a ghost town…"
Crumbled pages fluttered in the light breeze amidst piles of books. Some sat forlorn, stacked on the shelf. Some were discarded. And, then there were those that once held records of importance. It didn’t matter now. For, they were all just gathering dust in the offices of a department that left no stone unturned to […]Read more "We are all to be blamed for tribal downfall"
The Irinjalakuda boys surprised us with an early morning visit. Since, we had been travelling to tribal hamlets for the past few days, we decided to relax and explore the hills today. After a quick breakfast of idli and appam, we headed towards Joby’s farm – a secluded paradise situated away from town. It rained […]Read more "‘The problem lies with human beings’"
Last night, we discussed everything we had learnt about the situation in Attapadi so far. Having understood both the tribal and government side of the story, we were now able to draw conclusions on how alienation of land propagated social exclusion that eventually led to abject poverty and absolute dissolution of tribal demography. While displacement […]Read more "Throughout history, tribes were portrayed as savages"
Principal occupations of the Kurumbas include selling firewood, gathering forest produce and cultivating ragi, saami and other grains. Some historians insist that they are in fact descendants of the Kuruman dynasty who fled to Attapadi centuries ago. Historically, the tribe is best known for its skills in sorcery and black magic. It was believed that they could […]Read more "‘At least, we have the forests’"
We hear them everywhere; faint strains of fragmented echoes floating within the realms of their spiritual universe. Detached from the earth and disconnected from each other, these tribes now find themselves wandering between two worlds — one that perished a lifetime ago and another that refuses to accept or acknowledge their existence – while their […]Read more "‘We gave up our identity for 5 kg rice and 5 kg wheat’"
We could hear laughter coming from a distance. A group of women gathered outside their verandah; their chatter spilling onto the streets. A loud wailing cry resounded in the air as a little boy perched on the shoulder of a young woman turned to his mother and heaved a deep sob. The crowd slowly dispersed […]Read more "Attapadi: Government freebies have made our tribal community lazy"
We met Sheen at around 10.30 am. The hills were shrouded in mist adding a certain charm to the mystery and allure of Attapadi. A pall of gloom descended on the town as we made our way to a tiny tea stall run by a mother-daughter duo. After a heavy breakfast of crispy appams and […]Read more "Rest Of My Family Travel Diary: Day 28 (Part 1)"