Invisible Natives of Jharkhand

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It is often said that the picture is worth a thousand words. So, I am going to share four photographs taken at one of the non-descriptive village of the Bauxite mineral rich district headquarter of Lohardaga in Jharkhand. This nameless and the faceless village is not very far off from the hill-ranges that boast of rich Bauxite deposits, yes the remarkable mineral behind the magical metal Aluminium.


These rural-folks live in the vicinity of the Aluminium mining areas, yet these Natives live in a houses made up of mud, wood and the thatched roof. Yes, you can see no sign of precious Aluminium in their humble homes; with an exception perhaps, if you consider the modern kitchen-utensils that they have bought from the nearby town, Lohardaga. It is evident as if these Natives have not been given any share in the Bauxite being mined in their areas. When I inquired about it, one of the elderly villagers informed me that their forefathers used to reside in those mountain-ranges that are filled with the Bauxite mineral. Now, they have no control over those lands as well as those precious minerals.

For past 50 years or more, these selfless-hills have been sharing their rich wealth of the Bauxite with the Wealthy Mining Conglomerate; it seems that it has casually forgotten to share the riches with Natives.

In complete contrast, we also see a typical village in the foreground, not very far off from those rich Bauxite mines that supply raw minerals for manufacturing Cars, planes and what not.  The agricultural lands of these villages that have not seen the arrival of the irrigation facilities in the last six decades or so, they have not even heard a false promise from the concerned Governments. The poor Native farmers have left these fields barren for the time being; eagerly waiting for the monsoon season to come and bless them, or else their struggle with the life will continue.

Concrete roads are the luxury in these villages; until and unless, those roads are meant to assist the transportation of the Bauxite, from those rich-hills to the Aluminium-factory (s).

These pictures were taken recently. And this is what a typical village devoid of development looks like in Jharkhand. And mind you this is not a remote village. This village is next to Lohardaga town and the busy Bauxite mining hills. This kind of stories of utter neglect and the step-motherly treatment gets repeated in the so many villages dotting the vast landscape of the so-called Red-corridor of our great nation.

Such is life in this part of the world. But really, who cares?

The local Natives are the invisible folks. They are neither seen nor are they heard in the greater scheme of the lofty developmental plans of our democratic government.

When you take a closer look at the raging armed-conflict between the Left-Wing Extremists and the Government, perhaps of the worst kind; then you realize why so much bloody battle being fought on these tragic lands. It is suffice to state that these volatile regions have been blessed with the vast mineral wealth of all kinds; but on the other hands, their Natives continue to live in penury in these mineral rich areas, they struggle for even the basic infrastructural facilities in their homelands.

Some of our learned political leaders have described these geographical areas as immensely rich lands, but these are populated with the poor Native people.

And this is the irony of this place and our India.

That’s the modern-day conflict.

Hopefully, with my maiden novel “Salvaging Adidweep” will be able to tell the stories of these voiceless rural folks living and somehow surviving in one of the deadliest conflict zones of India. It was their vocal desire that their voices must be heard by the world. With my maiden English Fiction novel, I have tried that. I believe, I am just a medium, who is simply trying to fulfill their wishes to the best of my abilities. Only, time will tell, how far will I manage to succeed in my honest attempt.

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Sameer Bhagat

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Social-Activist. Author of SALVAGING ADIDWEEP.


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