This semester I took the most interesting module since Sociological Theory – Contemporary South Asian societies. Each reading was a pure page turner in its own way, very exciting and heady stuff. Contemporary sociology applied to South Asian context, and it taught me so much about myself, my heritage, my religion and the socialization processes that I experienced myself. However, what has left the biggest mark on me though is the fate of the poor and disadvantaged, and how they are systemactically grieved. The stories shared in class about the poor were literally the fat to the fire within me. Let me share one extremely compelling tale that I was much moved by.
“There’s no grazing land for our cattle, and the dust after the blasting settles everywhere near our villages. Vehicles have fallen off the side of the mountain onto our villages. We have written applications to the authorities three or four times. Still they don’t care.
The collector invited a few elders of our community and then abused them by calling them goats, sheep, bloody fools and they were beaten by security forces. We had to run away from there.
The police told us before not to come with arms, otherwise it would have turned violent. Still they charged and fired gas on us. 70 of us had false cases made against us. 15 of us still have court cases pending against us for the last 5 years. They don’t listen or give us any job.
Our water resources are dying, because of mining. We are unable to rotate our crops. I, Sri Lasu Jani, speaking on the behalf of my community, say that we are struggling to survive. Not only us, many villages around the mine are struggling too. Nalco promised us to give us all facilities around a radius of 10km but nothing has happened. They promised to give us medical help, and this has not happened also. Nalco is doing us a grave injustice.
– From Out of this Earth: East India Adivasis and the Aluminium Cartel by Felix Patel and Samarendra Das