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Anger of Adivasis turns to poetry of protest in a young woman’s hand

By Anumeha Yadav

Jacinta Kerketta’s poems talk of the identity issues of young Adivasis, and question the state’s vision of development for tribal areas

Till the time Jacinta Kerketta went to a missionary boarding school in Jharkhand’s Manoharpur at the age of 13, she was witness to her mother Pushpa Anima Kerketta being beaten up and abused. This was at home in Siwan in undivided Bihar, where her father worked as a policeman.

In her book Angor (“embers” in her language, Sadri), Kerketta, an Adivasi, says: “For a long time, it was my mother’s sobs that resounded in the silence of my heart.”

Kerketta gets angry even now when she speaks of watching her mother walk behind her father in public, or having to wait till he finishes his meals before she can eat. It is this anguish that the 32-year old expresses in her poem “Bawandar aur Dishaayein,” talking of a tribal village being blown away like chaff by “development”, because “someone ought to make a sacrifice” – and this time too it is the turn of the Adivasi village. Read more

Source: Dhaka Tribune

 

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Rupi Baskey and the mysterious nature of evil 

Anu Kumar reviews The Mysterious Ailment of Rupi Baskey: A Novel by Hansda Sowvendra Shekhar (Aleph Book Company, 2013, India;  pp 210) 

Rupi-BaskeyJharkhand is one of India’s newest states created in 2000 after a long political struggle. It’s formation was in effect a recognition of the need for an adivasi homeland but when  the state of Jharkhand was created, landlocked between five states, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar to the north and east, West Bengal to its southeast, Odisha and Chhattisgarh bordering it in the southwest and west, it was immensely smaller than the greater Jharkhand  originally envisaged by adivasi groups. The latter had desired not merely some measure of autonomy but their own control over resources. The region is immensely rich in,  ‘jal, jangal and jam in’, resources which to this day are controlled and even owned by outsiders.

But this is in no way a political novel. Political events when mentioned make a sketchy appearance of sorts, so we know the timeline the novel essentially follows. Sowvendra Shekhar’s novel is  centred mainly around the village called Kadamdihi, located at the southern end of Jharkhand.  There is also the town of Nitra,  reachable from the only railway station from Kadamdihi, Chakuliya. Rupi Baskey’s story is a universal one of a family’s slow descent into decline, but it is also a unique narrative in the way the strange forces of good and evil, development and timelessness play out in the lives of Rupi Baskey and her family.

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