Visages from the hinterland

Every  day , the nation debates on multiple issues of religion, caste, political violence etc.  Entire newspaper reels are devoted to issues of elections, demonetization, sexual violence, GDP, the idiosyncrasies of the glitterati and the like.

But here, completely outside the realm of urban existence, one becomes acutely aware that the real issues are very simple- SURVIVAL. EXISTENCE.

As  the  car  glides ( and bumps, depending on the  condition of the particular stretch  of the  road)  on NH-33 (Ranchi-  Jamshedpur Highway), I see some visages from the hinterland:

“Wrenching the earth”

‚Äʬ†¬†¬†¬† A young girl (aged around 7-8? ..roughly my¬† daughter‚Äôs¬† age)¬† working the¬† handpump¬† to wrench out¬† water¬† from¬† the dry ¬†earth, while an older¬† woman¬† patiently waits¬† for her¬† turn with¬† multiple¬† vessels

“Back from school”

‚Äʬ† A chap (too young¬† to be the¬† father, I presume) ¬†¬†interrupting¬† his daily¬† schedule¬† to¬† bring¬† a girl¬† back¬† from¬† school

“Hunting for prey”

‚ÄĘA tribal with his bow and arrow – hunting for prey I guess. But where are the prey at this time of the day?

“Waiting by the roadside”

‚ÄĘTwo women¬† waiting for¬† their¬† turn to¬† work the¬† fields, the¬† day‚Äôs¬† ration¬† hoarded¬† up in their¬† humble¬† gunny¬† bags

“Mom and baby”

‚ÄĘ A daily¬† wage¬† worker¬† mom carrying her¬† baby¬† by her¬† side (¬† in the¬† fashion that¬† women in this¬† part of¬† the¬† country¬† adopt) and ¬† bag¬† on her¬† head¬† ,¬† balancing¬† both (no mean¬† feat)¬† and proceeding¬† to¬† work under¬† the¬† blazing sun ( the¬† temperature¬† outside¬† is¬† 40 degrees Celsius)

They  are all preoccupied  in their  own pursuits, ignoring  the  heat and the  dust  , ignoring  the  passing  vehicles,  going about  their  chores  happily, nonchalantly or grimly,  as  the  case  may be.

Suddenly, life doesn’t seem so complex  anymore. It’s really very simple in these parts. Life is about existence and survival. Period.  Modi- Yogi-  Bhogi  be damned.

I salute these resilient people, who make up our hinterland. India lies in its villages, so said  Mahatma  Gandhi. And truly, these people make up the actual India. Living  under ( and  literally  making a living under)  the  blazing  sun and  amidst  the  swirling dust ,is no  mean achievement.

Jai Ho , people  of Jharkhand!

( Taken on NH-33 with my  trusted Lumia  730, and  digitally altered  to  black  and white. Images  are a little blurred, but decipherable  I hope  )

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