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”

•     A young girl (aged around 7-8? ..roughly my  daughter’s  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”

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

“Hunting for prey”

•A 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”

•Two women  waiting for  their  turn to  work the  fields, the  day’s  ration  hoarded  up in their  humble  gunny  bags

“Mom and baby”

• 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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