Skip to main content

Tribals off Narmada celebrate Holi, receive ration cards for the first time since Independence

By Our Representative
As the rest of the country splashed in a riot of colours, more than 500 adivasis from the interior tribal villages of Narmada Valley gathered at Toranmal, tehsil Shahda, district Nandurbar in Maharashtra on Friday. While Toranmal is a well-known tourist spot, this year Holi was special here, as more than a thousand poor tribal families from villages Jhapi, Falai, Khadki, Kundiya and hamlets of Toranmal received ‘ration cards’ on Friday for the first time after independence.
Well-known anti-Sardar Sarovar dam body, Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA), which organized the Holi function, claimed in a note, “While this brought immense happiness to the adivasis, it shocked supporters and media persons who were blissfully ignorant of the magnitude of state neglect and apathy in the interior hilly tribal belts of Narmada valley.”
“Holding the cards in their hands as entitlements to a new form of freedom, the resolute adivasis asserted their rights to land, water and forest. As the younger generation danced and sang to the drum beats and conches of the traditional Holi, the elders received the ration cards with dignity, a scenario which brought tears to the eyes of many -- a reality to witness by all those who are concerned about the disparities and injustice here”, NBA said in a note sent to Counterview.
According to NBA, “The tribals could get the ration cards only after perseverant follow up by the villagers and activists.” At the same time, it complained, “Yet thousands more remain without the right to public distribution system even today. This is only a glimpse in the unfortunate saga of the government of not having up-to-date records of these original inhabitants in spite of the Supreme Court’s order since 2011 that government must not to leave out any citizen hungry in the whole of the country.”
An NBA meet following the celebration
The occasion became point for NBA to continue its anti-dam campaign it is leading for the last over two decades on the dams being built on the Narmada river, including the Narmada dam in Gujarat. It said, “The adivasis pledged to consolidate their united struggle against the medium dams proposed to be built on the tributaries of Narmada river which would create large-scale displacement, in the backdrop of the fact that thousands of adivasi families displaced by Sardar Sarovar are yet to be rehabilitated lawfully.”
“These villages living here several decades, even generations, are yet to get their rights to land, water and forest and survive mainly only on the meager resources that they have with simple living and self-reliance”, NBA said, adding, “They are thus least dependent on government; however, the government has not even reached out to them in order to implement the laws and Supreme Court’s judgments whether it is on right to food or forest rights.”
Pointing out that they are deprived of “forest individual and community rights that were to be granted under the Forest Act, 2006”, the NBA said, “Large number of them on have received rejection orders in spite of having submitted applications for their rights to forest land under cultivation along with Gram Sabha resolutions and whatever proof they have”.
It added, “The rejection orders unjustifiably refers to the Google maps of 2006 while admitting that their cultivated lands in the hills and mountain ranges were measured with GPS machines. Huge extraction of money by the forest department employees on the other hand continues.”

Comments

TRENDING

A Hindu alternative to Valentine's Day? 'Shiv-Parvati was first love marriage in Universe'

By Rajiv Shah*   The other day, I was searching on Google a quote on Maha Shivratri which I wanted to send to someone, a confirmed Shiv Bhakt, quite close to me -- with an underlying message to act positively instead of being negative. On top of the search, I chanced upon an article in, imagine!, a Nashik Corporation site which offered me something very unusual. 

'Flawed' argument: Gandhi had minimal role, naval mutinies alone led to Independence

Counterview Desk Reacting to a Counterview  story , "Rewiring history? Bose, not Gandhi, was real Father of Nation: British PM Attlee 'cited'" (January 26, 2016), an avid reader has forwarded  reaction  in the form of a  link , which carries the article "Did Atlee say Gandhi had minimal role in Independence? #FactCheck", published in the site satyagrahis.in. The satyagraha.in article seeks to debunk the view, reported in the Counterview story, taken by retired army officer GD Bakshi in his book, “Bose: An Indian Samurai”, which claims that Gandhiji had a minimal role to play in India's freedom struggle, and that it was Netaji who played the crucial role. We reproduce the satyagraha.in article here. Text: Nowadays it is said by many MK Gandhi critics that Clement Atlee made a statement in which he said Gandhi has ‘minimal’ role in India's independence and gave credit to naval mutinies and with this statement, they concluded the whole freedom struggle.

Attack on Gaza: Western media 'went out of the way' to obscure, protect perpetrators

By Sonali Kolhatkar*  Israeli forces killed more than a hundred Palestinians and wounded more than 700 on February 29, 2024 during a distribution of food aid in Gaza city, pushing the Palestinian death toll to 30,000 since October 7, 2023. The food aid massacre was straightforward in its deadliness as armed Israeli forces aimed weapons at desperate, hungry Palestinian civilians and killed many of them. It was also plausible within the context of who has firepower and who doesn’t, and wholly consistent with Israeli atrocities, especially those committed since October 7, 2023.

Living standards in 'model' Gujarat worse than major states: Govt of India document

By Rajiv Shah  Amidst raging controversy over whether the latest Government of India’s “Household Consumption Expenditure Survey 2022-23 Fact Sheet: August 2022-July 2023” suggests that India’s poverty levels are actually down to 4.5 to 5%  during the decade-long Narendra Modi rule, a state-wise breakup in the 27-page document shows that “model” Gujarat’s average consumption expenditure is far below most of the so-called developed states.

India second best place to invest, next to UAE, yet there is 'lacks support' for IT services

By Sreevas Sahasranamam, Aileen Ionescu-Somers*  The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is the best place in the world to start a new business, according to the latest annual Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) survey. The Arab nation is number one for the third year in a row thanks to a big push by the government into cutting-edge technology in its efforts to diversify away from oil.

Not livable in summer, Chitrakut PM-Awas houses 'push' tribals in moneylender trap

By Bharat Dogra*  Those who are in-charge of implementing the PM-Awas scheme of rural housing can rightly take pride in what has been achieved in Dafai hamlet (Karvi block, Chitrakut district, Uttar Pradesh). All the Kol tribal families here are extremely poor and vulnerable. In a rare achievement, almost all of them have received housing assistance under PM Awas. 

Stressing on standardisation, efficiency, capitalists 'intensify' workers' exploitation

By Bhabani Shankar Nayak*  The productivist ideology lies at the core of the profit-making pyramid of capitalism. It perpetuates a relentless cycle characterized by busy schedules, workplace tension, an imbalance in work-life equilibrium, and a pervasive sense of alienation. 

Development? This tribal hamlet in Chitrakut has no toilets, no electricity connections yet

By Bharat Dogra*  As we moved away from the starting point of the Bundelkhand Expressway and a famous pilgrimage site into a side-road, the hills of Chitrakut here appeared to be more and more isolated. Another turn, and we appeared to have reached almost a dead-end. However it is here that over 80 households of the Kol tribal community have been living for a long time.

Buddhist shrines were 'massively destroyed' by Brahmanical rulers: Historian DN Jha

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

WTO 'loses legitimacy': CSOs shut out of normal participation in MC13 at Abu Dhabi

By Deborah James  Given unprecedented repression of participants, the 13th Ministerial Conference (MC13) of the World Trade Organization (WTO) at Abu Dhabi should not continue until historical and international standards and human rights for participation in global governance are restored.