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

Buddhist shrines massively destroyed by Brahmanical rulers in "pre-Islamic" era: Historian DN Jha's survey

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".

RSS' 25,000 Shishu Mandirs 'follow' factory school model of Christian missionaries

By Bhabani Shankar Nayak*
The executive committee of the International Union of Anthropological and Ethnological Sciences (IUAES) recently decided to drop the KISS University in Odisha as the co-host of the World Anthropology Congress-2023. The decision is driven by the argument that KISS University is a factory school.

India must recognise: 4,085 km Himalayan borders are with Tibet, not China

By Tenzin Tsundue, Sandeep Pandey*
There has as been a cancerous wound around India’s Himalayan neck ever since India's humiliating defeat during the Chinese invasion of India in 1962. The recent Galwan Valley massacre has only added salt to the wound. It has come to this because, when China invaded the neighbouring country Tibet in 1950, India was in high romance with the newly-established communist regime under Mao Zedong after a bloody revolution.

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur*
Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

Gujarat literati flutter: State Akademi autonomy curb a Sahitya Parishad poll issue?

By Dankesh Oza*
The 115-year-old Gujarati Sahitya Parishad is in election mode. More than 3,000 life members of the Parishad are set to elect its 52nd president and 40 plus central working committee (CWC) members, which in turn will elect its executive and two vice presidents, six secretaries and a treasurer for the coming three years (from 2021 to 2023).

Time to give Covid burial, not suspend, World Bank's 'flawed' Doing Business ranking

By Maju Varghese*
On August 27, the World Bank came out with a statement suspending the Doing Business Report. The statement said that a number of irregularities have been reported regarding changes to the data in the Doing Business 2018 and Doing Business 2020 reports, published in October 2017 and 2019. The changes in the data were inconsistent with the Doing Business methodology.

Delhi riots: Cops summoning, grilling, intimidating young to give 'false' evidence

Counterview Desk
More than 440 concerned citizens have supported the statement issued by well-known bureaucrat-turned-human rights activist Harsh Mander ‘We will not be silenced’ which said that the communal riots in Delhi in February 2020 have not been caused by any conspiracy, as alleged by the Delhi Police, but by “hate speech and provocative statements made by a number of political leaders of the ruling party.”

WHO chief ignores India, cites Pak as one of 7 top examples in fight against Covid-19

By Our Representative
In a move that would cause consternation in India’s top policy makers in the Modi government, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, World Health Organization (WHO) director-general, has singled out Pakistan among seven countries that have set “examples” in investing in a healthier and safer future in order to fight the Covid-19 pandemic.

Agricultural reform? Small farmers will be more vulnerable, corporates to 'fix' price

By Dibyendu Chaudhuri*
Agriculture employs 42% of the total work force whereas it contributes only 16% to the country’s GDP. The average annual growth rate in agriculture has remained static to 2.9% since the last six years. This means that the post-green revolution conventional agriculture has reached its peak. Responsiveness of soil fertility to fertiliser application, an indicator of stagnancy in agriculture, shows declining trend since 1970. The worst sufferer has been the small and marginal farmers who constitute 86% of total farmers.