Skip to main content

Jamshedpur: Abject deprivation of Sabars, a PVTG, finds no place in poll discussions

PVGT women in Jharkhand's Sabar villages
By Siraj Dutta*
A recent visit to a few Sabar villages in Jamshedpur Lok Sabha constituency’s Ghatshila block exposed the “double-engine” claims of the BJP. Raghuvar Das does not tire harping about how the state is developing under the BJP-led state and central governments (“double engine”). One of Jharkhand’s particularly vulnerable tribal groups (PVTG), the Sabars, continues to live in hunger and extreme deprivation. Both the MLA and MP of this area are from the BJP.

Denial of ration and social security pensions

According to Supreme Court’s orders, all PVTG households are entitled to Antyodaya Anna Yojana (AAY) ration cards on which they are to get 35 kg of free grain every month. In Jharkhand, all PVTG households are also entitled to receive social security pension of Rs 600 per month (hiked to Rs 1,000 from April 2019, as per a recent announcement of the state government).
Despite these protections, Joba and Banawali Sabar of Basadora village barely survive on rice and salt. Like others in their hamlet, they depend on the forest and the odd manual labour jobs for their livelihood. A hard day’s labour gets them Rs. 200. They neither have a ration card nor do they get the PVTG pension, as neither of them has an Aadhaar (click here for testimony).
In the four villages that were visited, at least 45 of 106 families are not enrolled in the pension scheme. Several of them also do not have Aadhaar (for testimony of such families of Basadora click here).
Malnourished child, Chhotadanga
Holudboni’s Sombari and Bhushen Sabar are denied ration and pension as they do not have aadhaar. Sombari is ill since a month. The block hospital did not conduct any test and just prescribed vitamin supplements. She continues to shiver, suffers with fever and has progressively become weaker (see testimony here).
Kishori and Malti Sabar of Holudboni are also denied their pensions as they do not have aadhaar (see testimony here). Phulmani Sabar of the same village is old and stays alone. Neither does she have a ration card nor is she enrolled for pension. Lack of Aadhaar may be a reason for this (see testimony here).

Destitution and malnutrition

The Sabar families live in dilapidated one-room houses, built by the government years ago. Most members of the community are severely undernourished. In Jharkhand, children are to get three eggs per week in Anganwadis and two eggs per week in the school mid-day meals. But children of Basadora do not get eggs in the local Anganwadi and only one egg per week in the school.
In Chhotodanga, Malti Sabar’s 23-day old daughter weighs just 1.8kg. She was kept in the baby unit at the block hospital for five days and discharged with a bottle of vitamin syrup. While medical attention from the Anganwadi worker and the doctor at the hospital may see the baby through, her condition exposes the hunger and malnourishment of the mother. The family survives hand to mouth existence.
Most of the families did not get any work in the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA) in the last one year. Many also do not want to work under the programme because of the delays in payment of wages.
Destitution at Basadora

Lack of education

Hardly any adult of the visited villages is literate. According to the census 2011, only 21% of Sabar adults in Jharkhand are literate. The government seems to have made no special effort to improve the dismal rate of literacy in this community. Govardhan Sabar and Ravi Sabar of Chhotodanga dropped out of primary school as they were harassed by non-PVTG students.

Yet to get political attention

Jamshedpur goes to polls on May 12. The abject deprivation of the Sabar community finds no place in electoral discussions. Will the opposition Mahagathbandhan wake up to seek accountability from the double-engined BJP on questions of Sabars in the election season?
---
*With Jharkhand Janadikar Mahasabha

Comments

TRENDING

India performs 'poorly' in Quality of Life Index, ranks 62nd out of 64 countries

Counterview Desk “Expat Insider”, which claims to be one of the world’s most extensive surveys about living and working abroad, in a survey of 20,259 participants from around the globe, has found that of the 64 destinations around the globe, has found that while Taiwan is the best destination for persons living outside their native country, closely by Vietnam and Portugal, India ranks 59th.

Youngest of 16 activists jailed for sedition, Mahesh Raut 'fought' mining on tribal land

By Surabhi Agarwal, Sandeep Pandey* A compassionate human being, always popular among his friends and colleagues because of his friendly nature and human sensitivity, 33-year-old Mahesh Raut, champion of the democratic rights of the marginalised Adivasi people of Gadchiroli, Maharashtra, has been in prison for over two years now.

Human development index: India performs worse than G-20 developing countries

By Rajiv Shah A new book, “Sustainable Development in India: A Comparison with the G-20”, authored by Dr Keshab Chandra Mandal, has regretted that though India’s GDP has doubled over the last one decade, its human development indicators are worse than not just developed countries of the Group of 20 countries but also developing countries who its members.

US publication blames Gates Foundation for 'accelerating' India's healthcare crisis

By Rajiv Shah A new book, published by the New York-based Monthly Press Review (MPR), has blamed Microsoft founder Bill Gates for “crowning” the crisis allegedly engulfing India’s health sector, stating, the top American billionaire’s foundation of late has acquired “extraordinary influence" over India’s public health governance,  giving a fillip to a policy that deprives access of public healthcare facilities for majority of the country’s population.

India's GDP down by 50%, not 23%, job loss 200 million not 122 million: Top economist

By Our Representative  One of India’s topmost economists has estimated that India’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) decline was around 50%, and not 23%, as claimed by the Government of India’s top data body, National Statistical Organization (NSO). Prof Arun Kumar, who is Malcolm S Adiseshiah chair professor, Institute of Social Sciences, New Delhi, said this was delivering a web policy speech, organised by the Impact and Policy Research Institute (IMPRI), New Delhi.

Stan Swamy vs Arnab Goswami: Are activists fighting a losing battle? Whither justice?

By Fr Sunil Macwan SJ* It is time one raised pertinent questions over the courts denying bail to Fr Stan Swamy, who was arrested under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), and granting it to Arnab Goswami, editor-in-chief of the Republic TV, arrested under the charge of abetting suicide of Avay Naik, who ended his life in 2018. It is travesty of justice that a human rights activist is not only denied bail but is also made to wait for weeks to hear a response to his legitimate request for a straw to drink water, while Arnab Goswami walks free.

India among heavily impacted by Covid-19, China 'notoriously' evading transparency

By NS Venkataraman* With the year 2020 inevitably ending in the next few weeks, the thought amongst the people all over the world is whether the coming year 2021 will be free of Covid-19 (often dubbed as Wuhan virus, as it known to have spread from Wuhan in China).In the early 2020, many people thought that Covid-19 would be a localized affair in China but later on, it proved to be a global pandemic.

Namaz in Mathura temple: Haridwar, Ayodhya monks seek Faisal Khan's release

By Our Representative As many as 23 members of the Hindu Voices for Peace (HVP), including the founder president of the well-known Haridwar-based Matri Sadan Ashram, Swami Shivananda Saraswati, and a one of its top monks, Brahmachari Aatmabodhanand, have expressed their “dismay” over the arrest of Khudai Khidmatdar chief Faisal Khan and three others on charges of “promoting enmity between religions” and “defiling a place of worship” after they offered namaz in Mathura’s Nand Baba temple premises on October 29.

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.

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

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".