Alchemy of Inequity - Resistance and Repression in India's Mines
01 Dec, 2008
Three Indian states - Jharkhand, Orissa and Chattisgarh together account for 25 per cent of India's Adivasi population
Donga Mahua, a village in Chattisgarh, that got its name from the large number of Mahua trees, now faces toxic fumes from the sponge iron plants. The number of these plants has risen from 23 in 2001 to 200 in 2007
Rock art dating from 5000 to 7000 years prior to the present era and has sacred ritualistic significance is threatened by the noise from the Rautpara Opencast Coal Project
The Dongria Kondh, a unique tribe in Orissa, living in the lush-green slopes of the Niyamgiri Hills is in danger of losing their lands and cultural identity
Ever since the British started mining coal in the Dhanbad region of present-day Jharkhand state, millions of Adivasis in Orissa, Jharkhand and Chattisgarh have been uprooted from their lands
Almost none of the Santhals, a tribe, who were displaces by the Tata steel mill in Jamshedpur received employment or compensation. Their village Jujsai Saloud at the edge of the mill is now a slum where the Adivasis scrape a living by selling bits of coal gleaned from the mill's slag-heap
The migrant workers from Bihar living in Lodna, India's first coal city, now survive on the remains of abandoned mines by doing small jobs
In one of the battles over land between the Adivasis and the state in January 2006, 21 Adivasis were killed at Tata's Kalinga Nagar steel complex in Orissa's Jagpur district
The first and probably the last land survey was done in 1928 under the British Raj, resulting in 60% of the Adivasi areas in Orissa not being surveyed. While the Adivasis do not have land papers, the lands of the non-adivasis have been surveyed and documented
The authors are of the opinion that a large number of India's indigenous communities living especially in Jharkhand, Orissa and Chattisgarh, which account for 25% per cent of India's Adivasi population, though entitled to certain degree of protection under the Constitution, the Indian state has reneged its promises and robbed them of their lands and livelihoods in the name of nation-building.
This book captures in images the starkness and poignancy of this terrible nightmare, of the mutilation of the human soul and defilement of nature, of the unconscionable abuse of state power and the amoral cupidity of finance capital.
Panos South Asia (PSA)
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