Buffalo Soldier

“Come in,” says Munisa, “it’s such a large house you’ll be surprised.” The room isn’t big enough for a single person, and Munisa, a widow at 30, shares it with six children and her mother-in-law. She’s trying to turn the courtyard into a room even though she knows the impending monsoons will was away the mud thatch: “At least the summer will pass.” She works as farm labour, earning Rs 35 a day, and can’t make use of NREGA because the chronic pain in her legs won’t let her do hard labour.

Two years ago, an NGO did a survey in the village and found her to be the poorest. They gifted her a cow. “It gave milk because I fed her. And then, six months ago, she died.” But Munisa is not ungrateful: she will still vote for the candidate who runs the NGO that gifted her the cow. So will her neighbours who didn’t get anything: “Here’s someone who has at least proven her concern for the poor,” says one. Read More…

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