Guest post by DHRUBA JYOTI PURKAIT and DEEPSHIKHA HOODA.
Sakhra (Yavatmal): Deep in the heartland of Maharashtra’s suicide-ravaged Yavatmal district, the Gond tribal settlement of Sakhra holds a surprise. “There are no husbands here, just children,” explains Kishore Tiwari, president of the Vidarbha Jan Andolan Samiti. A member of the VJAS accompanies us on the bumpy two-hour ride out of Pandarkawada.
We turn onto a dirt trail that runs through a forest clearing; an hour passes before we start spotting cotton fields. We stop and our guide calls out to two female labourers. Only then does it strike us. Most of the labourers picking cotton are women.
It has been 10 years since Laxmi, now 24, gave birth to a son. She met a rich, upper caste boy who had promised to marry her. “Pyaar jataya tha mujhse,” After the delivery, he refused to acknowledge the parentage of the baby. “Congressi tha woh,” she says.
Continue reading Plucked, Consumed and Discarded: Dhruba Jyoti Purkait and Deepshikha Hooda
Several years ago while shooting for “Urdu Hai Jiska Naam” Subhash Kapoor, the director of the series and I had gone to Bhopal because we wanted Habib Saheb to anchor the series. While location hunting we went to see the Museum of Man – a sprawling open-air campus, spread on one side of the famous Shaamla hills in Bhopal. One area of the museum is dedicated to tribal myths and their theories of creation. The Gond myth of creation fascinated me greatly and I narrated it to Habib Saheb in the evening. Habib Sahib liked the story and took it down in as much detail as I could remember. Sometime later when I saw a performance of Zahreeli Hawa, Habib Saheb’s play on the Bhopal Gas tragedy, I realised that he had woven the Gond myth in the preamble of his play and had very effectively incorporated contemporary environmental concerns and the pillage of MNCs in this primordial tale of great simplicity and beauty. Continue reading Habib Tanveer and the Gond Myth of Creation