Prabhat Khabar, Ranchi, November 21, 2005 by jwYdo9ua


									Prabhat Khabar, Ranchi, November 21, 2005

Along with bauxite, women are also being mined

The girls are moving towards Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata. The mines are not only
destroying the beauty of Netarhat but also the dignity of tribal culture


The vanishing primitive Asur tribes were the ones who first made iron in the world.
The Asur tribes still narrate this great scientific achievement by their ancestors in
their songs.

In Netarhat Paat when the tribals gather to enjoy their community songs and dance,
the entire region swings to the music of this song. Their attachment to the song
makes it even more prestigious.

The blast furnace which was used to make the weapons is still present there. Asur
folk tale says that the weapons used in Mahabharat era were made by the Asur
tribes. One song even mentioned about the Sikander-Porous war. It says that the
sword used in the war was made in the Asur blast furnace.

But today this community Asur, Birajia, Nagesia or Kisan are on the verge of
extinction. There was a time when the co-existed with the forests and the minerals.
But this co-existence has become the problem for them. Netarhat Paat has bauxite
mines. The 100 kms from Bagdu to Orsa Paat has been the reason for the spread of
the red soil, the degradation of agricultural lands, destruction of forests and a culture
and tradition.

The loading of bauxite in hundreds of trucks, coming down from the Paat, is
representative of the pain and destruction of the local people. From Joki Pokhar to
Chormunda destruction is evident and this has impacted the lives of tribal women. A
Nagpuri song depicts the pain. “The streets of our village are desolate and so are our
forests, all water sources have dried up.”

Many girls from the Paat here are going to bigger cities like Delhi, Mumbai, and
Kolkata, where they work as maids in households and are often abused and
assaulted. Such condition of migration is not visible anywhere else. Girls are leaving
the area like dust leaves the ground during dust storms. Somra Tanabhagat says that
company contractors come and displace them from their lands. Their agricultural
lands are turned into mining pits.

This is the place where Jatra Tanabhagat had in 1910-12 protested against mining and
road construction and won. Somra says, sometime back near the Bagdu mine three
of our people died after falling in the pits in the dark. Every year dozens die like this
whose deaths are not even reported in the police.

Kisni Asur has the same story. She says they no longer have their ancestral business.
“We have heard a lot of money comes in for our development, but every time we are
forced to take our households to other land.” She says that it has been ages since she
has seen clean water. “The red earth from bauxite mining has turned our wells and all
water sources red. We suffer from numerous diseases. Our fate is limited to loading
bauxite in trucks and taking it till its destination. We often bear with eveteasing
during this process.”

The entire area has painful stories all over it. Pain that is too dangerous to talk about
too often. The entire area is under naxalite control. But they too don’t care about the
problems of the villagers.

Young girls suffer even more. Recently a girl from Bishnupur returned from Delhi in
all the glamour. She painted a very rosy picture of Delhi in her village and made five
other girls ready to go with her. Middlemen come to Bishnupur market in search for
such girls. Sunita, who had returned from Delhi, introduced these five girls to the
middlemen. Then the escape was planned. One night, the girls escaped in one of the
trucks transporting bauxite. Bishnupur was abound with rumours. But there is no
news about the girls. Some say they are either in Moradabad or Haryana. Villagers
don’t talk much about them. A similar incident happened two months back in Chor
Munda village. In the night girls aged between 10 and 13 ran away. It seems the trucks
not only transport bauxite but also girls from the mine affected areas.

Research report written under CSE Media Fellowships

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