Eversince I have come to Jharkhand ,I have been in the middle of an exciting poutpourie of events ,sometimes too stark even to entertain for too long.I come from Sikkim where a single murder gets discussed for generations,the pot-boiler for the season would be a group of children entering a shop at an odd hour to do away with the hard-boiled sweets from the vendors.
Here in Palamu.every other day , some kind of anti-social activity goes on.There are several takes to it-that is what I found out over the years and so now I take special pains to get an opinion from everyone I come across,whether it be the poor villager who walks into the hospital, our drivers or my maid and then there is the local paper which has it’s own take –the TV channels seldom give us the in-depth ground reality-it’s just ‘bomb blast in Chiaki railway station in Dto by the naxals’,etc.
Take for instance the now existent indefinite bundh in Palamu.Nothing moves when there is a naxal bundh here.
Why was there a call for the bundh?This is the take I got from the informal chats around.Apparently some anti-social elements planted a bomb in one of the jungle roads which took the lives of some police personals .The police in a fit of madness entered the jungle,got hold of some local villagers who were tending to their cattle and killed them in cold blood.Is this the truth and the whole truth?Who is to blame and who is to bless?These were, I believe, some simple local tribal CNI youths-sad,sad,sad.
On my way to Delhi from Dto I came across two CRPF jawans from UP.They were doing their duty in the train but I got down to talking to them.They had worked in the adjacent district of Garhwa-when I said I worked in Palamu,I thought I saw a shadow fall across one of the faces-I wondered what memories that had brought him-was it of some narrow scrape with death at close quarters,was it good friends lost…was it endless days of adrenalin pumping in the various raids and night vigils he had conducted?I wondered .It’s a tough life for them.
I went around to discussing the elections in UP and Benaras in particular .One of them mentioned the don the BSP had put forward as their candidate from the holy city.
They asked me two questions that told me their story.
How often do you get leave to go home?
How much do you get paid?