Thursday, April 22, 2010


I like catching up with the local news from the drivers on the drive back to the hospital whenever I am away from the campus.Two hot topics of Palaumu-are the Operation green-hunt and the water table.About the former he tells me every one in the villages are familiar with the term regardless of whether they know what it is-but he hasn’t been hearing about much action from either side apart from the burning down of jungles that is taking place in the near-by places.
He had a very different way of answering my second question though.He says the Parhaiyas of Salaiya have had to dig deep and dig hard with their hands this year to retrieve some drinking water.Apparently there is a tribe of Parhaiyas in some parts of Jharkhand who actually dig the ground near the river with their hands to get some drinking water.They are very good with handicrafts and are adept at making bamboo products.Apparently ,banyas have settled down amidst them ,and trade the bamboo products they make with grains,alcohol ,etc and sell the products to the general public.There is anyways a huge demand for broomsticks,baskets ,etc in the market.According to Illius just one single Parhaiya from Salaiya has got a government job in the Satbarwa block as a peon .He was quick to add that the government was doing a lot to absorb them into the mainstream so much so that direct entry for some class four jobs were given to them in Gumla district but very few of them responded.
Early mornings,in Palamu, we see hordes and hordes of villagers bringing fire-wood to the market ,sometimes walking more than ten kilometers by foot.For every bunch of wood they earn a minimum of hundred rupees with which they buy grains and take them back to the village.He also tells me that the domestic animals are being sold at a throwaway price in the market at the moment because due to lack of water there is scarcity of fodder for the animals so they are trying their best to do away with this extra mouth to feed in these difficult times.
I have been in these parts for near to a decade –I realise how ignorant we still are to the plight of the majority of people we are called to serve.

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