Warles Surin gave up his job at an IT warehouse and returned to his village, which is along the Red Corridor, to open a play school. He started the school in 2011 and runs it from his home, along with his family. “I was working in the city for seven years. I learnt a lot during this time, but I…
8 tribal families signed over their fertile paddy fields over to the irrigation department for the construction of a check dam across the nearby river. The authorities convinced the farmers to part with their land at cheap government rates. Papers were signed. The dam was built. The fields were drowned forever. 30 years passed. The farmers never saw a single rupee. They are fighting the government in a neverending case in the courts which has gradually taken the families to the brink of destitution. They have no livelihood, no income, nothing on the stove. Through our correspondent Warles' video they have appealed to you to support them in their struggle. They ask you to call or message the Deputy District Commissioner Mr. Pravin Kumar Topno on +916525225701 and urge him to give adequate compensation to the 8 families who lost their farms to the check dam in Ramjari Village, Block Kolibera, District Simdega. Tell him that you have watched a video about the issue and what you have seen in unfair and unacceptable. Demand change.
"It's really terrible when you start thinking about how corruption from 30 years ago have crippled the lives of the families," says Warles. "They once owned fields which produced some of best rice in the region. I wouldn't say that they were ever rich but they were content. They met their daily needs and then a little more. Now three generations have been left with nowhere to go."
"These families have been isolated from the community. It is the cruelty of numbers, the simple cruelty of development. The check dam irrigates everybody's farm in the village. They are all happier and more prosperous for it. But for these eight families, it has been curse that ended their lives. It has left them all alone and vulnerable."
"They are trying to put up a brave fight by filing a case against the authorities. But you know how these things are. People have to travel 50 kilometers from the village to attend the hearing of their case. And when they reach the court, all the judge prescribes is the next date of the hearing. It is not easy for the families to collect enough money to afford the travel. And there are court fees, lawyers fees... the case is bleeding them dry."
"I have first hand witnessed the suffering of these families. While I was shooting the video the son of one of the farmer fell terribly sick. He had polio and was always a weak boy. During the days of the shooting, I saw the father trying his best to collect money for the treatment. I had gone with him to the village head who promised that the local Block Office would be willing to offer support. I finished the video in the meantime and later, I came to know that the boy had passed away. There was nothing from the Block Office,"
"I felt terrible because I was there and I couldn't do anything about it. I promised the father that I would get him justice. I told him that I would take his appeal to the people of the world. I told him that he wouldn't be alone in his struggle anymore."
Call to Action: If you have seen the video and the issue provokes you, Warles asks you to
1) call or message the Deputy District Commissioner Mr. Pravin Kumar Topno on +916525225701 and urge him to give adequate compensation to the 8 families who lost their farms to the check dam in Ramjari Village, Block Kolibera, District Simdega.
2) Ask him to look into the matter personally and ensure that the families get their justice.
Bastar, in Chattisgarh State, India, is well known for their tribal population, and their unique, distinctive cultural heritage. In this area, the tradition of playing Madar has been going on since time immemorial.