Community Correspondents

Mary Nisha Hansda

Mary Nisha Hansda

I am part of the Hasa Aur Bhasa Jagao Sangathan. We fight for our rights to Jal, Jangal and Jameen. My organisation is associated with the Adivasi Vikas Trust and with JOHAR in Dumka. My husband is a committee member in the Jharkhand Mines Area Co-ordination Committee. In 2013, our village came to be affected by a project led by the Jindal Company. There is a dam 65 kilometres away from my village, in another block. The company wanted to acquire land there to make the dam deeper and to acquire land in my block to set up a power plant that would make use of water diverted from that dam. 25,000 people were affected by this project. When President Pranab Mukhkerjee was to come for the inauguration of the project, we organised a major protest. The people of two block's gathered together for a massive meeting and dharna, 3 km from where the president was. We had many banners and posters with us. The president saw our protest, saw the depth of our opposition to the project with his own eyes. Today, the proposal to take water from the dam for the plant has been dropped. The date to set up the power plant has come and gone! The local media in my region is in the company's favour. In my sangathan, we understand very well that people who oppose the loot of land cannot depend on the media to support them. It is only through networking with other organisations that we could ensure that journalists – from Ranchi and Kolkata – came and documented our voice. Otherwise, the voice of the villager never carries beyond the village. I want to become a Community Correspondent and make many videos on land acquisition and displacement. I feel very strongly about this. In my community, we name our sons after their grandfathers. This is too keep continuity in the ownership of the land. This ties us to the land of our ancestors forever. The company wants to take the land that generations have lived on and give us a job for a year in exchange! Father Solomon of Johar told me about Video Volunteers a month ago. I had always told him that our struggle needs to appear on the tv and in the newspapers. People everywhere should know what is happening in our block and in our district, they should see our suffering as their own and give us strength for our movement. Even without the threat of the company taking away our land, it is not that my community is in a very fortunate situation. The Primary Health Centre in our Panchayat lies closed all the time. Like the electricity poles and wires, it lies useless most days of the year. Landless families are very badly off – surviving on selling forest produce and working as labourers. I want to work to make NREGA work better because my community suffers because of lack of available work. I believe that the most important thing is that my community should have the right to a dignified life. I have always understood the value of education. I used to be a teacher in the past. My husband is a para-teacher. We look after the upbringing of five children from very poor backgrounds – we feed them and pay for their education. We are not against progress. But progress should come without losing our identity, without losing the land to which our identity is tied.

Videos from Mary

Impact

Indigenous Communities Finally get their Land Rights

 
/ February 23, 2018

July 2017 was a month of celebration for over 200 people of 11 villages in Sundarpahari Block. Two years of community mobilisation had finally gotten them land tenure, under the Forest Rights Act, 2006.

Jharkhand’s Adivasi experts on Rainwater Harvesting

 
/ February 8, 2017

In the hills of Jharkhand reside the ancient tribe called the Sauria Paharias (hill dwellers). This Scheduled Tribe, considered as one of the oldest dwellers of the Santhal Pragana division – a largely tribal-dominated area of the state. They largely keep away from mainstream population and depend on agriculture, which...

Jharkhand’s Adivasi experts on Rainwater Harvesting

 
/ February 8, 2017

In the hills of Jharkhand reside the ancient tribe called the Sauria Paharias (hill dwellers). This Scheduled Tribe, considered as one of the oldest dwellers of the Santhal Pargana division – a largely tribal-dominated area of the state. They largely keep away from mainstream population and depend on agriculture, which...

Women fight to protect ancient land in Jharkhand

 
/ May 13, 2016

The ancient natives of Santhal Pargana, who reside in Jharkhand, have been deeply associated with their land. The land is their only identity – which they have defended with their lives since the times of British. Their never-give-up spirit was honoured by the British who passed the Santhal Pargana Tenancy...

No salary for teachers in Paharpur

 
/ September 5, 2015

Paharpur, Godda, Jharkhand | Mary Nisha Hansda Teachers in famine struck Paharpur village in Jharkhand haven’t been paid in 16 months. On 1st July 2014, school inspection was conducted by the Food Supply Officer and on 17th July Lalita Murmu, a teacher at the Paharpur School received a letter asking...

128 students cheated by a Youth society in Jharkhand

 
/ August 5, 2015

One Hundred and twenty-eight students who had applied for the Anganwadi helper’s post were cheated by Annapurna Youth Society in Baliya Village of Jharkhand. Anganwadis were started by the Indian government in 1975 as part of the Integrated Child Development Services program to combat child hunger and malnutrition. These centres...

One woman’s harrowing experience of giving birth at a state-run health facility

 
/ June 15, 2015

A 24-year old woman in labour was kept waiting for the doctor for 6 hours. The doctor on duty did not turn up and she delivered in the presence of a nurse. She was forced to pay INR 400 for her delivery and even, to use the toilet. She neither...

Public Companies for Corporate Good

 
/ January 19, 2015

January 19; Godda, Jharkhand On September 7th of last year, residents of Lohandia village in Jharkhand sat on a strike near the familiar mining site of Eastern Coalfields Limited. The vibrations emanating from the blasts for coal extraction has cracked the walls of villagers’ houses. “A child was injured by...