Water Woes of City Tribals

Bangalore’s Dungri tribal community no longer has fair access to the city's water supply. According to community members, their water has been restricted for over three years, forcing them to travel up to five kilometers a day to retrieve the necessary daily provision. This difficulty cuts down on overall productivity and economic activity in the community. The time needed just to provide families with water strips time away from other work. This burden is largely born by women in the community. This segment of Bangalore’s Dungri community resides in the Kunti Gram slums, one of over 800 slums in Bangalore. Six to seven hundred Dungri families live in Kunti Gram. Despite this substantial population, few know of Bangalore’s urban tribal community. IndiaUnheard’s own Community Correspondent, Christy Raj confessed he did not know about the community despite having lived in Bangalore for over 20 years. Popular perceptions often equate tribals with rural and forested areas. However, stories like that of Christy Raj remind us tribal peoples are as incorporated in India’s modern mass rural-to-urban migration narrative as others. They are not, in reality, frozen in this definition as exclusively forest and rural inhabitants. The forces of urbanization, scarcity of economic opportunity in rural areas, and movement of people must be incorporated into our perception if it is to accurately reflect modern reality. This shift is necessary if efforts and policies made are to respond to the modern tribal community—in its many places—across the country.

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