Saturday, August 30, 2008

Chengara- a sepia story

Excerpts from Sudeep's Blog (Backdrop)

[The news from Chengara (ചെങ്ങറ) is depressing. Women are being abducted and raped, men kidnapped, in addition to over two weeks of cutting off food and other lifeline supplies to people who have been protesting peacefully for more than an year now.]

Armed with a lot of gumption and confident that i would be able to fare better than others at my tryst with tyranny, i set on my mission- to Capture Chengara and the lives of thousands who are stranded in the settlement with the no supplies and no government help.

32 day old samaraja was born amidst calamity, her mother looks after her with the supplies that manage to reach her, Sarun her elder brother is malnourished and has health problems.

[Over 5000 families of landless Dalits, Adivasis and other marginalised people started this protest on 4th August 2007 claiming 6000 acres of land (you read that right -- six thousand acres) that is illegally kept by Harrison Malayalam Private Ltd in Pathanamthitta district, Kerala. Around 24,000 people from different parts of the region have moved to this area, with tents with poles and plastic sheets. ]

A year long protest has left Ambika (60) and Sarojini tired.

George (58) has a bad heart which is failing his body..he wants to live a better life but first needs some medicines.

Panchami (60) was begging for a bit of rice when my lens fell upon her.

Chicken pox has left her scarred Nimmi (11), it could have killed her, thanks to the traditional Neem therapy.

Mani (55) is an asthama patient, with agrrevated breathing problems, his life is a misery these days. When he is caught unawares by a bout of asthamatic attack, he frantically looks for his friend who has an inhaler from which he is allowed a small share.
Almost 20 women who had camped at 4th counter of the protest grounds. The women have various diseases like fever, chickenpox etc... Availability of food is their main concern.

An artist has left these words on the walls of Chengara...May victory be theirs and Humanity.