It was in the winter of 2016, I had gone back to my home in Southern Odisha after almost a year. I had come home with two of my friends from Northeast India and thought of showing them few nearby places. They wanted to know more about the local tribal culture, so we decided to visit the neighboring district called Malkangiri situated at the border of Chhatishgarh and Andhra Pradesh. There is one popular local market there where the Bondas come down once in a week to sell their famous rice beer and bamboo baskets. The Bondas fall under the particularly vulnerable tribal group of Odisha. Less than 5000 in numbers, they live in a hill with very less or no contact with the plains people including Govt officials driven with an idea of protectionism. This has been the case for last many decades and I have been passing through that village since my childhood but this time in 2016, I suddenly noticed few changes and it had to do with the Bonda women. Bonda women usually cover upper part of their body with long necklaces made out of colorful stones and beads but this time they were wearing ‘nighties’ and some of them had sindoor/vermilion on their foreheads. After further inquiry in the nearby shops, I came to realize that sartorial change had been the work of RSS in last few years. Moreover, some of them had turned vegetarian.
Tag: Northeast India
Leaders like Meghalaya CM Sangma believe that those who question his kind of thinking are “creating hopelessness and insecurity,” in common people’s minds and this view continues to gain currency promoted as it is by the mainstream media. The reality is that it is leaders like him who are reminiscent of the Pied Piper of Hamlin, leading the innocent over the cliff to their doom while the ruling class lives on their common properties.
The marginalized of Northeast will be more comfortable in standing up with the Dalits, minorities, LGBT and other excluded communities rather than chest thumping self acclaimed deshbhakts