Every year on Independence Day, NMTV News has highlighted atleast one of the major challenges that the tribals, no matter which state, across the country face. Last year it was the story of how villagers in a remote village of Karjat district walk ropes to reach the other part the developed world, then today we have yet another heart rendering story of a tribal hamlet not far from Panvel. Monika Bhosale joins us with a report that draws attention to that of India that still hasn’t lived the spirit of a free and independent nation. Situated less than 30 kms from the financial capital of India, Panvel’s Adivasi Pada is a tribal hamlet. Tribals represent a large and diverse group of marginalized communities that live mainly in hilly and forested upland areas. Although technically not a part of India’s case, creed and society tribals are often treated as untouchables. The reality of Adivasi Pada ahead of Panvel is no different. Without power, water and even roads, the adivasis of this hamlet represents poor India, downtrodden India, socially disadvantaged India. NMTV teams have travelled to several tribal hamlets in the region but this one was a shocker. And it will be for anyone who witnesses the laborious journey that the tribals have to embark upon every time a patient from the village has to be taken to the nearest hospital for treatment. And nearest in the case of this adivasi pada is a 6 km journey on foot with two people carrying the patient on a cloth tied to a bamboo stick. It’s not difficult to imagine how sweating this journey means but there’s still more. The tribals have to carry the patient through dense forest-like areas. When they cross this, comes a dam where any wrong judgment in jumping could prove fatal as well. Tribals tell us that day time has become a habit but taking patients to the nearest government hospitals during the nights is a journey full of life threatening uncertainties because power has not reached the area. A father of the tribal hamlet shared with us that to take his daughter to the nearest hospital where operations are performed, he as to walk carrying his daughter for a 3 hours. Ironically, even after 63 years of independence, while the center, state and politicians moot up SEZs with modern infrastructure projects, latest medical services, IT related townships in this very region, no basic facilities or amenities like water, power, roads and health services have reached this adivasi pada but the posters of politicians have. Every time tribals embark upon their journey to fight for their survival, a tragic story of 63 years of Indian Independence comes alive exposing what the system, so-called leaders and the celebrated progress have given or rather not given to rural India. With cameraperson Dyaneshwar Mali, Monika Bhosale for NMTV News.
April 2, 2010