Celebrations and deprivations: Experiencing summer at a Santal tribal village – Jharkhand & West Bengal

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11/06/2013 – by Boro Baski

The hot season is the toughest time of the year in rural India. Adivasi communities struggle to cope […]

In our Santal tribal villages of West Bengal, summer is a tough time. This season is marked by burnt grass in the fields, leafless trees, dried-up ponds, cracked land surfaces, hot winds and sunstroke deaths. Noon is the worst time. […]

This year, I experienced what summer means to the villagers of Khiribari, a sleepy Santal hamlet near Maheshpur in the Indian state of Jharkhand. They have no electricity – but an acute water problem. I met a nine year old girl, Lakhi Murmu, at the narrow well. She had an earthen pot, a bucket and a rope. She had come to collect water from what was only a very slow trickle, only flowing drop by drop. She told me it took hours to fill the pot: “My mother is sick and could not collect it, so I am here to do it.” Other villagers had come to fetch their water before dawn. […]

In spite of all the hardships, Santals look forward to this summer season for some happy reasons. This is when some of the most joyful events take place. “Bapla” (Santal weddings) are celebrated in April, May and June, the hottest months. As the scorching winds blow, the sound of marriage drums are heard in the villages.

The entire Santal villages participate in the rituals and festivities of a marriage. It goes on for five days and nights with songs, dances and the drinking of rice beer. From miles away, people can hear the sound of drums and flock to attend a marriage. The hardest time of the year is thus also a time of joyful celebrations. A newly-wedded couple instills a new sense of vigour in a village, proving that life goes on.

We all look forward to the next season however. We long for lightning and thunder behind black clouds to augur the arrival of the monsoon. The onset of the rains means relief from the heat and therefore triggers a great sense of joy in the villages.

Boro Baski is a teacher and social worker with the Gosaldanga Adibasi Seva Sangha, a community-based organisation in the Indian State of West Bengal.

Source: The hot season is the toughest time of the year in most of rural India – and Adivasi communities struggle to cope | dandc.eu
Address : https://www.dandc.eu/en/article/hot-season-toughest-time-year-most-rural-india-and-adivasi-communities-struggle-cope
Date Visited: Wed Jun 26 2013 15:23:51 GMT+0200 (CEST)

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