Thursday, August 27, 2009

Sahibganj to Ranchi

There is no drought in the Santhal Pargana area of Jharkhand. One round of the crops has always been harvested and a second round is being planted. Re-plantation of rice is on. There is no dearth of water. Ponds, lakes are aplenty, causing Rakesh Uncle to exclaim about how these fellows don’t deserve drought relief, but will partake in it anyway.

Driving from Barharwa to Rajmahal, the road is narrow and covered with potholes, slush and water. Villages guide our course, names highlighted with neon boards. Jharkhand in the Chotanagpur region is amazingly well developed in comparision to these areas. Fields are full of water, the rice is growing and Wordsworth’s nature is well illustrated all around.

Jharkhand’s leaders all claim the Santhal Pargana region to be their ‘karam bhoomi’. Unfortunately for the residents this has not translated into action. Much like what we’ve seen in several African countries in the past, in Jharkhand too leaders have risen from downtrodden, backward communities only to rise to power and fail their communities. On the way to Sahibganj, we see a bus with a sign which says SAHIBGANJ to RANCHI. I express my concern for the passengers and the places where it might stop to give them respite from the bad road conditions. Rakesh Uncle answers in good humour.

“Sahibganj se Ranchi non-stop hota hai. Wahi toh route hai.”