03 August, 2021

In The Fight For Empowerment, She Taught Them The Weapons To Use

In The Fight For Empowerment, She Taught Them The Weapons To Use
They are the dispossessed of the earth, people forcibly alienated from their own land. And like elsewhere in the country, it was no different for the tribals of south Bihar: ancestral lands being stolen, rank illiteracy, abysmal medical facilities and general all-round exploitation. For Sister Karuna Mary Braganza, the awareness of the state of affairs in these forsaken parts first came in 1987. That year this Catholic nun, an ex-principal of Sophiya College, Mumbai, was on an all-India tour of university colleges. On her itinerary was St Joseph's College in Torpa, 150 km from Ranchi (south Bihar), now in Jharkhand.
What struck her first was the poverty and malnourishment among the tribals who, paradoxically, lived on fertile land and amid plentiful forest wealth. Soon, she realised the wretchedness of life here was all-pervasive. Rapes and murder of adivasi girls were frequent, but there no redressal mechanism. While mutilated bodies were regularly found in the forest, mysteriously, no cases were recorded in the local police station. Middle-men routinely cheated the tribals...

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