03 March, 2021

Part 2: The Trail

In the border areas of Assam, there’s a comprehensive network of Sangh outfits which concentrate on welfare activities

Child Lost
Ropi, whose daughter Divi is one of the 31 missing kids
Photograph by Sandipan Chatterjee
Part 2: The Trail

Korobi Basumatary, a Bodo activist of the Rashtra Sevika Samiti, began to exp­and her network days after becoming a pracharika, or full-timer, in 2008. I’d first met her on a December afternoon in 2012 at a Rashtra Sevika Samiti camp in Aurangabad, Maharashtra, to which she had travelled all the way from Kokrajhar. Picked up at an impressionable 20 years of age from a relief camp in 2004, after her house was destroyed and her family scattered in Bodo-Muslim violence, she had committed herself to the Hindutva ideology. It was Sunita, a seasoned pracharika from Maharashtra who had been working in the Northeast for over two decades since the Nellie massacare, who spotted her and took her to a kishori varg, or training camp for young women. Of the passage from trainee to full-timer, or pracharika, Korobi had then told me: “It was like control of destiny—in my hands.”

A pracharika holds a prestigious position in the Hindutva scheme of things. They are well trained in the ideology, as also in paramilitary skills. Like the...

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