23 October, 2020

This Was Then...Blast From The Past

From hell-pits of Jharkhand, stark images of a world that now remains frozen in frames

Photograph by Prashant Panjiar
This Was Then...Blast From The Past

Earth’s blazing bowels spill out of luminous cracks. Acrid heat rises from a fissured landscape. It’s fire and brimstone; and a toil-weary miner cycles through this Hell. Showing eerie familiarity with the gaseous pungency and the fiery clefts, he gingerly paddles a load of worries home. For, it’s a beaten track this—the cobbled path through Dhanbad’s ‘Lodna fire-area’, where a greedily, shoddily-disembowelled earth has been spewing displeasure and fire for over four decades now. The miner’s fears, though, are more recent.

Wrench words out of him and you sense that fear and fire live together in smoky, sooty Dhanbad. A black town even at noon. The miner mutters darkly: “Earlier there was lots of coal and work here. Now, they say, it costs the government too much to get the coal out and let us work. They are shutting...



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