White Mughals - William Dalrymple continue

8. Foreigners so got involved in the culture of India that some of them dis obeyed the Raj from leaving India. Some even assumed themselves as the King or prince of the estate they are looking after for Raj.

9. Some of them married to Indian woman and thus gave the new lineage of "Anglo-Indians". These woman embedded some good qualities like taking bath regularly, washing hair with different item like henna or leaves of kesh nikhar.

10. The word "SOAP" comes from Sanskrit word used for "BODY MASSAGE".

11. Some of them even forgot their native language and started speaking Hindi and Persian fluently. Some even dressed like Kings and Princes. 12. So in other words , not only East but West also get effected by the richness of Indian Culture and Diversity.



Jangalnama: Travels in a Maoist Guerrilla Zone - Satnam

I have read another book on Maoist. The first one “Red Alert” and it was worth reading, you can find its review in my earlier post.
“Jangalnama” was written in Punjabi by a writer “Satnam”, I read the translated version of his more like a travelogue done by “Vishav Bharti”.  Writer spend around 2 months in the deep forest of “Bastar” , south west of “Bastar” – Dantewada and some parts of North West Andhra Pradesh eating , hiking , dancing , sleeping and guarding with the Maoists. Here I would like to add that we are talking about the guerillas and not the Maoists. Whole book revolve around “Jal, Jangal and Zameen”. Bastar is where cadres from the former People’s War Group (PWG), after facing reverses in adjoining Andhra Pradesh, first set up base in the 1980s. Those were hard times. Few tribals were ready to embrace outsiders.
Tribals owe most part of the jungle which are rich in minerals, forest products and thus get exploited a lot by government officials, police and contractors. A long period of oppression has given rise to Guerillas which now have created a system of self dependency in these tribal’s by constructing dams to store rain water; set up mango, guava and lime orchards; rice mills in several villages where grain can be husked at nominal rates. Tribals are provided basic education, and medicines that they have never got from the government and all this has done within the limit of tribal culture and dignity. Writer wants to create an impression that these tribal’s has their world of own and are not like what normal rural people in India are like. They eat beef pigs and insects, don’t practice agriculture on large scale, their culture and way of living are like pre historic times, they are neither Hindu nor Muslims or Christians.
As he was living in camp with them he explored their way of life style which is equivalent with that of Army system. Satnam meets a mixed band of young men and women committed to the cause of revolution. There are plenty of Gond tribals; there are those who speak Telugu, Bengali and Hindi. There is also a scientist and a doctor. But they lack in the quality of food and infrastructure. Most of the things are made from bamboo and the source of light is camp fire. There is no hierarchy, only one Leader managing 4 5 people. They are on constant travel throughout the Jungle which make them acquitted with the life and ways of Jungle which the security forces lack. The food is generally rice and its substitutes for them feast is Puri and beef.
When the guerrillas enter a village, the entire village turns up to welcome them and plies them with rice, vegetables and water. ‘When they set up camp, villagers take turns to carry out chores and take responsibilities.’ But ‘each guerrilla has only one set of uniform, which has to be washed, dried, and worn again’. They don’t camp in one spot more than one night. They drink water from the river. Diseases are a constant threat. They eat the tribal food. More than half the fighters are young women. ‘They love life, but they don’t care about death.’
The jungle life is hard and it takes tool of Tribal’s also. No one lives above 50 55 and the infant mortality rate is highest. Health care and medical units are what the guerrilla has set up and even the Farming along with irrigation facilities.
Writer also traveled some 100 to 200 Kms to explore some villages and all done with walking along Guerrilla’s. While travelling he meet with NMC (Natya Manch Committee) which is the cultural wing of Guerrilla’s which passes the message of hygiene, irrigation, farming , self dependency using songs and small skits.
Guerrilla’s has ended the reign of contractors who loot and cheat, and policemen who abuse. Today tribal women can walk in the forests alone. Starvation deaths do not take place in Maoist areas. Prostitution is passe; so are human sacrifices.
It’s been nine years when Satnam travelled and reached to all these conclusions, but reading this gives an account of the facts which are usually not shown in any newspaper or TV channels. If I go by the writer’s impressions I would vote for Guerrillas but that’s only one side of coin. I think one has to be there before passing or drawing any conclusion on Maoists or Guerrillas. Sitting in fancy drawing room listening to one part of story by TV channels and Newspaper is out of question and It points to me also.