The Web


    Home | News | Gallery

< Back > < Next >  

This family lives on the verge of starvation in Mataura village.

These people, and those who live along with them in the village, are Chamars - the largest scheduled caste group in north India.

A few years ago some upper caste men stormed the village and shot dead five villagers.

They wanted to take revenge for the killing of one of their own.

The villagers say they don't know who was behind that attack.

Two of the dead were Preman and Munari -- sons of Lalji and Sitkuri, the old couple in the picture.

They stay with Sonia (Preman's wife, who is on the left) and Rajmani (Munari's wife, on the right).

Sonia has a son, while Rajmani has a son and daughter.

"Hamare paas kuch paise nahin hain. Hum bhookh se mar rahein hain," says Lalji, tears in his eyes. "We have no money. We are dying of starvation."

"The government gave us Rs 20,000 (Rs 10,000 to compensate for the death of each son) after the incident and built this semi-pucca house for us. Earlier we used to live in a hut," he says.

As for the election, the villagers know they have no say in who will be the eventual winner.

"We can't read or write. We go to the polling booth and vote for whoever we are asked to," says another villager.

There is no electricity in the village and the schoolrooms have been shut for a long time now. Not even one child here knows what it is like to be in school.

"Master aayega nahin toh ladkan padhega kahan?" asks another. "There are no teachers here, so where's the question of attending classes?"

< Back > < Next >  

Article Tools Email this article
Write us a letter

Copyright © 2004 India Limited. All Rights Reserved.