நரிக்குறவர்கள்: தொடர்ந்து விரட்டப்படும் மண்ணின் மைந்தர்கள்! | Narikuravar community | AsiavilleTamil


Kuravan. Kurathi. This is how our society addresses the Narikuravar community. They don’t have a problem with this label. But the tone we use? There lies the problem. They’ve lived with us for generations. Still they’re shooed away. They’ve constantly fought for a place to stay. But they say they’re extremely unhappy there. We’re going to look at the Narikuravar community… …at Naravarikuppam (Tiruvallur District, TamilNadu). What are some of the problems they face everyday? Poverty, illiteracy and social exclusion are just few of them. What is it like to be a Narikuravar in 2019? Nobody cares that Narikuravars are here. We’ve been here for 19-20 years. People are completely unaware of this place. Before this we were in Palavayal village (Kerala). They built a fire station there and shooed us here. We were only given small huts. They used to burn down all the time. Out of fear, we pooled in our savings, got loans to build these houses. I live with my three sons and two daughter-in-laws. How are we supposed to stay in this 10×10 sq. ft space? These houses are already very small. 10×12 sq. ft We use them only to sleep. If you look up, there are large holes in our ceiling. Temporarily, we’ve used MICA to cover them. At least 1000 caterpillars enter my home, everyday. Have you seen them in large numbers? They don’t stop. We can’t sit or sleep peacefully. They keep falling on our heads. Imagine what this baby would go through. Such horrors exist here. Their problems don’t end here. When you enter their street… ..unknowingly, you would hold your breath. There is a pathetic stench here. Their houses are located barely 10 feet away from a dirty canal. What are problems they’re facing because to this? This canal is one of our worst nightmares. Drainage from Padiyanallur, Gandhinagar is diverted this way. During summers, nearby marriage halls dump tons of garbage in this canal. When it rains, this canal water overflows. The rain water mixed with this sewage, garbage enters our homes. When it floods here, sometimes we’re evacuated to nearby schools. Otherwise, we sit in that water till it recedes. In many places, they close the canals and construct small gutters. We asked to officials to close it for us. People can’t dump garbage. This way, even during monsoons the water will flow freely. If officials do this for us, we will benefit from it. Doesn’t look like it is happening at all. There’s panic on dengue and malaria everywhere. We fear for these diseases every single day. I have some sort of rash all over my body. This also spread to my youngest child. I’ve no idea what this disease is. Can children bare such severe illnesses? Are we rich to spend a fortune at hospitals? Every rupee that we earn goes to our hospital bills. This open drainage is a huge health hazard. They say that they weren’t provided with any facilities when they were displaced here. Despite filing plenty of petitions, their requests were ignored. Let’s take this road for instance. They live in the street that connects Thiruvallur high road to Redhills Bus Terminus. To beat the highway traffic, commuters use this narrow street as a shortcut. What was once a request to the government, has now become a problem for them. There is no official that we did not beg for this road. We requested a cement road for people to walk freely. Instead they laid an asphalt road. The traffic wasn’t this bad earlier, but now…. …all vehicles are purposefully diverted this way. People of this city, people from other places, everybody… …take this route. It causes a lot of traffic jams. We can barely sit outside for a few minutes. When so many vehicles come this way, isn’t this now a proper road? Should we stay in the streets then? Whether it is a dog or a baby, they don’t stop. Someone drove over my mother-in-law’s leg. Recently, a boy passed away in an accident here. Did they stop the vehicles? No! They only increased them. The central govt has constructed toilets under the Swacch Bharat scheme. These blue toilets are placed outside every household. The installation date, name of the beneficiary.. are all written clearly. Despite these details, none of the toilets are in a usable condition. We built small structures using sheets for bathrooms. Men stand on canal banks and glare at us. They stand there and watch us showering, changing… We’re extremely uncomfortable with that. Women here face such problems. The government is saying it will construct toilets. Shouldn’t they ensure that they’re in usable conditions? If they place huge boxes instead, what are we supposed to do? The commode and plumbing costs can go up to Rs.10,000. We don’t have that kind of money with us. What do you do with these toilets? We use these boxes as storage rooms. We keep things in here that we can’t store in our homes. Asiaville Tamil asked about these issues to… …the Naravarikuppam Town Panchayat’s Executive Officer. People have a few requests. One, this canal must be closed and the place must be cleaned. Why has this not been done yet? The reply we got… This was actually built to divert the water that overflows from the Puzhal lake. We’ve spoken to the Public Works Department regarding this. They said that once funds come in, they will clean the canal. The people’s second request is…. A form of barricade at the entrance to ensure only two-wheelers can pass through. Sir, why has no initiative been taken? This is the first time I’m hearing this. They have never ever made this request in the past. Nobody has mentioned barricades to only allow two-wheelers. Since you’ve brought this forward, I’ll discuss this… …with police officials and see what can be done. Many people have lost faith while waiting for a positive change. Only when powerful officials come here to Narikuravar colony… …we seem like people in their eyes. We don’t have the strength to be happy even if officials visit us. They come here, see the living conditions, do a poor job and leave. We asked for homes, cleaner surroundings… None of that is done. Aadhar card, identity card, ration card.. We’ve everything but no patta lands. They are refusing to give us patta lands. But they’re also saying that they need patta to build us homes. 20-30 people like you have spoken to us. We’ve spoken about everything from A to Z. Honestly, we’re tired of it. Small houses, lack of pattas… sewage flowing right in front of their houses and extreme traffic. Despite all these issues, “We wish to be here,” said the people. Why? They said we would be shifted from here. But we are asked to go to remote areas where there is no means for a living. Satyavedu, Madurapakkam, Uthukottai (names of villages)… If they throw us in a forest, we won’t survive. We pick and sell scrap metal. That’s our main source of income. You find iron sheds only in cities for business. As much as I could, I was able to educate my children… …only because I was in a city. Had we been in a village, I wouldn’t have been able to do anything. In ancient Tamilnadu, Narikuravars’ main occupation was hunting. They were placed under the Criminal Tribes Act, 1871 by the British. In 1952, their status was repealed (Denotified Tribes). Yet, the stigma around them still continues to exist. Our country is a pluralistic society. Many castes put together is India. Every caste has its own faith, way of living and culture. In Sangam literature, the words ‘Kuravan’ and ‘Kurathi’ have been written clearly. Since ancient times, there is proof that these people have lived… …in our country, particularly in Tamilnadu. They were given a special privilege in 1952 and this has continued. So being a welfare nation that is aware of the roots of caste… …some castes are placed under the Protective Discrimination Policy. Reservation has existed for years in our country. This provided incredible development opportunities for OBC, SC/ST groups. The truth is, our constitution has not defined the word ‘Tribe’. There lies the problem. ‘Kuravar’, ‘Kuravan’ and ‘Malai Kuravar’ (three broad categories). ‘Kuravan’ comes under the SC list, ‘Kuravar’ is under the MBC list, ‘Malai Kuravan’ is under the ST list in Tamil Nadu. What’s the connection between this list and a man’s life? It exists and that’s reality. For SC/ST, there are plenty of special privileges. Landless people were given patta lands. Similarly, people under ST were provided with proper housing. So, you’ve given him a sense of ownership over his territory as well. But in case of Narikuravars, they’re neither under the SC or the ST list. They’ve been placed under the MBC list. For decades, they’ve occupied vacant government lands. They were never in the centre or well-developed locations. They were always in the peripheries. Besant Nagar (in Chennai) was periphery once upon a time. So, they were living there. When Besant Nagar has become a prominent place, they’ve been pushed further. This is natural growth. As the centre continues to grow… …a periphery continues to exist. And such nomadic tribes… …continued to live in the peripheries. Proper toilets, ability to build homes, access to proper water… …be it any basic amenity, it is extremely difficult for them. We’ve seen that people believe in a community certificate. They consider community certificates as their first step towards development. Because it has some privileges and the most important one: Education He believes, “Education is the only thing that can change my fate.” “My children shouldn’t be ragpickers like me” They want their children to have a proper job and source of income. We live only for our children. Without this place, we have no option. They expect us to scatter and live separately. But my community stays together, irrespective of our fights. Earlier, we travelled from one place to another. But now, we want a home for ourselves. We want to develop our social status. We’ve invested in proper flooring, televisions, fans etc. All we want is progress. But we don’t have the means for it. A town called Athipatti was wiped from maps (Refers to a Tamil film). Similarly, the name ‘Narikuravar’ will be wiped clean. There will be no evidence that Narikuravars lived in this society. ♪ Make us proud, children ♪ ♪ Our country is a garden and you are the flowers of tomorrow ♪ ♪ Make us proud, children ♪




Comments
  1. இந்தியால இது எல்லா எப்போதும் மாறும். 😢

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