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Mushars community: A tale of neglect

For Savitri Devi, mother of three, life is a daily struggle. Managing to feed her family comprising of five members in her husband's paltry income ranging between Rs 50 to Rs 100 is a Herculean task.

india Updated: Aug 01, 2010 17:05 IST
BK Singh

For Savitri Devi, mother of three, life is a daily struggle. Managing to feed her family comprising of five members in her husband's paltry income ranging between Rs 50 to Rs 100 is a Herculean task.

The story is same in the case of Santoshi Kumar, mother of five children, who has to manage her house in the same budget as Savitri.

While Ramjatan, resident of Bijal village, has no job, ration card and his children are at the mercy of the mid-day meal served in school for lunch.

These are just few examples of the Mushars (mice eaters) community who come under ST category. They are living in abject poverty, hunger and deprivation in the Koraon belt of the district.

There are about 10,000 Mushars living in this area. They neither have any land nor any guaranteed way of securing two square meals.

Unable to afford kerosene for a lamp, they live in complete darkness after the sun goes down. Most of them don't have a BPL card, and the few of them who have BPL card, can't afford to buy ration.

Winter months are their biggest fear. With no woolens, they find it extremely difficult to spend the night. The plight of the tribe doesn't end here.

Their children can't go to school, as kids from higher castes do not want to mingle with them. The tribe gets drinking water from just one hand pump and that too is contaminated.

"Living in the midst of disease and poverty, life is a virtual hell but they are somehow dragging on," says Siyaram Dwivedi, ex gram pradhan of Kaithwal.

The only time when faces brighten up here is when elections are round the corner, as candidates from various political parties come here to campaign and distribute money.

"But, once elections are over, candidates forget them and also the promises they made," says Dwivedi.