Musician, guide and tribal leader
Jeetu Jekesika has become the voice of the backward Dongria Kondh community. Other than opposing bauxite mining in the eco-sensitive Niyamgiri hills, this tribal student also entertains his friends and community members with his violin and acts as a guide to foreign tourists and journalists who visit the tribal pockets.
Dongria Kondhs are a primitive tribal group of Orissa who live in the villages located on the Niyamgiri hill slopes of the Eastern Ghats. Jeetu is the first among his community to pursue graduation. “I’m studying Bachelor of Arts (political science and history) at the Muniguda College. I’m the first person among our community from the Muniguda block to have come this far to study. My father is a farmer, but he inspired me to pursue studies seriously,” Jeetu told HT.
When Amethi MP Rahul Gandhi visited Kalahandi earlier this month and wanted to speak to a delegation of tribals, Jeetu was especially chosen as he could communicate to the AICC general secretary in English. It was Jeetu who convinced Rahul how bauxite mining would spell doom for the ecology and tribal culture of the area.
After completing graduation, he wants to “spread education”.