Through the Lens: Election Diaries from Villages in Bengal
Life goes on as usual for the rural folk of Bengal, untouched by the much-publicised ‘poribartan’, by Priya Virmani.
Travelling into the heartland of villages in Bengal, stories about the ongoing State Assembly Elections were aplenty. Stories of political apathy among the village common folk; stories of political savvy among the elders and local leaders; stories of political masquerading; of mindless bloodshed in the name of political muscle power; stories of party given sops spurned by the villagers; stories of how the villagers are so carefully used and willfully abused by the ‘democratic process’ in place....
Yet what stayed with me were the stories of the people. Their stories have had a most palpable impact on me. I will be writing about their stories, but here’s a snapshot of village life in a photo-diary.
A village lady’s day begins and ends with cutting hay for a calf. She gets a calf at a time and every time it grows into an adult, she sells the cow for some money. Her daily routine of hay cutting under the unforgiving sun is punctuated by caring for her disabled son and her husband (seen in the foreground) who is fast blinding but still makes fishnets (hanging on the bamboo in the image) to the best of his ‘eyesight’ for Rs 200 per day.
(The writer is a political and economic analyst)
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