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6 October 2015

Women of Kandhamal

Life is not a walk in the forest for the tribal women of Bataguda village in Kandhamal district, Odisha. Though their livelihood has been intrinsically linked to the dense forests and hills in the region for centuries, today they feel deprived of food and resources from the forest, the women say.

Most women of the Khondh tribe are labourers who earn a mere pittance, breaking rocks into little stones to be used for construction projects. Pieces of stones that can fill a five-feet-long container fetches them Rs900 (around $13).

It takes several days of back-breaking work to gather enough stones to fill the container.

Nuari Mallik, 70, says she rarely eats vegetables because she cannot afford them. For her it is primarily fermented rice and boiled green leaves that make a full meal. Eggs are also rare here.

This couple converted to Christianity not so long ago. They say they like going to the village church together. 

On the way to Kandhamal from Bhubaneswar.

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Journalist. Taking a walk in India. | Email to journeybasket[at]gmail | Special thanks to M.S. Gopal | All rights reserved. No commercial use.

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