Suresh Jadhav working as TISS Criminal Justice fellow
Suresh Jadhav, is from a Kaikadi Denotified Tribe community, who makes tokri for peasants to collect yield. He did his post graduation from TISS, Mumbai. Currently he is working in Latur as TISS Criminal Justice Fellow. His aim is to educate children and youths through community learning centres. He has got group of volunteers from local college who helps him in organising events. During the water crisis, he along with youths helped administration in distribution to bastis.
Latur, the name tur comes from tur Dal. But now due to change in crop pattern, dal has been replaced by soya-bean and sugarcane. These crops takes more water to grow. Dams were constructed near Beed district. But all the water and sugar flows into the economy of politicians. The sugar mill owners. These resulted in water scarcity causing mass migration especially of vulnerable communities like DNT to almost 100%.
Most of the DNT tribes works on something which connects directly to producers. Like tokdi for peasants, kitchen utensils for cooking, digging well for community, as mason for construction. They were also there acting as bridge to help producers produce. They were criminalized by British and now suppressed by Indian State. Most of them got electricity and water recently and the toilets are yet to be made. Thankfully, they have their own jat panchayat which can solve their own problems in community. They have started sending their children to schools, who may reform their justice system in future.
Wadars one of the DNT are as ST in Karnataka and Kerala, SC in Andhra and OBC in central government. Even their status is nomadic. One of the wadar community leader said “even to do the protest we should know what are our rights, and that will come only through education. Without education we don’t know what to ask for? Still 95% of our community does not think of education as need.”
Suresh is working amongst the community who migrates all year due to drought and lack of livelihood, and also due to lack of political will by the leaders. Sometimes there is no one to educate, no one to work with, but his determination to educate. He keeps on engaging with youth and organising events to keep the communication going with the communities.
Suresh’s father Baban Jadhav was active political worker. He used to gather crowds for the politicians for 30years. They came and stayed at his place whenever there was rally. When he asked one of the leader to help him educate his son in his college. He refused. Since then he decided to educate his children any which way. They are from Kaiakdi samaj, who used to make tokri meant for peasants. Every man has one village alloted to him, like land to sell their products. This year because of water scarcity there was no demand and no livelihood. His father also talek about how they used to get married. They invited only people who had donkeys, so that they can carry children and food for 50-60km. Since they had no money for vehicles. They had music, with their local musical instrument and dogs chasing them all the way. On the way, they used to kill animals to eat. And take local alcohol and ganja to forget the smell of dead animals and mute the sound of dog’s barking.
Suresh’s childhood friend looks at him. He is from Matang samaj. He was explaining how the grocery market was moved to other location from near his house, because of politics and the because of water scarcity and dried ponds. This year fish market is also not running. He is a role model for the youth in his community where youth looks up to him for any political decision.
Suresh is asking women from wadar community, why they are not sending their children to schools. They replied that men are busy in drinking and they don’t put effort to educate their children. Since they are here, just for three months in a year, it is difficult for them to send them to school.
PM’s Swachh Bharat Abhiyan has not reached here in Latur while people from outside blames the community for the lack of hygiene. they forget the major implications of government policies on them. Both the Muslim and Hindu community treats them as outcast and claims their DNA when it comes to election. The idea of purity does not go well with the pig eating DNTs.
The ‘purer’ middle class who cannot clean their own shit and need maids and helper for their daily basic hygiene maintenance, do see DNTs as someone, who are responsible for their own shit. Actually they see every working colonies as filth. The only pure place they could think of is Mars but without these small, dirty people. These Elon Musk’s fans forget that they will still shit in Mars. Better they start cleaning their own mess. Ahh, but then they are providing employments to all the needy people and it is difficult to stop a social service, once you have started especially when it keeps you clean and powerful.
The man in the pic is a sugarcane cutting worker. This time he went to Tamil Nadu for the job as there was no livelihood here in Latur. He does not understand Tamil language, and had problems while communicating. He is sitting with his family in the evening happily intoxicated.