‘The Adivasi Will Not Dance’ – the truth hurts | Stan Swamy
Yes, I have read the book ‘The Adivasi Will Not Dance’ by Dr. Sowyendra Shekar Hansda. It was a painful reading. Painful, because the author has depicted the current reality of Adivasi people, particularly Adivasi women. The hard reality is the capitalist ruling class is all bent on acquiring the jal, jangal, jamin of the Adivasi community because rich mineral deposits are in their land. Their land is forcibly acquired and the people are being displaced, forced to migrate to other states, their women are used and abused by outsiders without any qualms of conscience.
Now, a novelist /story-teller is also an artist. As such he/she has the freedom to weave the reality in the form of stories using his/her imaginative capabilities. Looked at from this perspective, story-writer Shekar Hansda, being an Adivasi himself, has all through the ten stories narrated the sad plight of his people with great pain and sympathy. He never gives the impression he is humiliating his own Adivasi brothers and sisters. He expresses his anger at the ruling class and their petty servants who can hire Adivasi women for paltry sums of money to perform their beautiful dance as a commercial entertainment thus forcing them to sell their cultural expression – dance & songs. What meaning is there to adivasis dancing “while someone snatches away our very dancing grounds …”[cf. back cover of the book]. And the book ends with a sign of Adivasi protest when the leader of the dance-troupe refuses to dance before the top functionary of the state saying the power plant he came to inaugurate has “…forced us out of our homes and villages. We have nowhere to go, nowhere to grow our crops. How can this power plant be good for us? How can we Adivasis dance and be happy? Unless we are given back our homes and land, we will not sing and dance. We Adivasis will not dance…” [p.187, emphasis added].
Hence, I beg to disagree with the proposed action against the author. Please read ‘The Adivasi Will Not Dance’ by Dr. Shekar Hansda from his perspective of bringing out the deprivation, anguish, humiliation perpetrated on his fellow-Adivasis by the powers that be.
Stan Swamy – answering the call of my conscience.