Mining Realities
Vasantha Surya
LORDS OF THE GLOBAL VILLAGE (GLOBAL GAON KE DEVTA) by Ranendra Speaking Tiger, 2017, 125 pp., 250
January 2017, volume 41, No 7-8

Rajesh Kumar’s translation of Ranendra’s Global Gaon Ke Devta (itself just 100 pages) is in unpretentious Indian English. Spiced up with local dialect, it’s an easily-acquired taste. You soon find out that what this thin book contains is an endeavour to melt down a mountain of memories and extract the here-and-now from an ancient civilizational predicament.

Every day … a number of Asurs were misled and made to agree to illegal mining. Land was snatched away from them by cheating them in every way possible. Bauxite was taken out to leave behind gulfs of death.

Prodded to think about bauxite in my own life (who doesn’t use aluminium?), I went on a mining expedition into the internet. I found a nugget. A letter to the President of the Pollution Control Board of the State of Odisha dated 4th December, 2010, with smudged signatures and thumbprints, a pleading for relief from the ‘unsocial works’ of a well-known mining company: ‘We the innocent people of Kapaguda beg to draw your kind attention to transfer us to a place where we can live safely and happily…’

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