tribal

journey to the dangs

living in Gujarat for the past 21 years, has exposed me to many opportunities to travel across the breadth and length of the state. Of all the districts I have visited, certainly I am partial in my love for few. One among it is Dangs or The Dangs. After a long wait, I could finally visit Dangs in year 2010. It was in the sweltering summer of April. And while going up the mountains, I only saw a large stretch of yellow jungle through my taxi window, wondering and hoping to behold the green avatar of this beautiful district of Gujarat.

I didn’t have to wait too long. In the same year again, I had a chance to visit Dangs, but this time in the month of July. The yellow jungle had by now attained a thick, dense and deep colour of green. Dense foliage displayed every possible hues of the colour green. Monsoons had clearly left its mark. Elated and surprised by the sporadic springs and falls, I continued the journey to the one and only place that could match with the definition of a hill station in my state; Saputara.

a truck is an often used mode of transport by the tribal community of the dangs who travel to nearby towns/cities in search of employment

Certainly you don’t have to go far to see the majesty and beauty of the Western Ghats. It’s just here. Soon it would be the months of rains. This time make a plan to visit Dangs and sip the lili cha (tea made with lemon grass) and experience the forest. You would realize that forests surely has a life of its own.

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the land has given me shelter and food

“I don’t leave it empty, even the small piece of land I have. With financial help from tribal department, today my field is full of tomatoes and chilly”. It is the proud statement by Varjulbhai a tribal farmer from Velvach village of Valsad district, which has predominant tribal population.

varjulbhai in his farm, though he is shy, was very keen to take me around the farm

Varjulbhai of Velvach village owns half acre land and initiated cultivation of vegetables with financial support from tribal department. Along with his wife, he now produces tomatoes, brinjal (egg plant) and lady’s finger (okra), which he directly sells at the nearby market. He now owns a house to live respectfully with his wife and children.

Valsad is best known as the mango district of Southern Gujarat, India. Blessed with abundant natural wealth, Valsad receives an approximate annual rainfall of around 2200mm. Valsad also has its place in the history as one of the princely states of yesteryears. The name Valsad is derived from historical name Vad-saal, which means full of banyan trees in Gujarati (local language). Valsad district is mainly divided in to five blocks, Dharampur, Valsad, Kaprada, Pardi and Umargaon. Of which Dharampur and Kaprada are predominantly tribal and is enveloped by the Western Ghat mountain region. Valsad has a tribal population of around 60 per cent out of its total populace of 1.5 million.

a happy man front of his home

anxiety of childhood

A child living in ashram shala (residential school) in Valsad district of Gujarat. Valsad has distinct tribal population and many of the families cannot afford education for their children especially in their village or at nearby places. This leaves no option for the parents, who get their children enrolled in ashram shalas. Ashram shalas take care of education along with stay and food.

 

2_anxiety of childhood_sajitha charles