Posts Tagged ‘modernity

20
Jul
11

বনের পুকুর ডাঙা – সাওতাল গ্রাম (Boner Pukur Danga – Santali Village)

While Santiniketan, in opened trenches, was bleeding a lava of gravel and bitumen – a new and wider main road able to welcome an increased and traffic of SUVs and goods transport vehicles and make easier to them to ignore the 20 kms/hour limit is being done – a few kilometres from there, within the eucalyptus forest, Boner Pukur Danga, a Santali village Satyajit Ray choose as the location for one of his movies on rural Bengal, was suffering from the same disease, getting its own “concrete highway”.

 

Boner Pukur Danga, Santiniketan, WB

The Santals are the largest Adivasi – tribal – community in India, living mostly in the northeast – Jharkhand, West Bengal, Bihar, Orissa and Assam. Within Santiniketan, their villages, usually two lines of mud houses covered with cow dung along a trodden earth path, are like pockets of resistance against this invading modernity made of concrete and plastic. Santals are proud, independent. They have their own culture and language that they managed to preserve along the years in spite of the numerous waves of migration, Aryans, Mughals, Europeans and others. They live from farming – especially the paddy culture – crafts and minor works they realize for their Bengalis neighbours.

 

Boner Pukur Danga, Santiniketan, WB

 

Had Boner Pukur Danga’s people, cycles and wooden plough really the need for a concrete road ending abruptly in the woods? Probably not… So why did they accept this “gift” and gave up their old ochre alley that has inspired the great indian filmaker?

 

Boner Pukur Danga, Santiniketan, WB

 

Probably for the same reason they’ve accepted the white porcelain toilets latrines an NGO decided they couldn’t live without – even though they remain untouched – or those huge and terribly kitsch framed-panels representing the “santals’ activities” that came to replace, on their houses’ walls, their traditional naïve and beautiful paintings because some local authority wanted so.

 

Boner Pukur Danga, Santiniketan, WB

 

Probably because all those unnecessary marks of progress mean work and wages for a few weeks.

 

Boner Pukur Danga, Santiniketan, WB

 

Boner Pukur Danga, Santiniketan, WB

 

Probably because it is a diversion from the day-to-day life of the elder ones or a amazing playground for the youngest.

 

Boner Pukur Danga, Santiniketan WB

 

Probably because it means “development” to which, as they’ve been taught, we all dream to accede.

 

Boner Pukur Danga, Santiniketan, WB