A little girl sleeps on her sister’s lap in a village in Jharia, Jharkhand. Their parents are coal pickers.
An underground fire has been burning in Jharia for the last hundred years or so. The heat makes it almost unbearable to live in the region. Efforts to stop the fire have been in vain. That fire has now spread overground. The CPM recently told the 14th Finance Commission that the fire in the Jharia coalfields of Dhanbad should be considered a ‘national disaster’.
Watching her from our elephant-back vantage, there was a peace that was starting to descend on that wretched Dhikala chaur. The chital went back to their grass. The elephant breathed slowly, then slower, and then no more. The tigers of Corbett had claimed their largest victim yet