Time to pay heed to tribals' problems, too

Dec 04, 2018, 05:40 IST | mid-day correspondent

This is especially trying in the monsoon because the rain douses the fire and bodies remain half burnt, forcing the grieving families to relight the funeral pyre

Time to pay heed to tribals' problems, too

People from 52 villages in Murbad taluka have never had a crematorium. They are compelled to perform the last rites of their loved ones in the open. This is especially trying in the monsoon because the rain douses the fire and bodies remain half burnt, forcing the grieving families to relight the funeral pyre. For some villages, the wait has stretched as long as 15 years, a report in this paper said.

A local who was a former sarpanch has not worn footwear for the past 10 years in order to raise awareness on the issue. While one official was sceptical that such a large number of villages do not have a crematorium, it is certain that people are suffering and feel hard done by when the government turns a deaf ear to their pleas.

When we talk about development and advancing technologically, we must focus not just on big cities, but look at the fringes, too. What are the needs of the tribals? Are they being heeded? Can there be better communication between villagers and the government? We must avoid a situation where people who live outside the so called developed megapolis feel short-changed, forgotten or not factored into the development agenda by the government. A crematorium is more a necessity than amenity, and it's not a hard one to provide either.

All that this problem needs is talks between authorities and the villagers. One or two meaningful discussions, where needs are clearly spelt out, the absence of a crematorium and problems defined concisely and with sharp vision and no waffling, should fructify into solid action. We see no reason for 15-year waits and persons to go barefoot to press for a basic right — dignity in death.

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