Gobindpur is one of the last villages not letting go. This village, on the east coast of India, is 2000 people strong and is now synonymous with the resistance to the land grab for the steel giant POSCO in Odisha. Lying on the hot sand shoulder to shoulder for months on end, men, women, and children of this village refuse to barter their generational livelihood for money that is perceived to be transient.
Displacement has been shown to push people into poverty. For generations these people have lived off their land. It is their livelihood and assurance of employment and sustenance for future generations. They may not be well off by urban standards, they may not even be above the poverty line, and some may not have electricity or running water. Yet, they fight fiercely for their land. For their land is all that they are sure of. And that certainty is what is taken from them when their land is acquired.
This is the beginning of my personal project to document the struggles, needs, opinions, and lives of forest dwellers and indigenous people in India. Many of whom are facing the threat of displacement not only by big business interests but also, oddly, often by environmental conservation efforts.
In the raucous halls of debate and argument, where NGOs and politicians, corporations and trade organizations find votes and voices, one party is rarely accorded that right. The voice of the local people - the ones most affected by land decisions made by the people in power, is often drowned out or not represented at all.
This project is the start of a series that seeks to amplify those voices, through image, text, audio, and video.
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The Campaign for Survival and Dignity : http://www.forestrightsact.com/home
Address: D76 Diamond District,
Old Airport Road,