Thursday, July 17, 2008

India:Dongria Kondh tribe in Orissa take on Vedanta Aluminium in a fight for survival...

No roads lead to Golgola, only a muddy track through a lush, green valley. On either side rise the Niyamgiri hills, thick with forests - wisps of cloud wreath their slopes and a light, misty drizzle coats everything. 

Then you plunge into the jungle. A slippery path snakes through bamboo thickets and under giant jackfruit and mango trees laden with ripe fruit. For two hours you have to climb what looks an impossibly steep slope. In the humid air sweat soon drenches everything.

High on the hillside you pass a pile of stones next to which are several small statues, primitive figures of men and women, their arms outstretched. This is where the Dongria Kondh people pray to their gods before collecting medicinal plants in the forests.

Then come strange wooden structures, smeared with offerings of fruit. There is a sense of magic in the air. The place feels otherworldly. The sound of drums carries through the forest. 

And finally you reach Golgola. It's a tiny hamlet in a muddy clearing, with its two lines of long, low-thatched huts, hidden in a high cleft in the hills.


See also: The 'lost' tribe that wasn't that lost...

And this: Hakani: children buried alive in the Amazon. WTF!

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