The best way to know the self is feeling oneself at the moments of reckoning. The feeling of being alone, just with your senses, may lead you to think more consciously. More and more of such moments may sensitize ‘you towards you’, towards others. We become regular with introspection and retrospection. We get ‘the’ gradual connect to the higher self we may name Spirituality or God or just a Humane Conscious. We tend to get a rhythm again in life. We need to learn the art of being lonely in crowd while being part of the crowd. A multitude of loneliness in mosaic of relations! One needs to feel it severally, with conscience, before making it a way of life. One needs to live several such lonely moments. One needs to live severallyalone.

Tuesday, 23 April 2013



That was a family of many. They had no identity. What their names were no one knew. No one called them by their names. And they never complained. They would smile. They would laugh. But it was never felt by the outsiders.

They were a small family of many. They had no other family from their community in their near vicinity, a neighbourhood that was never their. In fact, they never had a neighbourhood because they were not accepted in the society they were part of.

That family of Musahars had more that ten family members. It was almost impossible to tell their age by their appearance, be a kid or a teen or an adult or an elderly. It would be more apt to say that the family somehow bypassed the adulthood and entered the old age directly.

They had their small hut at the side of the abandoned corner of the railway platform. It would not be more than 10 feet by 10 feet. Once, their hut caught fire and was completely charred. He is not sure now whether it caused any casualty, but within a week, they found some raw material to start rebuilding their hut. After all, they had to put just four small walls of straw. The roof came weeks later. Smeared with ashes and draped in smoke, it compelled him to think how they could live in it?

He thought so while he watched them, day after day, from his house nearby. Sometimes, he walked around to take a look of their place. There he saw what he was told that Musahars were basically rat catchers and they ate rats. He saw them catching, roasting and eating rats. 

Though he didn’t feel like going to them and asking why they were living there, dirty, unkempt, playing in the mud and dirt, sleeping on the ground and over filthy pavements and side corners of the railway platform, he didn’t feel comfortable watching them living like this.

He would often compare why so, why people looking like him and his family, had to live like that. He did not have the answers. And he did not bother to ask questions then.

One day, he left the place as his family moved to a different city. For some days, at the new place, he would think about the Musahar family as watching them had become a daily event.

Slowly, it faded out, that particular family. What remained was the notion about the family and moreover, about the community that it was a family that roasted and ate rats and lived in extreme unhygienic conditions in a hut that was not even thatched properly and that Musahars were basically a community of rat catchers.

Though he didn’t like Musahars for killing and eating rats and living so soiled and unclean, years later on he realized how important rats could be a resource to quell the desperate urge of hunger when they had nothing else to eat. For the major part of the year, they did not have any work and no income. Even if they got something on daily wages basis, they were paid much less. On other days, they were either rat-catchers or rag-pickers. Years later on, he realized why they had to live like this.

It was because, we, from the larger social fabric of a multilayered society of opaque texture, made them live like that.

Wikipedia tells about them: In the rural areas, Musahar are primarily bonded agricultural labourers, but often go without work for as much as eight months in a year. Children work alongside their parents in the fields or as rag pickers, earning as little as 25 to 30 rupees daily. The Musahar literacy rate is 3 percent, but falls below 1 percent among women. By some estimates, as many as 85 percent of some villages of Musahars suffer from malnutrition and with access to health centres scant, diseases such as malaria and kala-azar, the most severe form of leishmaniasis, are prevalent.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey -