The Cruel face of Coal : the Children of Bokapahari – Chawm Ganguly

Toxic fumes gushing from under the feet reminds one of the descent into hell. The ground below is on fire, a fire that can, at any given moment engulf those who eek out a meager living by scavenging in the abandoned mines or by burrowing the (in) famous “Rat holes of Ranigunj”.

Incredible India has never bothered to even throw a cursory glance at them. The perpetrators of the block allocation scams did not throw a few morsels towards them either. The Maharatna’s glossies, that speak volumes about its CSR activities is silent about their plight – how can it rehabilitate those that steal from the Nation’s coffers? As if, the dreaded Coal Mafia and the equally corrosive system was not enough of a bother in the first place?

Meet the children of Bokapahari – bastard sons and daughters of coal. They may be soot bedecked. Their fates may be sealed. They may be corpses that are still walking. But still, look at the glow of their eyes, look at the dazzle of their genuinely warm smiles. Do not mistake it for a childish glee celebrating life. They are a snidely defiant smile that laughs at our hypocrisy. They are smiles that mock our apathy and ineptitude. They are smiles that continue to hold mirrors before the Nation’s collective faces. And you thought corruption was an issue?