Life in a Coalmine: Jharia, Jharkhand

There’s another face of the semi or quasi-urban India which never makes it to the list of debatable topics among the urban or even the agricultural India that receives the best of the govt. and media attention and tax & loan waivers every year among other encouraging govt. policies.
This documentary on the lives of daily wage labourers in the mines of Jharia, Jharkhand tells us three stories. Two out of which are quite disappointing and dangerous. But the third one is very encouraging.
The first, of the three, is about the problems that are “evident to human eyes”. The economic problems that the labourers face that compel them to adopt this life threatening work and expose themselves and their families and children to the harmful gases and chemicals which, for sure, will cause health issues in them and potentially in their coming generations. Govt. has tried to do good to them including relocating them to  safer places which unfortunately exposes them to a different kind of challenge, i.e. unemployment. I can easily relate things to what I had seen during the initial few years of my life in a coalmine area. I can’t understand why people in these areas lack the will to explore an alternative. Why do they sacrifice their entire life begging things from authorities? Hopefully their generations move out of the uninhabitable places and do better for themselves and their families.
The second story is about things that are not spoken, not discussed in the outer world, nor they are evident to human eyes. They may be supernatural things that infest the lives of the families living in the coalmine region. It’s unexplainable and since they are so far from the main stream of the country, nobody even notices it or even consider it a thing. A few weeks back, when I asked one of my childhood friends, a Finance Manager in a coalmine company since last 9 years, that would he take his recently married wife to the company allotted house near the coalmine he works at. His straight forward answer was a No. I didn’t argue or cross question him as I know he has taken a smart decision. No matter how luxurious a life is provided to a manager by the company, there are certain things that are beyond human comprehensions. I don’t want to sound exaggerating things in this regard. However, my belief is based on my experience with the struggle of numerous families from such localities who can’t get rid of the place without losses. Sometimes these sacrifices/losses are in the form of lives of the dear ones. It’s difficult to explain but can’t be ignored, for sure.
Third and the most important lesson, for a person like me, is the smile and enthusiasm for life the two subjects of the documentary carry. How easily we get depressed about silly things in our lives. You can imagine their struggles and insecurities, way more serious than what we usually crib about. Despite that, they choose to smile, laugh, celebrate life. That human spirit is indomitable, something that will help you champion any challenging situation in the life, something that we must learn and exercise.

Watch this documentary –

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