Field notes from Dakshin Dinajpur and Malda by Kumar Rana, Mukhlesur Rahaman Gain and Piyali Pal

Chenchai village is about 2 Km away from Balurghat-Tapan road. Both sides of the murram road are lined by trees, planted by a villager of Chenchai, Nimai Tigga, an environment-fanatic. It’s a small village with 52 households; there are 20 households in the adjacent hamlet Parbatpur. The inhabitants are mainly Oraon and few Santhal (Adivasis) and some Rajbangshi and Vaishnav. The economy is entirely dependent on agriculture and signified with poverty.

Why So Many Child Deaths?

[The following is an edited translation of my op-ed piece in the Bengali daily, Sakalbela, published a few months ago. I am thankful to Priyanka Nandy for her help in editing the language of the translation.]

Santhal Folklore: The Invention of the Plough

The Invention of the Plough
Theodore Kisku Rapaj

(Originally published in Natun Ganatantrer Janya, Year 1, Vol 11, November 2000, Kolkata)

Abridged Translation by Kumar Rana

Private Tuition in Primary Education: A Few Counter-Questions

“Is your child struggling in maths? A private tutor with seventeen years’ experience in coaching guarantees between 60 – 80 in the Madhyamiks with his help.”


Work at Pratichi gives me ample opportunity to come out of this glittering and dazzling metro city-life and get a deeper impression of the so-called ‘peripheral’ areas – which although we generally prefer to ignore, are also very much a part of our state West Bengal. At present, I am working on a health project, which seeks to identify and determine the patterns of health-seeking behaviour prevalent for various ailments, all across the 19 districts of the state.

A First-rate Educational Institute

My short working career has given me the opportunity of coming across various kinds of advertisements on my travels, but my recent visit to Malda (one of the seven districts of North Bengal) brought me face-to-face with a poster which after quite a long time triggered off my appetite to write something. I was out for work with my colleague when this advertisement suddenly caught my attention. Quite large in size, the prominence of it was such that despite me being popularly known as an absent-minded person, it registered on my extremely limited attention span!

Nutritional Neglect

Urja aehi, swadha aehi, sunrita chirawatyehiti
[Come nutrition, come food, come truth, come security]

Atharvasamhita 8.10.4

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