There’s something almost eerily Nazi about this. Not in terms of formal politics, of course. Only ordinary people are involved here. But their actions speak of a rarefied universe of cruelty—elevated to an organised, clinical, coldly amoral enterprise. At the heart of it is the idea that one can exert absolute control over another’s body. The terms of abuse go beyond even sadism; the human body here is just a device and also its product. The stories offer no great cause for optimism, but avoiding the dark dramas, and pretending they don’t exist, is precisely what allows them to grow.
The first story. We’ll call her Soni, as many of them are indeed called—an adivasi name that contains resonances. She is at an undisclosed location in Bihar at present, in hiding, fearing for her life, recuperating from the injuries to her soul. She breaks down often over the phone as she narrates her story. Of how she came to Delhi as a minor and, in stages, passed through a dark mirror—to enter an unreal world of slavery that awaited on the other side, a tiny house, where unknown men set in motion a whole cycle of sowing and harvesting on her body. And that of other girls like her.