Tuesday, Dec 06, 2022
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Editor Chinki Sinha talks about the Asur Tribes she met in Jharkhand to understand the people who carry the burden of stereotyping.

"In Sakuapani in Netarhat in Jharkhand, I finally met Sushma Asur, a poet and a writer who is trying to save her language and culture. Very few in the community speak Asuri, she told me. I had grown up with stories about Devs and assure and the battles that were fought to secure earth but these battles always kept us apart like wars always do. It was important for me to find Sushma and listen to her story. After the story was published in Outlook's Many Ramayanas issue, it was sad to see many people post racist comments referring to Sushma Asur. Many also tried to co-opt their identity by saying how Ravana descended from Brahma. But Ravana was also the son of Kaikasa, a demon princess. Sushma and her community mourn the death of Mahisasura during the nine days of Navratri. He was their ancestor. They don't know about gods and demons as we have cast them. They worship nature. That's all there is and that doesn't make them a subject of such racism and ridicule by the society, which has been shaped by reductive narratives, which is always a dangerous thing.

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