Bokaro, Jharkand.. Two brothers toil hard for subsistence on their small piece of land. The soil is infertile and with the absence of irrigation as well, hardly anything grows. Such a situation exists in an overwhelmingly large part of rural India where a large number of farmers still struggle on subsistence agriculture and with the soil being their only source of livelihood.
As India goes through its growing pangs as a new burgeoning economy, it is leaving behind in its shadows a majority of rural India that is still living a daily struggle to survive. Unemployment is rampant outside the cities. Land is getting scarce and with majority of the Indian population still indulging in agriculture, this shortage of land is taking its toll on the small marginal farmers and tribals. In the name of development and industrialization hundreds of thousands of people have been displaced over the past six decades and rehabilitation has been incomplete to a large degree. Children are the first victims of such economic deprivation. For many years people have been depending on migration to survive since there hasn’t been any system in place to ensure effective availability of employment to them locally. All this has led to movements of various kinds where people are rising from time to time fighting for their right to work and a livelihood. While some of these movements have been successful like in the case where the historic National Employment Guarantee Act was passed in August 2005 to ensure every household 100 days of employment at the minimum wage rates, others have failed. In the end, despite all the economic accolades that the new India that is shining in the eyes of the world achieves, in the long run it is the ice below the surface, the forgotten India outside the cities, that will determine the overall economic and social health of this country.