Who cares about this Bihar election? -Supriya Sharma

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published Published on Oct 21, 2020   modified Modified on Oct 22, 2020


Floods, coronavirus, unemployment, hunger. Snapshots from Muzaffarpur district of an election where everyone speaks of change but no one is sure what it means.

For six months, there was no work. Only hunger and debt. When work finally came, it proved deadly.

“His leg swelled up, sir,” said a neighbour. “Itna hi dukh tha. That was all to his suffering.”

Gorkha Manjhi died on October 14, three days after he came back from the fields with a swollen leg. The 22-year-old farm worker had been hired to harvest paddy. It was his first job in six months.

In Bihar’s Muzaffarpur district, where Manjhi lived, the coronavirus-induced lockdown devastated livelihoods first, then a spate of floods washed them away.

Months later, most fields are still water-logged. As farm workers like Manjhi return to salvage whatever is left of the crop, they are getting sucked into swamps and bitten by snakes.

No one knows what caused Manjhi’s leg to swell. The village doctor administered an injection. His mother applied traditional jadi buti. But he could not be saved.

He is survived by his old parents, Jhingur Manjhi and Phulmat Devi, and his young wife, Reena Devi, who barely looks out of her teens, but has two children to raise, one of them a suckling baby.

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Scroll.in, 21 October, 2020, https://scroll.in/article/976315/who-cares-about-this-bihar-election?fbclid=IwAR1CzKC5AdqEn2KhBx5z_cMKDf0FedUvmzVBB_AM9h6CTmqyoORZdmYue44

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