A lesser identified nomadic tribe, the Narikuravars are attempting to outlive the lockdown on the outskirts of Madurai, with assist from good samaritans and NGOs
Last 12 months throughout Deepavali, Akiba Subahani noticed a bunch of Narikuravars by the financial institution of river Vaigai. About 80 of them, from infants to outdated folks, had left their shanties in Sakkimangalam, on the outskirts of Madurai, and are available to the temple city searching for jobs.
The lockdown had accentuated their distress as the nomadic tribe was robbed of their livelihood of constructing bead ornaments, telling fortunes, pachai kuthu (tattooing) and searching. They frankly admitted that they feared poverty, starvation and deprivation greater than the virus.
Akiba, who has been working the U Can Foundation for the final seven years, determined to assist them. First she satisfied them to have a shower in the Vaigai. No one wished to simply accept the garments she bought them as they feared in the event that they wore new garments, they’d not have the ability to search alms. Akiba managed a biryani feast for them, sponsored by a number of biryani sellers. Once their stomachs have been full, out got here the tales of how COVID-19 had restricted their mobility and affected their earnings.
Living on the edge
Founder of Green Walk and activist S Muthukrishnan, who was amongst the first to analysis the Narikuravars, says that in lockdown 1.0, he organized month-to-month kits of grocery and different important gadgets for 400 households in Sakkimangalam. The group can also be seen in Samayanallanur and Nellaiyur nd and are principally dependent on native NGOs for his or her survival now. “The pandemic has totally cut them off. Some of them have turned wiser from experience and prioritised their spending,” he says. “They lead frugal lives on the edge and are in dire need of help.”
With doorways of homes shut on account of worry, their earnings by means of fortune telling had taken a beating. With no public participation in festivals and the greatest chithrai thiruvizha going on sans any crowd inside the Meenakshi Temple now, their items have additionally remained unsold.
“To make ends meet, the Narikuravars change their small-time businesses according to the season, location, their skills and peoples’ interest,” says Akiba. Due to the migratory nature of their livelihood, the Narikuravars would not have the necessary ID playing cards that permits the poor to attract advantages from Government schemes totally free ration and different provides.
While many Narikuravars took to begging on Madurai streets throughout the lockdown, Akiba organized meals for them. “If we did not get a sponsor, we cooked at home and fed them,” she mentioned. When the lockdown was relaxed, many Narikuravars returned to Sakkimangalam. They didn’t, nonetheless, have necessities similar to water, cleaning soap and sanitisers.
Two days in the past Akiba acquired a misery name from members of the sattai adi thozhilaalargal (the whip lashers). Listed as a corona warrior by the metropolis police, she was in a position to rush with sacks of rice, dal and different important gadgets in the volunteer automobile. Though she is fasting on this month of Ramzan, she carried on. “When I felt dehydrated, I simply poured a bottle of water over myself. I know the Narikuravars are facing severe hardship. Living in cities, we reach out only to those who are near and visible to us. The marginalised, who are also buckling under pandemic, are neglected,” she says.
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