The Adivasi Will Not Dance #BookReview

Hard-hitting & a story of us, The Adivasi Will Not Dance is worth every word of praise it has received.

All of us are like the Adivasi, the author has shared stories about. A little bit of us in all the tales.

It’s not just a collection of stories or incidents from an award-winning author. It’s a peep into our lives stripped down to the real issues that plague us all.

The simple man, the illiterate woman, the cunning mind, the egotistical man, the prejudices, and the assumptions…all find their place in this book.

The book is a collection of stories from the hinterland but the varied issues highlighted can be found all over.

They Eat Meat could be my story, how our food choices make us social outcasts. Each story strips our lives of their facade. Another one called Sons talks of the age-old comparison of our children.

Opportunity is all around us or is it exploitation? November Is the Month of Migrations is a small story but extremely hard-hitting. It reflects the poverty and desperation for just one meal, the reality of downtrodden women, young girls and their only way to earn their daily bread in our country.

Getting Even is the age-old blame game, religion, money, love; everything is a reason for clash. To abuse and suppress the underdogs, children are just pawns to be dispensed with. Our unreasonable actions and the havoc they cause.

Eating with the Enemy is a story of an uneasy truce while making do with what is possible. Women and their difficult lives. A story of a maid and her mistress, how need is the biggest leveller of all.

Blue Baby is a story of love, unreasonable, obsessive love. An interesting tale of how love is blind both in a good way and as a cheat. The obsession, the relentless stalking, is a mirror to our societies perception of love and our freedom to choose our partners today.

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Baso-jhi is a woman who can never be accepted since her own family has forgotten her. A pitiful tale yet the old-age homes across the country tell a similar tale. And let’s not even talk about the widow homes in Vrindavan.

Desire, Divination, Death was one story that made me emotional at the futility of being human. The fear, superstition and lack of medical aid. So many innocent lives lost.

Merely A Whore is not just a tribal prostitute but the harsh reality of scores of women across the world. Easily dispensable, use & throw women. Rich or poor, educated or not, this is what the men really think of women.

The Adivasi Will Not Dance is the finale of the book, the title and its lesson becomes clear and I know, not one person will disagree. The Adivasi will not…. we must not.

The book is deep, meaningful, thought-provoking read. Though many of the stories are women-centric but they reflect our society and life.

Women, no matter how neglected are the focal point of our life. This book makes it amply clear that so much, much, more is needed for their betterment.

The Adivasi Will Not Dance is not just the stories of the Adivasis but of all of us. I have read some of the stories more than once, something I rarely do. A must-read book and I liked that the last story was on a positive note but when I think of the repercussions and consequences I worry.

Read The Adivasi Will Not Dance and tell me if I am wrong to worry…


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The Adivasi Will Not Dance: Stories 


In this collection of stories, set in the fecund, mineral-rich hinterland and the ever-expanding, squalid towns of Jharkhand, Hansda Sowvendra Shekhar breathes life into a set of characters who are as robustly flesh and blood as the soil from which they spring, where they live and into which they must sometimes bleed.

Troupe-master Mangal Murmu refuses to perform for the President of India and is beaten down; Suren and Gita, a love-blind couple, wait with quiet desperation outside a neonatal ward hoping—for different reasons—that their blue baby will turn pink; Panmuni and Biram Soren move to Vadodara in the autumn of their lives, only to find that they must stop eating meat to be accepted as citizens; Baso-jhi is the life of the village of Sarjomdih but, when people begin to die for no apparent reason, a ghastly accusation from her past comes back to haunt her; and Talamai Kisku of the Santhal Pargana, migrating to West Bengal in search of work, must sleep with a policeman for fifty rupees and two cold bread pakoras.

The Adivasi Will Not Dance is a mature, passionate, intensely political book of stories, made up of the very stuff of life. This volume establishes Hansda Sowvendra Shekhar as one of our most important contemporary writers.


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