Invasion By Technologically Advanced Civilization Reported

A technologically advanced civilization is threatening the people of this corner of eastern India. Although this sounds like the plot of an sf film or book, it is a true story that should be reported more often.


(Village of Golgola)

The people who live in Golgola are isolated from the rest of the world; no road leads there. A trail through a lush valley and a tough climb up a steep jungle slope are required for access. Golgola is a tiny village in a muddy clearing with several lines of low, thatched huts.

The Dongria have lived in the Niyamgiri hills in a remote part of eastern India's Orissa state for centuries. They survive by gathering fruit, growing small crops of millet and selling jungle plants in the towns at the foot of the hills. The modern world has yet to reach Golgola - there's no electricity, no school, no television, no telephones.

"We get everything from the jungle like the fruits we take to the market. This is like our source of life for our Dongria Kondh peoples," says Jitu Jakeskia, a young Dongria Kondh activist. He's one of the few Dongria to have got a formal education, and he's now fighting to preserve his tribe's way of life.

"We are not paying any money to get these fruits, this is free, it is like paradise for us here."

The invaders? Britain's Vedanta Resources, an industrial mining concern, wants to tear the minerals from Niyamgiri hill. The area is rich in bauxite (from which aluminum is obtained).


(Vedanta Resources factory nearby)

In response to criticism that it has failed to adequately compensate and settle others whose land they have taken, Vedanta Resources points proudly to a nearby village of small concrete huts in which 100 families live. It also employs people in its refinery.

Arthur C. Clarke is famous for saying that any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic; in this case, advanced technology is just a tragedy. Ironically, the hill people are trying to use magic (they are animists) to repel the invaders.

I know that this scenario has been repeated many times. But, go take a look at this story at the BBC website; they also have excellent video to go with their story.

From Tribe takes on global mining firm.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 7/18/2008)

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