In rural India, The Impossible Survival of the Poor among the Poor

 In Bihar, the Musahar community, the “rat eaters”, is one of the most affected by the consequences of Covid-19 and is finding it increasingly difficult to feed themselves.

At sunset, a small metal bowl shudders on the fire, on the ground. In this home, no one has swallowed anything since breakfast. And for lack of anything better, tonight again, Reshmi Devi and his four children will have to settle for so little. 

“Rice and some boiled potatoes,”says the 24-year-old, who is six months pregnant. She lives not far from the village of Sikandarpur, in the state of Bihar, the poorest in India, stuck in Nepal.

In this month of July, the atmosphere of the family hut, made of bric and broc, is suffocating, barely tenable. The smoke from the wood irritates the throat and nose, and Reshmi Devi rises outside while his mixture continues to boil.

Shs tired sari reveals a frail silhouette with a rounded belly. Nearby, waterlogged rice paddies stretch as far as the eye can see, grassy pigs enjoy a muddy earth and buffaloes ruminate peacefully. But behind the bucolic appearances of these country roads, in the villages, hides a terrible misery.

Nicki Jenns

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