Not far from his village home, Simon Baskey treaded carefully through the dense forest — tall trees with big leaves that had stayed dry throughout the year — and exploded into greens during the monsoons. In distance, was what he was looking for. He took an aim – and shot.
Baskey, belongs to the Santhal tribe, one of India’s oldest and largest tribal communities, living across in Jharkhand, Bihar, West Bengal, Orissa, and Assam. In Jamui in southern Bihar, young men and women from the community are breaking their bow-and-arrow stereotypes and chronicling the stories of their community, using cameras and the Internet.
The youth call themselves The Lahanti Club. In the Santhali language, Lahanti means `to move forward’. The Lahanti Club was formed in 2017 to help children of the centuries-old Santhal community learn their own language and take pride in their culture.
“There are many green vegetables in the forest and we carefully preserve their names in folders. Our community has been eating forest foods for ages,” Sonalal Marandi, who lives in the Govindpur village and is another member of the club, told Gaon Connection in a video interview. “If we do not make such videos, one day our children will forget our rich food tradition. In monsoon, we collect different varieties of mushrooms,” he said.