This path-breaking book is the fruit of Nishaant’s living with the Musahars (“rat-eaters”) of Bihar for a ten-month period in 1989-90. He acknowledges the love and respect he received from them.
In his foreword, Prof. Sukhadeo Thorat, former UGC Chairman ,writes, “Nishaant’s study throws insight into the life of this most deprived community, and blows up the myth constructed by earlier upper caste researchers about the negative attributes of the Musahars, such as their being unreliable, unmotivated, useless, dirty, etc.” Being an academic work, the graphs, indices and other necessary data, may put off the ordinary reader. They are essential however, if one wants to have a deeper insight into this much reviled community.
Nishaant’s study is seminal as it unravels the self-respect, resilience, and tenacity of the Musahars, who in spite of abject poverty, rank the lowest in terms of abortion, infanticide, prostitution, theft and other crimes. The value system they subscribe to challenges what has been generally and derogatively portrayed about them. Nishaant’s opinion of the Musahars is found in the title of the book itself: they are a noble people with a resilient culture. He goes out of his way to demonstrate that with real life stories and anecdotes.
The Musahars of Varanasi were recently in the news after a local daily highlighted their plight, with their children literally having to eat grass in the wake of COVID 19. In the light of the UAPs, Nishaant’s book is not merely mandatory reading, but a challenge to us all “to walk the talk” with the Musahars and others of their kind.
- Title: Musahars: a Noble People, a Resilient Culture
- Author: T. Nishaant
- Publisher: Media House, Delhi
- Pages: 500
- Price: Rs 695 / US $ 30