by Abhay Xaxa
I am not your data, nor am I your vote bank,
I am not your project, or any exotic museum project,
I am not the soul waiting to be harvested,
Nor am I the lab where your theories are tested.
I am not your cannon fodder, or the invisible worker,
Or your entertainment at India habitat center,
I am not your field, your crowd, your history,
your help, your guilt, medallions of your victory.
I refuse, reject, resist your labels,
your judgments, documents, definitions,
your models, leaders and patrons,
because they deny me my existence, my vision, my space.
Your words, maps, figures, indicators,
they all create illusions and put you on a pedestal
from where you look down upon me.
So I draw my own picture, and invent my own grammar,
I make my own tools to fight my own battle,
For me, my people, my world, and my Adivasi self!
Abhay Xaxa, age 34, born and brought up in Jashpur District of Chhattisgarh, is a researcher-activist based in Delhi. He is currently with the Indian Institute of Dalit Studies, working on the status report of Adivasi in India after completing his post graduation in Anthropology from University of Sussex. At a very young age, Abhay became part of the Adivasi movement and in this interview he shares his struggles, vision and dreams for the empowerment of his community.