Bhrigupati Singh and Hari Ram Meena introduced by Ashutosh Varshney


Shahabad, located in the dwindling forests of the south eastern tip of Rajasthan, is an area of extreme poverty. Beset by droughts and food shortages in recent years, it is the home of the Saharias, former bonded labourers, officially classified as Rajasthan’s only ‘primitive tribe’. From afar, we might consider this the bleakest of the bleak but in Poverty and the Quest for Life, Bhrigupati Singh asks us to reconsider just what quality of life means. In a session with Rajasthani poet and writer Hari Ram Meena and Brown University professor Ashutosh Varshney, Singh offers new ways of thinking beyond the religion-secularism and nature-culture dichotomies while painting a rich portrait of perseverance and fragility in contemporary rural India.