Year of the Weeds
‘Sometimes, Korok, it is best if the sorkar forgets you.’
Korok lives in a small Gond village in western Odisha. His life is in the garden which he tends every day. Anchita lives in the house which has the garden, and is an artist.
Then one day, the government tells the Gonds they have to leave the village because a company is going to mine the sacred hill next to it for aluminium ore. The Gonds oppose it, but the mighty government, led by police officer Sorkari Patnaik is determined to win. Korok knows a lot about wild flowers, and nothing much about the rest of the world, though the two friends are not going to give up.
But how long will the Gond resistance last, when everybody, from politicians to activists and even Maoists turn up at the little village?
What can a lone gardener and a girl with a computer do against the most powerful people in the land?
'I cannot recall any children's or YA book talking about the atrocities committed by mining companies on the Adivasis. Siddhartha Sarma's novel, Year of the Weeds, does and it is commendable. It might seem quite ironic that the demographic that would actually get to read this novel - urban kids born to wealthy parents, studying in expensive, private English-medium schools - are, in a major way, beneficiaries of the corporate culture. But if even one of those children is sensitised to the reality of the corporate houses, the purpose of this novel would be served. Therein lies the importance of Year of the Weeds.' - Hansda Sowvendra Shekhar
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