With an unwavering commitment to truth, Kerketta has emerged as the resounding voice of the oppressed, using her words to shed light on the struggles of her community and other marginalized populations. — Jacinta Kerketta
Jacinta Kerketta: Adivasi Poet-Journalist, the Resounding Voice of the Oppressed
On November 26, Kerketta declined a literary award for her Hindi poetry book, “Ishwar aur Bazar,” in a powerful statement against the neglect faced by the dalit-tribal people of Niyamgiri in Odisha.
Her refusal highlights the disconnect between recognizing artwork of resistance and addressing the ongoing challenges faced by the communities it represents.
Early Struggles and Commitment to Journalism:
Kerketta’s journey into independent journalism was deeply rooted in personal tragedy. As a child, she witnessed the false incrimination and lynching of her uncle, and the imprisonment of her maternal grandmother. These experiences fueled her commitment to stand against systemic persecution and to amplify the voices of the oppressed.
Working as a reporter from 2010 to 2013, Kerketta delved into gender politics, the exploitation of tribal populations for land, and the impact of colonization on their sustainable heritage. She emphasizes the need for adivasi voices in journalism, stating that their unique perspectives offer unparalleled insights into the struggles and triumphs of their communities.
Education as Empowerment:
As a second-generation graduate, Kerketta recognizes the transformative power of education. Her parents, who accessed education through a mission school in the remote forests of Jharkhand, inspired her hunger for knowledge and agency. Kerketta’s education became a tool for empowerment, allowing her to pass exams while staying rooted in her identity.
Empowering Youth and Community:
Kerketta’s commitment extends beyond journalism. For two decades, she has traveled across Jharkhand, engaging with marginalized communities and empowering young tribal girls. Through dialogue and storytelling, Kerketta encourages reflection on dreams, tribulations, and the significance of tribal life. Her efforts have led to positive changes, with girls refusing child marriages, pursuing education, and contributing to their communities.
Recognition and Advocacy:
Kerketta’s impactful work has earned her recognition, including the Voice of Asia Recognition Award and being named one of Forbes India’s 22 self-made women in 2022. Through her poems in Hindi and English, she advocates for the preservation of the environment and biodiversity, often reminding society of the intrinsic role of indigenous populations in this regard.
In her non-fiction writings, Kerketta emphasizes the significance of legal provisions like the Chotanagpur Tenancy Act and the Panchayat (Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act to safeguard tribals and their habitats.
Madhav Fashion Brand Statement:
Madhav Fashion commends and aligns with voices like Jacinta Kerketta’s that advocate for justice, equality, and the empowerment of marginalized communities. Our brand statement echoes the importance of diversity, inclusivity, and respect for cultural heritage. Through our commitment to quality and innovation, we strive to contribute positively to the global narrative of fashion, embracing the richness of varied perspectives and stories.
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