Post Uttarakhand floods, Deoli-Bramhagram becomes a 'village of widows'
Over a fortnight after the flash-floods, while many villages remain inaccessible by road, tragic stories are emerging from areas where dirt tracks have been opened up. About seven kilometres from Guptkashi, the six-odd hamlets that comprise the Deoli-Bramhagram panchayat have reported 57 men missing, and the area is fast getting the tag of the "village of widows". (IE Photo: Tashi Tobgyal)
For about six months of the year, the menfolk here go to Kedarnath, where they work as mule operators, ferrying pilgrims from Gaurikund. Many of them have not returned home. (IE Photo: Tashi Tobgyal)
Dhamita, 20, a mother of two children aged four years and one-and-a-half years, is expecting her third child. Since the flash-floods, she has been trying to contact her husband, Sunil, 24, on his cellphone. But she hasn't had any luck so far. (IE Photo: Tashi Tobgyal)
Her neighbour, Vinita, 23, who married just a year ago, has stopped eating as she waits for news of her husband, Mahesh, 28. Worried villagers say she is getting weaker by the day. She says she feels too weak to walk and procure rations. "Bring me the man who should bring my ration home. This is not my job," she says, breaking into tears. Her mother-in-law, Bichna Devi, 45, has no time to console her. She is busy trying to contact her husband, Devdas, 50, also missing since June 16. (IE Photo: Tashi Tobgyal)
These women are residents of Shirwani and Pitora, part of the 30-odd houses that comprise the "Harijan Basti" of the Deoli-Bramhagram gram sabha, situated on a steep slope — a five-km hike on a kutcha path after a seven-km drive from Guptkashi. Thirteen youths from this area are missing. (IE Photo: Tashi Tobgyal)
Here, young children are usually sent with their elders to Kedar valley during the Char Dham Yatra, to learn to ferry pilgrims on mules. As they grow up, they save money to buy their own mules. Four of the 13 reported missing from these villages are between 14 to 18 years old. All of them were students of the Rudraprayag district government school, helping in the family business during the summer vacations. (IE Photo: Tashi Tobgyal)