India's nomads struggle for recognition

Mr Baghrawat Panwar (far left), 30, a member of the Banjara community now settled near the foothills of the ancient Aravalli range. The settlement is shorn of any public utilities. None of the residents has been given ownership of the land they are s
Mr Baghrawat Panwar (far left), 30, a member of the Banjara community now settled near the foothills of the ancient Aravalli range. The settlement is shorn of any public utilities. None of the residents has been given ownership of the land they are staying on and without proof of residency or identity, they cannot access government benefits.ST PHOTO: DEBARSHI DASGUPTA

Numbering at least 70m, most from over 250 communities have no voting, citizenship rights

"This is all I have," says 40-year-old Kamlesh, who goes by one name, pointing to the cot he is seated on. A change of clothes hanging on the wall completes his list of material possessions.

Tucked away off a busy street in Thanagazi town, even the shack he lives in belongs to a friend.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 04, 2019, with the headline 'India's nomads struggle for recognition'. Print Edition | Subscribe