‘The Adivasi will not Dance’ by Hansda Sowvendra Shekhar

This short story, part of the collection of stories by the same name, is monumental for contemporary Adivasi writing in India, and Indigenous literatures globally. The collection was banned in 2017 by the state government in Jharkhand in India on flimsy charges of ‘indecency’. The ban was lifted after widespread protests by writers, artists, and academics. Each story in the collection bears witness to the plight of India’s Indigenous tribes, but it is this final one that ends with a message of hope and solidarity. The story of Mangal Murmu is the story of a long Adivasi struggle against the neoliberal, industrial Indian nation. An Adivasi who does not dance terrifies the state.

First published in The Dhauli Review, 2014, and collected in The Adivasi Will not Dance, Speaking Tiger, 2015