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Headline: Adivasi Youth Beaten to death in Kerala – An adivasi youth Madhu (27) was beaten to death by settlers in the Adivasi heartland of Attapady, Kerala, for allegedly stealing food. The murderers took selfies with the victim and posted on social media. — February 23, 2018 in Human Rights

Ancient people
Exult in the forest, the land, the water
It’s theirs,
But they own nothing.
Earth and sky cannot be owned

The first people
Live off the forest, the land, the water
Its theirs
But they are guardians
How can they own the natural world?

Indigenous people,
For whom every part of the earth
Is sacred,
Revered and respected,
Know that earth cannot be possessed

Tribal people,
To whom every tree and insect,
And animal and leaf
Is useful and precious,
Value and cherish all their environs

Ancient people,
First people, Indigenous people
Tribal people
Preservers, protectors, guardians
Conservators of ancient knowledge

Madhu – with no last name
Adivasi, Tribal person
Indigenous person
A first person
A person first
A personality
Naive, innocent and artless
Open, guileless
Preserver, protector, conserver
Repository of ancient knowledge

Victim of ignorant, ill bred
Gloating, malicious
Heartless person killers,
New people, settlers, intruders,
Invaders, land grabbers,
Disrespectful destroyers
Inhuman murderers

Madhu – Adivasi
May your tribe increase …
May your memory live on …
May you be one with the earth and the sky

Pratap Antony is a Passive activist. Active pacifist freelance thinker and writer on ecology and environment, social justice and pluralism, management ideas and issues, and music: western classical, jazz, and Indian classical dance.



  1. rohinton irani says:


  2. Thanks, Pratap. The poem is top notch, a fitting tribute to Madhu.
    This incident shines a light on Indian society’s growing trend – mob violence.
    Scary world we live in.

  3. A beautiful tribute from the heart. Thanks for giving him – and all first people – a voice