101 Heartland

SERIES

46 EPISODE

Language: Hindi/English

Genre: People

Outside the metros and beyond the urban jungle live the sons and daughters of India’s heartland. This series tells their stories.101 Heartland celebrates both unique communities and individual tales of hope, struggle, and reform

Subscribe to Notification

From The Series

:

Greyhound Racing In Punjab

These dogs are fast, furious and pure Punjabi. In Punjab, it's all about 'tashan', the pure essence of Punjabi style. For some, the source of this tashan is in their pedigree racing dogs. Tag along with Doctor VC, thoroughbred racing hound 'Commander' and his owner Jugnu to learn the history of the sport in India, and what the future holds. Greyhound racing has been a sport practiced in India since the British era. Once banned for cruelty to rabbits, the sport is back in a modern avatar (minus the animal cruelty) in the heartland of Punjab. Races taking place in small villages are telecast live to the Punjabi diaspora all over the world. Join Doctor VC on his journey to meet the men and their dogs on race day. Each of us sees a different side to the country, so there are many Indias out there. On 101 Heartland With Doctor VC, look at India through his eyes, and journey to see people and places you didn't even know existed right in our own backyard.

series: 101 Heartland

:

More Indian Than An Indian?

This German woman speaks fluent Hindi, and probably knows more bhajans than you. Chaitanya was always fascinated with India and its culture, even as a child. When she came to India, it was love at first sight. At 21, she moved to India and has since devoted her life to Lord Krishna, following the path of 'adhyatmikta' or spirituality. She learnt Hindi and Sanskrit in Vrindavan, and now teaches yoga at an ashram in Rishikesh. 101 Heartland celebrates both unique communities and individual tales of hope, struggle, and reform. From the village of bouncers just outside Delhi to the fascinating story of Ram Kumar Tyagi, once a wanted man but now a coach for aspiring female wrestlers, 101 Heartland tells stories for the heart, from the heartland.

series: 101 Heartland

:

The Man Who Planted A Forest: Jadav Payeng

One tree doesn’t make a forest, but one man can. In 1979, Jadav Payeng started planting saplings in the middle of a barren wasteland in Assam. Every day, he planted one new sapling. 35 years later, that barren wasteland is a lush green forest, spread over 1360 acres, and still growing. This Diwali, instead of spreading pollution, help Tropicana salute one man’s effort to make the world a greener place.

series: 101 Heartland

:

Lifeguards: The Unsung Heroes of Ganpati Visarjan

The people who make sure you're safe when you immerse your idol in the sea. Every year, at Ganesh Chaturthi, thousands of devotees flock to the shore for visarjan, the immersion of Ganpati idols into the sea. The festival is celebrated with much fanfare and pomp, but one crucial part of the arrangements is often overlooked: the hardworking lifeguards. Theirs is the most difficult job on the day: taking the idols out to sea and safely immersing them, while making sure no one drowns in the water. Outside the metros and beyond the urban jungle live the sons and daughters of India’s heartland. This series tells their stories. 101 Heartland celebrates both unique communities and individual tales of hope, struggle, and reform. From the village of bouncers just outside Delhi to the fascinating story of Ram Kumar Tyagi, once a wanted man but now a coach for aspiring female wrestlers, 101 Heartland tells stories for the heart, from the heartland.

series: 101 Heartland

:

A Team Without A Nation | Tibetan Women's Football Team In India

How an American woman helped build the Tibetan Women's Football Team in India. Tibet may not be recognised as an independent nation, but it has a women's football team. One based in India, no less. For decades, Tibetan refugees have called India home. Cassie Childers has helped some of them band together to form Tibet's Women's Football team. Coached by Gompo Dorjee, a former member of the Tibetan Men's Football team, these young girls want nothing more than the chance to represent their nation on an international stage. Recently, the team was denied visas to travel to the United States to play in a tournament. In response, the Vancouver International Soccer Festival invited the team to travel to Canada to participate. The tournament begins on 6th July 2017. Outside the metros and beyond the urban jungle live the sons and daughters of India’s heartland. This series tells their stories. 101 Heartland celebrates both unique communities and individual tales of hope, struggle, and reform. From the village of bouncers just outside Delhi to the fascinating story of Ram Kumar Tyagi, once a wanted man but now a coach for aspiring female wrestlers, 101 Heartland tells stories for the heart, from the heartland.

series: 101 Heartland

:

India's Village Of Female Boxers | Chakar, Ludhiana

How one village in Punjab channelled its latent violent energy towards a positive change. In most small towns and villages in Punjab, women are barely allowed out of their homes. In sharp contrast, the village of Chakar, Ludhiana is home to a training academy for young female boxers. Punjabis are known for their boistrous energy, and fighting is not uncommon in the heartland. In this village, that energy has been turned into something positive. With regular exercises, morning runs, training for speed and skill, this village hopes to groom some of India's best female athletes. Outside the metros and beyond the urban jungle live the sons and daughters of India’s heartland. This series tells their stories. 101 Heartland celebrates both unique communities and individual tales of hope, struggle, and reform. From the village of bouncers just outside Delhi to the fascinating story of Ram Kumar Tyagi, once a wanted man but now a coach for aspiring female wrestlers, 101 Heartland tells stories for the heart, from the heartland.

series: 101 Heartland

:

Mandeep Kaur: Junior World Boxing Champion

Tucked away in the town of Chakar, Ludhiana, this unassuming girl packs quite the punch, literally. Mandeep was fascinated with boxing ever since her brother started playing the sport as a child. At first, when she asked her parents if she could go play with him, her mother was sceptical. She was afraid a punch would ruin her face. As it turned out, those fears were unfounded. With a natural flair for the sport, Mandeep went from victory to victory, not losing even losing a single bout till she won the Junior World Boxing Championship in Taiwan in 2017. Next, she's set her sights on the Asian Games. Don't get in her way, it could really hurt. Outside the metros and beyond the urban jungle live the sons and daughters of India’s heartland. This series tells their stories. 101 Heartland celebrates both unique communities and individual tales of hope, struggle, and reform. From the village of bouncers just outside Delhi to the fascinating story of Ram Kumar Tyagi, once a wanted man but now a coach for aspiring female wrestlers, 101 Heartland tells stories for the heart, from the heartland.

series: 101 Heartland

:

Jatwara: India's Hockey Village

How a German woman named Andrea Thumshirn is transforming a village in Rajasthan using India's national sport. Andrea is the founder of Hockey Village India, a foundation that's trying to use the power of sports and education to bring about a change in India's villages. Giving up a penthouse apartment and luxury car in Berlin, she now lives in a small house in Jatwara, determined to provide the children of this village and others like it with the chance to dedicate themselves to a sport. A place where girls were earlier not even allowed to step out of their houses is now home to some of India's most promising hockey talent. Outside the metros and beyond the urban jungle live the sons and daughters of India’s heartland. This series tells their stories. 101 Heartland celebrates both unique communities and individual tales of hope, struggle, and reform. From the village of bouncers just outside Delhi to the fascinating story of Ram Kumar Tyagi, once a wanted man but now a coach for aspiring female wrestlers, 101 Heartland tells stories for the heart, from the heartland.

series: 101 Heartland

:

A Country of Brave Women

We met a pair of National Bravery Award Winners to see how their lives changed after being honoured. Asma Khan and Hala Baraf are recipents of the prestigious Veer Bapu Gaidhani Award, presented at the Republic Day Parade on 26th January every year. During the July 2005 floods in Mumbai, a 13 year old Asma saved 40 children from drowning. In 2013, the then 15 year old Hala saved her sister from a panther attack. Winners of the National Bravery Awards are flown to Delhi, where they are felicitated as a part of the Republic Day parade. But what happens to their lives after the ceremony ends? Host Smriti Dewan spent a day with two of the bravest people in India, learning that their courage is perhaps the only thing keeping their lives and the lives of those around them going. Outside the metros and beyond the urban jungle live the sons and daughters of India’s heartland. This series tells their stories. 101 Heartland celebrates both unique communities and individual tales of hope, struggle, and reform. From the village of Bouncers just outside Delhi to the fascinating story of Ram Kumar Tyagi, once a wanted man but now a coach for aspiring female wrestlers, 101 Heartland tells stories for the heart, from the heartland.

series: 101 Heartland

:

The Free School Under The Delhi Metro Bridge

How one man's dream to educate underprivileged children is becoming a reality. Rajesh Sharma decided that there was a better way to help the underprivileged children he met under the New Delhi Metro bridges. At first he thought of buying them toffees or clothes. But he realised that this would only have a temporary effect on their lives. That's how the 'Free School Under The Bridge' began. The initiative is not run by an NGO or oganisation, but by the efforts of people like Mr. Rajesh Sharma. Starting with just a handful of children, the Free School Under The Bridge now teaches over 270 young children, with several other volunteers helping to teach the students in batches. Seeing how effective the initiative was, the Delhi Metro gave Mr. Sharma the permission to build blackboards on the walls and conduct his classes on a larger scale. All this teacher asks now is that the people of the city pitch in to teach the children in their respective areas, starting with just 10 kids at a time. Distribute education like blessings, he says. Outside the metros and beyond the urban jungle live the sons and daughters of India’s heartland. This series tells their stories. 101 Heartland celebrates both unique communities and individual tales of hope, struggle, and reform. From the village of Bouncers just outside Delhi to the fascinating story of Ram Kumar Tyagi, once a wanted man but now a coach for aspiring female wrestlers, 101 Heartland tells stories for the heart, from the heartland.

series: 101 Heartland

:

The Delhi Cafe Run By The Differently Abled

Come visit Echoes, a restaurant run entirely by those who are speaking and hearing impaired. The first thing you'll be shown when you walk into Echoes Cafe in Satyaniketan, New Delhi is a card telling you you're being served by the differently abled. The entire waitstaff of the restaurant is comprised of individuals who are hearing and speaking impaired. The entire restaurant has been designed keeping this in mind. To call the waiter, customers just need to flip the switch next to their table. This turns on a bulb at the counter, telling the staff which table to attend to. Similarly, each dish on the menu card has a short code, and customers are given flash cards for basic communication with the staff. Echoes Cafe is the result of the efforts of founders Kshitij Behl and Shivansh Kanwar. They hope to continue providing a space for the differently abled, hiring them in more and more positions in the restuarant. Outside the metros and beyond the urban jungle live the sons and daughters of India’s heartland. This series tells their stories. 101 Heartland celebrates both unique communities and individual tales of hope, struggle, and reform. From the village of bouncers just outside Delhi to the fascinating story of Ram Kumar Tyagi, once a wanted man but now a coach for aspiring female wrestlers, 101 Heartland tells stories for the heart, from the heartland.

series: 101 Heartland

:

BB Bulbul: India's 1st Female Pro-Wrestler

Inside the ring or out of it, she's one hell of a fighter. Every time she enters a wrestling ring, Sarabjit Kaur transforms into the fearsome BB Bulbul, one of India's fiercest professional wrestlers. She's the first female wrestling star to emerge from Continental Wrestling Entertainment (CWE), a wrestling academy in Jalandhar. Created by international superstar The Great Khali, CWE is a home for aspiring hopefuls who want to make it big in the wrestling world. Inspired by films starring Dharmendra and Sunny Deol, BB Bulbul fights both men and women in the ring with equal ease. Her parents wanted Sarabjit to take up a profession more befitting her gender; like maybe a teacher. But clearly, she had other ambitions. Today, under the guidance of the Great Khali, BB Bulbul feels like she has found her purpose in life. Outside the metros and beyond the urban jungle live the sons and daughters of India’s heartland. This series tells their stories. 101 Heartland celebrates both unique communities and individual tales of hope, struggle, and reform. From the village of bouncers just outside Delhi to the fascinating story of Ram Kumar Tyagi, once a wanted man but now a coach for aspiring female wrestlers, 101 Heartland tells stories for the heart, from the heartland.

series: 101 Heartland

:

The Male Belly Dancers SUBWAY?

Busting gender stereotypes with grace and a quick shake of the hips. If you thought belly dancing was just for women, think again. Eshan Hilal and Vasu Chauhan are just two of India's budding young male belly dancers. With the grace and sensuality to match any woman, they'll shimmy and shake their way into your hearts. Like they say, dance like no one's watching; eventually, they'll stop and take notice. 101 Subway takes a look at people whose beliefs, values, styles, and attitudes differ from that of the prevailing culture. Subway looks at India’s evolving sub culture scene across trends like Cosplay, BMX, Graffiti Art, Street Art and even the culture of weed.

series: 101 Heartland

:

The Great Khali & His Continental Wrestling Academy

How India's first WWE superstar is paving the way for the next generation of Indian wrestlers. Standing tall at 7 feet, Dalip Singh Rana, better known as 'The Great Khali' is one of the true giants of World Wrestling Entertainment. He's defeated wrestling legends like The Undertaker, Rey Mysterio, Batista and Kane. He's the first Indian pro wrestler to be signed by the WWE. He's a multiple-time World Heavyweight Champion. With all these accolades to his name, there's just one thing The Great Khali wanted to do: start his own wrestling academy back home in India. And so, Continental Wrestling Entertainment was born - a place for aspiring young Indian wrestlers to get the training needed to put them on the world stage. With proper training regimes and techniques, Khali and his team of coaches are grooming the next generation of professional wrestlers in the country.

series: 101 Heartland

:

My Encounter With The Buddhist Monks Of Ladakh

A spiritual journey to one of the largest Buddhist monasteries in India. The host of #MyEpicAdventure, Rosh, discovers he may have had an alternate purpose for being in the mountains: The Rizong Monastery in the Indus valley. Established in 1831, it is one of the largest Buddhist monasteries in the country. Meeting with the monks and their pupils, Rosh finds himself asking deeper questions about the meaning of life, and how to be happy.

series: 101 Heartland

:

Missing #4: Koja & Anwar Khan

How one man spent 10 years in a Pakistani Jail just to get his brother back. Anwar Khan strayed across the Indo-Pak border while grazing his goats and was captured on the other side. His brothers Koja and Saleem tried using the official channels to bring him back, but it didn't work. Finally, Koja himself crossed the border looking for his brother. Years later, they were reunited in a Pakistani jail.

series: 101 Heartland

:

Saving The Donkey

Meet the people who are determined to convince you that donkeys deserve your love, too. For thousands of years, donkeys have been society's beasts of burden. 16 years ago, Geeta Sheshmani founded Frendicoes, an organisation that aimed to change people's outlook towards this gentle creature. Their ambulances rescue wounded or abandoned donkeys in and around New Delhi, bringing them back to their farms for treatment. Here, they are given medical attention and treated with love and affection to nurse them back to health. In other countries, donkeys are treated with care and respect. But in India, they seem to be nothing more than a beast of burden. The team at this farm are toiling day and night, hoping people become more aware of the cruelty towards an unsung animal.

series: 101 Heartland

:

Mukti Bhavan: A Guesthouse For The Dying

You won't search for this place while visiting Varanasi. It's just for those about to die. Mukti Bhavan is the kind of guest house in Varanasi that will never show up in your travel plans. It caters to one specific group of tourists: those coming to the city to die. In Hindu mythology, it is believed that a soul that passes away in the holy city of Varanasi (Kashi in the scriptures) is guaranteed salvation - freedom from the endless cycle of life and death. Mukti Bhavan is one of the places in Varanasi that takes in the thousands that flock to the city at the end of their lives. Set up by a trust in the year 1958, Mukti Bhavan is currently operated by Bhairavnath. In his time, he has seen over 14,000 deaths at the guest house, and says he remembers each one. Mukti Bhavan arranges for rooms for the families of the dying, conducting prayer services every two hours. They provide their guests with holy water, and help the families in the moment of death. Reading holy verses, performing rituals based on scripture, Mukti Bhavan serves the dying in every way they can.

series: 101 Heartland

:

Inside The Mind Of A Hangman

His job is sending people to their deaths. He's sad he may not get to do it anymore. Traditionally, in India, a son will follow in his father's footsteps, taking up the same line of work. Pawan's father was a hangman (called a 'jallad' in Hindi), and so was his father before him. Despite the grisly task assigned to him as an executioner, Pawan loves his job. He has never imagined being anything else, and has wanted to be a hangman since he was a child. Pawan has been in the 'family business' since 1951. Proudly speaking about his family's legacy in this profession, he mentions how his grandfather hanged Indira Gandhi's assassin in 1987, an execution that 22 year old Pawan witnessed. Pawan himself has conducted the executions of the accused in 2005's infamous Nithari case: Moninder Singh Pandher and Surinder Kohli. When asked if he is scared by the work he does, Pawan shrugs and shakes his head. To him, all he is doing is performing a duty. Whether someone is innocent or not is not for him, but the courts to decide.

series: 101 Heartland

:

Mahapatras: The Priests Of Death

Death is the only way that the Mahapatras are assured of a meal. In Varanasi, when death comes knocking, so do the Mahapatras, the Priests of Death. Acording to the scriptures, feeding these priests and giving them items that belonged to the deceased, is a way for the deceased to receive salvation. It is believed that the more the Mahapatras are fed, and the more offerings they are given, the more the deceased soul receives through them. During the ritual, they are traditionally offered a meal consisting of puris made with ghee, vegetables, pickles, curd, sugar, sweets and savouries. But life isn't easy for the Mahapatras. The scriptures also dictate that the only way they may receive or own things, is through charity. So it is only the items given to them at the funeral rituals that make up their household. Beds, mattresses, blankets, shoes, slippers, utensils for cooking; the only way the Mahapatras can receive any of these is through the charity of others at the time of a death.

series: 101 Heartland

:

Mumbai's Ballerinos

If you thought ballet was just for girls, think again. Manish Chauhan, age 21, and Aamiruddin Shah, age 15, are two of Mumbai's most gifted ballerinos. But they didn't always want to be. In fact, Manish spent most of his childhood shying away from dance. But after honing his talent, there's nothing else he would rather do. But their journey has not been without struggle. Aamir used to start his training at 4am, before heading off to school at 7. Manish has spent nights at the railway station to make it in time for his classes. Their years of hard work have paid off, under the guidance of reknowned Ballet Master Yehuda Maor at Danceworx Academy. The two have caught the eye of heads of prestigious ballet schools, including the Joffrey Ballet School, New York, as well as the Oregon Ballet Theatre, Portland. The pair have now been granted a full year's scholarship to the Oregon Ballet Theatre. They will join the theatre in January 2017.

series: 101 Heartland

:

The Man Who Would Be Ravana

Abduct. Laugh. Die. Repeat. If you passed Shiv Shankar Nagar on the streets of Shalimar Bagh, you wouldn't believe for a moment that he could also be a completely convincing Ravana. But every year at Dussehra, this mild mannered Delhi Tourism & Transport Development Corporation employee undergoes a miraculous transformation. After 45 minutes in a makeup chair, and wearing a ten-headed crown that weighs 11 kilos, Shiv Shankar Nagar delights crowds of thousands of spectators in the yearly Shalimar Bag Ram Leela. He spoke to Doctor VC about his humble beginnings, and the kinship he feels for the Lord of Lanka.

series: 101 Heartland

:

Missing #1: Nanak Singh

They say no parent should ever have to bury their child. But Nanak’s parents don't even have a hope for closure. The misery of having a missing child is tripled, when you get so close to getting him back, but don’t, because of something as simple as a typo in the name! Nanak Singh went missing when playing in his father's fields. Was he kidnapped and taken across the border, or did he just accidentally stray across? The real tragedy is the fact that a bureaucratic error prevented him from being reunited with his loved ones. Missing chronicles the stories of people who strayed across the Indo-Pak border and have since been missing. People who were lost but never found, have been given up for dead by many but their families still cling on to the hope that they might return back home some day. Although traditionally borders separate countries,for some unfortunate families these borders have separated them from their loved ones.

series: 101 Heartland

:

Missing #2: Bhagu Singh

Luxmi has been waiting for her husband, Bhagu Singh, to come back to her and their 3 children for 32 years now. He was captured by Pakistani rangers held in a Pakistani jail for crossing the border. Back home, the police and the officials live in denial while his loved ones refuse to give up. Bhagu Singh was grazing his goats near Gohar Ka Tala, Rajasthan, 32 years ago. Gohar Ka Tala is located less than 2 km from the India-Pakistan border. In those days, there was no fencing on the border. Following his stray goats, Bhagu Singh crossed the border. Some have called him a thief, some a spy, some just a man who accidentally strayed across a border. One thing is for certain: Bhagu Singh has been missing for 32 years, leaving behind a wife and two children. Missing chronicles the stories of people who strayed across the Indo-Pak border and have since been missing. People who were lost but never found, have been given up for dead by many but their families still cling on to the hope that they might return back home some day. Although traditionally borders separate countries,for some unfortunate families these borders have separated them from their loved ones.

series: 101 Heartland

:

Missing #3: Sahuram

Tricked into crossing the border, and missing for 27 years. All for a smoke. Sahuram was tricked into crossing the border when his son was 8 years old. When he was captured and abroad, his son was slowly losing everyone he loved, one by one. This is the story of that son who, despite every tragedy that struck him, never lost hope of finding his father again, all while building a life of his own, all on his own. Outside the metros and beyond the urban jungle live the sons and daughters of India’s heartland. This series tells their stories. 101 Heartland celebrates both unique communities and individual tales of hope, struggle, and reform. From the village of Bouncers just outside Delhi to the fascinating story of Ram Kumar Tyagi, once a wanted man but now a coach for aspiring female wrestlers, 101 Heartland tells stories for the heart, from the heartland.

series: 101 Heartland

:

The Blind Photographer

Pranav Lal didn't let the fact that he's blind stop him from becoming a photographer. Pranav Lal has been blind since birth, but that's never stopped him from trying his hand at anything he set his mind to. As he says, he actively looked for something totally visual to do, and that's how he came up with the idea to take up photography. A technology called 'vOICe' works as an artificial eye, and with a pair of bone conducting headphones, converts the sights around Pranav to sound. The image gets broken down to three attributes. The panning or time, represents objects in the horizontal plane. The higher the pitch of the sound, the higher is the object. And finally, the volume of the sound represents the amount of brightness. Using a combination of these variations in sound, Pranav clicks his photo using a second camera.

series: 101 Heartland

:

The Muslim Gatekeepers Of The Jewish Synagogue

For generations, the caretakers of Kolakata's Jewish synagogues have been Muslims. For a case study in communal harmony, we need look no further than Kolkata's Jewish Synagogues. At one point as strong as 6000, the Jewish community has dwindled to less than 20 members in the city of Kolkata. For generations, Muslim caretakers have maintained the three main Jewish synagogues in Kolkata. Anwar and Rabbul manage the Maghen David and Beth El Synagogues, a role that has been in their families for generations. With communal tensions in the country raised, this is a shining testament the bonds that hold our communities together. Watch this video: The Muslim Gatekeepers Of The Jewish Synagogue

series: 101 Heartland

:

The Chinese Kali Temple of Kolkata

With noodles and chop suey for offerings, this Kali temple is one of a kind! John Cheng is the caretaker of a unique temple to the Goddess Kali in the heart of Kolkata’s Tangra area. The area is also known as India's very own Chinatown, with its unique symbols of cross-cultural assimilation. Formerly a Buddhist, John Cheng now considers himself a Chinese Hindu, and is the third generation caretaker of the temple. Together with the locals from the community, the temple acts as a melting pot for the Indian and Chinese communities in Kolkata. Outside the metros and beyond the urban jungle live the sons and daughters of India’s heartland. This series tells their stories. 101 Heartland celebrates both unique communities and individual tales of hope, struggle, and reform. From the village of Bouncers just outside Delhi to the fascinating story of Ram Kumar Tyagi, once a wanted man but now a coach for aspiring female wrestlers, 101 Heartland tells stories for the heart, from the heartland.

series: 101 Heartland

:

Football Stars Of Sonagachi

Meet the children of sex workers who represent India at international football tournaments. Ismail Sardar and Sonu Kundu are the children of sex workers in Sonagachi, Asia's largest red-light district, which is in Kolkata. Bisvajeet Majumdar, sports co-ordinator and football coach at nearby Durbar Sports Academy, noticed their natural aptitude for football, and managed to convince their mothers to let them pursue the sport. Today, Ismail and Sonu represent India on the international stage, playing for India's U-16 football team. Their talent has taken them from the red-light district to football fields across the world!

series: 101 Heartland

:

Pregnancy Tourism In Ladakh?

We investigate rumours that European women come to Ladakh to have children with Aryan men. The residents of the quaint village of Dah near Ladakh claim to be the direct descendants of Alexander the Great himself, making them 'pure-blood' Aryans. With their light eyes and hair, their claims may even be true. We heard rumours that foreign women travel to villages like this one to have children of the supposedly pure Aryan men that live here. Fact or fiction? We set out to explore.

series: 101 Heartland

:

The Dog Lady Of Delhi

The heartwarming story of Pratima Devi, the lady with over 300 dogs. Pratima Devi is a ragpicker who runs a small tea stall in New Delhi. Ever since she can remember, she's loved all animals, and dogs in particular. She's taken up the responsibility of caring for over 300 street dogs in her area. "They are more loyal than humans. We humans just care for other humans. Who has the time for dogs?" Struggling to make ends meet, Pratima Devi makes sure that she has food for her dogs, even if it means going hungry herself. All she wants is for someone to take up the responsibility of caring for these strays once she passes away.

series: 101 Heartland

:

No Man's Land | The India-Bangladesh Enclaves

A year ago, these Indians were Bangladeshi citizens. A little over a year ago, Bangladesh and India shared one of the most complicated borders in the world; complicated because on either side of the border, were leftover pockets of land (enclaves) that didn't belong to the country it was in. There were Indian patches of land inside Bangladesh, and vice versa. It isn't too difficult to move freely between India and Bangladesh, but even so, how does a citizen in an enclave apply for a passport to do so? How does a government even govern these citizens in another nation? Who would provide these people with basic amenities, and utilities? These were tough questions that both countries didn't have any answers to, till last year when the Land Bills Act was implemented. Both countries swapped these pockets of land, and the 'enclave islands' ceased to exist. Citizens were given a choice – stay back and assume the nationality of the country the enclave was situated in, or go back to their homeland. Most citizens stayed back, and changed their nationalities. We're telling their stories. And the story of Jihad Hussein Obama, a boy from the enclaves whose birth sparked the revolution for the people who lived there.

series: 101 Heartland

:

Naach Launda Naach

At first glance, Lalit seems like any other boy in Bihar, having finished his BA degree, and preparing for his entrance exams. But to help pay for his education, Lalit does a unique job. Dressing up like a woman and dancing in front of crowds of hundreds, Lalit is one of the few remaining performers of an almost forgotten art form called Launda Naach. He doesn't enjoy what he does, but this is the only way he can support his family. Launda Naach is a folk art in which men dress up as women and dance at social functions and festivals in Bihar and eastern Uttar Pradesh. The tradition of Launda Naach dates back to 11th century. The tradition of men performing as women is very old, emanating from restrictions on public dancing for women who performed only in temples and for feudal lords. The masses could only be entertained by men dressed as women.

series: 101 Heartland

:

The Widows of Varanasi

Some parts of Indian society consider widows to be inauspicious. When a woman becomes a widow, many families just abandon them at old age homes or shelters, sometimes on the pretext of sightseeing in Varanasi. Most of the women living in this home for widows were married off at very young ages, some as young as 11. Widow remarriage is still frowned upon in many parts of the country, as it is against some people's religion. Following the traditions with which they were brought up, none of these women chose to remarry. NGOs such as Sulabh International are doing their best to take in these widows, and provide them with home and comfort as they await their deaths. These women's lives are already over. All they want is to chant the Lord's name and hope that they can join him soon.

series: 101 Heartland

:

Gangajal Policewala: Shashi Bhushan Sharma

A close encounter with an encounter specialist. The film Gangajal was based on the life of a real police officer. Shashi Bhushan Sharma is that police officer. An encounter specialist from Bihar, he is responsible for getting numerous dangerous criminals off the streets in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. In a long and glorious career with various divisions of the police force, Shashi Bhushan Sharma has won almost every medal that a police officer can win. He's received the President's Medal for Gallantry four times, along with several other awards for meritorious service. We spoke to him about how he came to be in this dangerous line of work, and what it has meant to him.

series: 101 Heartland

:

Ferryman Of The Dead | Lallu Manjhi

Meet the man who ferries souls across the river Ganga and into the afterlife. Varanasi's tourist boats take you on sightseeing trips around the ghats. But Lallu Manjhi's boat is different. It ferries passengers to the next life. A truly inspiring story of a good samaritan. And part of our ongoing series on #DeathInIndia.

series: 101 Heartland

:

Eating For The Dead - The Jaga Brahmins

A community of professional mourners eating to ensure eternal peace for the deceased. The Jaga community, hailing from 12 villages in Bihar, have a rather unique profession. The entire community serve as professional mourners, going to the homes of the recently deceased. They sing praises for the deceased at the top of their lungs, eating rice flakes and curd. The bizzare ritual is said to ensure eternal peace for the deceased, granting them a pleasant journey into the next life. While singing praises, the mourners receive food, money, clothes and other belongings in exchange for their prayers. For generations, the Jaga community has been passing this profession down from father to son, but finally believe it is time for their children to take up new jobs.

series: 101 Heartland

:

The Photographer Of The Dead

No selfies or group shots for Indra Kumar Jha. His subjects don't smile. Indra Kumar Jha started taking pictures of the dead at the age of 9. For almost 2 decades, he has plied the streets of Varanasi, clicking photos that become the last memory of the dead. These can be used by local authorities as evidence if ever the need arises. Indra is sure that while this is how he makes his living, he doesn't want his children to follow in his footsteps.

series: 101 Heartland

:

An Ambassador In An Autorickshaw

If the Mexican Ambassador to India can ride in an auto, why can't India's elite? Melba Pria, the Mexican Ambassador to India, has a message for all of India. If millions of people can travel in an autorickshaw, why can't an Ambassador? Given the state of pollution in New Delhi, the CNG auto is a great alternative to help reduce emmisions and bring pollution under control in the capital city. But getting a rickshaw in India comes with its own hilarious set of challenges, as Her Excellency discovers!

series: 101 Heartland

:

Performing Last Rites For Varanasi's Unclaimed Dead

Meet the 60 year old man who cremates the unclaimed dead bodies found in the holy city. For those in Varanasi who have no one, Jaggu is a saviour. He spends his nights going around the city, in search of unclaimed dead bodies. Loading the corpse into his cycle rickshaw, Jaggu takes the body to a hospital for the post mortem, and once it is done, he ensures the body is cremated. Sometimes, the bodies he finds are those of the recently deceased. At other times, the bodies have been lying unclaimed for several days. In order to cope with the smell of death, Jaggu drinks alcohol as a coping mechanism. Having not had the chance to light his own father's funeral pyre, Jaggu wants to make sure no one else passes on without the proper funeral rites. In the day, Jaggu rides a cycle rickshaw carrying children to school. Since he has no home, Jaggu sleeps on the streets, in his cycle rickshaw.

series: 101 Heartland

:

Getting High With The Medicine Man of Wayanad

We heard about a tribal medicine man in Wayanad, Kerala, who uses all natural healing practices. But we also heard about his special drink that makes you happy in the head. When we finally met Vellan, the experience was just what we expected. Vellan's healing process uses bamboo strips, sacred oil, and the chanting of mantras. But healing isn't his only forte. We went out hunting for ingredients, and took a culinary journey with the Medicine Man from Wayanad.

series: 101 Heartland

:

Dom Raja: The Untouchable Gatekeeper of Heaven

Every year, over 30,000 bodies are burnt on the ghats of Varanasi. The last rites are carried out by the Doms - an untouchable caste, said to be blessed by Lord Shiva to guarantee 'mukti' or salvation. Every evening at 7pm, the evening prayers begin on the banks of the Ganga. Just a little distance away, the Dom Raja ends all prayers, surrounded by death.

series: 101 Heartland

:

This Fisherman Uses Coke And Pepsi Bottles As A Boat

With dwindling catch close to the shore, fisherman Roy Thomas can't afford a boat of his own. A simple boat will cost him Rs. 25,000, a sum of money he doesn't have. To earn his livelihood, Roy has strung together a few plastic bottles and a pipe, and rides this contraption out to sea to try and earn a living. All Roy wants is to be able to afford to buy his own boat, so he can make a steady income. In the meantime, he's working on building a boat made out of a plastic drum, so he can be safer, and catch more fish when he's out at sea.

series: 101 Heartland

:

Tyagi: A Brand New Man

You are who you choose to be. Watch the true story of Ram Kumar Tyagi from the city of Hapur, who went went from a life of crime to coaching young wrestlers representing India on the international stage.

series: 101 Heartland

:

The Village of Bouncers

Journey to Asola Fatehpur Beri, the village where most of Delhi's nightclub bouncers live. Hours of rigorous exercise, a super heavy diet, home food and a down-to-earth attitude: everything that goes into making a good bouncer.

series: 101 Heartland

:

Meet India's First Female Porter | 101 Heartland

After the demise of her husband, Manju Devi took over his load just not figuratively but literally as well. She wore badge number 15, which once belonged to her husband, and walked into Jaipur railway station to work as a coolie. It was a big surprise to the 178 male coolies but soon they recognised her zeal and accepted her as their own. A proud mother of 3 children and the current president of the coolie union says there is nothing that a woman cannot do. 101 Heartland celebrates both unique communities and individual tales of hope, struggle, and reform. From the village of bouncers just outside Delhi to the fascinating story of Ram Kumar Tyagi, once a wanted man but now a coach for aspiring female wrestlers, 101 Heartland tells stories for the heart, from the heartland.

series: 101 Heartland

You may also like

Tags

Don’t Miss A Thing.

One subscription. Endless content.

Subscribe to our Newsletter. Your inbox will get all our latest stories and annoucements.