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Nutrition Warriors | Ex-Journalist, Osho-Lookalike Tara Patkar Is Mahoba's Roti Bank

Bundelkhand is known for hunger and starvation but Tara Patkar's determination to fill empty stomachs in Mahoba has inspired others

Nutrition Warriors | Ex-Journalist, Osho-Lookalike Tara Patkar Is Mahoba's Roti Bank
Daily Bread | Photograph by Jitender Gupta
Roti Bank has inspired similar initiatives in other towns
Nutrition Warriors | Ex-Journalist, Osho-Lookalike Tara Patkar Is Mahoba's Roti Bank
outlookindia.com
2020-01-10T15:43:30+05:30

At Aalha-Udal Chowk in Mahoba, hoardings welcome politicians and advertise jaagran shivirs (spiritual awakening camps). There is a sit-in too at the chowk—named after two warrior brothers of the region’s folklore—for a separate Bundelkhand state, which has clocked 536 days. About 10 people are sitting under the banner of Bundeli Samaj; Jai Bundelkhand is their preferred salutation. The Bundelkhand region comprises over a dozen districts, including Mahoba, in Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh.

Among the demonstrators is 49-year-old Tara Patkar, the convener of Bundeli Samaj. Bearded, barefoot and wearing a rosary with a portrait of Osho, Patkar’s appearance is striking. A journalist for over 20 years in Lucknow, he quit his job in 2015, returned to his native place, Mahoba, and resolved to walk barefoot until the district gets a medical college. “In Lucknow, there are many people to fight for the cause, but there are a few here,” says Patkar. A separate state will bring the government’s attention to the region that, he feels, has been ignored so far. Big mining companies are plundering Bundelkhand for gravel and sand, he claims, and the region lacks healthcare facilities. The demand for a separate state has been there for almost 30 years, he adds.

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