Supriya Sharma, TNN--February 13, 2011
NARAYANPUR: "Have you seen the film Avataar?," asked Swami Agnivesh, as he trudged along a jungle path this Friday, carefully avoiding sharp edged stones, and the even sharper thorns in the bushes.
"Isn't this place like the other planet shown in the film? And aren't our adivasi brothers just like the Naavi people? Simple and innocent".
Clad in his trademark saffron, at striking contrast with the greens and browns of the forest, the 71 year old social activist was on his way to free five policemen held hostage for 18 days by the Maoists. The destination was an undisclosed location somewhere inside Abhujmaad, literally the unknown forest, in Chhattisgarh's Bastar region. And accompanying the Swami, were a group of human right activists, a gaggle of media, and the distraught families of the captured policemen.
"I want my munna back," wept Amarwati Devi, tears rolling down her creased face, half covered with the pallu of her saree. The old woman had travelled with her daughter from a village in Rewa, Madhya Pradesh by tonga, train, bus, and car. Like the others, she was finally trekking in the jungle to reunite with her 26 year old son.