Book Review of “The Adivasi Will not Dance” by Hansda Sowendra Shekhar

The Adivasi Will Not Dance

Author: Hansda Sowendra Shekhar

Publisher:  Speaking Tiger Publishing Pvt. Ltd.

Edition: 1st Edition 2015

Genre: Fiction

Extent: 187 pp

Price: Rs 399

Rating: 3.5/5


The Adivasi Will Not Dance is about the struggles of Adivasi’s; Santhals to be precise, when they were forced to move out of their village and lands were confiscated which left them to rot in poverty or to be forced in many other unmentionable situations like Prostitution.

It is organised in 10 different short stories which will take you on a journey of the Santhal wat of life. Few of my favourite ones and why are as follows:


They Eat Meat

It’s about Adivasis who are moving from City to City for their work and face difficulty in their habitat while trying to adapt as much as they can. Humanity is what matters the most, that’s what this lesson is trying to show their readers.

It doesn’t matter which religion you follow or what caste you belongs to, your behaviour towards a particular situation reveals what you really are at your heart.

“They are a poor thief and cannot hide a penny themselves.” i.e. what they believe and this is clearly shown here. Your upbringing is responsible for what your future holds and not the money your ancestors or family possess. Time is the biggest healer, and a flippant as well; you never know when it is going to get you on top of the hill or deep inside a dumpster.


Eating With The Enemy

Now this was an interesting read for me, a life story about a santhal woman being so naïve and immature. How a poor girl has to choose between hell and nightmare where she chose to become a mistress over a prostitute. How she found solace in being the other woman and gets used. How she chose to become the ignorant little puppet at the hands of a strong and powerful person, who was her provider in the worst manner.

We humans are an intriguing breed; we face obstacles everyday and adopt various ways to overcome it while spending our days living the consequences of those choices.


Desire, Divination, and Death

This is a story of a child and his mother which makes you empathise with their life. It shows how strong a desire can be, and how it can lead you to hallucinate exactly what you’re thinking about vigorously and forces you to actually believe in it. A death of a boy whose mother works for his happiness and still remains unlucky to meet her child one last time before he leaves this world.

It makes you think about what are your priorities in life and what should matter the most; because we don’t know when life is going to throw its dice and make you lose what’s precious to you. Grab the opportunity and enjoy whatever little time you get with your family, we never know when we’ll be left behind.


Merely A Whore

A Whore; what’s the first thing that comes to your mind? A scrunched nose, a judgement, a person to look down to, a person to defame!

What we don’t realize is; that they don’t have an option like we do. They do not have anything named freedom in their future, but have to make do with the life they have been dealt with. This is a story of a girl named Sona, merely a whore who has been sold and has accepted her fate. She lives in her own world where she is powerful because she is thinking about herself and not sulking about the life she has. It’s a different story that she is still a human being, a person with emotions and feelings which has no space in the profession of prostitution.

She is no different and she becomes a victim of her own emotions, which are known to be a death of us, but what makes her Sona, is her ability to pick herself from this disaster called emotions and her ability to deal with.


The Adivasi Will Not Dance

“Santhals don’t understand business.”

They cannot cheat their customers or charge high prices for their safety net in future, and that’s what makes them weak businessmen. Various castes are nurturing from these santhals, but they remain where they are; a poverty stricken village.



“We santhals do not know how to protect our riches. We only know how to escape.”

Truer words were never spoken before! Yes in this whole book I have noted that that’s what these Adivasis do, escape. Escape from any and every situation because they think they cannot overcome their short comings and it’ll be better to run!

Adivasi language which was used in the book can prove to be a bit difficult for me, else the flow of stories are well balanced within the length and not stretched over. Overall, the book was an interesting read with in-depth knowledge about the life of Adivasis from someone who belongs to this Santhal sanctuary himself. A good insight about they suffer and how they cope up is what you’ll get in “The Adivasi Will Not Dance”.

Aradhna Tiwari

This book review was written by Aradhna Tiwari. She is a freelance Content Writer by profession, while a book hound by passion. She loves to read Fiction, Non-Fiction, Contemporary, even some thriller and psychological reads as well. She has worked with many SEO companies as a Content Writer, has written Wikipedia pages, Personal Blogs for Online Reputation Management, a Social Media Executive while writing blogs, articles, website contents and reviews for some of her favourite reads.

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