"C'è tanta terra qui, ma non c'è un unico pezzo per noi. Forse che non è nel nostro destino".
PHOTO ESSAY by KISHOR SHARMA
"I worked more than 40 years for landlords, I don't have a piece of land, what else can I do?" Jaga can't remember the exact year of his birth, though his citizenship card says 1938.
"There is so much land here, but there is not a single piece for us. Maybe it is not in our destiny."
So say the women from the Musahar community around Sapahi VDC of Bara. They have spent their lives working for landlords, yet remain as impoverished as ever.
Over the last few decades, the landless people here have built meagre huts to accommodate themselves and their children. They have been here for all or most of their lives, but have no formal title to the land they live on.
Society and state has sidelined these people, but there is no shortage of those who wish to exploit their plight for political gain. The recent clash between state security and squatters in the forests of Dudejhari resulted in the deaths of six people. If a way isn't found to address the needs of the landless, Dudejhari may prove to be just a precursor of things to come.
Jaga Majhi walks into his village of landless squatters in Sapahi VDC, Bara district.
There's not much of note inside Jaga Majhi's mud hut, where he lives with his eldest son and grandchildren.
"I worked many years for political parties. I have two children and I want to send them to school but I don't have a job. I go to the jungle to collect firewood and sell it. We are totally dependent on the forest," says Sat Jivan Sharma, 27.
A local youth teaches children from the village. But most children here don't go to school, and if they do, drop out early.
The locals struggle with the cold in the early winter mornings.
Cutting straw is dusty work.
Women of the Musahar community work the fields. "We can't actually remember since when we've been working for landlords. We get Rs100 for a day's work."
Shyam Chaudhari, 17, studies in Class Seven at a local government school but works the fields in his spare time.
All images © KISHOR SHARMA