In Xaxa’s passing, SabrangIndia and Citizens for Justice and Peace, have lost a dear friend.
Noted Adivasi rights activist Abhay Xaxa is no more. The 37-year-old research scholar from Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) was in Jalpaigudi in West Bengal where he was conducting a workshop with a few other activists when he passed away unexpectedly on the evening of Saturday, March 14, 2020.
Xaxa who had a degree in Social Anthropology from the University of Sussex had worked extensively across India to raise awareness about concerns of Adivasis and forest dwelling communities. He has also written extensively in multiple publications including ours to educate people about the disrespect, deprivation, marginalization and oppression faced by Adivasis every day.
Xaxa had shed light on the powerful nexus of industrialists, bureaucrats and the police who have made successive attempts made to usurp their forests, land and water resources. He has also spoken extensively against systemic exclusion and a culture of inequality in institutes of higher learning. He has also never minced words about exoticisation and appropriation of Adivasi culture.
His two poems; “I am not your data” and “The Republic of Memory Lost” also highlight this quest for justice and dignity. Xaxa had also been a key speaker at our Netizens for Democracy conclave in 2019.
Fr. Nicholas Barla, who was with Abhay at the time of his passing, told The News Minute, “Dr Abhay was in Jalpaigudi in West Bengal to conduct a workshop, and complained of shortness of breath, and was taken to the hospital. He was declared brought dead. His body is undergoing a post mortem, and will be taken to his native place in Chhattisgarh on Monday.”