There was an air of sadness in the shivering foggy night air. But one thing gladdened our hearts.
It was the 31st of December. Everyone had plans, so did I. But somehow, it seemed more important that night, to understand the pain of farmers, who were forced to guard their fields against feral cattle even on a New Year Eve. Gaon Connection had spent New Year’s night in several villages across Uttar Pradesh, the previous year as well. They saw how the farmers spent the long night saving their crops in the freezing air. The story was very well received and won critical acclaim.
This year another Gaon Connection team under Senior Journalist Arvind Shukla was going back to those villages again to see if anything had changed in the last year. I was on that team. We found that things were exactly the same. Only the year had changed.
The sounds of a mill drifted across the Lakhimpur fields, and the sense of warm jaggery filled our senses. We were drawn by the sweet smell. To watch the sugarcane being transformed into jaggery was a beautiful experience in itself. These photos capture those moments. We took the warm sweet smell back with us that night.