The road from Jagdalpur to Lohandiguda is a smooth 30 km, turning off into some of the most beautiful and unusual villages in the region. High stone walls fence off large compounds around houses of mud, thatch and shale. Chind or date palm trees grow along the bunds of the fields, and the tabletop hills rise flat and low in the background. The ravages of a couple of limestone quarries apart, this is fertile agricultural land.
Madhu, one of the men I met in Sirisguda, recounted a conversation he had with a shopkeeper in Jagdalpur, who asked him where he was from. “Lohandiguda”, he replied. “Then you are the maliks of Tata,” the shopkeeper said, “They will give you all the facilities you need, especially since your fields produce nothing.” Madhu replied, “Thanks, but I am earning fine now, and grow three crops a year, and don’t need the Tatas.”