A rather sad story from the BBC about Verrier Elwin’s widow, who is living in extreme poverty in a village in Madhya Pradesh.

After he arrived in 1927, Verrier Elwin was one of the first anthropologists to write with great sympathy and understanding about India’s tribal communities. In 1940, the 37 year old Elwin married Kosi, a 13 year old Gond girl. They were divorced after ten years. For a few years Elwin sent Rs. 25 per month, and when he stopped, Kosi took jobs doing farm work to support herself and her two children.

Perhaps one should not be too surprised that a man who showed great sensitivity towards marginalized communities, should have shown such callousness towards the girl (an underage one at that) he married. Somehow those with ambitiously compassionate projects, seem to have none to spare for those who are around them.