Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Brahmaputra river: Eroding Land of the Misings of Gohpur in Assam

I was in Gohpur's Mising villages on the day of Bihu this year. Towards south of National Highway 52 from Gohpur town in Sonitpur district of Assam, there are number of villages inhabited by Mising people till the immediate bank ( some are even after crossing it!) of Brahmaputra river.

We enjoyed Bihu with our friends based in number of villages, most of whom were in home during Bihu holidays. So far I can recall, the  name of villages we toured were Dondhi, Letburung, Choraibari, Lohitmukh, Pichola etc. Our gang of friends, most of whom were university students , when we reached Choraibari village, near the embankment joined local youths in merry-making . Some seized the cymbals, others picked the drums. Then, we were almost forced by a group of damsels to sing oi nitom, our folk song. We enjoyed in courtyard of taléng okum.

Portion of land falling into river Brahmaputra in Pichola
We were on bike. We rode through the muddy road cum embankment along beautiful taléng okum/ stilt house in the villages. A guy named Pabitra took me and another friend to the river side in Amguri Pichola near Lohitmukh. I was taken aback by images, a mighty river marauding people's dwellings and farmlands. I cursed myself I could not do anything to stop the beautiful land from eroding. We saw families packing their belongings to safer location with the increasing onslaught of the river. When many people are absorbed with Mising Autonmous Council (MAC) boundary and election,  I was witnessing helplessly shrinking land that falls in MAC. I am sharing the pictures which I captured with a friend's cellphone.

Women collects firewood from the river side.
This will be devoured soon, cause of people's silent weeping.
Can't we have a long term measure to stop erosion? What happened to the policy makers who promised of protecting the lives and property of people? Doesn't we have an engineer in the country who can make foolproof embankment rather than just sand filled long dykes? We can create billion of scams, not embankment. I'm sharing only these heart-pounding pictures , not the celebration ones in protest. This blog is dedicated to all struggling people of river banks who are serially been ignored, marginalized and excluded from the fruits of Indian democracy, whose votes are valued only during election.

I'm sure that no one will intervene or assist,  I will not see the river banks, the river side stilt houses, the green paddy farm any more when I visit next time. Because, this is Assam, and suffering people here are Mising!

( I am thankful to all my friends of the villages of Gohpur. Special thanks to Pabitra who took me to the river side.)
Sandcasting: This was once a fertile farm land and human habitat
"When we were in our childhood, we have to walk miles with packed meals to reach the ghat. Today, it is here".

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