Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Why I support the fight against Mautaam famine!

I have been haunted by the sad memory of an incident that happened way back in 1992. Strong winds and rains caused heavy landslide to our Jhum field. Not only ours, but it also destroyed a vast area of jhum land that year. The landslide moved down all the vegetations cultivated with hard labour. At some place it forms a wall, a pond in our field. Cultivation was made to help us survive and, of course, it’s our subsistence. We came to know that some relief could be claimed from the state government. We, along with our distant uncle who was one of the victims, then hired one of our other educated uncles to help us in writing a petition. The petition was immediately submitted to the District Commissioner of Churachandpur for necessary action on his part. We begun to wait for a response and were waiting and waiting for the relief measures to be granted. After requesting a number of times and a constant follow up, a lambu (Surveyor so to speak) was allotted to us to take stock of the situation of the destruction done. Slowly, at his own sweet time, the lambu came with us to our distant jhum field and he collected some data: the crops cultivated, the harvest made last year and the possible lost due to rain that year, etc. He was however quite in a hurry. But we don’t know why. We were cultivating rice, maize, beans area-wise. After his survey, we went home and had a discussion over a cup of tea. My cousin sister prepared special tea for the Lambu under the direction of my uncle. My Uncle’s advice: Make a very special tea (Singat special to be precise coz he said, ‘a sum mamah ing in ong bawl ou’). We gathered our small savings, the little money we had and gave them to the lambu along with a small hen. That’s the only offering, bribing if you don’t mind, we could made! My uncle, after the lambu left us, said ‘tua Ih aak piak in pouh ikik ati song’ meaning that the chick given by us cried ikik. Hey, it was small, no doubt. But that’s the only thing we could offer. And now the second phase of waiting starts. We were waiting, waiting, and waiting. Now inquiring, then waiting and inquiring at the DC’s Office. And finally, we gave up. And it seems no relief package was sanctioned to us. I don’t know. It’s sad. Really sad. No proper harvest made that year. This was our ‘taam’, famine.

And now, with this Mautaam making its round again, I made up my mind to help the victim/s. Government takes time. Red-tapism leads to “Kial laplo”. Yes, if you look at me, I have no connection with any the victims of Mautaam. I have no uncle, aunty or relatives suffering this Mautaam. But I wanna HELP. And this spirit led us to start a noble initiative, mautaam.org, to help them. Let’s work together and help them. Please help us to help them.

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