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Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Sabha sets sights on tea community - Six garden units opened

Great developments in the Assamese tea community reported in The Telegraph, by a staff reporter.

Jorhat, May 30: The Asam Sahitya Sabha has begun an exercise in building a greater Assam by integrating the tea community with the literary scenario of the state.

The assistant general secretary of the Sabha, Debojit Bora, said till today the community had by and large been ignored by the Sabha, but a scheme had been launched this month to create 75 Sabha units in tea gardens across the state by 2013 and set up a research facility at Dibrugarh that would study the community’s culture and language.

“Till today the tea community has been by and large ignored by the Sabha but when we speak about Assam, we cannot do without the assimilation of this community which is said to be the largest, population wise, among all the other communities,” Bora said.

Bora said Sabha president Rong Bong Terang and its secretary Parmananda Rajbongshi had chalked out the proposal for bringing in the tea community within the greater Assam fold.

In Dibrugarh, construction of a research centre named Rameswar Lal Saharia Sangath Bhawan is under way on the premises of Dibrugarh branch of the Sabha to study all aspects of the community’s culture, food habits, language and festivals.

The Sabha has already made a beginning by setting up six tea garden units in Jorhat district, the first on May 12 at Hoolongoorie tea estate. The other tea garden units are at Teok tea estate, Kakojan, Meleng, Selenghat and Cinnamara.

The one at Cinnamara was opened on May 28.

Convener of the Asam Sahitya Sabha Tea Garden sub-committee, Ashwini Tasa, said other districts would soon be taken up during his two-year tenure and one Sabha unit would be set up to cater to five to 10 gardens covering a population of 5,000.

“Although we came from different parts of India more than 150 years ago, we identify ourselves today as Assamese despite speaking a different language which is a mixture of many languages,” Tasa said.

Tasa pointed out that as people had migrated from Bihar, Jharkhand, Orissa, Madhya Pradesh and West Bengal, it would be next to impossible to evolve a common grammar and language. Tasa said the community comprising many indigenous people and sub-tribes, also lacked an individual with grasp of all these languages put together.

“We have managed to evolve a common language known as Sadri or Sadhani but still there are too many differences which have cropped up while trying to codify this,” he said.

Tasa said he had appealed to the tea community at large to assimilate with the greater Assamese society and the best way to do so was by accepting and learning the Assamese language.

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