FROM OUR STAFF CORRESPONDENT
SHILLONG, March 30: In what could be termed as an extra-ordiry move of the Dakgre Aking of Tura town, West Garo Hills district, the male Nokmas (traditiol Chiefs) will henceforth be called a Jakrika (secretary), Berrd N Marak, the town secretary announced today.
This will be virtually a re-invent of the Garo customary practices where the so-called male Nokmas will have to take a different mantle altogether. However, the town secretary of Dakgre Aking related to the historical transition in the Garo society under the British during the 1st quarter of the last century.
“This decision was taken after evaluating the synonyms of “Nok-ma” which was in fact a prestigious and authoritative feminine title in a Garo matrilineal society,” stated Berrd N Marak while explaining that “Nok-ma” means “Mother of the Family”.
“Male, in literal term, cannot be a “Nok-ma”. It should either be “Nok-pa” or “Padot” or other mes appropriate for a male head. In the past, males took initiative to perform duties on behalf of the “Nok-ma” which became a common practice and got adapted in time. But males using the me “Nok-ma” is not justified. On this context, we are changing the term Nokma to secretary (Jakrikra),” he said.
Referring to Dakgre, he said it is a private ‘aking’ land. “Dakgre aking was demarcated in 1926 by W. Shaw, the then DC. After demarcation Dakgre became a private land (Aking) officially under the custody of the Aking Nokma. But in due course of time, good tured Nokmas were taken advantage by people who cared less on values of the tribals thus violating Nokma’s authority over land,” he said.
“It was a well plotted conspiracy to acquire maximum land from a scheduled area without needing to pay compensation to the Aking Nokma. All decisions on land were supposed to be concerned with the Aking Nokma as she was the official custodian of land who could make a fil call on land including permanent land pattas (land documents),” observed the Dakgre Aking secretary.
He also stated that the Nokma’s authority was sidelined while making regulations over her land which was mostly done without her consent. “Even periodic pattas were issued without her consent, land was occupied without her knowledge and no compensation was paid either by Government or institutions. She did not even get her dues on revenues collected from her aking and so much more which needs rectification,” Sangma said.
Sangma said that there was no transparency over regulations over our land. Even GHADC became victim of this conspiracy through political leaders who made them mere tools through political affiliations.
Stating that so much violation took place which needs immediate rectification, Berrd N Sangma also added that Autonomous District Councils and Aking Nokmas are two distinct authorities who cannot be sidelined in a Scheduled Areas.