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Good Neighbour Initiative – an attempt to revive a lost tradition of Assamese rural society

From our Correspondent

MANGALDAI, February 3: “When my neighbour cannot sleep at night because the roof of his house leaks or the window is broken, how can I sleep peacefully in the comfort of my house?” this thought led Dr. Hiranya Kumar th-a professor of Economics at Sam Houston State University Huntsville, Texas (USA) origilly from a sleepy village gaon in Darrang district, to take up the unique ‘Good Neighbour Initiative’ in his tive village.

In the yesteryears, there was a tradition in Assamese rural societies for all the villagers to extend all possible help and cooperation in construction of thatched houses or to repair the damaged houses of the comparatively poorer section in the village, which was a unique example of maintaining a very cordial relation with the neighbours. But as the rural lives were gripped by the waves of modernization, this tradition also lost its way in the mechanical mindsets. But Dr. th, who was awarded felicitation by the district administration of Darrang during the Independence Day celebration in Mangaldai last year for his extraordiry service to his fellow countrymen, has taken up this initiative to bring a total change in the rural lives by re-introducing this praiseworthy initiative.

“We, the people of gaon, a village in Darrang district where I was born, came together to build and repair a house where Bhupen th lives with his wife and mother. I proposed this initiative to the people of gaon on October 2, 2016. Subsequently, we identified nine households and this was our first effort. I am grateful to the people of gaon, who have contributed in this endeavor and given all of us hope that we can be good, caring neighbours who mobilize resources and labour to help those who are physically, mentally, and fincially weak to help themselves. I thank gaon Gaon Unyan Parishad for taking lead in coorditing this effort. I am thankful to the Deputy Commissioner of Darrang, Ashok Barman and legislator of Mangaldai, Gurujyoti Das for coming by and for encouraging all of us. We are planning to extend our helping hands to the remaining eight households in next two to three months. I do hope that this becomes a global initiative. Please join us. Please spread the words,” said Dr. th while talking to The Sentinel. All the villagers, particularly the youths, seemed to be highly excited and encouraged to take part in such a noble initiative.

On being informed about the initiative, Deputy Commissioner Ashok Kumar Barman accompanied by District Information and Public Relation Officer (DIPRO) Samar Kalita, left aside his busy schedule and immediately rushed to village gaon to meet Dr. th and his team. “Dr. Hiranya Kumar th, a worthy son of Darrang district in the true sense, has taken up a unique initiative to revive a lost tradition of Assamese rural society which surely will strengthen the bond of brotherhood and solidarity in the society,” said Deputy Commissioner Ashok Kumar Barman while talking to The Sentinel and hoped that this initiative would spread to other areas of the district.   

Dr. th in his individual initiative has instituted and funded two scholarships ‘Assam Scholarship in Honors Research’ and ‘Assam Scholarship in Monetary Economics’ in Sam Houston State University since 2009. Both scholarships have been med after ‘Assam’ to increase awareness about the State among the SHSU community. Dr. th does hope that the students, faculty and staff members will not only be aware of Assam through this initiative but will also be interested in exploring, researching, and investing in his beautiful homeland.

About the author

Ankur Kalita