Silchar: There are some who with their grit and determination work for betterment of society far from the glare of publicity, quite silently, unheard and unsung. It is only a chance encounter with media that brings them into focus and also recognition. One such social activist is a 20-year-old Ratanjoy Reang who, against all odds and oddities, has changed the face of his village and its neighbourhood. The village in question is Menafi located in the foothills of Mizoram, 85 km from the district headquarters of Karimganj. The village and its neighbourhood dotted with the hamlets of Guaura, Birjapur and Lalgenai is Reang dominated under Ratabari police station.
Being located in forest areas and far from the madding crowd, Menafi has been plagued with many problems. There has been no connectivity or road, no electricity and safe drinking water. Above all, there’s not even a basic or primary centre of education. Around 300 Reangs, men, women and children, living there have none to think of their better life until Ratanjoy Reang takes up the cudgel to address and redress the problems. With his sustained and concerted hard works of the last five years, he has been able to set up a primary school in the village.
Without education and enlightenment, Reangs cannot raise their voice and be heard. Since missionaries from Mizoram have often descended down on their village and in the process converted half of the population into Christianity, Ratanjoy took the help of Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram and Bharat Sevasram Sangha to put a halt on proselytization. Moreover, the area has also been in the hotline of insurgents infiltrating from Mizoram and Tripura. Their appeal to the district administration to check the extremist activities has resulted in adequate security in and around the hamlets.
The village today has good communication, provision of safe drinking water and a school. But, electricity is yet to reach. Nagendra Reang, a middle aged man, is now hopeful they will soon have electricity. The changing scenario has now drawn plainsmen also who include Bengali and Hindi-speaking people. This gives Menafi a homogenous demographic structure. They have joined hands with the tribesmen to see there is no more conversion and those converted should be brought back home.
Ratanjoy playing a key role in this unification has set up a Durga temple in the village where villagers worship and pray for peace and prosperity. Milan Dev, Chandan Bhar, Rajiv Das and Rajesh Teli admit the initiative and hard work of Ratanjoy for the uplift and improvement of the tribals and non-tribals, socially and economically, besides opening the opportunity for primary education. The changing face of Menafi has set an example before others to emulate the brave heart with the motto of better living in peace and harmony.