From our Special Correspondent
Silchar, Aug 28: The sleepy and nondescript Tupidahar tribal village, 80 km from here, nestled in the lap of the hills of Jujung under Jirighat forest range in close proximity to Manipur has hit the headline of the media for nothing but political reason. According to the information, the entire population of 200 Hmars has decided to join BJP. This was admitted by the saffron party leader of Lakhipur sub division Thaiba Lairikyengbam who along with his associates, Bappa Sen and other tribal leaders held a meeting with the villagers of Tupidahar recently.
Unimous decision was taken by the Hmars after thorough discussion with Thaiba Lairikyengbam to become members of BJP. Rema Hmar, tribal leader of the village, said, “Our decision to join BJP is based on several counts, the most important of them being their neglect by the Congress for years. There has been nothing like development in our areas which lie almost cocooned and isolated.” Elaborating further, he pointed out their only means of connectivity with the main town of Lakhipur is waterways through Fulertal.
The people of Tupidahar are entirely dependent on the motorboats operated by the state appointed contractors. Once they reach Fulertal or Lakhipur on their various purposes, private and official, they cannot return back the same day. They have to stay for the night in a hotel or homes of acquaintances which becomes not only a wastage of time but also expensive. The journey time both ways take around 12 hours and that clearly brings out their isolation as there is no other means of communication. Their main demand from the district administration is the provision of a motorboat specifically for them.
It is most unfortute as stated by Rema Hmar the MLA of the area has never cared to visit their village and see for himself their plight. Notwithstanding their difficulties and problems, the Hmars have learnt to live with adversity. Their main source of livelihood is jhum cultivation and the products make them self-sufficient to sustain themselves.
The surplus products are brought down to the market of Fulertal or Lakhipur for commercial sale which becomes a supplement to their fincial support. An elderly villager S K Khablang added to say, “We have been supporting Congress for years together in the hope that our socio-economic condition will improve, but all our expectations have been dashed to pieces.” Ultimately, they have decided to throw their weight with the BJP.