"Rabha Tribe," a jewel in Assamese culture

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Guwahati, Mar 26 (ANI): The northeast region has an extraordinary ethnic, linguistic, religious and cultural diversity with the hill areas being predominately inhabited by tribal communities.

Sattargaon in Assam's Kamrup District is home to the "Rabha Tribe."

One has to walk through miles of narrow jungle in Kamrup District to reach 'Sattargoan' village.

Located in the Garbhanga Reserve Forest area, the village has over 50 Rabha Tribe dwellings.

Though they are in a majority in Assam's Goalpara District, but some years ago several families settled down in 'Sattargoan', which falls in the West Guwahati constituency.

They earn their income from kitchen farming, poultry and piggery. This is supplemented by the daily wage labour of menfolk.

The villagers always vote in elections and have complete faith in the democratic institutions of the country.

In return, they expect the development of the village.

"We have hopes from the government that if we vote as Indian citizens, in return, we expect development from the political parties. We are poor people, but, we have the power to elect politicians. If we don't vote, how can they (politicians) be big men? asked Binu Paharia, Sattargaon villager.

Sattargoan residents protect wild animals.

Recently, they saved a female wild elephant, that was hit by a speeding train.

A Guwahati-based NGO called 'Just be Friendly' head of the incident and decided to work with the villagers.

"When the JBF India heard that these villagers had saved the life of a wild elephant then we decided to help these people protect the wild animals. We have come here and are helping them treat domestic animals. We have given vaccination and medicines to them. We are the first NGO to come here," said Sajahan Ahmed, a member of JBF.

"This is for the first time an NGO has come here. We are very happy. If this thing had happened earlier, it would have been so good. We also want doctors to treat human beings as well," said Dilip Rabha.

Situated a few miles of the National Highway 37, Sattargoan possesses the potential of being an eco-tourism site.

For that, it requires solar power, connectable roads, education of villagers and medical facilities.

Experts believe implementation of Central Government schemes like NREGA will help villagers lead better lives.

"We want the government to build a road and provide solar power to the village. It also requires a school. People here are not aware of the NREGA Scheme," said Laknah Teron, an environmentalist.

"So, the government and NGOs should make them aware of various schemes. There should be more development of this area, because these tribal people feel they are an integral part of India and Assam. There should be development in this area," he added.

Many young men and women in Sattargaon have taken up bamboo craftwork and handloom as their profession to become self-reliant.

It also helps preserve their rich art and culture.

The Rabha tribe has set an example on how to lead a peaceful life. By Peter Alex Todd (ANI)

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