A new battle to fish out the tribal from the pond of superstition, witchcraft and child marriage

Atanu Dutta

A tribal village, encircled by a deep forest and hills all around, was forbidden for ages in the fear of ghosts. But this solitary village was chosen for establishing a new mission, aiming to educate the tribal villagers; to fish out them from the pond of superstition, witchcraft and child marriage.
Taldungri is a solitary tribal village in Arsa block, Purulia where nature rolls and laughs. This small village is a gift of the nature, but hard to the villagers. With very little rays of education, lack of vocational training, superstitions strangling normal lives, and scarcity in jobs, make this village difficult to support life.
But another fight has been fighting to make alive the tribal villagers like human beings. A mission named Sidho-Kanho has been formed to keep alive the Santhal heritage and customs. Two persons who have evolved and made a new mark are Mr. Naren Hansda, a Jhumur artist and poet Achintyo Sural. It’s a silent battle, no firing, no bombing. Only the mind-blowing sound of madal (One kind of drum) is echoed in the air. Naren and Achintya took the responsibility to educate the society which so-called intellectual might not have thought to do.
Without any government aid, they arranged drinking water for the villagers. They turned the barren land into greenery by investing their own money which they earned. Now, there are 120 students who come to study here. The school starts at 6 am and ends at 9 am. Getting back home, they have to herd cattle.
Far from the civilized society, the members of the mission started another battle to civilize the poor tribal children. They are lingering for a little smile on every kid’s face. But it’s a tough fight to run this institution without any government aid, but fight is on. The teachers were teaching the students without any remuneration. A few months ago, some kind hearted men took the responsibility to give them a little money.
Apart from formal education, here vocational training in music and performing arts are also imparted. What the school mostly strives for is to remove superstitions such as child marriage, witchcraft, etc from the life of the tribal.

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