Monday, February 09, 2009

Give Me Love, Give Me Peace on Earth

Today, I'm quoting from my own blog. There are two paragraphs from 'The Dooars: A World' below.

1.The Dooars is a world that abounds in natural beauty, with its forests, rivers and mountains. There are more than two hundred tea gardens here. We call them gardens and not estates. It makes the place sound idyllic, maybe like a Garden of Eden, and in some respects that isn’t too far off the mark. Many people who have seen the Dooars have described it as Paradise.

2.North Bengal began to grow into the multi ethnic region it has become today. Most people speak Hindi, Bengali, Nepalese and three or four aadivasi dialects like Oraon, Munda and Saadri with ease. For non linguists, it is enough to know Hindi. Anyone from any part of India can come here to live and soon start feeling at home. The provision shop in the town nearby will start supplying him with a magazine in his language and some foodstuff or other which is a specialty of his region!

There are two truths here about the Dooars. It is a place of great natural beauty, and it is a place of ethnic diversity. I didn’t mention how all the different communities lived together harmoniously when I wrote the above piece. It was a given, it was the way we were.

I'm not pretending that life as a tea planter's wife has been idyllic. There's loneliness, the lack of intelligent occupation, and no chance to build a career. Sometimes they are enough to crush the spirit.

The dangers in this world range from snakes, elephants, storms and floods to highway dacoity, labour agitations, and sometimes physical assaults on tea garden executives. These are the hazards we live with. They may be slightly unfamiliar to city people, who live with an entirely different set of problems and dangers. This is a kind of jungle, while the city, maybe, is another.

This blog has never been a place where I write about our problems, but today, things are different. We are all watching and listening as violence rages between two ethnic groups all over the Dooars. The Dooars was inclusive and welcoming. We used to call it a ‘Mini India’ very proudly. We have caught up with the rest of India. Our small towns have Section 144 imposed on them, and the names Banarhat, Birpara, Mal Bazaar and Nagrakata have made headlines. For all the wrong reasons.


flowergirl said...

Such is the tragedy isn't it,when we get caught up in our differences and it eats away at the heart of tolerance and patience.

What a pity that in the land of Gandhi, we are all becoming so intolerant and quick to react and rage at one another. While at the same time, we let our politicians get away with corruption and this politics of division.

Yes, I too join you in looking for peace and tolerance, Gardenia! And may it return to that little oasis of beauty soon!

kallu said...

Can imagine what distress you must be feeling Gowri. The world as you know it dissolving in front of your eyes. But take heart, it will patch up again even though it may not be as strongly. Our Indian politics usually do.
You can only try to fret less and wait for peace to enter everyone's hearts.

Kamini said...

It is heartbreaking when a place you know and love falls apart before your eyes. Yet you continue to see beauty and charm all around and write so beautifully to share it with us.

Marilyn Miller said...

Thanks for sharing. I will certainly keep your safety and the safety of others in my prayers. Somedays are just difficult to focus on the positives, aren't they? You do a great job.

Lakshmi Bharadwaj said...

Oh such a sad thing to happen...can understand. But must tell you, ive fallin in love with Doars just by reading blogs!! With our prayers, Im sure things will settle down and everything will become fine take care.

thebutterflydiaries said...

Having had the privilege of having lived in the Dooars albeit in a military station (Binnaguri), this wave of violence saddens me. What saddened me most of all was the extreme poverty of the people of the region due to lack of alternative means of employment which I am sure underlies as one of the principal causes for the situation today.

Just as the the rustic picturesqueness of the Doooars is marred by the rotting smell of jute decaying in pools of water, the outward calm and beauty is marred by the unrest seething below the surface. Pity the Dooars and those who have the misfortune of belonging there.