Akham Bonbirdhwaja Singh
(On the event the Nationwide Wildlife Week commencing from the 2nd October, 2022, I salute all of the unsung heroes of forests and wildlife; each serving and retired together with those that laid down their lives in defending our priceless heritage. This text is devoted to them)
Years after retirement, I embarked upon a visit which I ought to have undertaken lengthy again. The mass suicide of birds, the phenomenon which we have been informed within the forest faculty in 1976 (EFRC, now Central Academy of Forest Training, St. Mary’s Hill, Kurseong, Darjeeling) which have been of nice curiosity, intrigued me lots and I assumed to witness it personally. Some mentions have been made by wildlife skilled EP Gee in his ebook The Wildlife of India (1957), however all the particulars of the phenomenon haven’t been described there. I used to be so obsessive about this thriller that yearly within the months of September and October I at all times bear in mind this phenomenon and thought that I ought to have made it this yr. Within the meantime, some items of the thriller have been defined with some extra research involving the Wildlife Institute of India. Nonetheless, my want of going to Jatinga has by no means diminished and final yr, I almost made it however I bought contaminated with Covid. Solely this yr, I might make it, that too in the appropriate timing. What is true timing is being defined later ? The beckoning of the misty hills should have been fairly robust.
A distant village within the North East India, Jatinga is a village positioned within the midst of low mendacity rolling hills in Dima Hasao Hill District of Assam close to Haflong city. It’s about 330 km south of Guwahati and 103 km north of Silchar. It’s at a distance of about 9 km from Haflong. The village itself is positioned on a ridge and really picturesque. Haflong is a well-known hill station, the one hill station of Assam, earlier often known as NC Hills and famend for its lovely panorama. The altitude (680 m above MSL) nonetheless is decrease than that of Imphal. Throughout, the place has lush vegetation and is stuffed with life. EP Gee as soon as remarked about fertile North East that he was afraid to place down his strolling stick, lest it would sprout……, the identical appears to be true right here very a lot. The valleys are deep inexperienced and fertile. On account of excessive humidity, there’s at all times mist hanging low alongside the inexperienced slopes. So the hills of Dima Hasao space are often known as misty hills. The inhabitants of Jatinga are of Khasi pnar tribe, a really pleasant and harmless folks. The opposite folks of Dima Hasao are additionally pleasant; there are Dimasa Kachari, Kuki, Biate (not Baite), Karbi, Zeme, Hrangkhol, Khasi and others. There’s a park close to Jatinga, they name it ethnic village maintained by the Forest Division. There the statues of all of the indigenous tribes of Dima Hasao with the kind homes they construct displayed superbly.
Let me briefly let you know how Dima Hasao district was born. Dima Hasao (Dimasa Hills) was earlier often known as NC Hills and in medieval interval, it was part of Kachari Dimasa Kingdom with capital at Khaspur. The Dimasa Kingdom additionally had its capital at Dimapur, Maibang, Haritakur and many others. at totally different factors of time. After the demise of Krishnachandra (married to a Meitei princess Induprabha, daughter of King Madhuchandra) his brother Govinda Chandra Hasnusa turned the king and he was a weak king. Throughout his time, the hilly portion of the dominion was assigned to Kashi Chandra one of many Ministers. Kashichandra began administering the world independently and so, Govind Chandra bought him assassinated. Kashi Chandra’s son Tularam was incensed by that and he declared independence with the assistance of British. After his demise (1853), British annexed NC Hills, which they later divided into three elements, and assigned an element to Khasi Hills and an element to Nagaon. (Cachar was already annexed to British India in 1832 after the demise of Govindachandra in 1830 with out leaving a son beneath the doctrine of lapse) The third half assigned to Cachar district is what’s the Dima Hasao District at this time. Haflong was made its capital in 1895. Dima Hasao is far truncated in space than the unique North Cachar Hills. Throughout British time and later, many individuals settled right here and the district now have many different tribes apart from the Kachari Dimasas as identified already.
The Haflong city has a lot better highway community than that of Shillong when it comes to the width and higher than that of Imphal when it comes to situation. Nonetheless, the highway from Silchar to Haflong (NH 27) is beneath restore for widening to 4 lane alongside all the hill part until the Silchar Haflong and Guwahati Haflong highway junction (Guwahati Haflong part is alleged to be excellent and already 4-lane). All over the place hill cuttings and new bridge development works have dug up the highway and no portion is with black prime besides in two or three very small stretches. This coupled with the current heavy rains in Cachar and Dima Hasao has precipitated quite a lot of landslides all alongside and has made the situation worse. Cachar and Silchar have seen the more severe flood of the century and even the railway traces in Dima Hasao space have been buried beneath landslide particles. So, after I requested for a taxi at Kumbhir-gram, no cab was able to go to Haflong. I needed to take one which charged exorbitantly (nonetheless barely lower than that of “Savaari”). The highway was in worst situation and the hundred kilometres was like a thousand kilometres and the journey was again breaking. Nonetheless, it was not sufficient to discourage my spouse and I who have been so obsessive about the phenomenon of hen suicide. I took highway journey as I needed to benefit from the well-known Dima Hasao panorama however I might relish solely a small half as for many a part of my experience, I used to be attempting to carry on as a result of bumps, twists and jolts and disturbed gyro. However the small glimpses I might savour have been sufficient to create a reminiscence, in any case Dima Hasao was not nicknamed “Scotland of Assam” with out motive. I began off from Kumbhirgram Airport by 2 pm and reached Haflong at round 8 pm and by the point my again was in ache however I didn’t remorse. I might have taken a practice journey, the practice journey is much less strenuous and the Haflong Practice Station is without doubt one of the most lovely Hill Railway Stations within the nation. In fact all of the Railway stations within the hills be it of Darjeeling or be it of Shimla, they’re all lovely (readers may remem- ber Rani Gaidinliu Station which went viral within the social media). The practice to Imphal are in truth going to come back through Haflong. I really deliberate it for the return journey as practice timing was not proper for my flight timing for the ahead journey.
The Dima Hasao District is a hill vary contiguous to our personal Tamenglong district having comparable topogra- phy and vegetation. In truth, Tamenglong and adjoining space turned part of Manipur via a treaty by British (generally often known as Jiri Treaty) in trade of a big a part of Cachar district which was beneath Manipur. (To be contd)