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Octogenarian recollects Rabha�s visit to village

By Tejesh Tripathi
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BONGAIGAON, June 20 � An unknown hamlet named Jiyaguri-Rabhapara. It is located about 16 km south-east of Bongaigaon district headquarters. The sleepy hamlet is a part of Sidalsati village in Bongaigaon district. Here lives an old man whose name is Akkalu Rabha. He is now 82 years old. A father of three sons and three daughters, at present he is living with a daughter alone in a dilapidated hut. His only earning source is casual work. Still no government welfare schemes have reached his door step.

Akkalu says that when he was in class three he saw Kalaguru Bishnu Rabha in his village. The peasant hero stayed here in the house of a rich man named Lokmon Rabha. Bishnu Rabha had brought along with him two young girls, a Brahmin and a Bodo, who took care him. He also said that Bishnu Rabha who could speak Assamese, Bodo, Nepali, Hindi as well as English, remained busy in writing during day time. At night he organised meeting with villagers to discuss ways to empower the peasant folk. Besides, he made villagers aware about political oppression. He sang revolutionary songs in the meeting itself to instill confidence among the poor farmers, Rabha said.

Bishnu Rabha stayed in the village for about seven days. Soon after his departure, the military reached the village and arrested members of every family. In those days there were only 27 houses in this village . Residents of this village had to serve one month and seven days� jail term in the Goalpara jail.

Reminiscing about those times, Akkalu said that as he was a minor at that time so he escaped from serving a prison term. Bishnu Rabha inspired him to study well, Akkalu said as a result of which he did well in his exam and was able to get a scholarship. Later, however due to financial crisis, Akkalu left studies and became a farmer for some years. After losing his land to a landlord he became a casual labour. Bishnu Rabha ate every food, but he liked rice beer very much and was a non-smoker, said Akkalu. He spoke less but his speech was bold.

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Octogenarian recollects Rabha�s visit to village

BONGAIGAON, June 20 � An unknown hamlet named Jiyaguri-Rabhapara. It is located about 16 km south-east of Bongaigaon district headquarters. The sleepy hamlet is a part of Sidalsati village in Bongaigaon district. Here lives an old man whose name is Akkalu Rabha. He is now 82 years old. A father of three sons and three daughters, at present he is living with a daughter alone in a dilapidated hut. His only earning source is casual work. Still no government welfare schemes have reached his door step.

Akkalu says that when he was in class three he saw Kalaguru Bishnu Rabha in his village. The peasant hero stayed here in the house of a rich man named Lokmon Rabha. Bishnu Rabha had brought along with him two young girls, a Brahmin and a Bodo, who took care him. He also said that Bishnu Rabha who could speak Assamese, Bodo, Nepali, Hindi as well as English, remained busy in writing during day time. At night he organised meeting with villagers to discuss ways to empower the peasant folk. Besides, he made villagers aware about political oppression. He sang revolutionary songs in the meeting itself to instill confidence among the poor farmers, Rabha said.

Bishnu Rabha stayed in the village for about seven days. Soon after his departure, the military reached the village and arrested members of every family. In those days there were only 27 houses in this village . Residents of this village had to serve one month and seven days� jail term in the Goalpara jail.

Reminiscing about those times, Akkalu said that as he was a minor at that time so he escaped from serving a prison term. Bishnu Rabha inspired him to study well, Akkalu said as a result of which he did well in his exam and was able to get a scholarship. Later, however due to financial crisis, Akkalu left studies and became a farmer for some years. After losing his land to a landlord he became a casual labour. Bishnu Rabha ate every food, but he liked rice beer very much and was a non-smoker, said Akkalu. He spoke less but his speech was bold.

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