MANGALDAI, Feb 27 - Every Sunday, since the last couple of weeks, has turned out to be festive occasion for the people of an unknown village called Nagaon, some 12 kilometres away from Managldai. But this festival is not included in the yearlong list of festivals, as unlike the other festivals, here people altogether celebrate for a very noble cause rendering selfess service in constructing or renovating the pathetic dwelling houses of some of their fellow villagers for whom spending nights in their houses without fear used be a dream or getting a house under any government sponsored scheme is a nightmare!
The initiative through which people of the village have come forward and joined their hands to help their poor, underprivileged fellow neighbours not to spend sleepless nights for not having a safe and secured roofs over their heads is termed as � Good Neighbour Initiative�. �This is the brain child of Dr Hiranya Kr Nath, a US-based Assamese professor and the true son of the village Nagaon. �The idea was conceived by professor Hiranya and he has also been providing all financial help to purchase construction materials and we all are putting our labour to make it a success,� said Laba Kr Bora, the village head.
�Cutting across all barriers of social and professional status or age bar on every Sunday, around 60-70 villagers under the village development committee render physical labour and enjoy the holiday with a community feast at the fruitful end of the day,� said Sarat Ch Nath, secretary of the local village development committee with a smile on his face . �Hiranya Nath has asked our committee to select the list of families whose houses may fall anytime and they are no way capable of repairing it. Hence we have selected nine such families on priority and on each holiday we are constructing one or two houses,� said Kamiram Nath (72), the oldest among the members . The initiative has already led to completion of new houses for four families till date including one Bhumita Nath (38) , a daily wage earner and an orphan among others. Bhumita while talking to this correspondent thanked Hiranya Kr Nath from the core of her heart and with tears in her eyes said, �Some five years back I spent almost Rs 3,000 from my savings to repair the house but at present it has become almost impossible for me even to get two meals a day from daily wages or by growing livestock.� �Meanwhile, explaining the motive behind this concept, Dr Hiranya Kr Nath, an associate professor in the Department of Economics at Sam Houston State University, Huntsville, Texas (USA), who is presently in Assam in connection with an ongoing project in IIT, Guwahati, said, �In my childhood, I found that each family of our village was involved with the other, be it a moment of sadness or joy. But due to various factors this community feeling has somehow been lost. My efforts are just to bring back that lost feeling in my birth place.� Expressing his happiness over the success of his idea , �When my neighbour cannot sleep at night because, the roof of his/her house leaks or the window is broken, how can I sleep peacefully in the comfort of my house?�. �The idea has already attracted conscious people of some other villages like Awlachouka, Bordoulguri etc., as many interested persons have spoken to me regarding this initiative to get it implemented in their villages too,� Dr Nath added.