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Sabui grass or Babui grass is a known crop to the tribal  since long.  There are many legendary stories on this crop ,you can here these from HOs or Sabars in  Chotonagapur Plateau . Bompass ,Boadings’ writings on folk lore of Santhal Parganas  witness close relationship between sabui & tribal of eastern India. Similarly you can have reference to the crop  from  W.W.Hunter’s description on Chotonagpur. However, Sabuigrass came into light during nineteenth century when  the then Government made survey on this grass for feeding  their paper industry . They also attempted to its feasibility  in exporting  in their own kingdom,UK.  A good materials on Sabui grass is found  in the monograph written by D.N.Mukherjee(1908): Paper & Paper Mache in Bengal. 

To Lodhas, Savars, & other tribes living on Non-Timber Forest products  call this grass as ”money plant”. The grass which was abundantly  grown in hills, jungles  as wild  is now cultivated  in the Savariya territory of Mayurbhanj,Baripada of Orissa, Santhal parganas,Singhbhums of Jharkhand, Purulia,  West Midnapore & bankura of West Bengal. In Mauerbhanj,the  weekly hut of Dantiamuhan   shows crowding for Sabai-grass  business.  Nayagram Block is famous for Sabuigrass . Neogi and Beligarh represent centres for sabui-trade. In those markets, raw sabai grass, sabui made twines,ropes are sold. In other occasion sabui-made artifacts are brought for selling. 

Nayagram has the advantage of its territorial position as it is adjacent to Orissa  and Jharkhand in terms of marketing. On the other hand, there are vast waste lands  unsuitable for crops other than sabui in this block. Recently I visited the block for  experiencing MNREGA -convergence schemes. However, this crop attracted me 

  • Sabui-grass is a traditional crop  could grown in barren, infertile, up- wasteland where no-irrigation facilities exist.
  • Minimum  labor,  zero-tillage  and almost nil-capital  is required to cultivate.
  • Could be grown as an inter-crop with the Euclaptus plantation 
  • This crop will add bio-diversity, check soil erosion
  • Sabui-is a fodder  in dry region
  • It has domestic values for making thaches,roofs,homemade twins,ropes ,brooms tec.
  •  Women are involved in value addition process
  • Differnt kinds of artifacts are possible from Sabui.
  • Tremendous prospects in Paper industry as a raw material
  • Charpis-made from Sabui grass are in large demand .
  •  scope for Micro-& small scale industry in employment generation for tribal.
  • Hilly & sloppy tracts could be brought under green-coverage in convergence with MNREGA project

 Considering its importance in dry regions of Paschimanchal strategic action plans are required. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Makar Sankranti : My memory

January 14, 2014

 

 

Imager sankrantiDipping in holy water at the dawn  is the ritual practice of common  Hindus in Bengal. People from other parts are no longer laggards in this respect. Toady , in this very Makar day , Ganga Sagar has been  a leading news  in media. Large crowd gives the shape the mammoth mela.   Again, Ganga Sagar mela is now not limited to India but  an  interesting subject  to Westerns.  Apart from Sagar, we see such  congregation   on the banks of river Ganges  people cleansing their sins, memorizing ancestors and hoping for future. 

I recall my childhood past in Bankura & Purulia.  There are no Ganges but Damodar, Kasai ,Subranarekha & other small rivers.  All these streams  turn to holy spots. in my native place we have no rivers . We have one holy pond. It is named BOLPUKHUR. There are many myths with this pond. The Pond is regarded as a lve-entity. The pond speaks to the holy persons.  I recall that all we surrounded to the spot at mid-night ,say around 2-3 p.m.  in every para there were groups who will march  the place.. capture the best place  . The day was the final of  month drawn preparation.  Straw gathering  by snatching, begging or any means were the month -long preparation . Any cart load passing through street was forced to  donate straw-club for Makar sankranti. The caochman of the bullock cart loaded with straw in many occasion voluntarily gave straws to the kids. however, all of us thus collected huge mass of straws. On the day of Makarsankranti, we carried those to the Bolpkukhur at mid-night. There were bon-fire. Warming the body we used to dip in the cold water of Bolpukhur.  Finishing this with cheerers and louds we return to home. we are cleaned .

Gargara pitha is ready . Khejur-gur is served. all  we enjoyed . there wer competition among our brothers in terms of eating Gargari-pitha. we used to count in terms of Pans. 

The day is also the finishing day of Tusu. The whole month  girls have devoted  evenings by singing Tusu. Tusu represents clay balls mixed with cowdung & husk placed in  earthen Mangal ghat. Girls dip in holy water. The bolls are immersed and return back with new clothes  with singing. A festive look is found all over there. 

I happened to go to Arsa and saw how Tusu  was being felicitated in the banks of Kasai river. Similarly, village festival in Subrnarekha I memorize.   Those days are past. I am far away.. but pitha, tusu are still vivid in my mind.

I took pithas here but these are different from Gargari.