Though I do not consider myself as die heart superstitious, or stereotyped Adivasi, notwithstanding of that, sometimes, I believe in mystical and unusual things.
I have seen a lot of happy people in ‘Dooars, the land of promise’. Many were sending their children to good schools; many were enjoying life with their sufficient income from tea gardens, as well as, income from ‘busty’ the agriculture Adivasi-villages in Dooars. With the good education and sufficient income, many families have migrated to more prosperous and amenities rich places like Kolkata, Delhi, Ranchi, Siliguri, Jalpaiguri etc. However, for last ten-fifteen-years, there were not happy periods for Dooars, especially for Jharkhandis in the tea gardens. I guess, some black magicwale have done some kind of voodoo against the tea gardens of Dooars. Of course, there might be many-many more reasons than any such voodoo, but, all the measures applied for revival of tea gardens have failed miserably and my believes and faiths have waned away, a lot.
I was sad when tea gardens started to be closed down for any visible or invisible reason. When Raipur, Shikarpur-Bhandarpur, Kathalguri, Chamurchi, Red Bank, Surendra Nagar, Samsing, Bamandanga, Tandu, Ramjhora, Dheklapara, Chinchula, Raimatang, Kalchini and Bhamobari closed owing to various reasons my feeling of dejections had no boundary. My heart again sank, when the land lease order for Kathalguri, Ramjhora and Chamurchi were cancelled and there were not new managements at the horizon. Why so many bad things have been happened in Dooars and these bad omens are continuously hounding tea gardens of Dooars.
Advents of our forefathers to this land, made it fertile not only for tea cultivation, but, also for our rich traditions, customs and pure Adivasi ethos. Our forefathers loved this land, they toiled continuously under the scorching sun, braving heavy rain and spin shivering cold for erecting tea gardens, develop this place to make it world famous suitable land for tea. They hoped that their children will prosper in this place. For many years, their hopes were fulfilled by the God. Jharkhandis tribal people tried to stand on their own. Nonetheless, new generations have been facing acute problems in the name of closure of tea gardens. These problems have transformed the whole tribal society from a happy society to a society living in uncertain apprehension.
Once upon a time, there were paddy fields, vegetable yards, cows, goats in each and every house. However, the time has changed and the Adivasi family discarded their cows and goats and also sold out the paddy fields to other people and societies. Nowadays, they depend upon either on their tea gardens income or other odd income. Of course, negligible population have engaged in the service sector. However, situation is not comfortable. Tea gardens are either closing down or are on the verge of closing down. The tea cultivation have snag with so many problems. The tea market is not certain. Other drinking segment is replacing it in market. The soil and the shrubs have been decaying. The monsoon rain patterns are changing rapidly. There is no sure of monsoon on time. The machine in tea factories demands replacement with new machine and parts. The new managements of tea industries are concerned only for profitability. They rapidly changes companies. They acquire company fast and sell it even more quickly after fleecing gardens’ blood. They do not care anything about the development of gardens. All these trends have ruined the tea industries of Dooars. The Adivasis of tea gardens are the only group who has to face the music.
There is no alternative of tea gardens for Adivasis of Dooars. They cannot abandon tea garden. They born in tea garden and die in it. Unfortunately, tea industries is ailing and going to die within few decades. Of course, the govt. is expressing concern and doing something to save it but their concern is limited to tea industries. Their concern is not extended to Adivasis of Dooars.
Though, Adivasis of Dooars have awakened, of late, they have to prepare to their struggle for daily life. They have to inculcate social requirement and have to mould their habit of drinking. There is no alternative for learning new craft and enhancing their skill in various professions. The closed tea gardens have given a strong signal for changing of situations.
Though, I am so sad for present situation, however, I believe in human nature of struggles and have faith in unmatched Adivasi capability to change and hope a better for society