Saturday, January 07, 2006

A place named Purulya

I grew up in Purulia. One of the most peaceful places I have ever seen. Irony is that whenever I mentioned to someone that I hail from Purulia, they immediately recognize the place, “oh! Where the arms dropping took place?” I am sure soon people will identify the place again, for wrong reaons: “Oh! Where there is lot of unrest because of Naxalites?” No. This is not Purulia, and the people who did or doing all these are also not from Purulia. I was born in a place where, nobody was aware of peace because they had never seen violence, but it was quite an isolated district in Bengal more because its late inclusion in the state. Although the district was lagging behind in terms of economy, education, food crop production, yet culturally is much ahead of the other districts in the state, and fortunately, partition couldn’t touch it. “Chhau” the dance is considered as one of the cultural symbol of not only of west Bengal but also in some cases India, but then like “kathakali” we did not have money to protect it, and it is difficult to practice culture when you earn a meager meal once a day! then there was “Tusu and Bhadu”. “Sankrnati” is celebrated as the harvesting festival in major part of India, Purulia is also not an exception, but there is “Tusu and Bhadu”. Crop harvest is very small in the district and that’s being one of the major causes for economic fall in this part. “Bhadu” is a festival of woman and they make nice structures like temples with colourfull papers. You will see a procession of woman singing songs, they are not written anywhere! People memorize it. I heard recently that there is an effort to have them in written form. So this is Purulia. In our childhood we knew more about “Pataliputra” than Calcutta.
Purulia is extremely politically impassive and religiously indifferent district. It has more than one third of villages staying below poverty line. Industries were opened and shutdown came sooner than expected, thanks to the unions which were very active in these cases. A perfect situation for exploited by the Maoist groups. The recent killings in Bundwan can not really justify any cause. Its good if someone comes ahead and fight for the people’s right, but violence can take it anywhere. I remember a place called Duarsini, near Bundwan we went for picnic when I was in school, now that place even armed men wont venture to go. Its valid for Kuilapal another beautiful landscape was developing as a tourist spot no longer a destination for tourists. A little more attention would have changed lot of things, still I believe people don’t like violence but at the same time their affinity towards government probably is not mention worthy.
Changes that took place certainly were late; development is taking place from the middle of nineties. Town wise Purulia has advanced quite a bit, you can get mobile phones servies from atleast four to five service providers. The huge pump storage power project in collaboration with Japan in Ayodhya hills has really changed the roads, economy of this region. Even 15 years back it was a nightmare to go to the hills in rainy season, it has improved now. Government although not new is trying to boost up the economy. Its almost 8 years since I last visited Purulia, wish when I go there next time it will be the same cool and hot "Purulya".

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