Adivasi Women join hands to fight against Alcoholism

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Childrens holding placards on the awareness programme at Beluguri village in Orang of Udalguri of Assam on Sunday.

UDALGURI,Assam ,May 21: The Adivasi community of state whose fate remains locked decades after the Britshers left them in tea gardens of state are plagued with innumerous socio-economic hardships. In the ‘labour lines’ of tea gardens, in Udalguri of Assam merriment begins as soon as the sun goes down. There is not much by way of entertainment so ‘making merry’ essentially means indulging the free-flowing, locally-brewed alcohol.

Alcoholism is a truth almost every tea garden labourers’ family in state is familiar with and yet is unable to escape from its pitfalls. Having borne and seen enough, the womenfolk in these gardens are finally taking matters into their own hands and the Udalguri district Kurmi Mahila Samiti in its maiden effort is attempting to bring down alcoholism in the gardens and detoxify their lives.The Adivasi community of Assam which comprises mostly migrants hailing from Odisha, West Bengal, Jharkhand and Andhra Pradesh whose forefathers were brought to the state to work in the gardens faces toiling hardship and despite being the backbone of the flourishing tea industry these workers, most of whom are tribals, live and work in dismal conditions,ironically they lack ST status in state despite their relatives enjoying ST rights in their native places.

Women attending the awareness programme at Beluguri village in Orang of Udalguri of Assam on Sunday.

The` Udalguri district committee, Kurmi Mahila Samiti organized an awareness programme on the rising culture of alcholism at Beluguri village under Orang PS in Udalguri on Sunday. The meet chaired by its President ,Sarla Mahato was attended by womens of 15 village committees of the organization. The women joined hands in unison and called for curbing alchol,consumption of intoxicated materials which are reasons behind rising social crimes. The women pleaded to publicly impose fine on people consuming alcohol. The Beluguri village witnessed gruesome murder of one Maniram Gour after a group of drunk persons indulged in fight over petty issues on May 10 last. The awaremess meet was also addressed by Orang PS, OC Gagan Chandra Deka;Assam Kurmi Samaj,Secretary and Adiviser namely Hemanta Mahato ,Nimai Mahato among activists of Orang ATTSA.

The speakers alleged that the Udalguri Excise department has allegedly been collecting money from the dens selling country liquior which has grown in every nook and corners of the district. The speakers exhorted the concerned department to carry out drives to evict such dens at the earliest. It is pertinent here to mention that the unhygienic living conditions in their well-demarcated colonies within the tea estates (labour lines), poor socio-economic status, and a very obvious lack of awareness lead to high levels of malnutrition among their children, and an almost universal prevalence of anaemia in women, apart from a host of other health complications such as tuberculosis, gastroenteritis, diarrhoea and typhoid. A high rate of alcohol consumption only adds to their long list of woes.

Shajid Khan is an Independent journalist based in Udalguri of Assam.In his stint of journalistic experience he has contributed numerous political, socio-political stories for bountiful national,international as well as Assam based publications. He also pens down analytic commentary on print and web based publications. He can be reached at

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