An army is created to defend a cause, and when women form an army for a cause they believe in earnestly, nothing remains impossible. The women of Dadaravillage in Assam have been slowly but steadily leading a crusade under the leadership of Dr. Purnima Devi Barman for the conservation of the endangered Greater Adjutant Stork which is locally known as Hargila. The families of Dadara have adopted the rare stork as their own, and the species which was on the brink of extinction are slowly getting a new lease of life. 70 women of all ages have now come together to form an ‘Army’ ready to combat all obstacles in the path of Hargila conservation. Their sheer dedication and commitment have got a tremendous boost with the support and encouragement that have poured in from all quarters. Kamrup District Administration has been a staunch supporter of the campaign, and even donated 100 hoardings, all with the messages of Hargila conservation.
One of the biggest challenges for the HargilaArmy was finding a way to create awareness for Hargila conservation while also finding self-empowerment. As an answer to this quandary, the State Institute of Rural Development (SIRD) has stepped forward with a helping hand. All 70 women are now on the path to becoming experts in creating textiles with Hargila motifs! The SIRD has sponsored 4 months of training for the women of Dadara at the Fashion Institute of Sualkuchi. It is an opportunity which they could not envisage even a few months ago.
In an event today, SIRD distributed handloom machines and yarn to the HargilaArmy, to supplement the training. Speaking on the occasion, Dr. K.K. Dwivedi, Commissioner Panchayat, said that, “The women of Dadara are now on a new path of empowerment and conservation. The training from the Fashion Institute of Sualkuchi is the first step towards creating a Hargila Centre at Dadara. With the sale of these textiles the families of Dadara will be able to continue their crusade for Hargila conservation while also becoming economically self-reliant.” Dr. Dwivedi also urged each woman to plant atleast 5 trees to increase nesting space for the Greater Adjutant.
ShriVinodSheshan, DC, Kamrupexpressed his support towards the Hargila Army by stating, “The Kamrup District Administration is always ready to provide any support that can facilitate Greater Adjutant Stork conservation. The Hargila tableau on Republic Day Parade was a huge success, as was the plantation drive for creating more nesting space for the Hargila.”
Also present in the event, held at Bhrigu Kumar Prekhabhawan, Dadara was JakirHussain, Director, SIRD, Mohan Chandra Malakar, Retd PCCF and Chief Wildlife Warden, UdayanBorthakur, wildlife biologist, Aaranyak, Dr.Purnima Devi Barman, Aaranyak in addition to the villagers of Dadara. ShriVinodSeshan, DC, Kamrup, a staunch supporter of the Greater Adjutant Conservation Project,had provided the venue.
There are only 1200 Greater Adjutant Storks alive at present, out of which, 80% are found in Assam. This can be attributed to a large extent to the untiring efforts of Dr.Purnima Devi Barman of Aaranyak.