Dec. 9: Writer Prabhat Goswami today opined that like the elephants in Assam’s jungles, a crisis was looming large on the indigenous population.
Talking to reporters about his forthcoming novel Hukula Hatir Khoj (Steps of White Elephant), Goswami said the state was witnessing frequent incidents of man-elephant conflict because of human encroachment on forests. Similarly, largescale influx was posing a serious threat to the identity of the indigenous population.
“In my novel, I have tried to relate the problem of man-elephant conflict with the identity crisis of indigenous people and the Assamese community. Although we are facing man-elephant conflict more these days, the problem had started way back during British era, when they had encouraged immigration for tea business. This immigration of outsiders has now posed a big identity crisis,” Goswami said.
Goswami, who is known for his Assamese satires and essays, took four years to write the novel which will be released during the 14th Northeast Book fair beginning on December 30. Banalata, a city-based publishing house is the publisher of Goswami’s novel.
“Since childhood I have a weakness for animals and an equal concern for tree felling and forest destruction. So, I have travelled to the jungles of Arunachal Pradesh, Kaziranga, spent nights with fandis (elephant trappers) and tried to have first-hand knowledge about how elephant corridors are being destroyed because of destruction of our forests. Besides, I have elaborated on smuggling of elephants’ body parts, how foreign funds meant for animal conservation are being misutilised. Similarly, I have also highlighted how our leaders have failed to solve the problem of illegal migration,” he said.
Goswami has also elaborated on the causes and offered solutions on man-elephant conflicts and illegal migration.