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Bodi Saran looks on as Khulabati descends from his tong (traditional elevated hut of the tribals) in Bhandarima village

Bihari weds Reang girl and customs

Bodi Saran and Khulabati Reang have literally proved that marriages are made in heaven.

When Saran, a young lad from Bihar met Khulabati, a girl belonging to the indigenous Reang tribesmen, it was love at first sight.

The two met in Bhandarima, a tiny hilly hamlet at the trijunction of Tripura, Bangladesh and Mizoram.

The village has long been forbidden to non-tribals, who can visit the place only with security escorts because of insurgency. No visitor to Bhandarima, nestled in the lap of undulating hills, usually expects to have even a glimpse of a non-tribal face.

“I have been here for the past 19 years and as you can see, I am by now a Reang,” Saran said. His cultural metamorphosis from a Bihari labourer to a member of the Reang fraternity had commenced in 1988.

A man from Chhapra district of Bihar, Saran had arrived in Tripura in 1988 as a labourer of the General Reserve Engineering Force. “It seems we met only the other day. But from the very first meeting, we were convinced that we would marry and stay together,” a smiling Saran said shyly.

“Khulabati obtained her parents’ permission and also the nod of approval from Reang elders of the village; she set only one condition that if I ever left the village I would have to take her along or live in this village permanently,” Saran said.


Award

From the tennis courts of Nehru stadium in Guwahati to the head coach of Columbia University in the US, it has been a long journey for Bidyut Goswami.

The university has announced an endowment for its head coach Goswami, who retired from the job recently.

Goswami had been associated with the Columbia men’s team for the past 26 years during which his team, the Lions, won six Ivy League titles.

Goswami had started his tennis career at the Nehru Stadium Tennis Complex in Guwahati in the early 1970s. He became the national champion in 1979 and also represented the Indian team in the Tehran Asiad in 1974.

But he shifted to the US in the late 70s in search of better opportunities.

The announcement was made in the Trustee Room of Columbia’s Low Memorial Library in the presence of alumni and friends of Columbia Tennis and top officials of the university.

Goswami is now in his 27th year as head coach of the men’s team of the university. He was named the 2007 Wilson/ITA Regional Coach of the Year for northeastern US.


Rural schemes

The Tarun Gogoi government has cited many centrally sponsored schemes for development of rural areas as its own ahead of the three-phased panchayat elections.

A senior minister in the Gogoi cabinet, who was also the chief minister’s trouble-shooter vis-a-vis the Adivasi rally gone awry in Guwahati, said, “What is wrong in it' Our government has done so much for the rural populace compared to earlier governments. We have also introduced some new schemes.”

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