Mahatma Gandhi Community Forum

a tribal girl from village Pahamjila, a student of Parijat Academy

Teen weaver in Delhi-bound team

- Karbi girl to showcase gamosa at exhibition in Gandhi-inspired centre

Feb. 19: In the 1920s when Mahatma Gandhi visited Assam, he was awestruck with the intricate designs woven by Assamese women on clothes and said they could portray the tales of fairyland on them.

Nine decades later, Diri Rongshon, a 13-year-old girl from the Karbi community in Kamrup (metro) set off for New Delhi today to showcase her weaving skills at the Gandhi Smriti and Darshan Samiti, a centre set up to propagate the life, mission and thoughts of the Mahatma.

She will exhibit the most popular piece of cloth woven by Assamese women, gamosa, in a weeklong exhibition starting on Tuesday.

Diri is the first from her village Pahamjila, near the Assam-Meghalaya border, around 16km from Lokhra in the city, to travel such a long distance to participate in any national-level event.

This has not only made her villagers proud, but also encouraged them to send their children to school.

She is one among the 15-member female group who has been invited by the Samiti from Assam.

Under the guidance of Asha Darshan, a Tamulpur-based NGO working for women empowerment in remote areas, the team members will exhibit their weaving skills in the exhibition.

Most of the other participants are from Tamulpur.

Although a part of Kamrup (metro), the nearest school for children of Pahamjila is at Garhbhanga, around 2km from the village, but only upto Class V.

As trekking 2km on the hilly paths is not easy for the children, many of them leave their schools midway or never attend at all.

The awareness level about the necessity of education very poor among the parents, thus avoiding school is comparatively easier for the children.

Diri was one among them as well, who had never been to school.

“However, she was willing to study and we admitted her to Parijat Children’s Education Centre, which was set up at Pahamjila a few years back for dropouts and those who never attended school. After taking lessons till Class IV at the centre, we brought her to our school Parijat Academy, Pamohi, where she is now a student of Class VI,” Uttam Terron, the founder principal of Parijat Academy, said.

Parijat Academy provides not only formal education, but also conducts weaving classes for the students.

At Parijat Academy, around 18km from her home, Diri has been trying to shape her life by attending weaving classes along with other regular classes.

“We understand their way of life, and their difficulties in pursuing education. Therefore, we also train them in weaving, so that they can make a living out of it later in life. We are happy at her participation,” Terron said.

Diri, who has only her mother in the family, is equally delighted. Her father died when she was very young.

“It must be a thrilling experience there,” she said.

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