This blog is dedicated to the People Led Development (PLD) approach in development sector. The blog reflects PLD stories and experiences from the fields of North East (NE) India, a repository of several ethnic groups with unique tradition and culture.
PLD is the integral component of a project titled Facilitating Agriculture Regeneration (FARM) in North East India. FARM is being implemented by partners in 7 states of NE India except Sikkim and supported by Caritas India.
Saturday, 18 July 2015
NAAM GHAR - A TEMPLE OF HUMANITY
story may be considered as an example of traditional practices by the community
in North East India. The Naam Ghar (Temple) in Khaloibari village under Kamrup
Metro District of Assam is a religious place for worship with a difference. As
per an age old practice, the temple receives 12,600 kg of paddy annually from
around 105 households. This practice perhaps sets this village apart from
others where the community is up in arms in conserving the age old practice of
donating paddy for a good cause. “I can’t
remember exactly when this system came into being but I have seen my parents donating
to the Temple & so do I,” said Keshab Das, septuagenarian from the
The Naam Ghar
time immemorial, the families from these households traditionally donate paddy
each year to the temple granary during the month of December after the end
harvesting of Shali paddy season. Shaliis a local name for a paddy season & is generally carried out from July
to October - November of a particular year.
Naam Ghar has a committee in place that takes care of the smooth functioning of
its activities. This committee is respected by all in the village. The
committee also has a role in selecting people for development activities in the
village. The office bearers in the farmers’ club under FARM North East have
also been selected by the Temple committee consultation with the community. As
per the prevalent customary practice, every household donates 60 Kg of paddy to
the temple granary. The committee looking after the temple would take a call on
how to utilize the paddy. “Generally we
take a collective decision on how best we can utilize the grains stored in the
granary, we also take all precautions to upkeep the condition of the granary so
that the grains remain fresh,” said Dandi Deka.
Members of the Naam Ghar Committee with the Granary at the Backdrop
per general practice this paddy is used for public feast in various festivals
that the temple organizes every year. The surplus amount of paddy is generally sold
out in the local market & whatever is earned is used in Temple related activities
like maintenance & others. The age old practice of this Temple ensures that
the members of the community are regularly donating grains to the temple. The committee has a strict system in places
that imposes a fine of double the quantity of paddy if any individual fails to
donate during a current year. This individual would have to donate 120 Kg of
paddy as a penance.
this system has one more unique attribute. The Temple would come to rescue a
person in distress. In case anyone in the village is downtrodden & hit
poverty, the temple would take the responsibility of feeding this family by
unleashing the doors of its granary. “We
try our best to see to it that if a particular family is struck by poverty, we
provide them with immediate relief & continue doing so until the family
stands on its feet”, said Sureshwar Medhi, Secretary of Naam Ghar (Temple)
story may not talk any project interventions under FARM North East. It is a
documented case of traditional practice by the community & it talks about divinity
leading to humanity.