Hundreds of pages of research in six lines of a folk song!Some of my relatives had worked in tea-gardens of Assam. One of my childhood friends has been working in a tea-garden of Darjeeling. I have been interested to learn the history of settlement of Santhali workers from the Chhotanagpur plateau to the tea-gardens of Assam and Darjeeling. The terrible history has been written by great researchers. We feel for these simple-minded Santhali men and women who were ditched by the middlemen. We feel pained when we come to know about the extreme hard work and terrible life of the tea-garden workers during the initial days.
As I have said, hundreds of pages have been written on this issue. But today morning I have heard a beautiful folk song of Iman Chakraborty. The folk song of Goalpara region of Assam beautifully depicts the simple aspiration and terrible life of Santhali women who were brought to the tea-gardens of Assam. Hundreds of pages of research has been aptly summarised in the following six simple lines:-
"Mone kori Assam jabo,
Jora pankha tangaibo,
Babu bole: 'kaam kaam',
Sardar bole: 'dhori aan'.
Saheb bole: 'tulbo pither cham'…
O Joduram, faki diya pathaili Assam"
Those Members who know Bengali, Assamese or Santhali, can easily understand the meaning. For others, my inaccurate translation:
"I thought I would go to Assam,
Live in our sweet home (with you),
(But what have I found?)
The babu (clerk) says: 'work-more work',
Sardar (superintendant) says: 'bring her here',
Saheb (tea garden owner) says: 'whip her black and blue';
O Joduram (name of the middleman),
You ditched me by sending to Assam!"
Like the lyrics, the music is also simple yet melodious. Friends, if possible, listen to the beautiful song in Youtube.