Applauded widely for his values as a human being and charity work, former cricketing great Sachin Tendulkar has given Rs.25 lakh from his MPLAD fund to a tribal Buddhist community far away in Assam’s insurgency-ravaged Karbi Anglong district for the construction of a boys’ hostel.
Karbi Anglong Deputy Commissioner (District Magistrate), Mukul Gogoi, told Express that a letter, along with a cheque of Rs.25 lakh, was received recently from the DM, Mumbai, who sent it on behalf of Tendulkar. Accordingly, he said, the money was disbursed.
“The hostel will be built near Manja (around 10km away from district headquarters Diphu). The project site (at a Buddhist pagoda) has been identified and the construction work will begin soon,” Gogoi added.
The two-storey hostel will be built for the benefit of students belonging to the Man-Tai or Shyam community. The Man-Tais are Buddhists by religion with roots in Thailand. The estimated around 20,000 Man-Tais in India are scattered mostly in Assam’s Jorhat, Golaghat and Karbi Anglong districts. They migrated to the state in the 16th-17th century crossing the Patkai hills. They have been recognised as Scheduled Tribes (Hills) and are listed as Man-Tai speaking people by the Assam government.
Earlier this year, a delegation of Man-Tai Cultural Development Society met Tendulkar in New Delhi and sought his help for the hostel’s construction.
“The hostel will have around 50 to 60 boarders. It will be looked after by the Manja Monastery Management Committee,” said Bhogeswar Shyam, who belongs to the Man-Tai community and is a senior Assam government officer.
“We are delighted that he (Tendulkar) is helping a small community like us. We will remain indebted to him,” Shyam said. He also said that several state governments and individuals from outside Assam had expressed their willingness to help them for the construction of a Buddhist cultural centre, watch tower, library etc in the district.
Karbi Anglong is an autonomous district, which was once the hotbed of insurgency. Barring one or two insurgent outfits, most others are lying low following their signing of ceasefire agreements with the government.