Robin Hibu |
Pioneer Gandhian sevikas Guna Baideo,who gave her life for tribal villagers – A tribute
[ Please help me to locate her]
On my way back to Delhi …..my continuous search for whereabout of my favourite teacher( sevika at this Hong Hanoko village Kasturba Seva Ashram, my alma mater …. who had left indelible mark in my life…. i went to Gauahti Gandhi Seva Kendra at Saraina to search to know where about of my teacher, who shaped my life….
Its all start with Bapu & Acharya Vinobha Bhave…….Mahatma Gandhi in 1945 had called Assamese youth to join Kasturba Seva Ashram for spreading education in remote hills of NE states….Bapu and Acharya Vinobha Bhave came to Gauhati Saraina Kasturba Ashram, noted assamese social activist Aparva Baideo who left her dream to be women pilot, joined Bapu, donated all her property at Saraina for Kasturba Ashram, herself toured remote hills villages including my village – Hong village….. thousands young assamese females joined her, underwent training at Gauhati Ashram ….were asked to move to remote villages in hills voluntarily….. one of such sevika volunteer was frail diminutive Guno Baideo believed to be from Jorhat, who volunteered to travel and to start Ashram in my village, it took her 7 days on foot to reached my village Hong, Lower Subansiri, Arunachal Pradesh…….started Kasturba Gandhi Seva Kendra Ashram in bamboo hut ….lived in harsh cold weather, taught us all alone everything from alphabets to numerical…. taught us first song of my life ‘ Raghupati Rakaba Raja Ram …..
Still my heart pounds with emotion and nostalgia ….when I was sent back unceremoniously by RK Mission school Narotam Nagar authority ( i was selected by ddse from the district after open competition) after 3 months of admission & schooling there to accommodate the minister son in my place……how Guna Baideo came to my house to wipe my tears, as I refused to go back to Ashram school out of shame and embarrassment from my friends…. how she came to enquire about it, when I missed to attend school even for a day ….how we would carry firewood for the Ashram, how she used to tell the immortal tales of Gandhi, Ambedkar, Lincoln…..how we learnt our first song …. “Raghupati Rakaba raja ram ….”
Would never forget till my last breath how she stood like an angel with poor villagers amidst cholera epidemic where hundreds including my tiny younger brother late Hibu Khibo died in this epidemic in early 1970s.
Now, I realised what a sacrificed she has made for the remote tribal villagers…. she spent 20 years of her prime life in the village…. left only when her fragile health deteriorated drastically as we had no medical excpht detol and anacin. Till today oldies of Hong village tell the parable of selfless services of this frail angel from Assam Guna Baideos …..
– Since than, on every teacher’s day, I fondly remember her…. trying to locate her …..is she alive ? died ?
Today in my continues pursuit to locate her … I went to Saraina Kasturba Gandhi Seva Kendra Ashram at Gauhati…. I could meet her contemporary Gandhian year old in old age home, scanned through all photos albums for her ….only one black and white photo of her day of joining in early 1960s was found( uploading here ).
Was nostalgia to visit the hut where Mahatma Gandhi spent his days in Gauhati in 1946 and more so emotionally as i sat under the peepal tree where Bapu addressed freedom fighters and these sevikas of Kasturba Gandhi Seva Kendra to go to hills and remote villages for better tommorow of rural Bharat. ( uploading the photos of Bapu’s hut and tree’s where he gaved sermon. )
I strongly feel, it’s lesson for all of us …. to do a bit for the hapless Bharat especially for those who are in authority and in power . These iconic Ashrams ( at Gauhati and Hong village….where father of nation trodded while on earth are completely in shabby condition and are on verge of collapse…..have taken up at highest meeting at Delhi in Gandhi Peace Foundation, Kasturba Gandhi Foundation, Gandhi memorial at national executive meeting at Delhi with photos of these dilapidated rumbling thatched Ashrams, appealed them for salvaging them ….)
Can any one RECOGNIZE HER ( Guna Baideo) in the picture , HELP me to LOCATE this true selfless gandhian from Assam ?
Who seems to have left for unknown location, some says , she has left for Jorhat or Dhekiajuli in Assam or any parts of NE states. Or might have died….
Wherever you are Guna Baideo, your student has reached upto Rashtrapati Bhavan and proudly doning DGP rank and placed a wreath at the Bapu resting place at Rajghat …with tearful acknowledgment of Bapu’s disciple in Himalaya hills- Guna Baideo … who inculcated the gandhism in the minds of tribal boys like me …by indelible selfless social service for tribal folks , which will be cherished by us forever with deep fond memories.
[ Robin Hibu IPS is Special Commisioner of Police,Delhi]