Dr. Samit Chowdhury
In hindu mythology “Thursday” or Gurubar [The day dedicated to planet Jupiter] is considered to be an auspicious day in India for travel, any business negotiation or important decision to be undertaken. I being a believer of hindu way of life, I too obey by the mythology as and when possible.
In midst of discussion amongst my colleagues in the Department, I came to know about the presence of an ancient Jain temple situated a hillock about 35 Kms from the Silchar town and 10 Kms from Assam University. The discussion took place in Wednesday but being a follower of Hindu way of life I decided to choose the next day [i.e Thursday] to explore the Jain temple, thereby the pious image of Mahavir Jain, Rishadev and 24 Jain Tirthankar’s suddenly erupted in my mind and thus a strong urge to visit the place and to acquaint myself with one of oldest religion of the world.
As I travel to and fro University with my 110 cc Honda Aviator, so I planned to visit the Mahavir Temple with by Honda which is 10 Kms more than my usual route. Thus the auspicious Thursday came and I set-off for my trip to Mahavir temple in the early but a cloudy morning. As I zoom past the Silchar Medical College and National Institute of Technology, I found myself in the midst of cool breeze and a light drizzle. Enroute I stopped at Bhairam Baba Temple and offered by morning prayers and set off again in my 110cc machine. Riding past the Chatla Lake in the morning is always a nature’s delight, the fishing boat, small hillocks, tea garden and the birds has been mesmerizing me for last 1 decade.
Riding through the turns and twists of University road, I reached Dorgakona [ many pronounces it as Durgakona, the reason still unknown to me]. The stretch of 3 Kms from Dorgakona to Assam University is an uphill ride and after crossing the University it’s a downhill ride to a place called “Irongmara”. Irongmara was once a tea garden but with the setting up of the Assam University in 1994, the local people of the place started to construct houses as private hostels for University students. Irongmara emerged as a small township within few years with shops and other establishments to cater the needs of the students. The socio-economic condition of the place is intricately dependent on Assam University. The name of the place “Irongmara” needs to be etymologized as locals of the area says that during the British rule, most of the Tea Garden managers were British origin. As the place was a Tea garden area during those days, the manager was also a British and his loving wife was known to be Lady Irong, but as the destiny of Lady Irong was unknown and that she was killed by a tiger in that place, and henceforth the name “Irongmara” came into existence [ i.e Irong’s death]. I stopped in Irongmara for a moment and was thinking about the British lady and the Indian Tiger, the contribution of both is responsible towards naming of a place.
Leaving behind the memories of Lady Irong and the Indian Tiger, I once again resumed my ride in search of Mahavir, and thereby I pulled out my Microsoft Lumia 640 XL from my pocket (as I always refer by cell phone as Microsoft Lumia 640 XL as it is one of the handset which is in the verge of being getting extinct) and to consult the Google Map for further direction in search for the aforesaid. As usual and expected, Google Map showed me the way within a moment and my next destination was a place named “Borjelanga”, while enroute to Borjelenga I came across a Tea garden “Rose Kandy” considered to be one of the most well managed and a profitable Tea Garden of South Assam and kudos to its General Manager Mr. I.B. Udhadia, and who is a frequent visitor to our University and particularly to my Department of Business Administration. Mr. Ubhadia hails from Gujarat and spent nearly 4 decades of his life time in nurturing the Tea plantation, marketing the same and making his garden a well respected in comparison to others. My mind saluted Mr. Ubhadia for his commitment and hard work as I zoomed past his plantation. Finally I reached Borjelenga and the reliable Google Map asked me to take a left turn and enter the village and which I obeyed with utter reverence.
As I entered the Borjelenga Village, I was bit amazed and surprised by the surroundings of the same, particularly the cleanliness, electrification and good road condition. To be very impartial and going by the Government data, electrification and road maintenance in India are being done on an war-footing manner, and in terms of cleanliness, after 7 decades of country’s independence the Prime Minister Modi made the people aware of “Swatch Bharat Abhiyan” [Clean India Movement], and people are abiding by his cleanliness drive. Riding my Honda at a very slow pace, I was trying to feel the soul of the village at the early hours of the morning. Majority of the villagers had woken-up and started their daily chores whereas the urban dwellers in the town are fast asleep. These phenomenon made me realized that the villagers abide by the rules of nature. [early to bed and early to rise, makes your body and mind healthy, wealthy and wise] Leaving behind the Borjelenga village I started to proceed further and found a bit of commotion in the morning where 10-15 numbers of private cars were parked, first I thought it to be a marriage ceremony but as I reached to the place of commotion I found it to be a school, and that too one of the most reputed chain of school in India “Vivekananda Kendra Vidyalaya”. Here I would like to mention in a nutshell that Swami Vivekananda a social reformer of the 20th century has always emphasised on education and learning and setting up of such school in a remote corner is a testimony to the fact that people still revere Swamaji and his thoughts.
I started to proceed further in search of my final destination, but a large lush green slope near the school captured my attention. How come such a beautiful greenery and a slope in that remote village? Is it natural or man-made? As a curious soul I thought of asking the question to the aged villagers rather than the young generation, as because age comes with experience, truth and logic. Thus, I posed my question of one of the aged villager, and his answer made me felt amazed as well as saddened. He said that the lush green slope was once upon a time a 21 hole “Golf Course”, during the British era and there happened to be a Golf Club too. The area of the green slope reminds me the Golf Course of Shillong, which was also made by the Britishers. The Shillong Golf Course is still in existence and well maintained, but the same here in Borjelenga Village has been encroached by the villagers for constructing their dwelling house. After all, Indians are cricket loving people and once in 4 years we become the fans of Brazil and Argentine football team, thus we had never been close to Golf nor we understand the nitty-gritty of the game. A potential sports destination is now in the verge of getting extinct in years to come.
My quest for Mahavir has helped towards unfolding various interesting facts of many places enroute. Once again I took the help of Google Map and it showed me that my final lap is to be passed through the gorges and mountains. As I rode further, I found an iron gate obstructing my way, and thus I enquired the fact from a passer-by and he said that the Borgelenja Tea estate starts from that point and the entry of vehicles is prohibited inside the property. The obstruction and the prohibition has actually made me happy as I have to trek now by foot. I parked my Honda and started to walk briskly with nature around. The more I walk further, more the beauty of nature unfolds before my eyes. The scary satellite image of Google Map depicting as gorges and mountains was actually Borjelenga Tea Estate, which looks like the Tea Garden of Dooars of North Bengal and Munnar of Kerela.
As I walked further, I realized that I am the only human soul in the midst of nature, but the captivating view of the Tea Garden and the natural surroundings submerged my initial fear psyche of being alone in such a place. As I was trekking uphill taking turns and twists in the serpentine road, I saw a big Banyan tree in a distant with a red cloth wrapped in the trunk of the tree. In India such a site is quite familiar to Lord Shiva Temple or Centre of Tantric cult. I walked closer to the banyan tree at an elevation of 2268 feet above the sea level and found a gigantic tree and a old Shiva Temple at the top of the green mountain. I stopped there to offer my prayers to Lord Shiva, but my mind was sub-consciously searching “Mahavir”. I entered the temple as a sole human soul and found old Shiva lingas, cone shaped stones, numerous tridents, brass bells, and also a statue of Hunuman (refer to as Monkey God), but Mahavir or Lord Mahavir Jain was not at all in the vicinity.
I checked the Google Map once again in order to ascertain whether I am in the right place or deviated to somewhere else in a sub-consciousness mind owing to the captivating natural beauty of the place, but to my disappointment Google Map is adamantly showing the name of the place as Mahavir Temple. I started to search Mahavir frenetically in the mountain and in the lush green Tea Bushes for hours after hour, but to my utter disappointment I failed in my mission in the quest of Mahavir. I returned back to the solace of Lord Shiva’s temple and thought of doing meditation in that picturesque surrounding. As I was deep in my meditation, mummering “OM NAMAH SHIVAY”, accompanied with the melodious song of the Cuckoo bird sitting atop the banyan tree, I suddenly realized that my quest of Mahavir is over, as Mahavir was just in front of my eyes but in the form of Lord Hunuman. I than realized that Lord Hunuman is also referred to as “Lord Mahavir” and even “Maruti Nandan”. Probably, my meditation in the temple forced me to realize that we choose different paths but our destination is same, or in other words we choose different religion according to our family traditions and legacy but the final destination is one. God and Goddesses may be of different names and from different religions, but the truth is an infinite and an unexplained oneness.
When oneness exists, then why do we fight for supremacy of religion over others?