108-year-old Bishnu Rabha’s contemporary lives unknown life 

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Fruits of political power today are enjoyed by only a section: Deba Rabha 

HT Correspondent 

TEZPUR, July 25: Lesser known 108-year-old Deba Rabha, a contemporary figure of Kalaguru Bishnu Prasad Rabha and a freedom fighter, is yet to receive due recognition from the Assam government.

The state government organises Bishnu Rabha Divas each year on June 20 and presents an award to a prominent personality, but Deba Rabha has failed to draw any kind of attention from the state authorities.

Residing in a small house at Tezpur Ghagra, the renowned social reformer lives in miserable conditions, counting the agony of deprivation and negligence received during his age.

Born in 1913 at Tezpur Gereki area in the then undivided Darrang district, his house was once a centre point for freedom fighters like Kalaguru Rabha and his comrades.

The 108-year-old freedom fighter recalled his past days with gleaming eyes, as he spoke to The Hills Times.

While talking, he recalled many shocking experiences of atrocities committed by the British army during India’s freedom movement, which he had witnessed and experienced. As a close associate of Kalaguru Bishnu Prasad Rabha, he was fully involved in the independence movement influenced by Rabha’s ideology.

In a cluster with some responsible people, including lawyer and academician, he started ‘society work’ (farming), during the Second World War, at Kalibari area on the bank of Brahmaputra river to produce vegetables and other crops for feeding the war victims.

As a member of Santi Bahini, Rabha was bestowed with certain risky jobs like erasing names in the head post office, Tezpur railway station, and state bank near Padumpukhuri along with many important public properties so that Chinese army couldn’t recognise those establishments to attack. He also played a major role in sending the northern belt people to the southern part through Brahmaputra by boat to save them from the fury of the Chinese army.

Deba Rabha, witnessed many ups and downs in the society even after India’s freedom and also played a major role in Tezpur during the 1962’s Chinese aggression. As recognition for his service to the nation, selfless freedom fighter Deba Rabha was offered only a plot of 12 bigha land at Tezpur Ghogra.

After he shifted to the place, during 1952-56, he even devoted his time to provide education on ideal farming to the under-privileged people of the area by opening a farmhouse.

Expressing his bitterness towards today’s political scenario Rabha said that nowadays fruits of political power are enjoyed by some sections without sparing much thought about the suffering of the masses. 

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