2 teachers break language barrier, become key corona warriors in villages of Birbhum
There was no official warning printed in the Santhali language or in the Alchiki script. Thus, government warnings regarding coronavirus didn't quite reach the tribal villages of West Bengal's Birbhum district. In this situation, two local primary school teachers became key players for local administrations in their war against coronavirus.
India is a vast country. People of different language groups live in different parts of this country. The government has warned people in various ways to prevent the spread of coronavirus. But, in the tribal villages of West Bengal's Birbhum district, these warnings didn't quite reach residents, mainly due to the language barrier.
No official warnings were printed in the Santhali language or in the Alchiki script. In this dire situation, two local school teachers have become key players for the local administrations in their war against coronavirus in Birbhum.
Ashish Mal is the acting headmaster of Lakshminarayanpur Primary School and Ainul Haque is a teacher of the same school in Birbhum's Nalhati area. Both of them live in two separate villages of Haridaspur Panchayat, which is adjacent to the Jharkhand border and mostly populated by tribal people. The Santali language, indigenous culture, the Alchiki script; none of these were new to these two primary school teachers.
Ashish Mal said, “My wife is a health worker. The day after the lockdown was issued, I went with her to an indigenous village near the Jharkhand border. There, I saw the locals were collecting rations without maintaining social distancing norms”. Right that moment, he decided to run a coronavirus awareness campaign in those tribal villages. One of his colleagues Ainul Haque, also joined him.
Until then, local administration had no clue about how they would make tribal people aware of the dangers of this virus. Therefore, the BDO and local police immediately agreed to the primary teachers' proposal to spread awareness.
Ainul Haque said, “As we grew up with the tribal population, the Santali language was known to us. When the headmaster offered me an opportunity to go to the village of these indigenous people to propagate awareness, I immediately agreed. Now, together we go to those villages and campaign everyday”.
Reportedly, these two corona warriors have already campaigned in several villages of the area, including Alampur, Verapara, Jamsul and Dadupara. Their labour has now produced gold, admitted Jagannath Barui, the BDO of Block 1, Nalhati. He said, “Those two primary teachers are doing an excellent job. Clearly, the indigenous people are now much more aware of the disease”.