If President Pranab Mukherjee shared a few words of wisdom with children at the Ramakrishna Mission Ashram in Narayanpur, the two-hour visit to this far-off tribal area was a “learning experience” for him as well.
“It is a unique learning experience for me,” Mr. Mukherjee said in an emotional address to the students and members of the Ramakrishna Mission Ashram after interacting with the tribal children enrolled in the school here.
This is the first visit by any President to Narayanpur, one of the districts affected by Left Wing Extremism (LWE). The Ramakrishna Mission Ashram is rendering yeoman service to the social-economic development of the people of Abujmarh.
Abujmarj is home to one of the particularly vulnerable tribal groups — the abujmariah.
“It symbolises, in several ways, both the cultural legacy that we must preserve, as well as the challenges of taking the fruits of development to the people in the most remote and far flung areas of the country,” he said.
Abujmarh has a population of 34,000. The tribals inhabit 233 villages over a sprawling area of 4,000 sq. km. It is described as a ‘tangled knot of hills’ with inaccessible terrain that remains cut off from the rest of the civilised world for about six months a year, even to this day.
Due to inaccessibility and naxal activities, there are no educational facilities, almost no communication and a complete lack of medical facilities that result in a high death rate and infant mortality.
“I wanted to tell the President that there was no road, power and water in my village, but did not get the opportunity to do so. Still I am happy that we got an opportunity to meet him,” Lakshman Potai, a Class 12 student of the R.K. Mission Ashram school, said.
Earlier, Lakshman had told the President during the interaction that he wanted to be an IAS officer so that he could serve the people of his region; this earned him instant appreciation from Mr. Mukherjee. Appreciating the spirit of the students, Mr. Mukherjee asked them to pursue their dreams and ambitions.