S. Harpal Singh
Official aims to reform Multanis community
ADILABAD: By shouldering the task of funding the entire higher education of a member of a habitual timber smuggling tribe, Adilabad Divisional Forest Officer (DFO) K. Mahendra Reddy has made himself the toast of present day reformists. The DFO aims at gaining the confidence of the circumspect Multanis so that the tribe is weaned away from illegal felling of trees eventually.
Sk. Imtiyaz, a youngster from the Multani tribe of Keshavpatnam in Ichoda mandal is the only student from the tribe that aspired to study beyond SSC. He is also the only one who stayed on at Bodhan in Nizamabad for three years to complete his schooling while some others from the tribe had dropped out of studies.
“Since he completed SSC, scoring very good marks at that, Imtiyaz has earned the respect of the elders in the tribe. In case he goes on to become an engineer, he is bound to become a role model for the community. He can have a great impact on the erring members of his tribe, once he demonstrates his success in life. In him I found an intelligent and more importantly a person with a will to study. This made me undertake funding his education,” explains Mr. Mahendra Reddy.
There have been unsuccessful efforts in the past, to reform and rehabilitate the Multanis. They had failed to take up alternative sources of livelihood. “The time is ripe for taking up reformist activity once again as the occupation of timber smuggling is not as lucrative for the Multanis. Getting the boy educated will serve as an entry point activity,” adds the DFO.
The 16-year-old son of a farmer is buoyant having found his sponsor at a right time. He is also aware of the expectations of the DFO and his commitment to the community once he climbs the ladder to success in life.“I know that the society considers my tribe to be criminals. At this stage, people just ignore me when I tell them not to fell trees in the forest. They will listen only when I become a ‘big’ man in future,” observes Imtiyaz.