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Three-day 'rhino walk' creates awareness against poaching

The Assam Tribune, Guwahati, 17th April, 2013

Gajen Saikia, a quiet, publicity shy rural artist of Sologuri (Bhithowa Chuk) of Jamugurihat, and also a nature lover was pained at heart by poaching of rhinos, the status symbol of Assam. He thought of creating awareness among the people, as only government steps are not enough to protect the endangered species.

He built with the locally available materials such as bamboo poles hessian, other fabric and paint, a life-seized rhino, and exact prototype of the animal with dedication, deligenu and hard labour for more than 3 months. He expressed his thought to a few and Jamuguri Press Club and Abhiyatri Kalakendra offered moral, physical and financial support to him with the help of East Sonitpur Divisional Forest officer. And on April 7, Gajen Saikia along with Mayur Borah took shelter inside the huge rhino and started walking as the rhino. At Abhiyatri Kalakendra premises, in a function chaired by Golap Kalita, president, Jamugu Press Club, conducted by Nalini Ranjan Bhuyan president Abhiyatri and Ranjit Saikia office secretary Jamuguri Press Club.

 Anirudha Dey, DFO, East Sonitpur Forest decision flagged off the rhino. walking. And Gajen Saikia started his three day. Rhino walking. Covering 12 kilometres on that day accepting standing ovation and greetings from thousands of people standing on both sides of NH 52 for hours together to have a glimpse of the unique creation of Gajen Saikia, which is just like a real rhino. At Kusemtola, Nagsankar Meteragaon, Hazarimal, Kacharigaon, Chatiya centre the rhino was greeted by offering gamochas and money.

Amrit Barua a senior journalist and an activist of 'Science and Environment' and Samudragupta Kashyap, a senior journalist of The Indian Express were dumb founded at such a unique and unparalleled venture of Ganjen Saikia, Jamuguri Press Club and Abhiyatri. The rhino took rest for the night at Chatiya I.B. under the aegis of Chatiya Press Club and Chatiya Byabasayik Santha. The next day on April 8, the rhino started his journey from Chatiya to Biswanath Chariali accepting love, affection and greeting of thousands of people waiting on the roadside taking rest at Gereki, Pralapgarh, Sadharu and Sahitya Sabha Bhavan, Biswanath Chariali, where Probin Hazarika, MLA Biswanath, Dul Dul Bookataki central member AASU, noted dramatist Tarun Saikia and office bearers of Chariali Press Club, AASU, AJYCP etc.

 met the rhino and took rest for the night at Circuit House Biswanath Chariali. On April 9, the last day of its walking taking greetings, felicitations, love of thousands of people at DFO's office, Garihagi, Paanibharal, Natungaon, Biswanath Ghat, the rhino alias Gajen Saikia was greeted with Dhol, Bihu dance and songs at Biswanath ghat range office. Thousands of people irrespective of caste, creed, age felicitated him danced with him exchanged views with him as if he is the real saviour of priceless, rare, pride of Assam, one horned rhino.

With this grand ovation, and at his grand success in creating mass awareness. Ganjen Saikia also danced, laughed and wept with this grand finali, Gajen Saikia came back home, receiving rare honours.