Texas IT professional fulfilling former Assam militant’s dreamJune 1st, 2008 - 1:00 pm ICT by admin
By Maitreyee Boruah
New Delhi, June 1 (IANS) A task left unfinished by a militant-turned-good Samaritan in the little village of Saraipani in Assam has now become the “mission” of a Texas-based IT professional of Indian origin. After the untimely death of surrendered United Liberation Front of Assam (ULFA) militant Jugal Bhuyan in March last year, Ankur Bora, a native of Assam, has now pitched in to help Prajnalaya, a home for destitute children that was set up in 2002.
The orphanage, now home to 115 children, was built by Bhuyan on the banks of the Saraipani river in Jorhat district.
The death of Bhuyan - he died of a massive heart attack - left the orphanage without a mentor. To make things worse, a high intensity storm almost razed the children’s home to the ground early this year.
But a ray of hope has appeared for Prajnalaya after Bora stepped in to provide solace to the children. Bora recently donated a sum of $5,000 to rebuild the damaged structure of Prajnalaya.
The 41-year-old IT professional participated in the AT&T Austin Marathon race in February to raise money. Asha Austin, a US-based NGO, supported Bora’s run.
“It was during my visit to Assam to participate in Bhogali Bihu festivities in January this year that I came to know about the plight of Prajnalaya. Almost instantaneously I decided to do something to help the children,” Bora told IANS on phone from Texas.
“Now I am also trying to motivate the entire Assamese community based in the US to generously donate money to help rebuild the orphanage,” Bora added.
Bora’s effort has not gone unnoticed. The Association for India’s Development (AID), a US-based organisation, has also vouched to help rebuild the children’s home.
“We are thankful that several US-based organisations have come forward to help us. After Jugal’s death the home was facing several crises and the financial part hurt us all,” said Maina, Bhuyan’s widow.
Like many idealistic college-goers, Bhuyan wanted to work for an egalitarian society. He joined the rebel group in 1989 with the aim of changing society. But after roughing it out in the jungles for two years, he became disillusioned and subsequently surrendered.
Initially Jugal built a bamboo hut for the children in his own ancestral land and he refused money from any government or private body.
Starting with just four children, the home has 115-odd children who have now come to learn other activities like farming, rearing of poultry and fishery.