Guwahati, Jan. 25 : People from all across the country, be they former freedom fighters, teachers, or from the media, are making their presence felt in India''s north east through their socio-economic contributions.
Take the example of Natwar Thakkar. A freedom fighter, social worker and a Gandhian, Thakkar has dedicated his life to the cause of national integration.
Born to Gujarati parents at Dahanu, a small town on the western coast of Maharashtra, Thakkar volunteered to go to Nagaland at the age of 19.
He established the Nagaland Gandhi Ashram in 1955 in Mokokchung, Nagaland.
Over the years, the ashram has undertaken work like vocational training for school dropouts and physically handicapped youth.
Thakkar has helped bring in reforms in many walks of life, including education, health, village level industries, dairy, sericulture, and bee-keeping.
"Being a youthful person, I said that I could not play any role in winning freedom for India, but let me play some role in national integration, emotional integration of India, and that is how I chose the northeast, mainly the Naga Hills, and I am there," Thakkar said.
Thakkar is supported by his Naga wife Lentina, who herself is the first ever Naga person to be trained as a Gandhian worker at Sarania, an ashram in Guwahati, that was inaugurated by Mahatma Gandhi.
Thakkar continues his mission of service with single-minded devotion.
"A common man is gradually becoming aware that it is a good system, nothing wrong. Our own people are governing ourselves, our own people can work, our young men and women can have a place in the government. They can occupy the highest positions. So, it means their misunderstanding is decreasing," he opines.
Aniamma Abraham, a native of Trichur in Kerala, continues her bid to bring social upliftment through education in the northeast.
She first came to Dimapur in 1970 along with her husband K S Abraham and established three schools.
In 1973, they shifted to Assam and set up the Edith Douglas Higher Secondary School in Golaghat and Mariani to impart quality education to the residents of the area.
The school provided free education to students coming from economically weaker families.
"This place - where we are now there was not a single person here. This land was empty. So we got the land and constructed the building in 1977. So much of hardship we had here. Financially also people over here helped us a lot also like moral support. I feel that Assam is my home," said Abraham.
Aniamma's husband died in 2004, but she continues to work for the betterment of society in Assam.
"All my relatives are settled abroad. I am the only person in India. Though they are calling me, I feel that working for the people here is more necessary than going to foreign country or abroad. I feel this is very important," she says.
Guwahati, the commercial hub of the northeast has attracted many entrepreneurs from all across the country.
G L Agarwala, whose ancestors migrated to Assam from Rajasthan, runs G L Publications, a conglomerate with newspapers in many languages like - Amar Asom in Assamese, Northeast Times and Meghalaya Guardian in English, and Purvanchal Prahari in Hindi.
"I am an Assamese. I know the Assamese language. I write and read Assamese. I am the president of the reception committee of Assam Sahitya Sabha, the apex literary body of Assam," Aggarwala says.
Assam's growth is helped by contributions of many people.
This reflects the prevalence of unity, harmony and integration. (ANI)