“Arundhati Roy explores the hub of Community Conservation in the Eastern Himalayas”
“Goddess of major things”, acclaimed author Suzanna Arundhati Roy, a naturalist and an outspoken advocate of human rights visits our community-centered conservation site, the Eastern Himalayan Botanic Ark. Roy’s novel “God of small things” is composed in a lyrical language and timeless narrative that departed from conventional plots and became the biggest-selling book anchoring the path for Indian literature.
Her visit to the Eastern Himalayan Botanic Ark piqued her interest on the concept of Rural Futures by Balipara Foundation, which resonates deeply with her campaigns for sustainable development and human rights. Accompanied on her trip by Sanjay Kak, a documentary film- maker, who tells nature’s stories and Oken Tayeng, from Abhor Country that promotes eco-tourism in Arunachal Pradesh, they spent a day exploring the natural and cultural heritage of the Eastern Himalayan Botanic Ark.
Starting their day with a tea planters’ breakfast at “Bhelaghor”, they indulged in Assam Tea, an array of Anglo-Indian dishes and the surrounding natural beauty. Followed by a rejuvenating nature walk to experience the diverse flora and fauna of the Eastern Himalayas at the Eastern Himalayan Botanic Ark. Roy’s interest in community conservation projects by Balipara Foundation led to many meaningful conversations on the role of local communities in restoring and protecting the biodiversity of the region and our efforts to integrate rural livelihoods to bring about social-economic and environmental interdependence.
She visited WUYA, a Naturenomics™ store at the Ark displaying sustainable products that encourages a natural lifestyle and provides a platform for livelihood to local artisans. Through WUYA and the Ethnic Museum, we are able to showcase indigenous craftsmanship and the rich traditional art and craft of the Eastern Himalayas. She also walked the tea gardens to first-hand experience the tea heritage and culture, along with Hardev Singh, who guided her on the legendary origin and culture of Assam Tea. While describing the Ark, she describes the Ark to be the hub for conservation efforts empowering local communities and supporting ecological balance in the region. Enamored by the rich history of tea, nature and culture, she will be back again to interact with the local communities and for a bicycle ride to the nearby Bodo, Garo and Mishing village for immersive and explorative travel experience.