Just like any other kid, I grew up with the thought in my mind that I would go to such trips whenever I would watch Uncle Scrooge in the Duck tales. This ambition of going on an adventure and finding hidden treasures always stayed with me even though we went on a lot of family trips but none adventurous. Time flew and in my 20’s I got opportunities to travel extensively for work both within and out of the country. Every travel of mine would constitute, apart from work, the exploration of local culture, food, history and beliefs. This turned out to excite me more and I became more passionate about such knowledge. I realised that knowledge is my biggest treasure.

 

Few months ago, Mr. Manoj Kumar Das (Director of Indian Institute of Entrepreneurship) invited me to attend an inauguration ceremony of looms at a village along with senior officers from NBCDC (under central govt scheme to uplift underprivileged areas) to visit RajaMayong. I accepted the invitation and went ahead without asking questions. When I reached there, it struck me that this is the land of black magic about which stories were being told. People seem to be coming here from distance to learn tantra mantra. RajaMayong is situated near the Probitora Wild Life Sanctuary. Stories about Mayong include that an outside passing by would be captured in the area and would be a forced to be a part of the locals by marriage with the help of black magic or humans being converted into animals etc. But my observation of the villagers here was absolutely opposite. They were normal people just like us and led a normal life. When I spoke to my friends about this on call, they warned me about staying at such a place and that I should immediately leave. I couldn’t believe it as I thought my friends would not trust in such stories.

 

On my way to the inauguration, we first stopped at a spot where RO water plant was setup and inaugurated by IIE under Central government scheme and funding to provide clean and safe water to the villagers. The villagers had not yet started consuming the water though little girls from a school opposite were happy to feel their water bottles. We finally reached a cluster of looms setup for Mayong women to gain expertise in weaving techniques. It was fascinating to see more than 300 women weavers gathered. In my motivational speech titled “OWN IT”, I urged them to take charge of their health by drinking the RO water and also use the looms to their economic advantage. We inaugurated the looms for the women weavers and paved a way to unleash their potential of weaving and involve in skill development.

 

After the inauguration, we headed to the local Museum, which was home to old black magic relics. There were red envelopes containing scriptures and kept in glass cabinets which were boasted to make one completely insane if practised under the guidance of an expert generally referred to as ‘Ozaa’ or ‘Bez’. This magic is alternatively said to be useful for curing diseases. Post the Museum visit, we had an opportunity to rendezvous with the hereditary ceremonial king of RajaMayong – Mr. T. K. Singha. He was a very fine and a down to earth host to us. I was constantly thinking about how people of RajaMayong were different then what others portrayed or the stories narrated. In my conversations with the villagers, I learnt that they used black magic but only for goodness and not any evil things.

 

I left Mayong and was advised that I should take shower before entering the house amongst other advices. This ignited the thoughts in mind about how we are still stuck at these baseless stories whereas the government is taking special efforts to introduce reforms in these areas. I strongly feel it’s time we embrace the people of Mayong keeping aside these stories and transform the life of these villagers.

 

I would be always delighted to share this adventure with everyone and throw light on occultism. Would you be a participant to this or you would give such people a chance to grow? I would personally love to visit this place as many times and help make a change in their lives.