Manas National Park
This is a collection of articles archived for the excellence of their content. Additional information may please be sent as messages to the Facebook community, Indpaedia.com. All information used will be gratefully acknowledged in your name.
This is a collection of articles archived for the excellence of their content.
Tourist kitchens run by former poachers’ wives
Wives of former poachers ladle out a ‘potboiler’ in Assam sanctuary
When their husbands decided to forgo their dangerous life as poachers, women living in villages around Manas National Park of Assam had to soup up their traditional culinary skills to earn for their families. The journey of these women from the indigenous Bodo community has become an example today for others. Their decision to take up the job of keeping the family pot boiling after their husbands were brought back into the mainstream is now being showcased as a model by other community members.
These women in and around Basbari range used their traditional culinary skills by offering Bodo dishes to tourists coming to the famed Manas National Park, known for one-horned rhino and royal bengal tiger, but the endeavour initially floundered due to absence of entrepreneurial skills. Mitali G Dutta, a culinary entrepreneur, came to know about their attempts and came forward to help the women in association with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) by skilling them and helping them market. “I started working with them in 2017 and began with giving tips on how to present a dish to a customer,” Dutta said.
The women know their dishes best and no training is given to cook the items, but lessons are imparted on how much should be served, how the plates should be arranged and most importantly on the pricing to make it a sustainable business model, she said.
“The Forest Department helped us by providing us space at the Bansbari Anti-Poaching Camp. There different villagers come and set up small food stalls,” Dutta said.
The women formed ‘Gungzema Kitchen’ — an enterprise to showcase traditional and authentic Bodo food and cultural performances — during the Manas Spring Festival. Bhadri, one of the staff at Gungzema Kitchen, said that earlier survival in itself was a concern for them, but now all of them are earning and are self-dependent. A traditional Bodo platter served by Gungzema Kitchen contains about 7-8 items and is priced at Rs 500.
Another member, Sharmila said, “When tourists sample our food, they usually tell us of how they relished our platter. It encourages us and makes us happy!” The off-seasons are utilised by the women to farm grains, vegetables and tend to poultry. PTI