Aparajita Datta (Photo: Topnews.ae).

As we all know, in our villages all know her by the name “Loghina” (loghi is a variety of deer and na is the Lisu way of indicating the first born daughter). I have never met this great lady but her reputation goes much ahead of her.

Recently I have been thinking how to describe her. She is a mobilizer, a social worker, a scientist, an adventurer and a leader. Then I read her bio in the National Geographic and I thought they captured her well, “… persistent requests for government attention, Datta is uniquely poised to connect political, conservation, and local interests.”

HER CONTRIBUTIONS FOR LISU

Among all the researchers who have come to Lisu area, none have influenced us as much as she did. Look at what she and her team did among the Lisu/Yobin:

  • In partnership with Katha Schools, she started four schools in Ngwazakha, Hazolo, Shidi and Shidiku since 2005. One of my sisters studied in their school and she is doing well in her studies.
  • Flood control in Shidi. Noa-Dihing River destroys our paddy field. She and her team built control by putting stones and boulders inside metal wrap locally called “Jhali”.
  • Medicines at Shidi. Essential medicines were dispensed until recently. That helped many sick people.  For one round, she organized medical camps in many of our villages.
  • Solar lamps, water heaters for Hazolo villagers were provided in collaboration with Madam Nandita Hazarika of EcoSystems-India, based in Guwahati.
  • She wrote a lot on her research. Through her writings, our problems and needs are projected to the world.

I am very glad she recently received “Green Oscar” award for her initiatives to preserve the hornbill.

THE OTHER SIDE OF THE COIN

She used emotions to get her way. When people don’t agree with her, she cried. What can you do? Sometimes she gets extremely angry and walked away, leaving the people behind confused.

I’m often surprised in her statements about us, hunters or to her Lisu workers “ex-hunters”. Its strange to brand the whole tribe as “hunting tribe”.

She never disclosed she is working for the Namdapha National Park and a member of the National Tiger Conservation Authority of India. That became apparent to all Lisu only in 2010 when she represented the Tiger Project at Miao. People in the villages without internet access blindly believed. Because of this, I wonder whether our people will accept her as we did in the past.

She had also formed a group of Lisu men, several years ago, to help her distribute financial assistance to the Lisu students studying in and around Miao. She had also proposed to financially help Lisu business aspirants.  Both these promises are yet to be realized. But we hope she will fulfill them as well.

FINAL COMMENT

But whatever the reasons, she is a remarkable woman. She benefitted the Namdapha, the Lisu/Yobin, her organization “Nature Conservation Foundation”. For Namdapha she had provided information, to us she has done several humanitarian projects, and to her organization, she developed many scientists and a name.

Read more:  her writings, profile, Nature Conservation Foundation.

 

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