Neglected 59 gypsy families abandon ancestral profession

“Swapnaneer” in Jhenaidah brings them in main stream of society

Published : 31 May 2023 02:21 AM

They had been moving here and there and leading their livelihood catching and demonstrating snake, monkey and allegedly cheating commoners in the name of treating their rheumatism sucking blood from the human bodies with the horn of buffalo or cow, locally known as singa. 

But a shelter house offered by the government of Prime Minster Sheikh Hasina has been changing their lot when they were accommodated in the residential project titled “Swapnaneer” at village Jagannathpur under Barobazer union of Kaliganjupazilain Jhenaidah.

Now some of the male inhabitants have been working in crop fields or working as day labourer and women who usually spent their time in rural with their baskets of snakes and singa. A good number of them have been working in the houses of local farmers or running grocery shops on the varanda of their respective houses. 

To witness the changed lifestyle of the newly settled families, joint secretary Abdur Razzaque Sarker and deputy secretary Rafiqul Islam had exchanged views with the settlers, local people, elected representatives, religious leaders, government and non-government organization leaders and media professionals on Thursday. The newly settlers had assured of leading normal life and in the society when they had left their four-fathers’ profession about a year back. They had also demanded initiating all out cooperations for the improvement of their socio-economic state with long-term income generation projects.

Rima Khatun, 43, now a grocer in the new village when contacted said she had been leading life showing snakes and assuring people to treat their rheumatism through sucking blood with a horn of bedfellow. A s it was a cheating, she left the profession and running the small shop at her varanda. Her husband Babul Hossain who usually was going without work, now working in crop fields in the locality. 

Although the present profession was anew one to her, she manages the same anyhow getting two-room beds with kitchen and latrine in the house. She has been managing the family with her limited income. Her daughter going to school, while the son working as a helper of a mason in the locality, Rima Kahtun said. Housewife Putul Begum, wife of Asmat Ali said her son working as a day labourer while youngest daughter going to school. The elderly one was the victim of disability. The family had started fight with the time to enroll them in leading normal life, she said. 

Ex Upazilanirbahi officer (UNO) in Kaliganj and now serving in Jhenaidah Sadar Sadiya Jarin when contacted said to rehabilitate the ever-neglected gypsy community people she had started her journey as per the guidelines and instruction of the then deputy commissioner Manira Begum choosing 202 decimals ofkhasland at Jagannathpur area with the cooperation of assistant commissioner of land Habibullah and Barobazer union parishad chairman Abul Kalam Azad. A last she was able to complete the construction work for 59 families by June last year. 

They had constructed two-room houses with kitchen and latrines in each house at Taka 2.6 lakh for each. Each family will avail 3.42 decimals of land. Necessary documents were handed over to each of the beneficiaries before entering in to their own houses. For regular prayer for the Muslim community people and locals, they had constructed a mosque where the people will enjoy library facilities equipped with modern equipments. 

For the recreation of the children in the housing, they had constructed a nod and goalchattar. To ensure income for the new settlers, they have been taking various income generation programmes for the largest housing project for the gypsy community people, where the government and non-government organizations have been playing role to include the people with mainstream development process including education for their children,Sadiya Jarin said. Present UNO at KaliganjIsratZahan also expressed same opinion about the housing project at Jagannathpur.

Deputy Commissioner (DC) in Jhenaidah SM Rafiqul Islam when contacted said Swapnaner, the largest housing project for the gypsy community people in Jhenaidah was established as per the pledges of the Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina as she had assured of houses for each and everybody so that they will have a house for his own marking the birth centennial of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. 

As the capability of the people and the country was increasing gradually, the neglected people should not be left out beyond social inclusion for developing their socio-economic state towards a better society with better citizens, DC SM Rafiqul Islam said.