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‘Rong Janggi’ to ‘Me’a Chikok’- Garo traditional items in high demand
TURA: ‘Rong Janggi’ the grain of life, a story of legend, is believed to have nurtured Garo chieftain Abong Noga and the Garo tribe as they came down from Tibet and settled down in the Nokrek mountain of today’s Garo Hills.
It is said that the seeds of that very grain continue to flourish and survive despite the onslaught of modern day hybrid and genetically modified varieties.
Here at the Saras Fair at Asanang, taking place alongside the 100 Drums Wangala Festival, people had the opportunity to partake with this ancient variety said to be cultivated by the Garos in select hill areas of the region.
Popularly called ‘Mi A’chik’ by the locals, a variety of rice believed to share the genetic code with the very same rice used by Abong Noga and cultivated in the remote Mangsang area has been a hit among the visitors to the Saras Fair at Asanang.
“We are almost running out of stock due to the high demand for the Mangsang variety of rice,” inform women self-help group members Manning a stall of Rongjeng block at the fair.
Similar story is taking place in another stall where fermented bamboo shoot water prepared in a very unique traditional method known as “Me’a Chikok’ that has been selling like hot cakes at the fair.
Prepared painstakingly by a group of women members from self-help groups of Dambu Rongjeng in East Garo Hills, the fermented bamboo shoot water is a delight culinary lovers.
“You can use the Me’a Chikok’ in fish and meat curries. The taste is exquisite,” said a woman SHG member from Dambo Rongjeng who had her hands full selling the item alongside homemade bamboo vinegar and organic soda to eager customers here at the fair.
For many a young soul in today’s world, these ancient and traditional culinary skills would have been lost if not for a handful of dedicated farmers who still preserve them by cultivating and harvesting them.
“Our satisfaction is in knowing that each time a visitor purchases one of these unique items he or she is taking back a piece of Garo history with them” feels these SHG ladies.