30 May 2008

The river chronicles (cont.)

The 1950 earthquake of Assam changed the face of the Brahmaputra. Many hills surrounding the river fell into the waters and created new landscapes that are constantly shifting and changing. The most common effect was the creation of river islands.

I traveled with a medical team to one of these islands. Most of the population consists of Mishings who are related to tribes from Arunachal Pradesh and migrated about 500 years back. Their islands still have houses in stilts a construction style long abandoned in villages on the mainland.

Being near Dibruhgarh this island village had a thriving dairy practice. Krishna Pao owns almost 300 buffaloes and about 50 cows. He sells most of the milk in Dibrugarh which is about a three hour boat ride from his island. He told me that the village consumes most of the cow milk while city folks prefer buffalo milk.

On asked why, he said : If you offer them cow milk, they think it is diluted ! Much like the rest of the country...

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