GUWAHATI: An Assam man has time-tested a better way than leave his home and hearth – go above the elephants’ reach.
Over the past 13 years, Bijoy Brahma has lived in a treehouse inside a bush in Baksa district to keep the raiding wild jumbos at bay. They often stray out of an adjoining forest and raid the place in search of food.
Some wooden planks and bamboo poles went into the making of the makeshift house, located far from the madding crowd. The locals said the middle-aged man lives like a nomad who loves loneliness.
He will descend from the tree early in the morning, roam about aimlessly during the day and return to his hideout in the evening. He survives on yam, sweet potato, fish, crab, snails etc.
“He migrated here sometime in 2007. Nobody knows where he was born but he once told us he had lost his parents at an early age. As a child, he used to work as a domestic help to eke out a living. Later, he started living inside the Chowki forest (in Baksa),” Manohar, a local, told this newspaper.
As he loves to live alone, he avoids people. He has no regrets for living the life of Tarzan. He scarcely talks to villagers and they too do not like to talk to him.
“He has built a hut near the tree and only when it rains heavily or there is a storm, he takes refuge in it,” Manohar said, adding, “He grows sweet potato, yam etc and catches fish, crabs, snails from the nearby river which he eats”.
The locals said the elephants, which raid the villages all throughout the year, damage houses and crops. They said they had approached forest officials on several occasions but did not get any relief. Assam has a large population of elephants. Eighty elephants and 100 people died in the state in conflicts last year.