From Majuli to Umananda: The Journey of Two Explorers on River Brahmaputra
Rishan Doley texted his fellow explorer friend Shekhar Bordoloi with a poem he wrote about travelling together. Shekhar, upon reading the poem, went emotional and therein began their inception for the journey from the world's biggest riverine island Majuli to the smallest one Umananda.
Rishan and Shekhar started to sail from Majuli on September 30 and reached Guwahati on October 7. On their way, they passed through dense forest ranges connecting upper Assam to the middle Assam. Theirs is one of the first solo expeditions done on the stretch of Brahmaputra.
The duo had built a bamboo boat named 'The Síbuk' from scratch. In the boat, they carried a generator to charge their electrical devices, stored oats, pulses, and rice. The Síbuk has been named after the Mishing language and it means 'of relating to water'.
For their dining, both Hazarika and Doley did hand fishing and cooked on their boat with a small stove they carried along.
Since they began their journey during the flood season accompanied by the retreating winters, they had to experience the hostile Brahmaputra. This was the reason a lot of their friends and family members were sceptical about their trip. "It was difficult for us initially, I could only understand the water after the first day," said Shekhar. Rishan had to use his experience of the river to sail them through safety amid the heavy waves and whirlpools.
The Síbuk got stuck inside the Kaziranga where they were in the proximity of wild animals. They had to push the boat and fight their way out of the waves. "The beauty of the wildlife moved us so much that we even got distracted," said Rishan.
Speaking to G Plus about the way ahead, Rishan and Shekhar said that they plan to go on further expeditions to explore the potential of adventure tourism in Assam. "Our agenda is nature conservation, adventure tourism, and sustainable development," said Rishan.
Shekhar too stressed the need to be entrepreneurial to supplement Assam's development and unemployment problems. But, the issue that both of them feel is most prevailing is pollution. They experienced the decline in the quality of the water of Brahmaputra as soon as they neared Guwahati.
"The water in the upper stretches of the river is so clear that we drank it directly and never felt sick. But as we reached Guwahati, we saw plastic and other materials floating in the river," said Shekhar. The explorers called upon the youth of Assam to be responsible in their travels and urged people not to throw waste in the river directly.
Rishan belongs to a remote Island (Chapori) in Baghmora, Jorhat district of Assam. He has ample knowledge of the challenges bestowed by the river. Meanwhile, Shekhar is a mountaineer, who has received official badges from the Assam Mountaineering Club.
Both have credited each other for the completion of their journey and displayed exemplary courage and friendship. “We fought at times due to the nature of our journey which requires a lot of hard work but it was our friendship that carried us through,” expressed Rishan to which Shekhar nodded.
Another factor to which they credit their journey is the diversity and love they witnessed from the people which has renewed their zeal to work towards the betterment of Assam.
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