VKV Tafragam

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We left RKM Deomali at 5 am. Drove thru Namsai, Chowkham, Wakro, stopped by at Parasuram Kund to reach Tezu by 5.45 pm. Was some drive. The school is app 7 kms from Tezu town and on a hill. U see assembly at Vivekanand Kendra school (VKV) Tafragam, Tezu. Area is very green and full of trees. To see pics of Golden Pagoda at Chowkham Click Here

It is an all girls school. Evening Prarthana starts at 6 pm so we reached minutes before the prayer started. We sat at end of room next to the teachers and started praying. I clicked a few pictures during the prarthana. Students diction and tone of the Sanskrit slokhas was very good and impressive.

The school was started in 1980 and is affiliated to C.B.S.E. Post prarthana the students spend some time studying after which they have dinner as you can see. Students wash their own plates before and after meals. Both VKV and RKM schools serve non-veg meals to students as they are accustomed to eating such food.

The school has 210 students and is from classes 4 to 10. U see junior class students walking from hostel to prayer hall in the morning. This is not school uniform but what they wear after school hours. I was happy to see some of these students clean the school compound - was told that cleaning responsibility is on a rotational basis.

A view of students in the morning prarthana (prayer session). Sun rises by about 5 am and prayer starts at 5.30 am if I remember correctly. Early to bed early to rise makes you healthy. Found students to be very well behaved, respectful with a zest to do something useful with their lives. The good thing is that all teachers also come for prayer session at the same time as students.

On right of hall these students chant prayer. Girl on right of pic is sleeping - quite chirpy. During interactive session with students in the evening, she said since you worked with Hindustan Levers, please tell me which shampoo to use. I said Dove and Baba Ramdev''s Ayurvedic shampoo because i.e. what am using now.

Post prarthana there is a Yoga session during which they do Surya Namaskar. U see them doing one of the many steps in doing surya namaskar. Envy them - wish my school too taught me this. While speaking to the girls later, they said Surya Namaskar was difficult to start with but has become easy to do now. With time they have realized its benefits so the desire to do comes from within.

Post surya namaskar is meditation. Wish I had learnt all this as a child - would have become a better student / person. Enroute to Tezu is Wakro - beautiful hill station. The Glow Lake is a high altitude lake very scenic - good trek, ask for local guide, keep a day atleast. Place inhabited by Mishmi tribe - they worship the Sun and Moon Gods. The tribes follow traditions dating back to the Mahabharata times - to know that you will have to spend a lot of time with local people.

Post prayer and before breakfast students spend about an hour studying. U see the senior students in their hostel - studying. All students are fluent in Hindi and English.

This hostel of junior students - say 4-5th. During interactive session with students girls wanted to become police officer, chartered accountant, IAS officer, web designer and so on. In fact had a long chat with a student who wanted to study C.A. - more so after she got to know am a Chartered Accountant.

Another view of the morning assembly. Note the greenery - loved it. In Sept it was hot and humid but the greenery made it easier to deal with it. Somewhere there is Dong Valley where the first sun-rise of the country can be witnessed. It is located on the tri-junction of India, China and Myanmar.

Students recite prayer. Man in pic is school Principal Pandeyji who has spent over thirty years teaching the children of Arunachal. Dominant tribe in this area is Mizo Mishmi. As on date of visit school has app 275 students of which 210 stay in hostel. Classes are 4th-10th.

This pic is a Filler. Next school that we went to is VKV Roing. About 4 kms from the school and on the way to the very scenic Mayudia is Sally Lake. It forms part of the Mehao Wildlife Sanctuary. It is surrounded by thick vegetation. Saw beautiful fish in the lake. Tourist lodge there seems non-functional in Sept 2013 so stay at Roing. Note reflection of cloud in water.

Made it a point to visit the classrooms, actually spent a few minutes in this one. Quality of teaching is just like as got in Mumbai. Teachers come from all over - Assam, Manipur, South India, Maharashtra. Admire teachers who come to teach so far. It is virtually a 24 hour job from morning prarthana at 5.30 to evening 8 pm. All teachers live on campus. Tata Sky Dish Antennas keeps them connected with the outside world.

This teacher is from South India, Tamil Nadu if I remember correctly. There is no broadband connectivity, hope BSNL is able to manage that.

I peeped into a hall where a student was reciting a poem in front of some 40 odd students. I remembered my own days when I used to be petrified of speaking in front of a large number of students. Tezu is a very well laid out town - something special that made me like it.

Next went to laboratory to see students busy there. For day scholars there is a school bus that operates from Tezu to school. Tamladu is one of the main festivals celebrated by the Mishmi tribe. It is celebrated on the 15th of Feb. Prayers are offered to the God of Earth and God of water to seek their blessings for protection against natural calamities.

Tafragam school is atleast 7 kms from Tezu town. Locals wanted a VKV school in Tezu town. They worked together to create the infrastructure for a local school that was started in 2009. It has app 250 students and is from class 1-5. U see a classroom in session.

In the same school a student reading out to other students. Tezu in in Lohit district. Its name is derived from one of its main rivers, the Lohit. The river enters India from Tibet at the Kibithoo area of the district and finds mention in ancient Indian literature, where it has been called Lauhitya, associated with Parasuram which referred to it in the Srimad Bhagavat Gita, Kalkipurana and in the Mahabharata.

About 45 minutes drive from Tezu are the ruins of the city of King Bhismak i.e. also mentioned in Pauranic and Tantric literatures. U see road enroute. Thick forests. The road from Tezu to Bhismaknagar is super, as good as you can get. It is being extended to Roing for which a bridge over river is currently being made. When done Roing would be max 2.5 hours drive from Tezu.

In the Tezu school u see a teacher belonging to the Mishmi tribe. We were keen to click someone in traditional dress. She was nice enough to take us home, nearly a 30 minute drive, and dress up for a shoot. She has a Scooter to commute from home to school and back. We also got a chance to see her home - those pics you can see in Tribes of Arunachal Pradesh collection. According to Indian tradition, Lord Krishna''s first queen Rukmini belonged to the Mishmi tribe.

The teacher dressed up in local dress. Said their family prefers to stay in traditional home. Their home is like a long railway compartment - has stilts and at a height of about 2 feet, flooring is bamboo nothing else. There are rooms and rooms, first one is like a hall with fire place. Then sitting rooms/bedrooms and kitchen. They have gas cylinder and TV.

Tezu has a Tibetan community. They live in a separate area. In the monastery is this image of Buddha. To see pics of Bodh Gaya Temple Click Here

About 45 minutes drive from Tezu are the ruins of the city of King Bhismak i.e. also mentioned in Pauranic and Tantric literatures. U see two friends amidst the ruins. U see an external wall i.e. about 3 feet. When you walk past the entire area gives you a feel of the structure. Today only ruins exist. Entire area is covered with grass/trees so difficult to get an idea of exact lay out but appears quite grand and huge. Wish Govt clears the vegetation. To see pictures of Parasuram Kund Click Here

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