“Kitchen Queen’s” unique Diwali gift to Hargila Army

NURUL LASKAR

Taanishi Inam is a well-known face to all food lovers and exquisite recipe seekers of the state. She appears regularly on the TV channels providing new information about indigenous and exotic food. Over the years she has won several competitions in cooking and confectionary competitions to the extent that it has earned her the title “Kitchen Queen.” On Saturday, she visited Dadara on the outskirts of Guwahati with a noble and unique mission.

 As a Diwali gift from her side, she conducted a recipe workshop for the members of the “Hargila Army”, a group of volunteers consisting mainly of rural womenfolk, who help Green Oscar winning Assamese environmentalist Purnima Devi Barman in the conservation and protection of the endangered Greater Adjutant bird, known in Assam as the Hargila.

 On May 18 last year, Purnima had bagged the Whitley Award, also known as Green Oscar, from the hands of Princess Royal Anne, patron of the Whitley Fund for Nature (WFN), in London in recognition of her pioneering work in the protection and preservation of an endangered species. Purnima is associated with Aaranyak NGO that works for wildlife conservation. Besides Dadara Village, she has also been working with Pachariya and Hingimari Villages of Kamrup Rural District to save the greater adjutant stork, locally known as ‘Hargila’ in Assam. 

 On their arrival in Dadara on Saturday, Purnima took Taanishi and her team on a visit of the Hargila Habitat and explained to the visiting group the details of Hargila’s life cycle, their breeding habits, and the threats that now pose before their existence in our midst. While Purnima has been successful in crating awareness among local people about the need for preserving this bird, she is worried that with the expansion of the city limits, it may be very difficult to provide the Hargila a safe abode for a very long time in the near future. She said, “There are about 35 beels or water bodies in the areas where I work for the conservation of Hargila, but the land mafias have their eyes on these and they contemplate to fill these waterbodies in order to build apartments and industrial estates.”

During the recipe workshop, Taanishi prepared five dishes before the Hargila Army – vegetable pulao, raita, besan halwa, fruit malpua, firni. In addition, she prepared a special dish named “Kavi Sammbardhana” which was prepared first time in honour of Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore and later became one of his favourite items on the dinner table.

 The programme was organised by Aranyak, an NGO that works for the environment, as part of its Diwali celebrations for the year. About 50 members of the Hargila Army were present on the occasion.

Nurul Laskar

Nurul Laskar

Nurul Islam Laskar was born in Shillong on June 18, 1950. A University topper and gold medallist, he joined the State Bank of India as a Probationary Officer in 1972. In 1976, Laskar was awarded the Rotary International Group Study Exchange Scholarship to visit on home stay in the state of Oklahoma USA. He was conferred Honorary Citizenship of Oklahoma during this visit. Laskar served as the Chief Manager (Public Relations & Community Services Banking) at SBI Local Head Office (North Eastern Circle), Guwahati during 1994-2002. He was recipient of Loyola College Chennai’s Mother Teresa Award for outstanding Community Service in 2001. In 2002, he took voluntary retirement from SBI and served as Consulting Editor, The Sentinel (English Daily) from 2002 to 2004 and as Executive Editor, Eastern Chronicle (National English Daily) from 2009 to 2014. Around this time, Laskar set up CABSFORD PR, the first public relations agency of North East India. Laskar is the first PR practitioner of North East to get a post graduate degree in Public Relations. He teaches PR at BCMJ, Cotton University, Guwahati and conducts PR workshops at various universities and institutes as a visiting lecturer. Presently, Laskar is the Chief Adviser, Public Relations Society of India (PRSI) Guwahati Chapter and Founder Director of ‘Learning & Promoting Public Relations’ (LAP-PR), an organisation to promote the practice of PR among the youngsters of North East. Besides, he is also the Director (Corporate Communication) at University of Science & Technology Meghalaya (USTM) and Honorary Director at Tangent Public Relations Guwahati.