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RED ARMY KEEPS VIRUS AT BAY IN NORTHEAST

Why in news?

A ‘red army’ of wise old men and women are helping villages across some hill States in the northeast keep the novel coronavirus away.

‘Red Army’ of the Northeast

  • Gaon buras (male villager elder) and Gaon buris (female village elder) — usually referred to as GBs — “formed a shield” between the villages and the virus.
  • The village elders across the States are distinguished by their red coats provided by the government, which also pays them a stipend of ₹1,500 per month.
  • The villagers look up to the elders in times of crisis as well as happiness. They consider it their duty to ensure their safety and liaise with the government agencies for guidelines and in maintaining order.
  • During epidemics and disasters, GBs put their heads together to decide what is best for the villagers and share the responsibilities.
  • Assisting the GBs in Nagaland are the dobashi, the custodians of Naga customary laws who also wear red coats.
  • They have been salaried government employees since 1842 when the British appointed the first dobashis for interpreting Naga dialects into Assamese or Hindi.
  • Arunachal Home Minister said the importance of village veterans was evident from the inclusion of the powers of the GBs in the Constitution and they are indispensable.
January 2023
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