Ranchi, April 22
Mohammed Talib, a 52 year old Kite Maker in Ranchi, is all set to spread awareness on voting rights in maoist-hit Khunti district of Jharkhand through his kites printed with messages of Election Commission in Mundari, the language spoken by Munda tribe.
Munda tribe, is one of the largest tribal populations of Jharkhand.
Asked what made him think of this idea, he said, “I have been encouraging people around me to exercise their voting rights since 2014 Lok Sabha elections and for this, thousands of free kites were distributed with slogans of Election Commission in Hindi, English and Urdu languages within the state capital. This time, the idea of spreading voting awareness has been taken to neighbouring districts with one of the local tribal languages, as suggested by a young friend. I promptly thought of implementing it in Khunti since it is nearest to the state capital.”
“Munda Community voters can easily connect with the slogans written in mother tongue. This in turn will boost their confidence in casting vote,” Mohammed Talib added.
To cope up with Mundari, Talib took the help of Ajay Tirkey, a student of St Xavier’s College, Ranchi who translated the slogans of Election Commission from Hindi to Mundari.
“It took me a week to translate Election Commission’s slogans from Hindi version to Mundari,” said Tirkey who had been visiting Talib’s shop to discuss over the matter for past one month.
Elections in Khunti are scheduled on May 6. Prior to the polls, Talib plans to organize a kite flying campaign here to raise awareness on voting. Also, his assistants will be distributing these kites among the local missionary school children. As many as 500 kites printed with Mundari slogans were dispatched to Khunti on Monday.
According to Ministry of Home Affairs, Khunti is counted among the Left Wing Extremism (LWE) districts of Jharkhand.
Talib informed that apart from these 500 kites, 2000 kites have also been printed with English, Hindi and Urdu slogans of Election Commission of which 1000 kites will be distributed in Ranchi while remaining 1000 kites will be sent to Lohardaga.
“In order to make our work creative, kites were prepared with Australian Paper,” said Talib, who run Talib Patang House in the state capital for over four decades.
However, when Khunti Deputy Commissioner (DC) Suraj Kumar was contacted on how this initiative will motivate the Khunti voters, he said, “One has to take permission from the respective election authority for carrying out such an activity. We are not yet aware of this voluntary effort and cannot allow unless an approval certification is not issued.”
Meanwhile, Ranchi DC Rai Mahimapat Ray welcomed the kite maker’s effort and applauded him. “I have requested Mohammed Talib to organize a kite flying competition in the state capital,” he said.
Notably, the elections in Khunti and Ranchi are scheduled on the same date while in Lohardaga it is to be held on April 29. There are 14 parliamentary constituencies in Jharkhand.
(Author is Guest Faculty Member in Mass Communication&Video Production Department of Gossner College, Ranchi)