Nikumani's life is set to change as USTM founder Mahbubul Hoque offers help

Story by  ATV | Posted by  Aasha Khosa | Date 09-03-2023
USTM Founder  and Chancellor Mahbubul Hoque with Nikumani Kalita and his mother
USTM Founder and Chancellor Mahbubul Hoque with Nikumani Kalita and his mother


Imtiaz Ahmed/Guwahati

Nikumani Kalita is one of the many children who lost their homes in the recent eviction drive in the Silsakon Beel locality of Guwahati. Bulldozers demolished hundreds of homes that were allegedly built on encroached land in the watershed area that once used to be a lake.

A video clip of the seven-year-old Nikumani Kalita urging the eviction officer to demolish his house after 10 minutes went viral on social media and it also changed his life.

Nikumani's family not only got a new house and employment for all its members but also an opportunity for the child to pursue education at no cost. As luck would have it, Nikumani’s interview with a digital news portal in which he explained that he wanted time so that his family could retrieve their belongings and his viral clip urging the eviction officer for the same, caught the attention of one of the top educational entrepreneurs of Assam and Meghalaya.

Mahbubul Hoque, Chancellor of the University of Science and Technology of Meghalaya and ho is also known for his philanthropy saw it and decided to help the family.

Nikumani's family on the USTM campus

He offered a job to the parents, uncles, and grandmother of Nikumani and living quarters for the family on the campus.

In the video clip, Nikumani is seen calling out to an eviction officer: “Sir, please ask them to come a little late. Our household items have not yet been moved to another location. It will take a while longer … please ask them to come back in 10 minutes.”

In the interview, Nikumani told the anchor he is willing to study and wants to get admission to a school. Nikumani said, at times, he had to beg for household expenses.

Nikumani’s family hails from the mofussil township of Rangia in the Kamrup district. They would soon shift to their new home on the campus at Ri-Bhoi in Meghalaya.

Mahbubul Hoque has also taken responsibility for Nikumani's education. When Nikumani’s family called on him recently, he said, “Have you seen this sprawling educational institution? We have everything here. I'll make your son a big man. Others have money, but no school. But, we have both money and schools … I will make you a doctor, an engineer, or an IAS officer.”

According to USTM sources, Nikumani's family has accepted the offer and they will be shifted to the USTM campus in a couple of days. Nikumani's parents, grandmother, and uncle will all work at the university, sources said.

Nikumani with his father at the USTM campus

Hundreds of people have been displaced by the eviction drive at Silsako Beel, which the Assam government has proposed to beautify like Kankaria Lake in Ahmedabad.

Chief Minister Himanta Sarma Biswa said the main idea is to make Guwahati flood-free. The lake used to be the city’s rainwater drainage watershed.

However, due to alleged large-scale encroachment, the drains flowing into the lake have been blocked resulting in water logging in most parts of the city, the chief minister noted.

The Chief Minister also directed the district administration to relocate the Ginger Hotel, Omio Kumar Das Institute, and the All Assam Tennis Association Complex from the lake to other parts of the city.

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Sarma has directed the Kamrup (Metro) district administration to remove all encroachments from the area. The Chief Minister also proposed to develop the area and turn it into a tourist attraction.

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