Small Fish Play A Big Role In The Diet Of The Tribals In Tripura

Fish is a common component in the diet of people of Tripura, especially among the tribals. As the North East is blessed with natural resources and water, small fish are easily available in the streams around the village. Tribals love to stick around during monsoons in the lush green forests with small waterfalls in search of fresh small fish. They capture enough fish using a net that they can use it in small qualities for the entire year. These fish are not only rich in protein and Omega 3 but they also taste delicious. Some of Tripura delicacies which include small fish are ‘Godok and ‘Eggu‘. 

Fishes are an important source of essential nutrients for many people who consume it. It includes high-quality protein, iodine, and various vitamins and minerals.

Godok and Eggu are made with turmeric leaves as an important ingredient. Turmeric acts as a seasoning for the dishes and adds fragrance to them. These turmeric plants are homegrown and are also used to worship gods besides cooking. Kaching is another type of homegrown spice. There are 19 tribal communities in Tripura and people of the Debbarma community are famous for the spices in their cooking, Kaching being one of them. It is also used for cooking fish, and even chicken and pork. It adds flavour to their dishes and its fragrance can be smelt from miles away.

The tribals of Tripura, however, refrain themselves from adding excessive spices to their food. They say it disrupts the taste of the food. Small fish, when added to regular dishes, make them even tastier and lip smacking.

Kaching masala: A special homegrown spice used while making many dishes in Tripura.

Local food items are the best as they complement the environment and lifestyle of people who have embodied these food items into their culture. It not only supports the local economy, but also promotes a safer food supply within that region. It is always advisable to seek for fresh and local produce and even try to produce some of them yourself. It reduces the amount of energy, pesticides, and herbicides when it’s homegrown and is far better than marketplace organic labels. Thus, these food options are less costly to the natural environment and are safe for consumption.

Eggu food : It is a delicacy of the Debbarma sect living in Tripura. The dish consists mainly of fish and uses very less amount of spice as a tastemaker.

About the author: Samir Debbarma lives in the Khowai district of Tripura. He has finished his graduation and is currently looking for a job in the government. His dream is to become a police officer. In his free time, he likes listening to Hindi classical music and practice art.

All images have been provided by the author. 

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

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The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

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Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

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With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

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Find out more about the campaign here.

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Read more about the campaign here.

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A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

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A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
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