Happy Valley fuels elephant meat trade

Happy Valley is a haven for Mizoram's elephant hunters looking for a good cover.

india Updated: Mar 17, 2004 01:08 IST

Happy Valley is a bustling Mizo neighbourhood in Shillong, which like Mizoram's many small towns, stops only for its music, liquor and wild meat.

Buchiar is a popular community dish, which invariably invites a round table of family and friends every time elephant meat replaces other wild meat forms in it recipe. Few years ago, an outsider to the community could expect elephant buchiar in his plate. Now, no more; elephant meat eating, like the trade itself, has come to be a social secret which the community feels outsiders do not understand, and therefore, need not share.

These are, nevertheless, few of the traits that have for more than 50 years kept alive the ties between the Mizos in Happy Valley and the Mizos in Mizoram, despite the 423 kilometre that separate the two regions.

Elephants, of course, have played no small part in the fraternity building. Ask Sonna and he will be quick to explain how the mammoths have routinely drawn a part of the traffic that journey from Mizoram to Happy Valley. "Butchers and meat traders from Mizoram come here very often… sometimes we receive few hunters as well," he tells you.

Not surprising: Happy Valley sits pretty some 150 kilometre from the Tura forests, West Garo Hills, which is still home to many elephants.

First Published: Mar 17, 2004 01:08 IST