During my recent trip to Meghalaya, I had planned a day trip to Dawki the last frontier for India with Bangladesh. The chaffeur suggested that we go ahead to the Dawki-Tamabil border post as well which was a good 10 kms beyond Dawki. After a quick rice meal at a roadside eatery in Dawki which was quickly digested thanks to a bumpy ride on a broken dusty road. I had my heart in my mouth on a couple of occasions when the teeny weeny Maruti 800 in which I was travelling would squeeze between giant trucks to get ahead. This was a road which connected Guwahati-Shillong-Dawki-Tamabil-Sylhet-Dhaka and was largely used for trade and commerce.
The BSF jawans on the India side were very cordial and accompanied me to the last Indian point from where I was allowed to take a few pictures. The border guard from Bangladesh was happy to be included in the picture and we exchanged a few pleasantries in his native Bengali. In conversation he said
“This is where your country ends and mine begins, we speak the same language, enjoy the same food but our passports and identities have different color”
The truth of the words left me stumped me for a while and I sought refuge in the irresistible berry pickle that was being sold by a young boy from the other side and I could see the eyes sparkle in gratitude when I handed over the Rs 20/- in Indian currency.
What is Nationality?
As I retraced my steps; I pondered over the definition of Nationality. Was it defined when Geography was still Geography and had not become History with increased commerce and movement of people across different lands. Perhaps the need for an identity, the sense of belonging is what drives people towards nationality like the way I feel for the tricolor or the anthem or the sheer comfort of knowing that I have the right to live where I do.
The border post is open through the year.
- Shillong to Dawki is about 82 kms which can be covered in 2.5 to 3 hours. There are shared vehicles as well as taxis that can be hired for the day. A return trip should be within Rs 3000 to Rs 4500 based on locations visited & type of vehicle.
- Dawki to Tamabil border post is about 10 kms but can take upto an hour depending on the rush of vehicles. If you have hired a vehicle, negotiate for this upfront since many drivers are reluctant to do this dusty trip.
- Tamabil to Sylhet in Bangladesh is about 55 kms. There are buses and vehicles on the Bangladesh side for passengers crossing over legally.
- Contact North East Explorers for planning this trip or write to them at firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet @northeastexplrs . They did a great job with mine and the young entrepreneur from north east will surely make you comfortable.
- Boatride in Dawki, Meghalaya
- Around Mawlynnong, cleanest village in India
- Crossing over to Myanmar through Moreh-Tamu border post