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A news story two weeks ago about the death of the last surviving member of the Bo tribe, in the Andaman Islands, made an impact on the Birhor of Jharkhand state.

Evidently, state government officials are concerned about the gradually diminishing numbers of Birhor, a worry that they share with people in the village of Chalkari, 56 km from Dhanbad, the largest city in the state. The villagers are trying to compensate for their population decline by having large families. Koka Birhor told the press last week, “Yes, we like large families,” when told about the passing of the last Bo speaker.

According to the news story, the state Health Department is also doing its part. It has opened a sub-primary health center in Chalkari to help the people, and a medical officer for the block regularly visits the community.

The village has been in the news before. A story in February last year described how a school group in Dhanbad was trying to help promote better health in Chalkari by building a sanitary toilet. The hope was to eliminate water-borne diseases. The same village made the news again in July when a man initiated boxing training for the children.