Assamese happy over possible government, ULFA talks

Friday, January 21, 2011

GUWAHATI - This year’s Bhogali Bihu festival has become more special than previous ones, owing to the fact that there is a possibility of the Central Government holding talks with the rebel United Liberation Front of Assam (ULFA) leadership sooner than later.

No festival is complete without sweets. And, when it comes to the festival of Bhogali Bihu, the sweets seem to be never ending.

‘Bhogali’, means food in Assamese, and food it is that forms the main part of this festival, which falls in the month of ‘Magh’ or January.

The Bhogali Bihu or the Magh Bihu marks an end to a successful harvesting season.

Farmers and their family members organize a big feast and pray to the gods for an even better harvest the next year. The women prepare traditional delicacies like ‘pithas’ ‘wah-karai’, and sesame sweets for the grand feast, which takes place the night before the main festival.

Naren Deka, a local resident, said: “This Bihu has brought prosperity and happiness to us. With the ULFA leaders coming to the negotiating tables, our wish for peace has been fulfilled.”

Pani Ram Ragha, another resident, said: “Our happiness in Bihu this year is due to the fact that ULFA is coming for negotiations. It is a positive sign and it will help in the development of our region and the nation in a positive way.”

In Jorhat, a fair was organized where eatables, traditional clothes, jewellery and other items were sold.

Hundreds of visitors thronged the Bihu mela to buy items needed during the festival.

Arpan Sarma, a member of the Bihu Mela organizing committee, said: “We started this mela to promote Self Help Groups and artisans from the region. We aim to bring everything under one roof for the benefit of the customers.”

Shopkeeper Deepjyoti Bordoloi, said: “Such fairs should be organized for the benefit of the people.”

During the festival, Meji Houses or makeshift temples devoted to the harvest gods are burnt at the break of dawn. It is a symbol of victory of good over the evil.

The devotees also pray for the wellbeing and prosperity of everyone.

Bihu, the soul of Assam, is more than just a festival and merriment. It is intrinsically linked with the culture and ethos of the state. (ANI)

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