Assam Chases Big Wheel as Covid-19 & & Bird Flu Worries Fail to Dampen Uruka and Bihu Festivities
They came, they conquered, and they returned with their prize. The fog-covered morning of January 13 transformed Assam into a virtual battleground for fish hunters and their victim. On this very day of Uruka, or the eve of Magh Bihu (Makar Sankranti), treating oneself to the finest and biggest fish is traditional.
In the middle of growing anticipation about the Covid-19 vaccine and the upcoming assembly elections, and the shadow of bird flu, individuals of Assam required to the annual event of feasting and celebrations with excellent gusto. The rate tag attached to a fish on this day is the least issue. All that matters is to get a big wheel, capture it by its ‘ear’, and hang it home with a triumphant gait.
In rural Assam, on the eve of Bihu, ‘community fishing’ is a crucial custom. Individuals from all walks of life converge at water bodies, preferably beels (lakes or ponds). Accompanied with conventional songs and merrymaking, they wade through the water, trying their luck. For the lucky one who manages to catch a huge catfish, it not only implies a sumptuous meal in the night feast however also a location of pride amongst his fellow guys in the pool.
” It is one specific day of the year when the very term ‘community’ measures up to its real significance in the state. A person’s capability to catch fish barely depends on this day; it is Kismet and a person’s dexterity that matter the most,” states Bhaskar Deka, who lives near Bamuni Beel and managed to catch a substantial borali (catfish) for the night.
Fishes and water animals like borali, chiton, rou and bhokuwa are the favourites. On Wednesday, their costs in Guwahati varied from rupees 500 a kg to 1,300 a kg. For the sellers too, it’s like a carnival, as their stocks disappeared in no time. In the evening, neighborhoods collect around bonfires and feast together (bhoj), where a fish and its size ends up being the topic of conversation for the entire night.
” Last year, Uruka was a sombre and a low-key affair in the state owing to the anti CAA demonstrations and the uprising in Assam. The Bohag Bihu or the Assamese New Year was spoiled by the pandemic lockdown. It’s the very first major community gathering that we are observing after a long time. We require to be careful and obey all the procedures, however the feasting shall exist,” says Amol Chakraborty, a resident of Guwahati.
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