Bol-Bom: A Culture that Turns Into a Menace

What happens inside a religious event in India has parted its ways from what the religious event actually signifies a long time ago
Bol-Bom: A Culture that Turns Into a Menace
Bol-Bom: A Culture that Turns Into a Menace

As the constitution says, “India is not a country but a union of states”; the sub-merged diversity of religion and politics in India has been bearing the exploitation in the name of both religion and politics in all the parts of the Country since a long time.

What happens inside a religious event in India has parted its ways from what the religious event actually signifies a long time ago. Now the colloquial term for every event is nothing but “disaster” including several deaths.

The annual pilgrimage by the devotees of Shiva to fetch holy water from Ganges River or local equivalent as offerings for their local Shiva shrines or specific temples has turned into the term “disaster” in many regions of the country this year. The pilgrimage existed in the early 19th century also, where English travelers reported witnessing this phenomenon. However till the early years of ‘80’s decade it was an undertaking by only a few saints and elderly people in northern India.

The huge economic migration of people from Western and Northern India after 1980 to several other states such as Assam carried this phenomenon along with them. Although, as after 1980; Assam witnessed a highly influential regionalism in every sector, it was impossible for the people of Assam to adapt this annual pilgrimage culture.

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However, the regional party Asom Gana Parishad lost to Indian National Congress on 2001 due to the increasing number of secret killings, various scandals and the autocratic governance. The Indian National Congress brought the wave of nationalism and patriotism through religions into Assam. For the first time, people of Assam sought validation of contemporary India through celebrating every other festival around the country. The government was cunning enough to understand what role religion plays in a diverse third world country like India.

Soon after Indian National Congress, in 2014 Bharatiya Janata Party came into power in Assam. The new government was keen to portray a welcoming image in front of the nation because of the damaged done by local militant group ULFA and former governing party Asom Gana Parishad. Assam was a frightening eyesore for the people from other parts of India who worked at central government or national companies as the transfer order to Assam is directly proportional to death threats by the militants at that time. In this process of cleaning out the stained image, the people of Assam welcomed Bol-Bom or the pilgrimage along with various other festivals. Before that, most of the festivals of Assam were related to the region instead of a particular religion. The constitution also provides legit protection since India is a democratic souvenir union of states.

Now coming back to the point of in the grip of prejudice, Bol-Bom has become a menace in Assam by offering to hide many underlying illegal activities and nuisance caused by criminals and ignorant people. These serious offenders and pests of the society use any big religious gatherings to hide their identities in lieu of Government’s relaxation to the religions and events. As the death toll count of pilgrims in Assam rises every other day, the government needs to put an eye on what is going on in the name of Bol-Bom. With the increasing number of Shiva devotees around the state, the distribution of intoxicating consumption has been regularized in the name of such religious festivals such as Shiva Ratri or Bol-Bam in every corner of the state even after frequent search and raids by the state police.

A state where majority of the people are still not academically sound or educated, where majority of the people are involved with cultivation or where majority of the people are still untouched from the process of urbanization which includes internet, understanding law and regulation or health; the nuisance created by a festival holds a bigger impact than one can imagine. The footprints of the nuisance follow every other underprivileged slum areas for instance where thousands of kids are exposed to the world of crime because of the absence of education. This leads to increasing number of crimes and poor health index across the state.

The inter-connection between a change in the name of globalization and religion leads to several other factors which eats a whole generation out alive. The current scenario of Assam is very fragile; a small mistake will bring utter disaster to an entire upcoming generation of the youth. The exploitation by a political party, a colonizer or a capitalist is only possible if the people of the state are engaged with religion and drowned in crimes and intoxication instead of education.

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