The civilized society has taken umbrage with the rather uncouth ‘dancing in the mud’ that has been witnessed in several Bihu functions across Assam this year.
This has been considered an insult to the rich tradition of Bihu, with many conscious citizens vehemently opposing such uncivilized manner of celebrating the festival.
The ongoing Covid-19 pandemic had marred Bihu celebrations during the past two years. Although Bihu functions were organized across the state last year, they had to be cut short due to the alarming spread of the Covid-19 virus.
This year after the state government withdrew all Covid-19 restrictions, the public had hoped to enjoy the festival by enjoying the Bihu renditions by popular artistes. However, several functions turned out to be a complete nuisance when drunken youths among the audience gathered near the pandals and began dancing in the mud.
These youths can be seen indulging in such uncouth dancing in the rain, splashing mud on each other outside bihu pandals, splashing mud on each other while artistes performed on stage.
In fact, the situation had turned volatile in most places and the police had to lathi-charge on these drunken youths to bring the situation under control.
Members of a Bihu committee in Golaghat district said that what they have witnessed this time was beyond their imagination.
He said, “All committee members had worked very hard to organize a successful Bihu function. A good show was going on as Assamese singing sensation Zubeen Garg was performing and all people were enjoying. Suddenly a few youths began dancing in the mud outside the pandal.”
“As time passed, more and more boys joined becoming the centre of attraction. We had warned them from creating such nuisance, but to not avail. Finally the police had to lathi-charge to disperse them,” he added.
Meanwhile, another committee member said, “We are really disheartened by such acts of youths in our state. They have crossed all limits in disrespecting our tradition.”
Pranab Gohain, a resident of Ganeshguri said, “The youth has no respect for the Assamese culture. They are least bothered about the impression this gives to the society. They only care about their own enjoyment.”
Muhon Deka, a resident of Chandmari said, “We cannot figure out which way the youths are going. This is really sad that they forget everything once they are drunk and create a menace.”
On the other hand, the concept of Buka Bhaona (Mud Theatre) is an integral part of the state’s Vaishnavite tradition introduced by Vaishnavite saint Srimanta Sankaradeva. This Bhaona has religious connotations and usually organized is sattras (monestaries) across the state.
“Buka Bhaona has religious significance. During such bhaona people make a shallow pond and fill it with water. Then they play with the mud and sling it on each other. Such bhaons are organized during or after Nanda Utsov in certain places and signifies happiness. The vaishnavite priests also use this mud from the pond as tilak in sattras,” said P Mahanta, a prominent resident of Guwahati.
“However, the manner in which a few drunken youths have danced in the mud during Bihu functions is actually an insult to the Assamese culture. It should not be tolerated at any cost,” he further said.
Meanwhile, reacting to this kind of disrespect given to Bihu, Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma had also said, “The tradition introduced by the youths which they call “Buka Bihu” is unacceptable. They have to respect the culture of Assam. Dancing in the mud is not the way we enjoy the festival.”