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Rediff.com  » News » Assam celebrates Rongali Bihu amidst ULFA warnings

Assam celebrates Rongali Bihu amidst ULFA warnings

April 18, 2007 09:40 IST
The people of Assam have shown tremendous resilience during the ongoing Rongali Bihu -- the most popular spring festival in Assam.

They have put up a brave front in the face of an unusual diktat from the banned United Liberation Front of Asom which called for restrained celebrations of Ronagli Bihu this time because of the prevailing conflicts.

The diktat took people by surprise as the ULFA usually desists from interfering with celebration of Rongali Bihu, the national festival in Assam. The people however celebrated 'Rongali Bihu' with traditional pomp and gaiety.

The festival is celebrated during April 14 to 16 every year throughout the state and in some parts of the state it continues for a month or so. It is marked by showcasing of the rich and colourful performances of Bihu dances, Bihu songs and other accompanying cultural practices unique to the tribal society in this part of the country.

Hundreds of cultural functions called 'bihu samilans' are organised in all urban centres during the Bihu festivities, where reputed and lesser-known artists from different parts of the region are invited to perform to add colour to the celebrations.

At least 30 Bihu cultural functions are being organised in different parts of greater Guwahati alone while the so-called ULFA bastion in the tea and oil rich Upper Assam districts too are not lagging behind.

"The word restraint doesn't go in tune with Rongali Bihu, which means unrestrained fun and frolicking. How can  Rongali Bihu be a restrained affair?" asked L Konwar a public relations executive working with a national level technical institute in the city.

"We are restrained to the extent of confining the Bihu celebration within the region's traditional cultural practices sans any trace of modern glitz that is alien to the state," said Amitabh Baruah, an organiser of an age-old 'Rongali Bihu Samilan' at Jorhat in upper Assam.

However, the police and paramilitary force personnel are being deployed heavily in Bihu cultural function venues all over the state to prevent any untoward incidents that may be engineered by the ULFA out of frustration.

The brave front put up by the people has virtually substantiated what the state government and the army of late have claimed. That the ULFA's mass base is on the wane and the outfit has been carrying out subversions in the state out of frustration.

K Anurag in Guwahati