Tuesday, October 08, 2019

196.Durga Pooja in Assam

Today is the last day of the four-day Durga Pooja festivities. It was after several decades that I witnessed the Pooja festivities in Assam this year.
 Hundreds of Pooja pandals have come up in Guwahati. Wherever you go, you find a pandal with tastefully decorated idols of the Goddess Durga and others. Lights and decoration tell you from a distance that a pandal exists nearby. Crowds start swelling late in the evening with families hopping from pandal to pandal up to wee hours in the morning. Some pandals are so crowded that one has to summon all courage and strength to enter.

Durga Pooja is truly a people’s festival in Assam. Involvement of entire communities irrespective of caste, creed, religion and language can be seen. Everyone partakes of ‘Khichari’, a mix of rice and pulses which is offered to the Goddess.
The festivities give a chance to local artists to exhibit their skill to the fullest. Many pandals are built around specific themes like space achievements of the country and environmental pollution. Some pandals are so imaginative, creative and beautiful that words fall short in describing them. One feels that the artists of the region, if given proper support, can rise very high in their profession.

What I missed this year was the famous moving theatre of Assam. During my childhood days, moving theatres used to be an essential feature of Pooja festivities. We used to see plays, staged by them, on all the four days of the festival. The troupes used to go from place to place to stage plays. It saddens me to find that the moving theatre tradition in Assam seems to be on decline.

No comments: