Bihu spectacle: Assam govt launches publicity blitzkrieg in Delhi, other metros
Promotion of the event at the Delhi Metro

Guwahati: The Assam government is leaving no stone unturned to make the upcoming Rongali Bihu event here the greatest spectacle in terms of the largest congregation of over 11,000 Bihu dancers on April 14 and to make an entry into the Guinness Book of World Records.

In this regard, a publicity blitzkrieg has already been launched in the national capital as well as in the other metropolitan cities of the country.

The event to be held at Sarusajai Indoor Stadium here will be graced by none other than Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Invitations are being extended to the Governors, chief ministers, Union Ministers and diplomats of G20 and ASEAN countries and other dignitaries for the mega event.

Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma has said that the main objective of the record attempt would be to popularise Bihu and take it to the world stage.

Sarma has since the beginning of this month been closely monitoring the preparations for the upcoming event to make it a success.

“The chief minister has been monitoring the preparations to the minutest of detail so that Bihu, the lifeline of Assamese culture, is known to the entire world,” said a senior state government official privy to the development.

Taking to micro-blogging platform, Twitter, Sarma said, “Preparations are in full swing for April 14, when over 11,000 Bihu dancers will create history by performing together at Sarusajai Stadium in the august presence of PM Narendra Modiji.”

A hoarding put up on a waiting shed in Delhi.

“Reviewed arrangements at the venue and asked officials to make the event truly memorable,” Sarma said.

Master trainers have been trained to impart the subtle nuances of the Bihu dance form to the scores of dancers roped in from different districts across the state.

The chief minister himself was present when training of master trainers was underway at Sarusajai Sports Complex, the venue for the biggest Bihu event.

“I am delighted to be present at Sarusajai Stadium where training of master trainers is underway for the grand Bihu event. Assam is all set to create a World Record with 11,000 dancers participating in the event on April 14,” Sarma said.

Hoardings have come up in the waiting sheds of bus stops in prominent places of the national capital welcoming everyone to join in the biggest Bihu festival and to create history together.

Even in the yellow and blue lines of Delhi Metro, all the coaches have been wrapped up in Bihu hoardings. Hoardings can be seen on the major roads leading to the Indira Gandhi International Airport.

The upcoming event comes close on the heels of the concluding function of the year-long 400th birth anniversary celebrations of Ahom General Lachit Barphukan in the national capital in November last year.

Not only in Delhi-NCR, the Assam government has also launched publicity campaigns in a big way in Mumbai and Kolkata.

“I have heard something about the Bihu festival of Assam which coincides with other festivities like Baisakhi, Vishu, Puthandu, Poila Boishakh, et al. But my knowledge was limited. Now, I started surfing the internet and gathered a wealth of information on it and also how the Assam government is making efforts to make the Bihu event a spectacular one by finding a place of pride in the Guinness Book,” said a resident of the national capital.

Currently, participants are engaged in workshops across all 31 districts of Assam. In each district, training sessions are being imparted by groups of around 50 Bihu dancers or master trainers. These workshops are being attended by performers in the age group of 15 to 35 years.

Once the training sessions conclude in the districts on April 8, the participants will assemble in Guwahati, where a dress rehearsal will follow from April 9 to 12.

Along with the main event, preparations are underway to arrange adequate accommodation facilities for the performers who will converge here from across the state.

According to officials, hostels of educational institutions, community housing centres, government guest houses and hotels, etc, are being arranged for the accommodation of participants.

Notably, from the start of the training sessions and rehearsal period, until the day of performance, each dancer and musician will receive Rs 10,500 as a token amount for participation.

During the workshop, every performer will get Rs 300 for travel expenses. Separate arrangements will be made for food.

A standee used to promote the upcoming mega event.

An amount of Rs 3,000 will be provided to each dancer to help them arrange their traditional dresses in adherence to the dress code set by the government. Upon reaching Guwahati, they will be given Rs 1,000 each as part of daily expenses.

The state government will register the name of each participant on a web portal so they can receive certificates of achievement if the feat is recognised by Guinness World Records.

As it is, ahead of Bohag Bihu, the Assam government has since March 1 launched a special drive against the sale of traditional attire of the state such as gamosa, mekhela sador and aronai which are manufactured in power looms.

The special drive, which will be conducted till April 14, is aimed at safeguarding the traditional weavers of the state who have been affected by the sale of machine-made traditional garments, mainly procured from outside the state.

Chief minister Sarma had said that such a ban was a  part of a larger effort to raise awareness about the traditional weaving industry of Assam and discourage the sale and procurement of machine-made products.

“Drives have in the past been conducted against the sale of such traditional items manufactured in power looms. Now, I have asked the DCs and SPs to intensify the campaign against the sale of such power loom-made items and also get in touch with the textile merchants’ association urging it to refrain from procuring such items from outside the state before they get seized here,” Sarma said.

Observed on April 14-15 every year, Rongali or Bohag Bihu which heralds the Assamese New Year is widely celebrated across Assam.

The Assamese celebrate Bihu thrice a year, which signify the distinct cycles of farming – Bhogali/Magh Bihu (January), Bohag/Rongali Bihu (April), and Kongali Bihu (October).

On the day of Bihu various delicacies such as til pitha, narikolor laroo, murir laroo, ghila pitha, poka mithoi are made across both rural and urban kitchens.

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Women, men and children are seen singing, feasting, exchanging gifts, seeking blessings from elders, donning new attire, and performing the traditional Bihu dance in open fields and stage.

This is the second attempt for a record for the largest performance of a traditional folk dance in the Northeast.

In April 2019, Nagaland had entered the Guinness World Records when 4,687 artistes performed Konyak at Mon town. 

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