Jonbeel Mela
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Jonbeel Mela

Jonbeel Mela
(Indigenous Tiwa community fair)
Date(s)January or February
FrequencyAnnual
Location(s)Dayang Belguri, Morigaon, Assam
Inaugurated15th century AD

Jonbeel Mela (pron:'n?bi:l 'me?l?) (Assamese: ?) is a three-day annual indigenous Tiwa Community fair held the weekend of Magh Bihu at a historic place known as Dayang Belguri at Joonbeel. It is 3 km from Jagiroad in Morigaon district of Assam[1][2][3][4] and 32 km from Guwahati. The National Highway connecting the mela is NH 37.[2][4] The Joonbeel (Joon and Beel are Assamese terms for the Moon and a wetland respectively) is so called because a large natural water body is shaped like a crescent moon.[1]

History

The mela is said to have begun not later than 15th century AD.[1] It was first organized ago by the Tiwa (Lalung) to discuss the prevailing political situations.[]

Exchange of products through barter system

Barter system

An indigenous Assamese woman belonging to the Tiwa community

During the occasion a huge bazaar is held. A few days before the mela starts, indigenous Assamese communities of Assam Hills and neighborhood like Hill Tiwa, Karbi, Khasi, and Jayantia of the northeast come down from the hills with products and interchange their merchandise with the native indigenous Assamese people in a barter system.[2][3][4] It is said to be a hi-tech age barter system and perhaps the only fair in India where barter system is still alive.[1][3][4]

A Tiwa woman preparing food at the mela

Significance

Before the mela takes place, an Agni Puja (fire worship) is performed for the well-being of the mankind[2][3][4] The mela starts with community fishing in the Joonbeel wetland.

An indigenous Assamese lady with her child at Joonbeel Fair

The theme of the mela is harmony and brotherhood among the indigenous Assamese communities and tribes scattered in the Northeast India. The Gobha King along with his courtiers visits the mela and collects taxes from his subjects.[3][4] People perform their traditional dance and music, making the atmosphere one of joy and fun.[2][4]

Royal allowance

On 17 January 2009 the Government of Assam announced an "Annual Royal Allowance" for the 19 customary kings from communities under the Gobha Kingdom that includes parts of three districts of present Assam: Morigaon, Nagaon and Kamrup. The Education Minister of Assam, Gautam Bora, distributing the bank cheques among the kings, said that the monetary assistance will be something between Rs. 3000 to Rs. 10,000 depending on the population count under them.[5]

Reactions

Expressing their great delight at the initiative taken by the government the kings welcomed the move.[5]

  • Gobha King Deep Sing said, "It is a welcome move by the government of Assam. We have been demanding this for a long time as the economic condition of all these customary kings is going down. If we do not receive any assistance from the government, it would be difficult to maintain even the tradition of hosting the annual Joonbeel Mela, which has become an important tourist destination."
  • Ahom King Susenfa Pratap Singha had said, "The Mela was initiated by our predecessors to maintain cordial relations among all the indigenous Assamese communities. The government assistance would help to fulfil the predecessors' dreams."

In fiction

There is an elaborate references of the mela in Rita Chowdhury's Sahitya Akademy Award-winning novel Deo Langkhui.[6]

References

  1. ^ a b c d Borthakur, Dibya Jyoti (January 19, 2008). "Jonbeel Mela drawing a large number of visitors". Assam Times. Archived from the original on January 8, 2009. Retrieved 2009.
  2. ^ a b c d e "Jonbeel Mela". Retrieved 2009.
  3. ^ a b c d e "Assam Fairs & Festivals". 121indiatourism.com. Archived from the original on 7 July 2011. Retrieved 2009.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g "Joonbeel Mela - Assam". Indiawijzer.nl. Retrieved 2009.
  5. ^ a b Sharma, Anup (18 January 2009). "JONBEEL FAIR - Royal allowance for Kings of Assam". Sakaltimes.com. Retrieved 2009.[dead link]
  6. ^ Saikia, Samiran. "Between the lines". Retrieved 2009.

External links


  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.

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