Monthly Archives: July 2013

Subhabrita Ghosh Report

Excerpts from December 2012 Report

 

Dec 22nd, 2012

A club of Tulshibari at Rongiya organized a Nagaranam program for their annual function .They invited two nagaranam groups. Among these the troupe of the Ramcharan Bharali presented the episode of ‘the birth of Narada’ of the Mahabharata which is described .Once Mahadeva went to a sacrificial ceremony conducted by Parvati in the guise of a woman as entrance of males was prohibited in the ceremony. But Parvati suspected this deceit and decided to test each of the women present in the ceremony by placing her hand over their heads. Then when   Mahadeva’s turn came, he became pregnant and thus his deceit was caught. At last Mahadeva delivered the baby with his fingernail and the newborn child came to be known as ‘Narada’.

 

Dec 30th, 2012

I went a program which was arranged by a club of North Guwahati .They organized various programs such as boat competition, Nagaranam etc throughout the five days. The group of Ramcharan Bharali was also invited there. On that day, they performed a story of Mahabharata which is-Dharmaraj Judhisthir making an oblation. Narad muni went to heaven and informed all gods, after praising Judhirsthir  that there was no king in the three world as good as he, listing that the father of judhirsthir ‘Jome’ would appear before his son disguise as ‘Maya’. Then Judhirsthir asked Jome regarding pleasing a guest, creation of religion, and real friend of human beings etc. Father Jome answered his son that of pleasing a guest as fire, earth, grass, and then land regarding creation of religion as that of truth and charity and at last real friend of man are his parents, wife, children and education.

 

Jan 1st, 2013

I was present at a function of a female Nagaranam troupe whose lead singer was Gitanjali Kalita .This program took place at kalaskhetra of Guwahati and the group presented a story of  Ramayana .

 

 

Excerpts from January 2013 report

 January 30, 2013

I attended a program arranged by a club in Mirza of south Guwahati . They invited the pathak Ramcharan Bharali and his nagaranam group. The troupe of the Ramcharan Bharali presented the episode of ‘the birth of narada’ & ghunucha jatra of the Mahabharata .

Sri Krisna brought Lakshmi to Abanti nagar after marrying her and also promised he to marry Ghunucha ,the daughter of king Indradinna. When Lakshmi heard this she attacked and massacred the kingdom of Indradinna with her soldiers. On the other side Sri Krisna came back to Lakshmi after staying with Ghunucha and surrendered to her. Then Lakshmi shut the door and told him, “you can come only if you pay the money of punishment.” Then Krisna laughed and paid her. After receiving the money, Lakshmi relented. (Ghunucha jatra—2nd story).

 

January 31, 2013

On this date, a club of Jagra at Nalbari organized a nagaranam program for their annual Mela. This program was occurred at Jagra of Nalbari. They invited two nagaranam groups. The group of Rumi Boruya was also invited there. On that day, they performed a story kirtan pala the story of which is—Brahma’s son was Bhrigu. Once Bhrigu wanted to know who among the trinity was the greatest: his father, Vishnu or Shiva. He decided that he would be the examiner because he did not want others to decide on his behalf.

Bhrigu began his examination with his father. While Brahma was reading the scriptures, Bhrigu came before him in a very haughty way, without bowing. Brahma said, “What! You are coming into my room without showing me any respect? I never thought that you would be so insolent and arrogant!” He scolded his son harshly.

Silently Bhrigu went away, saying to himself, “This proves that my father cannot be the greatest of the three.”

Next Bhrigu went to see Shiva. When Shiva saw Bhrigu coming towards him, he did not know how to greet him. Why? Shiva was filthy. In spite of this, Shiva grabbed Bhrigu and embraced him. “You are so dirty and filthy! Why do you have to make me dirty also?” protested Bhrigu.

Shiva became furious. “You have to call me dirty and filthy? This is what I get for embracing you! I came to you with such affection! I love you. You are Brahma’s son. Now you have to say all kinds of things against me?” Shiva was so furious that he wanted to kill Bhrigu.

Bhrigu hastily left Shiva’s presence. On the way, he concluded, “Like my father, Shiva is also not great. Both of them have not conquered their anger. Since they have not conquered their anger, what kind of spiritual greatness do they have?”

Vishnu was the last member of the trinity to be examined byBhrigu. When Bhrigu arrived at Vishnu’s abode, Vishnu was fast asleep. Bhrigu thought to himself, “Since both my father and Shiva showed their anger, let me see if I can also make Vishnu angry. I am sure it will be quite easy.”

While Vishnu was still asleep, Bhrigu started mildly kicking him. Vishnu did not wake up. Then Bhrigu kicked Vishnu extremely hard right on his chest. Vishnu woke up and immediately grabbed Bhrigu’s feet. “Are you hurt my child? Please tell me. You kicked me so hard! I am deeply concerned that you have hurt yourself. Please tell me what I can do for you.”

Bhrigu replied, “My Lord, among the trinity— Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva –you are by far the greatest.”

This was Bhrigu’s realization. His father scolded him because he showed no respect to his father; Shiva became enraged because Bhrigu insulted him; but Vishnu, in spite of being kicked ruthlessly, forgave Bhrigu and showed him such compassion and concern.

It is said that the mark of Bhrigu’s foot is still visible on Vishnu’s chest. Because of this incident, Bhrigu became known as Pada Bhrigu. ‘Pad’ means ‘foot,’ so Pada Bhrigu means ‘the sage who used his feet to examine the gods.’

 

 

 

 

Excerpts from February 2013 report

Lakshmi had four descendants. One day, the king asked his four sons a question, and youngest daughter Puspoboti said that she was spending her days by her own fate not by the luck of king.

Hearing these, the king was very angry. Then a beggar came begging to the palace. The king sent the beggar with some wealth and his youngest daughter Puspoboti.

After that the beggar took the princess, Puspoboti to his poor house. Next day that beggar decorated his house.

Few days laer, princess went to the pond for bathing, keeping her ornament on the bank. In the mean time, a sparrow, seating on the top of the tree, thinking the ornament as food picked it and flew away.

On the other hand, that beggar, finding no other way, brought a dead snake and kept it in her room.

At that time, the sparrow saw dead snake, came down and kept the ornament, took the dead snake and flew away.

The beggar recognized the ornament belonging to the king’s house and went to the palace to return it to the king. Then the king became very happy and appointed that beggar as the royal priest. In this way the beggar became very rich.

 

Excerpts from April 2013 report

 

My project guide Dr. Kishore Kumar Bhattacharjee suggested that I collect information about the process of making Nagara (folk drum) and the performance of Nagaranam (A folk form about dramatic narration).

I went to the shop of Brojen Boruya (an experienced craftsman) in Kakoya with my collaborator. In that time the others workers of his group also were present in his shop. I observed that they were busy for making Nagara and Brojen Boruya, the main craftsman of their group also helped them and arranged them properly. My collaborator Ramcharan Bharali informed me that The Nagara (folk drum) is a member of the percussion group of musical instruments. This folk Drum consists of at least one membrane, called a drumhead or drum skin,that is stretched over a shell and struck, with a drum stick, to produce sound. There is usually a resonance head on the underside of the drum, typically tuned to a slightly lower pitch than the top drumhead. He also told me that other techniques have been used on the drums to produce sound, such as the thumb roll. Drums are the world’s oldest and most ubiquitous musical instruments, and the basic design has remained virtually unchanged for thousands of years.

 

Mr. Brojen Boruya also informed me that in many traditional cultures, drums have a symbolic function and are used in religious ceremonies. Drums are often used in music therapy, especially hand drums, because of their tactile nature and easy use by a wide variety of people.

 

The shell almost invariably has a circular opening over which the drumhead is stretched, but the shape of the remainder of the shell varies widely. The most usual shape is a cylinder, although timpani, for example, use bowl-shaped shells. Other shapes include a frame design, truncated cones (bongo drums,), goblet shaped (djembe).

Drums with cylindrical shells can be open at one end, or can have two drum heads. Single-headed drums typically consist of a skin stretched over an enclosed space, or over one of the ends of a hollow vessel. Drums with two heads covering both ends of a cylindrical shell often have a small hole somewhat halfway between the two heads; the shell forms a resonating chamber for the resulting sound. Exceptions include the African slit drum, also known as a log drum as it is made from a hollowed-out tree trunk, and the Caribbean steel drum, made from a metal barrel. Drums with two heads can also have a set of wires, called snares, held across the bottom head, top head.

My research questions were-

To highlight the process of making Nagara.

To highlight the custom, culture, tradition and the performance of this art form Nagaranam.

To highlight the feedback or reaction of audiences.

 

On 14thMay, I met my collaborator Ramcharan Bharali and his group members, talked with them about the process of making Nagara and their performance of Nagaranam.

After that I took an interview of my collaborator. He informed me that the Nagaranam is a group performing institution of Assam. It is a collaboration of songs, music, and dance etc. performed by the group. There are some essential musical instruments which are used by the artists in their performance.

He also told me that the all Assam ‘Nagaranam Sangha’ has formulated some guidelines to perform Nagaranam by the groups. These rules and regulation must be abided by a Nagaranam performing group. These are-

a)     There must have at least 20-30 members in each Nagaranam group.

b)     The members of the each group should be uniform wearing Dhoti, white shirt, Gamosha for the male members and Mekhla, Chadar and Gamosha for the female members.

c)      The usual time of performing the Nagaranam is 7 p.m. and onwards.

d)     Before performing the Nagaranam each of the pathak (main singers) should recite ‘Krishna Vandana’ from the holy book ‘Kirtan Ghosha’ and ‘Nam Ghosa’.

e)     The Pathak are allowed to perform their various nams from the religious books like Bhagawata, Ramayana, Mahabharata, Gita and other different puranas but these should be completely religious in nature.

f)      The groups are allowed to blow the Nagara, Kurkuri, Bhortal as the only musical instrument in their performance.

g)     In case of many groups performing the Nagaranam the first group will sing the ‘Aparadha Marjana Ghosha’ at the end of the performance. Then the other groups will bow their heads to the God Hari and everybody will recite “Hari Dhani”.

 

Excerpts from May 2013 report

 

Dr. Kishore Kumar Bhattacharjee advised me to collect the process of making Bhortal (Supporting instrument of Nagaranam performance), Kurkuri (A small folk Drum like Nagara), and also the process of making Nagara (Main folk Drum of Nagaranam performance) in more details. He also suggested that to collect photos and videos of the Nagaranam performance of the Ladies group.

On 24th May, I met my collaborator Ramcharan Bharali in Guwahati. Then I went to the house of Niren Deka (an experienced potter) in North Guwahati with him. I observed that he was busy making Kurkuri with his helpers. From him I came to know that the kurkuri (A small folk Drum like Nagara), belongs to the same category of the Nagara but it is very small in size. It is also made of clay and sewed with the hide of the cows like the Nagara. It is round in shape and size like Nagara and its lenth and radius is generally 1&1/2 to 2 feet. It is blown by beating with a small size bamboo stick which is called ‘Kurkuri mari’.

I went to the house of Bhupen Boruya (an experienced cobbler) at Jagara in Nalbari with my collaborator and learnt about the process of making Nagara(Main folk Drum of  Nagaranam performance). He said that the Nagara is the main instrument of this art form giving the name Nagara nam to the art form. As per the classification of musical instruments it can be included into the ‘Abanadhya Dadya’, but there is no any evidence to get the relevant data about the origin of Nagara instrument. Some mention that Nagara is a smaller version of ‘Daba’ but Daba is a large instrument and is used by the people in the Math-Mandir, Namghars and the Kirtanghars for invoking the gods and goddess. Therefore, it may be assumed that the Nagara has its origins in the Daba. As it was newly formed from the Daba so, it was called ‘Nagahra’ or ‘Nagara’.

Generally, the Nagara is made from the hide of cows and for this purpose some strings made from the same hide are used called Dowans. With the help of the Dowans the sound of the Nagara can be adjusted to the proper scale. The Nagara is beaten with a wooden stick by a man who is called ‘Nagaru’.

In this month I spoke to my collaborator, Niren Deka (an experienced potter), Bhupen Boruya (an experienced cobbler) and came to know about the tradition, uses and process of making Kurkuri, Nagara, Bhortal. I got information about the Nagaranam performance of the Ladies troupe from my collaborator.

 

This month I also took photos and video footage from the Ladies group performance of Nagaranam, held at Gop-Gopalthan club in Buddhapurnima festival on 25th May which was arranged by club Secretary, Pranjal Barman in Jagara (Nalbari).

My research questions emerging from this documentation and fieldwork are-

a)     To highlight the process of making Kurkuri (A small folk Drum like Nagara), Nagara (Main folk Drum of  Nagaranam performance).

b)     To highlight the Ladies group performance of Nagaranam.

c)      To highlight the process of making Bhortal (Supporting instrument of Nagaranam performance) and its origin.

On 25thMay, I met my collaborator Ramcharan Bharali and asked with him about the process of making Bhortal(Supporting instrument of Nagaranam performance)  and its origin.

He informed me that the Bhortal is one of the essential instruments of Nagaranam institution. Different types of tals are found –Bhortal, Bartal, Chabtal, patital, Khutital, Mandira etc. Generally Bhortal are used in the Nagaranam performance and in the performance of Joy Dhol, Bar Dhol, Khole etc.

The Bhortal is made mainly at Hajo and Sarthe bari area of Assam. Generally, the maximum weight of a pair of Bhortal is 4 k.g. to 5 &1/2 k.g. There is a hole in the middle portion of each Bhortal and is connected with a jute string for blowing this instrument. Besides, there are two parts of each Bhortal e.g one is called ‘Bati’ (which is round and high portion) and the other part is called ‘Pati’ (the edge of the cymbal). Each group of Nagaranam uses at least 5 to 8 pairs of Bhortals during the performance. The main artist (pathak) exhibits his supremacy with the help of Bhortal before the audience at the time of ‘Nam’ performance. Thus, the Bhortal has been playing a significant role in the performance of Nagaranam.

He said that according to the classification of musical instrument it can be included in the class of Tala badya or Ghana badya. One assumption is that the name Bhortal is derived from the Hindi word ‘BHOR’ which means morning. Generally, the Bhortal blows in the morning time at the Namghars and the Kirtanghars for worshipping God till date. Some people call it as ‘Bartal’ due to its large size and shape.

Some scholars are of the view that these big cymbals are used in Bhutan. Bhutias offered a pair of Bhortals  to Srimanta Sankardeva and he used to use the Bhortal especially during the worship of Vishnu in the mornings and evenings at the Namghars. As it was presented to Sankardeva by the Bhutias ,it was called ‘Bhottal’ or ‘Bhortal’ from then onwards.

 

Pallavi Dutta Report

Excerpts from November 2012 Report

For a pilot survey I went to the field and met my collaborator Mr Nadiram Deuri and his associates. They took me a place which they called club (at Jagiroad, Morigaon District), where they actually perform their rehearsals of Tiwa Folk Music and Dances. Mr Nadiram Deuri who is about 55 years old, he performs in different parts of India with his troupe consisting of male and female performers. He has not only links with major Tiwa Cultural Leaders but he has collected different forms of Tiwa Music and Dances forms from hills and plains. I got a glimpse of Tiwa Folk Songs and Dances and an initial rapport was established.

Excerpts from December 2012 Report

I visited to observe a stage performance of Tiwa folk dance at the Indian Institute of Technology, Guwahati on 11th December 2012.Two different Tiwa folk dances with their beautiful Tiwa folk Songs and musical instrument like Drum, Flute, Singa Pepa (a kind of flute made of the horn of Buffalo) and Taal (a kind of musical instrument)were performed. The use of Sarailo (a kind of musical instrument made of wood) is one of the main attractions of the dance performances.

I recorded a rehearsal program of Two Tiwa folk songs at the club of my collaborator Nadiram Deuri at Jagiroad of Morigaon districton 14th December 2012.

From the 16th December to 26th of December 2012 there was a dance workshop organized in Karbi Anglong district of Assam, where my collaborator Nadiram Deuri taught the Tiwa folk dances. Though this workshop was based on Tiwa folk dance performance, there were many participants who belong to the Karbi community.

I have also visited the Barat Utsav (festival) on 28th December. It was held in a village namely Tetelia in Morigaon District of Assam. Barat is a festival which is celebrated by the Plain Tiwas in Tetelia Village of Gobha Rajya (Tiwa populated areas are called as Gobha Rajya). This is the only festival which is celebrated at the night of full moon. People come to join there from the different parts of Gobha Rajya.

In this Barat Utsav, people sing their Barat Songs with their fabulous dance performances. There are two types of Barat Songs, like (1) Barat Geet or Baratar Geet and (2) Barat Naam or Baratar Naam. Barat Geets are performed by the participants of this festival with their specific Barat dance performance. In the context of Barat Geets, male and female performers tease each other as well as they describe about other things, feelings and psychology. Barat Geets also reflect the eagerness of the Tiwa folk for this colourful festival. On the other hand, Barat Naams are performed by a group of women who are associated with the ritual of Barat festival. Mainly elderly women sing Barat Naam to praise their Goddess.

In case of the dance performance of Barat, the performers use different types of masks to perform their Barat dance like, Animal Mask, Deity Mask, Ghost and Witch Mask ect. The mask users are mainly male. Some performers perform their dance without using any mask. Choreography of Barat dance is related with the animal gestures and in a very small part of this performance some performers show the fishing practice of Tiwas.  The entire performance of Barat traced back the history of the Tiwa tribe and their beliefs associate with this festival.

Musical Instruments of Barat: Different types of Sarailos, Drums, Flutes, and Taals are the main musical instruments of the Barat songs and dance performances.

Field Report of January 2013

In the month of January I visited Jonbil Mela of Tiwa tribe, held at Jagiroad of Morigaon district in the month of January, during the period of Magh Bihu. Jonbil is a fair cum festival where many other tribes take participate. The tribes like Khasi, Jayantia, Karbi, Tiwa exchange their commodities and products among them without using money. In this barter system many people come from different parts of Assam to exchange their products with the tribes. Gobha Raja (Raja means king) comes to this mela and his subordinate kings also participate in Jonbil Mela. The Mantris (ministers) collect the tax from the people who participate in the Jonbil Mela to exchange their products. Unity in diversity reflects in this Jonbil Mela among the different tribes of Assam. The Jonbil is a combination of two words; jon and bil and the meaning of these two words accordingly moon and pond. There are three most common sayings behind the name of Jonbil.

  1. It is believed that this Jonbil fair cum festival is held on the bank of a pond where the ancient Gova Raja seen the reflection of the crescent moon on the water of the pond.
  2. According to some people the shape of this pond is like a crescent moon
  3. Another saying regarding the Jonbil is that Jonbil fair cum festival is named after the king Jon Sing.

Community fishing is one of the important significance during the Jonbil Mela. The people participate in the community fishing with their beautiful folk songs. On the last day of Jonbil, people have feast and the next day morning they set their temporary huts on fire. The various dance forms and songs are performed by the tribes during the Jonbil festival.

In Jonbil Mela Tiwa tribe perform their various folk performances to express their happiness as well as to praise their King Gobha Raja. This time some artists have performed Maifatala Nitya (dance), Barat Nitya (dance), Godalporia Barat Nitya (dance) and Moinari Kanthi Nitya (dance).

Folk performance of a tribe is as like as the mirror of that tribe. From any kind of folk performance one can understand the psychology of the folk of a society. Maifatala Nitya or dance is associated with the agricultural practice of Tiwas which followed by Maifatala song. These dance and song performance focused the main occupation of this tribe or the importance of agriculture in Tiwa community.

Barat Nitya and Godalporia Barat Nitya are two folk dance performances which are related to the Barat Utsav (festival) and these two dance performances followed by Barat song and Godalporia song accordingly. As I have mentioned in my last field report of the month of December that in Barat festival, the dance movements are similar to movements of animal ; but with the passage of time, choreography of these dances have been modified. New steps in these folk dance performances have been added, for example they have added their fishing practice as a new gesture of Barat dance. Use of Khaloi and Jakhoi (the traditional equipments which are used by Tiwa tribes for fishing) by the performers symbolized their fishing practice in Godalporia Barat Dance.

Musical instruments: Drums, Flutes, Sarailo (musical instrument made of bamboo), Singa Pepa (a kind of flute made of Buffalo horn) were the main musical instruments used during Jonbil.

I met a Karbi performer in Tiwa tradition attire, who played flute and pepa with one of the Tiwa folk dance performance bands. From this case we can understand the brotherhood feelings between Tiwa and Karbi tribes.

Excerpts from February Report

In the month of February I visited the club of my collaborator Shri Nadiram Deuri to know about the material culture connected with songs and dances of Tiwas. I saw 7 musical instruments, 6 traditional equipments and traditional male attire which they use in their folk dance performances.

Sarailo is very unique kind of folk musical instrument of Plain Tiwas ,made of bamboo. It is small in size and performers use it in solo performances. There is another kind of Sarailo namely Jakoria Sarailo which is bigger in size. Performers use it mainly in the Barat festival to perform their beautiful Barat dance and songs. In dance performances, three people carry the Jakoria Sarailo in a line and they play it with the help of the strings. The Sarailo has a bird on the top of it and a head of deer in the front and a tail of jute on the back side of it. The name Sarailo derived from the word Sarai means bird. According to Tiwa people the bird of Sarailo is the Pigeon. Pigeon is very calm bird as well as deer; therefore the pigeon and deer of Sarailo symbolize peace.

Tiwa people have different kinds of wooden drums. In Tiwa language, it is known as Khram. I have seen 3 numbers of drums like Pati Khram, Khram Ludang and Khram Khujura or jor Khram at my collaborator’s club. They use each of it in different types of performances. Pati Khram is played mainly by the plain Tiwas. In Barat Utsav people mostly use Pati Khram, Jakoria Sarailo, Sarailo, Muhuri, and Taal. Pati Khramis also available in Assamese society but it is known as Pati Dhul in Assamese term; which is the main musical instrument of Bihu Festival. Khram Ludang is another kind of drum which is very long. It is the musical instrument of the Hill Tiwas and they play it in Wansuwa and Yangli festivals and in Aarkheti Nritya (Zhumkheti dance) etc. Khujura Khram or Jor Khram is played in Yangli dance and songs of Yangli festival, Sagrwa dance and songs of Sagrwa festival and Mainari Kanthi Misawa (dance). It is known as Khujura Khram (Khujura means short and Khram means drum) among the Hill Tiwas and in Plain, it is known as Jor Khram. This drum is one of the important musical instruments of Tiwa Rajas. Muhuri is a kind of flute and it is found in various forms.

Pangsi is a flute which is made of bamboo. It is also another important musical instrument of Tiwas.

Apart from all these musical instruments Nadiram Deuri described some other musical instruments which are not available among the Tiwas of plain. Thurang is a kind of flute which is made of bamboo. It is very long and can be folded into two pieces. Thurang is like the heart of Tiwas. The music of Thurang is very beautiful and peaceful. Thurlu is a musical instrument with two holes. The buffalo horn flute is called Singa in Tiwa. It is also popular among the Assamese society and is known as Singa Pepa. Tiwas have Komna also. It is also available in the material culture of Assam but in Assamese it is known as Gagana. Khram Panthai is a drum which is available in Hills. It is played along with Khram Lewa and Khram Ludang. Tumding Tokor is a very unique kind of drum which is played in Mainari Kanthi Misawa. A Performer ties this drum around his navel with a piece of cloth. Thokari is single string musical instrument of Tiwas. Sarangkat is a musical instrument which is similar to violin. Sarangkat is restricted to be played inside the Dekachang (male dormitory) but in their free time, boys can play it outside their dormitory for the amusement. They express love, sadness etc by playing Sarangkat. Chenthor is a wooden made musical instrument which is known as Jator. In Wansuwa festival, boys and girls use this instrument when they participate in singing competitions.

Tiwas have some traditional equipment which is very essential to dance performances like :

  1. Sam and Sambari, (Traditiona equipment of cake making in Wansuwa for Wansuwa dance),
  2. Jakhui, Falah and Khaloi, (Traditional fishing equipment for Barat dance),
  3. Langkhui and Paru  (Sword and shield for Yangli dance) and
  4. Langkhan (Bamboo piece for Langkhan dance).

I have observed the male traditional costumes and necklace of Tiwas at my collaborator’s home is very attractive. They use this traditional attire when they dance and sing and is also important for any ritualistic performance like Sagrwa Fuja. These male traditional costumes are as follows:

  1. Faguri (Headgear of hand-woven cloth),
  2. Faga (A piece of cloth for neck),
  3. Thenash (Cloth for chest, it is used as a cross belt for chest),
  4. Tagla (Traditional jacket),
  5. Nara (A piece of cloth for waist it is used like a waist belt. In Assamese traditional handloom, people use a piece of cloth like Nara in Bihu dance which is known as Tongali),
  6. Thana (Cloth for lower body part of male)
  7. Tukhuralengjai (It is another type of headgear which is made of the tails of Bhimraj Bird but now a days this species of bird is rare in the plain areas; therefore they use tails of Hens as a subtitude).
  8. Sikila (Necklace for both male and female)

In the present time people use colours on their musical instruments where no colours were used earlier; which can be considered one of the major changes in musical instruments. These colours are generally applied on the musical instruments to make them more attractive for stage performances. The colours are also used as preservative measure that checks the insects and other pest causing damage to the instruments.

In case of traditional textiles, the Tagla (male traditional jacket) was very short in size whereas now they prefer to wear the long Tagla. Though the original short Tagla is popular in the hills, but in the plains, Tiwa males don’t use the original Tagla. According to my collaborator, the new form of Tagla is much more comfortable to wear and to perform dances.

 

Excerpts from March Report

On 22nd of March 2013, I visited a place Bormarjong in Karbi Anglong district, Assam at the time of Sakra or Sagrwa Misawa Fuja. Bormarjong is the main place of Tiwa cultural heritage. It is a small beautiful village of Hill Tiwas, where about 150 to 180 households live .Agriculture is the main occupation of this village. Plantation of bamboo is another significant culture for livelihood of the people of Bormarjong. Every household use a unique kind of traditional bamboo gate namely Langara, which is very eye-catching.

Sakra or Sagrwa Misawa Fuja is one of the agricultural based folk dance festivals of Tiwas; which is celebrated yearly in the month of Fagun (during the month of February to March). Every clan of Hill Tiwas of Karbi Anglong district like Amsai, Marjong, Lumfui, Amri and Amkha celebrates Sakra at their villages. In case of Plain Tiwas, different Tiwa villages which are situated near by Nagaon, Morigaon and Kamrup districts also celebrate Sakra Misawa Fuja.

There are two types of Sakra Misawa Fuja, like Sakra and Sakra Mura. In Sakra, dance performers wear Khumkhathi which is a headgear especially for Sakra dance. But in Sakra Mura, dance performers don’t wear Khumkhathi. Sakra is a spring dance festival of Tiwas; therefore it is also known as Basanta Utsav of Tiwas. There is a taboo among the Tiwas for any woman toparticipate in Sakra Misawa Fuja. Women are prohibited to take part in any kind of performance like dance, music, ritual of Sakra Misawa Fuja. They are only allowed to help the participants and other people.

Excerpts from April 2012 Report

From my field experience at Bormarjong village, I have come to know that the people of this village belong to Marjong clan. Sakra is the first spring time dance festival of them. It is believed that the main worshipped deity of this Sakra Misawa Fuja is Saribhai or Nasuni Paguri Raja or Nritya Geetar Debota (means God of dance and music). It is also believed that people are not permitted to prepare their paddy field for the next harvest before Sakra Misawa Fuja. The Samadi or bachelors’ dormitory forms the nucleus for this dance sequence. Rehearsal of Sakra songs and dance takes place early in October and continues till the time of inauguration of the festival in February or March.  In Bormarjong, the both types of dance performers namely Sakra and Sakra Mura take part in the performance. In Sakra, there are five performers who perform their dance in a circular way. They are known as Teoria, Muding Muchlung, Muting Muchua, Bura and Moch. Teoria, Muding Muchlung and Muting Muchua are known as Tengre. They wear headgears of Khumkhathi which is made of the inner part of a tree. Bura use another type of headgear which is made of a local verity of grass, known as Kohua Bon in Assamese (means Kans grass, scientific name- Saccharum Spontaneum). The Moch use Faguri, a kind of headdress and hold a piece of decorative bamboo. This decorative piece of bamboo is also called as Moch. At the periphery of Sakra, Sakra Mura performs their dance along with them. There are four other performers who wear the banana leaves from the head to toe and they perform dance along with Sakra Mura. It is believed that they protect the Sakra performers and other dance performers from the evil eye. During the period of Sakra Misawa Fuja they are not allowed to enter inside the house. They stay at the outside for whole day and night till the closing stages of Sakra. Pangsi, Khram Khujura and Thurang are the main musical instruments of Sakra Misawa. With the steps Sakra, Misawa all dance and musical performers also sing the Sakra songs. The dance steps and songs are very sluggish. In Sakra Misawa, some people take part in the ritual part, they are known as Lor or Hadari. Sakra performers perform their dance and songs only at the village head men’s places. In Bormarjong village, there are seven numbers of village head men; where Sakra performance takes place serially. When a Sakra performance goes on at any village head man’s place, at the same time the Lor or Hadari recite mantra or chants of Sakra inside that household to praise their deities. The household and other villagers supply the local wine, betel nuts, dry fish etc to the performers on the performance arena.

There are many beliefs related to Sakra Misawa Fuja. Each clan has its own specific belief. According to the Marjong clan of Bormarjong village, one day in an assembly of Saribhai, a flower fell down from the sky. Other deities like Thalya, Thogroya and Balakhongar were also present in that assembly. Thalya said that they should take that flower with them and that flower would help them in future. But when other deities disagreed, then Thalya took that flower and brought it to his home for his children. He thought that his children could play with that flower. Thalya threw that flower where his children were playing. After getting it his children were very happy and intoxicated with energy and started to dance. Thalya, Thogroya and Balakhongar were also overjoyed when they saw the happiness of the children. Then they decided to make a custom. Therefore, two groups of Sakra Misawa Fuja, perform their dance at Bormarjong. One is Korokhia Sakra and another is Kra Sakra. The young boys and Lor, Doloi, Hadari etc participate in Sakra separately; if the boys group faces the other performers like Lor, Doloi Hadari etc, then they have to pay a fine for it.

According to one research scholar of Gauhati University namely Shri Rajiv Kumar Bordoloi, who has done his M A dissertation on “Sokra Misawa: A Folk Festival of Tiwa Community” from Tezpur University, he described that Sakra is a spring time dance festival of Tiwas; where they worshipped the deities of nature.

From my visit to Bormarjong village, I came to surmise that there are many unexplored lore associated with Sakra Misawa Fuja.

The middle part of Assam like Morigaon, Nagaon, Kamrup and Karbi Anglong districts are Tiwa populated areas. The villages of Plain Tiwas are situated in Morigaon, Nagaon and Kamrup districts of Assam. Tetelia village of Morigaon district is one of the villages inhabited of Plain Tiwas. The Tiwas of this village speak a dialect which is a mixture of Assamese and Tiwa language. Cultural assimilation in language, dressing style, religious and cultural practices are remarkable among the Plain Tiwas.  Though the Plain Tiwas of some areas like Tetelia Gaon, Neli speak a mixture of languages, most of the Tiwas of Plain areas use Assamese language as their medium of communication. A section of Plain Tiwas follow Hinduism and are called Saranias. They are followers of Srimanta Sankardeva or Vaishnavite Culture.

In Tetelia village, I Mr Khargeswar Bordoloi’s , who is a mask artist. He learnt the mask making culture from his father. I asked him about the materials used in making masks and the changes in the art over a period of time. In mask making, an artist uses small and thin pieces of bamboo, cloth, clay and dung of cow.  Mr Khargeswar Bordoloi said that earlier many people of Tetelia village were engaged in mask making t. At the time of Barat festival, artists made mask of Barat dance at a common place known as Mukha Hoja Ghar (means house of mask making). According to Khargeswar Bordoloi the new generation is not interested in learning the mask making art.

At Khargeswar Bordoloi’s place, I met three elderly women -Farbeswari Senapati (85), Pateswari Bordoloi (70), Ashadoi Bordoloi (70) who take part in the ritual of the Barat Utsab. Ashadoi Bordoloi is known as Baratani as she plays the chief role in the ritual of the Barat Utsab. The Baratani belongs to Amsi Kul (means clan). Only Amsi Kul women occupy this position traditionally. Tetelia Tiwa Raja Parishad (committee) selects one woman for the position of Baratani from the Amsi Kul. If in case, that woman is not able to take Baratani position for any reason, then it is offered to another woman of the same clan. These women told me that in Barat Utsab, they praise Kechaikhati and Aai Bhagowati. If they can’t satisfy Kechaikhati and Bhagowati then people have to suffer from various kind of disease and death. On the other hand, Mr Khargeswar Bordoloi told me that Fa Mahadeo (Lord Shiva) is the supreme God of Tiwas and they pray him in Brat Festival. In my conversation with these three old women, Mrs Manju Patar helped me as an interpreter who is one of the members of Tetelia Gaon.

I interviewed Mr Ratneswar Bordoloi, the younger brother of Mr Khargeswar Bordoloi. As a member of Tetelia village, Mr Ratneswar Bordoloi is intimately involved with Barat Festival. He has written many articles and a book on Barat festival namely “Usha Barat”. In “Usha Barat”, he described the Barat Festival very briefly and clearly. He said that when he was a small boy, people used Banana leaves to make the roof of the stage of the Barat festival. Use of microphone was prohibited earlier. In Barat songs people mainly describe their feelings, experiences, beliefs and tease each other. In earlier days, through Barat songs boys and girls teased each other and if defeated by someone then he/she had to go with her/him for the whole life. But now people tease each other through their Barat songs for amusement.

My discussion with my collaborator Mr Nadiram Deuri was based on the changes of Barat festival, songs of Barat, mask making and the life style of plain Tiwas and the people of Tetelia Gaon. He said that the middle part of Assam is inhabited by plain Tiwas and therefore they are influenced by the Assamese society. He mentioned some Tiwa villages of the plains like Tetelia, Bhumuraguri, Sarangkuchi, Markangkuchi, Deusal, Silchang, Dorapani, Makoria, Dohali and Kathiatuli where the people use a dialect as a medium of communication which is a mixture of Tiwa and Assamese language. He told that modern Barat songs which he has composed, these are some combination of original Barat songs which are known as Leseri.

We discussed on a very interesting topic regarding the Vaishnavite Culture. Scholarly people like Mr Nadiram Deuri and Tulshi Bordoloi, believe that Mahapurush Srimanta Sankardeva adopted the structure of Monikut (the seat of God at Naamghar) from Naparo (a traditional house) of Tiwas. As Sankardeva was born and brought up at Borduwa of Nagaon district of Assam, he was influenced by Tiwas.

 

 

Arupa Lahiry Report

Excerpts from December 2012 Report

The field trip emerged as an interesting interaction between a classical dancer and a folk artist along with information regarding the basic lifestyle of a Baul saint.

This particular fieldtrip was conducted without prior preparation or a questionnaire allowing the three hours spent in Ghuskara ashram to be spontaneous and dynamic. The conversation freely allowed emergence of certain interesting facts punctuated with lyrical Baul songs. The highlight of the conversation was spirituality in Baul music as well as the learning aspect of this tradition. The conversation started from how my community elder was initiated into the lifestyle of Baul community. Without binding him into a question-answer format we conversed about his childhood which was dramatic and poverty-stricken. What emerged as a conclusion is often for the past one generation the children are sent to Baul elders to learn music as a way to sustain themselves. A big family with many children often the search or initiation in the Baul livelihood is not a romantic or spiritual search but one more realistic… one that of sustenance and survival.

My community elder, Kartick Das has been a self-taught Baul who has survived many an odd. He has been adopted by his guru Shri Kanai Das Baul. What was interesting to observe was that learning in the Baul tradition is very similar to my own gurukulavasam-learning discipline in Bharatnatyam, an Indian classical dance style. Neither a young Baul nor a young serious minded classical dancer is taught in the western class room hour bound fashion. Learning has no clock, nor limit. Songs were taught while ploughing the field and very often like in the classical system the young baul has to offer physical service to Guru’s household. The madhukari is the only way to sustain and begging teaches the Bauls the art of humility.

The discussion proceeded to the distinct dressing style of the Bauls and Kartickda showed us the peculiar way of tying the long flowing tresses of a Baul. It’s tied so that it resembles the female vagina of a human body. The robes are equally flowing symbolising a fluidity of the female body. Kartickda used a term called akarshan in Bengali which translated means power to attract. Whom to attract? For whom is this arrangement? The Hindoo Bauls believe in the philosophy that there is one supreme Man… Krishna. And the bauls are all female followers or Gopis of Krishna. Gobind as he is called or Govinda has to be attracted as he is like quicksilver and slips away before one realises. There was a discussion on the difference between a gayak/ performer Baul and a sadhak/ saint Baul. The different rituals in these two sects demand a difference in lifestyle. The sadhak Baul needs to take a female counterpart who is the intrinsic part of the Bauls meditation. Surprising, the Baul philosophy has ritualised even human union and it is through togetherness the philosophy proposes liberation. Detachment through attachment is what a Baul believes in.

Kartickda also demonstrated how the Khamak or musical instrument of two strings is taught to a young Baul. The bols were like mridangam syllables only more local and indigenous. He spoke about eating rice on a fixed meter drawing inspiration from daily life or how something as banal as food habit can be accommodated in teaching a young boy. Then he went forward to demonstrate the superior prowess of this simple instrument of two strings and how it can parallel a sarod in its own way.

The session also promised of a second session on deho-tatta where the duality of Baul language is going to be discussed.

The session was interesting as it emerged from a free space and flowed in its own pattern. It was also like pointers to the future sessions which will see the two disciplines coming together. The session was informative as it showed us the rhythmic cycles in Baul music and the playing of the percussion, the style of dressing, the signified behind the signifier and the simplicity of the lifestyle.

Conclusion: The session was like a pathfinder in the over researched field of Baul philosophy. Though a community the Bauls are believers of individuality and hence do not have many community rituals. They are individual saints or mendicants in search of a one to one relation with God. And hence, it is difficult for a Baul to indulge in community living.

January 2013 Report

Introduction: The January 2012 field trip covered visits to festivals or fair grounds continuing in a similar line of search of the understanding of body amidst the Baul fakirs and the interaction between classical and folk artists bridging the gap between art forms. This second instalment of the twelve month long fellowship granted from National Folklore Centre also had to put the contingency amount partially in use being inclusive of travel to interior parts of Birbhum. The people interviewed here are Katick Das Baul, my community elder, Tarak Das Baul and various other akhras or groups.

Overview: The field trip was interesting and startling in terms of discovery, as it revealed certain parallel features between a classical dancer and a folk artist along with commonalities shared by Baul and other Bengali folk traditions. The field trips conducted in two Baul-Fakir fairs revealed the influences of urban culture on Baul body and spontaneity.

Report: This particular fieldtrip was conducted with the purpose of documenting as many songs as possible in a format of performance. The purpose was also to meet different Bauls and interact with them to understand their society and culture. The obstacles unseen was the crowd and the gimmick associated with such fairs. Over the years both the Kolkata fair and the original Kenduli have developed as the centre of hedonism. People hang around the Bauls for various forms of intoxication prompting the Bauls either to shut down or pass on information which are half-baked. However the presence of the community elder helped the Tata fellow to cull certain important information that is interesting and completely unheard of before. The highlight of the series of footage was the session with Tarak Das Baul in Kenduli, Jaydev Mela. The conversation started with when was the akhra of Tarak Baul intiated. The flow of conversation continued with Tarakda pointing out towards the rich tradition of Baul, the oral heritage that is passed down generation to generation. He explained the tradition of Khoncha gaan which is much like the Taarja tradition of Bengal where one singer challenges the following singer with particular song. The knowledge reservoir expected out of a Baul is a lost heritage now.

He also spoke about the format a Baul performance used to follow piquing the interest and the similarity it has with the margam pattern of Bharatnatyam. Like a classical dance recital has an opening, middle and end; similarly a Baul performance has a pattern that a Baul must follow. However, the new generation Bauls who are busy with commercial gains are not even aware of such traditions let alone have enough song collection to keep the tradition alive. The songs sung by Tarakda were unusual and spoke about deho-tatta and its spiritual culmination

The other akharas proved to be commercial and disappointing. Kenduli’s biggest akhara Moner- Manush was a melange of Bauls coming and performing as well as musicians of international and national circuit coming and participating in a spontaneous jam. The most interesting of the entire lot were two songs where the community elder of the current research was joined by a Japanese flautist. The spontaneous interaction also revealed the possibility and fluidity of Baul music to lend itself to various interpretations explaining why so many experiments are being done with Baul music. The Moner-Manush akhra also had two other performances (including one by a lady singer) which though included Baul songs wre heavily dependant on Kirtanniya style of Bengal. The experience gave rise to the following questions:

Is there anything called purity in folk art forms?

Do various interpolations destroy the so called true spirit of the art?

Is urbanization destroying the grass-root culture of Baul music?

Is codification taking away the spontaneity from Baul music?

Where do the folk Baul end and the urban Baul begin?

Is public attention destroying Baul culture?

Conclusion: The sessions were interesting as they gave rise to various questions that will be searched for during the course of research. Also with the January documentation what became clear is a strong parallel current between the classical and folk art forms making it easier to do an inter-disciplinary study.

The control of the body and the desire to provide audience with instant enjoyment are leading the Bauls to bypass the songs heavier on philosophy. What remains is a reducing and disappearing collection of songs which needs immediate documentation that the current research is trying to preserve.

Excerpts from February 2013 Report

February saw a leaner approach adapted towards field activities. An urgent need was felt for introspection of the previous fieldtrips undertaken over the month of December and January to decide upon the future course of action.

Hence a break was taken from active fieldtrip. The only exception was an interview conducted on Paban Das Baul, a self acclaimed Baul who has converted his lifestyle under the influence of active urbanization. Preferring jeans and kurta above traditional “gudhri” Paban Das Baul’s conversion to an urban Euro centric Baul-hood has raised many an eyebrow and have earned him brickbats as well as accolades for his decision.

The aim of such a fieldtrip was to understand the encroachment of urbanization on folk art and folk lifestyle. With urbanization changes the definition of understanding of the “Body” which is the central premise of this research. The urban body is a more conscious body and bound up by various instructions existing within the matrix of disciplinary institutionalization. This is in direct contradiction to the Baul philosophy where the “Body” is the sacred space and its only institution. So to move back to the urban space is to in a way destroy the philosophy of the Baul sect. However, how illogical is it to confirm to the demands of the middle class expectations from folk art and its trademark backwardness was the purpose of undertaking such a field work.

 

The interview was conducted in Paban Das Baul’s flat in a elite locality of Kolkata very unlike the “akharas” of Baul which the current fellow had encountered so far in Birbhum. The fellow was also expected to buy the information in exchange of an amount of Rs. 5000/- which was considered as the fees for such an interview. The amount is a price paid as exchange of information.

The questions asked in the interview were:

  • Who is a Baul?
  • What does Paban Das understand to be a Baul?
  • How did Paban Das get initiated into being a Baul?
  • What is the difference between a Performer Baul and a Mystique Baul?
  • What is “Deho-tattya” or Body in Baul Philosophy?
  • When does a Baul dance? Is it a form taught formally?

In addition Paban Das explained to us his experience of opening Baul music upto Western influences and the various rhythmic patterns like “Darbeshi that” available in traditional Baul music.

The question that lies within the heart of the research is the understanding of “Body” in folk and classical art forms. The current fieldwork and revision of the research material provided many insights onto how a Baul treats his body. The various ritualistic approaches adopted by a Baul towards the sacred space of Body come forth both by the revision of previous fieldwork and recent scholarly readings undertaken.

The current fieldwork also pointed the research towards the necessary evil called urbanization that takes a toll on any folk culture. An analysis of it shows how the community has undergone a genetic transmission changing its form from being a folk-philosopher sect to a folk-urban performing sect. A section of society which started its journey as a marginalized one or beyond society today is occupied with the same problems attacking the mainstream. No longer does this folk society struggle under the problems of survival. It is rather the question of protecting the originality of the community that is threatening this over-exposed cult.

The current research also explores the musicality of this particular sect and found itself asking whether there is at all anything called traditional Baul music? What are its notations? What are the tunes it follows? Is there any fixed rule? These are the questions that the research will be addressing in its future fieldwork. It also advanced the fellow’s understanding of a Baul body and its focused dedication towards only the space called “Body”. Unlike the Vaishanavite cults the true blue Bauls do not believe in ritualistic worships. It is the human body which is the temple, provides the ornaments, rituals and understanding of this method called “Sahajiya” worship.

 

The interview provided insight into how urbanization is a necessary evil. In a world of twenty-first century it is impossible to avoid the inroad of urbanization. The interview also showed us the way of how a Baul today can be created out of nowhere much like any other genre of singers. A Baul need not be borne into the philosophy but a Baul can be trained into its singing. Much like a classical dancer a Baul singer too can be created out of practice and training. The spontaneity of Folk art is no longer the basic premise of the Baul tradition taking us to the question what is the tradition of Baul music?

 

Interaction with Paban Das explained how there are two distinct classes of Bauls beyond the division of Baul-Fakir – that is, one sect of Baul is more inclined towards performance and are the performing Bauls whereas the other sect is the mystique sufi Bauls who are practicing saints away from the world. However, as Paban Das repents today’s busy world has left hardly any space for Bauls like Radheshyama Baul, Nabin Chandra das etc who are philosophers of the highest order.

Their songs have spoken about the necessity of worshipping the conjugality or togetherness-Of finding detachment through attachment.

The songs recorded speak about such togetherness in man and woman.

Paban Das also spoke about the madness in Bauls or “khepami” as they call it and the ritualistic dance they perform, untrained but allowing the rhythm of the music take over a body.

The interview or field work of this month helped to understand the division between the Baul clans and how different the body is for a performer Baul or a mendicant Baul.

 

An inordinate curiosity and inexperience had led the fellow to jump into fieldwork without prior preparation. Repeated telephonic conversations led to a few interesting discoveries. The conversations clarified the fact that the common misconception that Muslim sect is the Fakir and the Hindoo sect is called Baul. A Baul/ Fakir has no religion and is not a Vaishnav saint as pointed out by Duddu Shah (a disciple of Lalan Shah) in his songs. It also clarified how close the Baul philosophy is to the theories of Mikhail Bhaktin. Bhaktin explained that the territories are always considered dangerous in human society. Anything that establishes connections with the external is feared or revered in human society. Like menstrual blood of a woman or human faeces. The conversations pointed out how without formalized/ organized religion a Baul is free-floating and beyond society. That is why a Baul is also often marginalized and feared.

This month the interaction with my director helped me to decide on a future plan of action. Post revision necessity was felt to visit Nadia which was earlier not part of the plan. The visit to Nadia was thought necessary to find an alternative line of thought to the Birbhum Bauls and their understanding of their philosophy. It was decided that it will be interesting to observe the Baul philosophy survival and adaptations in a geographic locality so close to the stronghold of Vaishnavism.

 

The interaction was also with Paban Das Baul somehow a marginalized character within the Baul community themselves for his bold statement of embracing change and welcoming it as a fashion statement.

The interactions cleared the future methodology to be undertaken by the current fellow in the course of next three month research.

 

Excerpts from April 2013 Report

The field activity was in the form of an extensive interview conducted with the collaborator. The topic centered around “Deho-tattya” or Body in Baul Philosophy. Collecting rare songs, discussing about the layers of symbolism found in Baul songs and also talking about the kinds of timeline followed in Baul philosophy formed the centre of the discussion.

The questions asked in the interview were:

  • Who is a Baul?
  • What a Baul understand by his body?
  • What is the difference between a Performer Baul and a Mystique Baul?
  • What is “Deho-tattya” or Body in Baul Philosophy?
  • What are the physical rituals involved in Baul philosophy?

The Baul songs were recorded which highlight the “Deho-tattya” philosophy. The songs with the language of symbolism highlight the nine doors/openings in a human body and the six ripus or emotions that control human body.

The interview was conducted in a particular house of Kolkata and was accompanied by Namasankirtanam at the back ground.

 

Prior to the fieldtrip the fellow undertook once again a detailed study of Professor Sudhir Chakraborty’s Baul Fakir Katha. The book provided a starting point afresh for the research and refurbished it with unknown facts about Deho tatta. The book provides startling facts like the Baul’s body especially a female Baul’s body is inspected after conjugal experience by the guru or his/ her senior disciples to understand whether the practioner has successful y incorporated the lessons or not. Baul philosophy is about control in ecstasy and the Baul’s sexual organs are hence inspected to understand whether he/she has succeeded in mastering that control or not. The book helped the fellow frame questions for her collaborator where she could ask the various meanings of the words highlighted through Baul music.

The book provides a take off point as the author steadfastly avoids any conclusive stand allowing the researcher onto various different paths without clouding his/her opinion. The book also opens eyes to the difference between regions, classes and sects even within the broader spectrum called “Baul”.

This particular chapter helped the fellow delve into the differences between a Baul and a Vaishnav and bring forth the collaborator’s ides on this particular topic.

The question that lies within the heart of the research is the understanding of “Body” in folk and classical art forms. The current fieldwork and revision of the research material provided insights onto how Baul and his songs treat his body. The various ritualistic approaches adopted by a Baul towards the sacred space of Body come forth both by the revision of previous fieldwork and recent scholarly readings undertaken. The songs which spoke about the hidden body under the wraps of social clothing and which has the power to disturb/ awaken depending on the person participating in the activity was invigorating. The song which spoke about the division within the body as three floors was an eye opener to the use of language in Baul music. That the mind is equated to the functioning of the court while the stomach/ heart of the middle floor are like businessmen only concerned with the functioning/ business of the body and the lowest part is the section which elevates you to the highest self forwarded the research into its understanding of the body within the scope of the research. The songs analyzed how a human body is also formed from mere thought which is there in the mind of the Father and then added to the body of the Mother to create a full human being.

The fellow found it rather difficult to ask such intimate questions to a male Baul and hence is in the lookout for a female Baul to understand the concepts of intriguing sexuality in Baul philosophy. Though most of the Bauls are ready to answer the problem also lies in the fact that owing to rapid urbanization Bauls are left with singing as a profession and not many veer towards the path of sadhana.

Homebound, glamour calling the bauls is fast becoming dissociated from their understanding of the body. The only ties that remain are the songs penned down by philosophers who understood and played around with the body.

The current research also explores the musicality of this particular sect and found itself asking whether there is at all anything called traditional Baul music? The Baul philosophy divides the music into division over the course of the day. It includes songs dedicated to Krishna out cow herding while it also speaks about the evening pain where the Lord is still not back. The pain is also a symbol of the lack of knowledge at the end of the life.

The songs have spoken about the necessity of worshipping the conjugality or togetherness-Of finding detachment through attachment.

The songs recorded speak about such togetherness in man and woman.

The songs highlight the independence of women within this particular class of Philosophers. It also impressed the fellow that ages before the advent of feminism the Baul philosopher could realize that without worshipping or understanding a woman and her body there can be no way to liberation.

 

This particular interaction was absolutely necessary for understanding the dehotatta philosophy in Baul-hood.

The community elder patiently explained the concept of body, the hidden lanes of body, lacing it with rare songs to highlight his conversation. The songs were essential in taking the research forward on the path of the concept of “understanding body in a classical and folk art forms. It was also clear that there are myriads of similarity between different folk forms in India. The concept of navarasa found an interesting parallel in Baul philosophy. The concept of controlling eroticism or “kama” by placing it on the top of emotions is also seen and explored within the disciplined boundaries of classicism. The concept of songs placed over the duration of aday and night, ragas based on different quarters of the day was something the community elder was drawing attention to again and again. However, he also acknowledged that most of the baul music is put together by unknown, unschooled singers and hence there are no fixed rules/ disciplines/ grammar in Baul music. An oral tradition few popular songs owing to oft repeated performances have attained a fixed structure. Otherwise Baul music like its practioners is free and flowing, borrowing influences and inspirations from all over. Kartick Das also spoke about the Tagorean influence on propagating and popularizing Baul music a fat that was highlighted earlier by Paban Das Baul in previous interviews.

 

Excerpts from May 2013 Report

 

The field activity was in the form of an extensive interview conducted with the collaborator and Ranajit Gonsai. The team travelled in the month of May to the interiors of West Bengal in Nadia district. Though there are Baul concentration areas in Birvhum, Bankura yet Nadia was selected keeping two purposes in mind. Nadia being geographically close to Bangladesh and being a hub of Vaishnavism came across as a perfect location for the next step. The journey took about 4.5 hours one way as Ranajit Gonsai’s ashram was approximately 30/ 40 kilometers beyond Plassey. Though the team had aimed to reach by 12 noon by the time the ashram was located owing to lack of landmarks and unfamiliarity of the terrain it was 3pm. Gonsai was also missing for the last couple of days and the team had almost given up its expectations of doing any constructive fieldwork that particular day. Not to mention the fact that the journey undertaken was a costly affair and a hectic planning to match timetables of four collaborators. However, the warmth and love which Gonsai’s family showered on the team thawed our reservations and fortunately Gonsai turned up after being amiss from home for the last three days. Work started in the nearby mango grove in the heat of May where the temperature stood at a boiling 40 degree. However, Gonsai’s experience and seniority in the field made the experience very satisfying and informative. Discussion of various literary terms, allusions in songs and recording of songs were done during this session. The fellow was also asked to participate by playing bells and keeping time along with the Baul music which made the session fun.  The discussion revolved around “Deho-tattya” or Body in Baul Philosophy. Discussion of the dual rituals, the procedure of diksha was discussed and recorded. Interesting point to be mentioned is the entire discussion was undertaken after Gonsai smoked a entire chillum which restored him to a state to talk and sing.

The questions asked in the interview were:

  • Who is a Baul?
  • What a Baul understand by his body?
  • What is “Deho-tattya” or Body in Baul Philosophy?
  • What are the physical rituals involved in Baul philosophy?
  • What are the rituals undertaken during “diksha”
  • Is a Baul a Vaishnav? What are the similarities in these two sects?
  • What is the meaning of the word “Jante-mora” or living dead?
  • Pala gaan or the sawal jabab system in Baul music

The Baul songs were recorded which highlight the “Deho-tattya” philosophy. The songs with the language of symbolism highlighted the experience of conjugal relation and yet transcendence of mere conjugality.

This particular fieldtrip was very important as Gonsai’s knowledge and expertise has fuelled the research. He patiently explained each of the questions. His songs were rare and not one of those oft repeated oft sung song list. He always explained to the fellow what was the tradition of “Palagaan” in Baul ,usic. A tradition fast eroding and disappearing, the pala gaan tradition was sung and explained by Gonsai. How it was expected that a song when it is thrown at one of the singers will be answered back by him through another song unfortunately the new generation of urban Bauls lack the depth and hence this particular tradition which was famous in Nadia is dying.

He also explained the term “Jente –mora” or living dead and how the Baul philosophy is all about prevention of exchange or ejaculation during conjugal relationship. It is about how to be detached during attachment or transcend the eros or erotic relationship. All that was read previously in Baul Fakir’s Katha was reconfirmed by Ranajit Gonsai. He also sang songs which added a referential time frame and it was easy to understand the colonial influence through reference of words like “Angrz” referring to English men and their cars which is the train. There was also reference to foreign words like “steamer” making the Fellow realize that colonial invasion in the worlds of Bauls.

 

This month’s fieldwork made the fact clear to the Fellow that it is important now at this juncture to interview a female counterpart in Baul philosophy. Though a lot of things are explained through symbolic discussion by male Baul singers/ practioners ,it is difficult to comprehend everything.

It also made the Fellow realize that for a Baul the ultimate is the body. As Gonsai explained, a Baul is one who is aware of the “ba” or Batash which goes in and out of the body. The body is the home for the breath or air. The body houses the soul. The soul is dressed in pitambar clothes or is Krishna the ultimate purush for Baul singers.

The stress given to finding the correct maaner manush or guru was also brought forth in this particular session. The guru is the one who initiates a disciple on the path of knowledge which a Baul cannot undergo alone.

A baul is beyond societal rules, beyond caste, beyond religion. He begins with his body and ends with his body was what the songs and discussions of this particular session highlighted.

 

This particular interaction was inclusive of three interacting participants. Ranajit Gonsai was an artist selected by my community elder Kartick Das Baul after much deliberation. Though I was interested in recording a different set of Bauls called Akas and Arman and Arjun Fakir, Kartick Das suggested that since I was looking for Pala Gaan tradition, Ranajit Gonsai being elderly will be a good choice.

Trusting my community elder’s advice I went to record Ranajit Gonsai and I was moved by his knowledge and experience. A humble and quiet man his expertise in playing dubki (the percussion) was eye catching. Also he was aware of the questions I asked and patiently answered them with humility. Kartick Das Baul’s advice was beneficial at the end of the day.

Along with that it was two Baul singers interacting with each other, discussing and clearing their own doubts. It was interesting to watch them singing and supporting each other, initiating discussions and helping each other.

The community bonhomie came across during this interactive and live session.

The community elder also asked questions that I wanted to ask…. Egging on Gonsai more towards discussion of Deho-tatta and its meaning in Baul principle.

Gonsai explained the term living dead and how life is about enjoying and yet transcending the enjoyment.

Gonsai explained about the Marfati and Sariyati styles of worship in Islam and went on to tell the interesting life he has led in Bangladesh, Murshidabad and Nadia. He being trained in Islam and Vaishnavism became the perfect example of Baul beyond the religion and caste.

They both also spoke about the diversity within Baul philosophy and how it is just a matter of realization for each individual. Ultimately it is a path that needs to be walked by each one of us.

 

Saswati Report

Saswati Bordoloi

 

Excerpts from December 2012 Report

Collection of Folk calendar of Plain Karbi community

Chokordo is an area where Plain Karbis are living. This place is famous for plain Karbis and their folk custom. World famous deepor  beel is situated here.     I met Ajoy Bey and his Mother Dipali Beypi.  Both of them are relatives of my collaborator Sri Lakshman Teron. At first I discussed with them about the folk customs of plain Karbis which are mainly related with environment. In fact all the customs of plain Karbis are basically related to environment. The customs are-

1) Dehalor Rongker Puja                2) Johong Puja                                                3) Bat-Bheta Puja

4) Community fishing                                     5) Lakhimi Adora  Puja.

Then I collected the folk calendar (local calendar)of plain Karbi community. This calendar will help me to collect information cum data in a scedule.      AjoyBey and DipaliBeypi informed me that basically community fishing starts on the month of Magh(January-February).     Dehal or Rongker  Puja starts on the first Tuesday of  Fagun (February-March),    Johong Puja starts on Bohag month ( April),    Bat Bheta Puja starts on middle of Jeth month (May-June)    Above all the customs arranged as socially but Lakhimi -Adora Puja aranged as personally  .

Deepor beel- diverse natural beauty of plain Karbi community Dipor Bil, also spelt Deepor Beel (Bil or Beel means “lake” in the local Assamese language), is located to the south-west of Guwahati city, in Kamrup district of Assam, India. It is a permanent freshwater lake, in a former channel of the Brahmaputra River, to the south of the main river. It is also called a wetland under the Ramsar Convention which has listed the lake in November 2002, as a Ramsar Site for undertaking conservation measures on the basis of its biological and environmental importance. It is located 13 km South West of Guwahati on the National Highway (NH 31), on the Jalukbari-Khanapara bypass, alongside its north western boundary. PWD road skirts the northern fringe of the Rani and Garbhanga Reserve Forests on the south. The National Highway 37 borders the beel on the east and north-east and the Engineering College Road on the north. Also, minor roads and tracts exist in the vicinity of the beel. The Beel is about 5 km from the Guwahati Airport (GNB Int. Airport). Broad Gauge Railway line skirts the lake.The plain Karbi community of this area are very much depended on this world famous beel. In fact, both the plain Karbis and deepo rbeel are interrelated. This deepor beel relates also with the customs of plain Karbis of this area. This beel becomes a part of daily life style of plain Karbis. Ordinary people start their daily life with a hope of living and this hope gives only this Deepor beel. Without this Deepor beel, there are no existences of plain Karbis of this area.Not only people are depended on this beel, but also cattle or animals like elephant, deer, and cows are depended on this beel. The Dipor Bill is reported to provide, directly or indirectly, its natural resources for the livelihood of plain Karbi communities located in its precincts. Freshwater fish is a vital protein and source of income for this community; the health of these people is stated to be directly dependent on the health of this wetland ecosystem. ‘MIGRATORY BIRDS’- one of the most attractive thing of this Deepor beel. Migratory birds are coming into this beel from the month of October last and early November, when winter season arrives. The birds are coming from the side of Australia, Europe, and America etc. There are two types of birds coming into this season. One is Indian and other is foreign. The first one is coming from the various parts of India, i.e., Ladakh, North-East India side and second one is coming from the various parts of world. Bernswellew, purple heron, little egret, intermediate egret, greater egret, cattle egret, black kite etc. birds are local but coming from different parts of our country. Ruddy shell duck, Pelican, Northern Pintail, Gadwall, Tufted duck, Plover etc. birds are migratory, coming from different parts of world.viz, Ruddy shell duck is a beautiful bird and this migratory birds comes from Ladakh, Combodia and China side. Pelican is also a migratory birds, coming from Australia.

 

Excerpts from January 2013 report

I met my collaborator  Lakshman Teron and discussed with him also about my research work for January . He informed me about the community fishing of Jonbeel area and also informed me the Jon beel fair , which is a symbol of unity of various tribes. He informed me that the plain Karbis are situated also in Jonbeel and Sonapur area and for the community fishing the plain Karbis of different places meet together. Interestingly, the other tribes like Tiwa, Boro, Kacharis are also meet and fish together.

Community fishing of Jon beel –

This place actually is a wetland and this area 5 k.m. far from Jagiroad in Morigaon district of Assam and 32  k.m. far  from Guwahati. This wetland is famous for community fishing; which is held on occassion of ‘BhogaliBihu’ (of the month of January). The famous ‘Jonbeel fair’ held on here. This fair is famous for ‘Exchange system’ (‘Binimoypratha’).I visited the wetland to focus on community fishing. In fact, the wetland Jon beel is a place of unity of different tribes. On the day of community fishing various types of tribes viz, Plain Karbis, Tiwa, Boro etc. and also non-tribal people like Assamese meet at the Jon beel -the wetland together. They are all meet together for community fishing.

‘Community fishing’ is one of the characteristics of the folk customs of plain Karbis. The plain Karbis meet and start to fish collectively on the occassion of ‘MaghBihu’ or ‘Bhogalibihu’ (in ‘Makarsankranti’ – January month). Actually it is a recreation of plain Karbis. Their enjoyment, happiness is reflected through community fishing. The plain Karbis are always trying to protect their environment. Hence, in this community fishing they always use their natural fishing equipment rather than commercial equipments. They use ‘Polo’, ‘Jakoi’, ‘Khaloi’ etc. natural equipments; but they have been using the ‘Jaal’ (net) since a long time. ‘Polo’, ‘Jakoi’, ‘Khaloi’ are made from bamboo. There are a fixed  measurement for making these equipments. 1 and 1/2 or 2 feet is necessary for making ‘Polo’ and ‘Jakoi’. ‘Khaloi’ is actually a pot type, where caught fishes are stored. In Chokordo area it (community fishing) is among plain Karbis. But in Jon beel  various tribes (Plain Karbis, Tiwa, Boro )congregate.  In fact, through this community fishing of Jon beel it reflects the unity of the tribal culture. The famous and historic fair ‘Jonbeel’ starts with community fishing in the Jon beel wetland. The theme of the community fishing is harmony and brotherhood amongst the various tribes and communities scattered in the North- East India.  My collaborator LakshmanTeron informed me about the famous Jonbeel fair and also about the community fishing and the motive of that community fishing. So, I visited the historic place and observed the community fishing of various tribes. I collected the still photographs of community fishing and also recorded the video shoots on community fishing and the fishing equipments. I met the people of various tribes and talked with them regarding the community fishing and their feelings about it. I met Arjun Rongpi, a Plain Karbi and asked him about community fishing. He informed me that it was a great experience because on that day various types of people like Plain Karbis, Tiwa ,Boro etc. came from different places and all  the communities caught fish together. He also informed me that the community fishing is one of the important customs of Plain Karbis. I took an interview of him on community fishing and recorded his information. Mr. Rongpi is not a fisherman, but he came here only for the occasion.Then I met Leelabala Deka and Jyoti Saikia (Koch women). I asked them also about that community fishing and their feelings. They informed me that they were very happy because of that occasion. They were coming Jon beel for catching fish only on that special day every year. I met Anup Deka, a local boy (Assamese boy). He was coming Jonbeel with his uncle for community fishing. I asked him regarding the fishing equipments. He informed me about the names of fishing equipments .Then I met two other plain Karbi people , Haren Bey and Krishna Rongpi . Both of them are inhabitants of Sonapur . I asked them about the names of fishing equipments. They informed me about the fishing equipments and their exact measure. They informed me that ‘Jakoi’ and ‘Polo’ are made from bamboo and their measurement basically belongs to 1 and 1/2 to 2 feet, and the measurement of ‘Khaloi’ is 1 feet. I took an interview on the information and recorded it. I met  various types of people like plain Karbis, Tiwa, Koch, Assamese etc. and observed that they were all busy in community fishing ; they were doing  it without any hesitation; in fact, there was no restriction in catching fishes.

The ‘Exchange system'(barter) is one of the important activity of this fair. Actually one can say that the ‘Jonbeel fair’ is an important part of folklore. The ‘cock fighting’ is an interesting folk game. The plain Karbis, Tiwa, Kacharietc tribes play this folk game. This folk game is an important part of the folk customs of plain Karbis. I visited the famous ‘Jonbeel fair’ . This fair is in fact a community fair. Various tribes viz, Plain Karbi, Tiwa, Boro, kachari etc. tribes are coming here from the different places.

The hill tribes (hill Karbis, hill Tiwas, khasietc) come here and carrying  their  hill produce food items and exchange it with  the food produce items of plain tribes like Plain Karbis, plain Tiwa, boro, kachari etc. It is one and only exchange system where exchange beyond on food items of hill and plain tribes rather than money. Then I observed the traditional folk game – ‘Kukurajujh’ (cock fighting). It is a folk game of various tribes like plain Karbi, Tiwa, kachari etc. I met Kushal Bordoloi and asked about the cock fighting and the rules of the game. He informed me that this traditional folk game is not only of Tiwas but also Plain Karbis enjoy and plays this game .In fact the folk game is a part of folk custom of plain Karbis. It enriches the customs of plain Karbis.

 

 

Excerpts from February 2013 report

RONGKER- a festival of plain Karbis

Rongker is an annual springtime festival of plain Karbis. It is observed in order to appease the local deity(Lord Shiva) , associated with the welfare of the village and their harvest , and to get rid of all evil. This festival is held on the first Tuesday of the first week of ‘Falgun’ month (i.e., on February month ). This festival is an interesting and important part of folk custom of plain Karbis. In this festival, goats and cocks are sacrificed to Lord Shiva.I met my collaborator Lakshman Teron and discussed with him about the ‘Rongker’ festival. He informed that ‘Rongker’ festival is the main and important festival of plain Karbis of entire Assam. This festival is in fact a worship to appease Lord Shiva. The Karbis of hill call it ‘Rongker’ and the plain Karbis call it as’Dehal Kasidom’ . ‘Dehal’ means ‘Devota’ (Lord) and ‘Kasidom’ means ‘Sewa/ Puja kora’ (worship).My collaborator informed me about the rituals of this festival. On the day of festival all plain Karbis gather and engage in activity connected to the festival i.e. some of them collect banana leafs, some collect areca nut, bamboo, some of them cut the bamboos for different purposes; for storing water, drinking etc., collect fruits, cocks and goats for sacrifice etc. Lakshman Teron informed me that plain Karbis are very much associated with environment and nature. ‘Rongker’ festival is also associated with the environment and nature. The plain Karbis use bamboo, banana leafs, areca nut, different types of fruits etc. According to plain Karbis banana leafs, Tulsi, areca nut etc. are sacred. In fact they use bamboos for different interesting reasons, i.e., for keeping water and drink rather than artificial glass etc.

The day before Rongker festival , the plain Karbis gather and collect ‘dhol’ (drum) , ‘kali’ (whistle) etc. from the house of ‘Banthai’ and go to the river bank  to sanctify them (‘Dhol’,’Kali’ etc.) and purify themselves with holy water. They come to the house of ‘Banthai’ and sacrifice a cock to God. I went to Dholbama village and met Bipul Kathar and observed the rituals related to’Dehal Kasidom’ or ‘Rongker. All plain Karbi people met that day and went to the bank of the river for ‘Birkilut’. ‘Birkilut’ is a ritual of plain Karbis ; it is related to ‘Dehal Kasidom’. Actually from this process people sanctify themselves. Then they prayed and offer an egg and their traditional drink (‘Juguli’) to God. When they came to the residence of Banthai, the main priest sacrificed a cock and offer to God in ‘Dehalghar’ of Banthai.

On the day of fastival ‘Dehal Kasidom’, the main priest sharpens the holy weapons (‘BOLI KATA DAA’) in themorning. Then people are busy making ‘Mala’ and cut the bamboo, banana tree and leafs into proper pieces. They collect varieties of fruits and rice etc. for this festival. In fact, main ‘Puja’ is started from evening. People are busy in different works (related to fastival) from morning. From midday people are busy in arranging and tying areca nuts with ‘Tulsi’ leafs and betel leaves. The main priests are busy in arranging ‘Axon’ to God. People play Dhol and Kali throughout the puja. Moheswar Teron informed me that Rongker and Dehal Kasidom are the same. They informed me about the rituals which are related to Dehal Kasidom. First the Malas are offered to God and then plain Karbis are also wear it. I met Ronjit Rongpi and Sosen Teron and they told about the subject of sacrifice. Goats and Cocks are used for sacrifice to God. I also met the main priest Nobin Ingti and discussed about the ‘Axon’ (plates which are full of banana, apple, areca nuts leaves, coconuts etc. and these ‘Axon’ are offered to God). He informed me that ‘Axon’ are arranged for both ‘Dehal ghar’ (main temple or holi place) and also for ‘Baro Gopal than’. ‘Baro Gopal than’ is situated near the main Dehal ghar’. Goats and cocks are sacrificed in both places.

Excerpts from March 2013 report

‘Bohag maah’ – is the new year of plain Karbis (Bohag month is also new year of other tribes ). It carries a new hope, new beginning for them. So, plain Karbis are busy before one month (from ‘Choitra maah’ i.e., March  to welcome this new year ).The life of plain Karbis reflects their own identity . The plain Karbis are very much simple by nature and so their life style is also simple. They believe and have faith in nature. Hence, it can be said that their folk custom is mainly related to environment. I met  my collaborator  Lakshman Teron and discussed with him how plain Karbi prepare to welcome  their new year. He informed me that plain Karbi women are busy weaving new cloth during this time like ‘Mukhsha’ (towel) , ‘Mekhla’ (goun), ‘Chador’ etc. On the occasion of new year plain Karbi women present ‘Mukhsha’ to their love ones. In this ‘Chaitra’ (March) month plain Karbi people go to the hills to collect fire wood for the rainy season. The plain Karbi people are very simple in nature. The plain Karbis are mainly farmers by profession. They use simple equipments for cultivation rather than modern and scientific equipments. They use ‘Kodal’, ‘Moi’, ‘Nangol’ etc. for crop cultivation.

I met Nabin Ingti (the priest of Dehal ghar of Dholbama) and discussed their preparation before new year (Bohag month- middle of  April month).He informed me that women are busy in this time to collect fire woods from hills. This is the time of preservation of fire wood for the rainy seasons. They go to ‘Chaeraerae  Gosai Pahar’ (name of the hill) and collect fire wood .But they never climb this hill. Because they believe that this hill symbolizes their deity. If they collect fire woodthen ill luck would befall them. I met Ganeshri and Mamoni Ingti and asked about their weaving. They told me that they were weaving ‘Mukhsha’ and ‘Mekhela’ for the occassion of Bohag month. They use green thread, ‘Ranch’ (made from bamboo, using for weaving), ‘Chaeraeki’ ,’ugha’  for this weaving. In this time people are busy in making ropes for tying cows in the New Year. It is a ritual to tie the cow with a new rope. This rope is made from ‘Odal’ tree, not from jute. I went to see with Sunil Ingti,to the ‘Odal’ tree and how ropes are made from it. Sunil Ingti informed me that people dry the trunks (parts of this tree) in the sun  and prepare very thin strands out of it, thus creating fine rope from these tree trunks. Then Sunil Ingti informed about their instruments used for farming. Kodal, Moi, Nangol etc. are generally used in farming. Then I met Neela Rongpi Ingti and I observed their kitchen. From this kitchen reflects their lifestyle. They do not use modern kitchen equipments for cooking.

Excerpts from April 2013 report

Johong Puja

I met my collaborator Lakshman Teron and discussed the Johong Puja. He informed me that Johong Puja is an important ritual of the folk custom of plain Karbis. It is related to the environment as it is held to please Almighty Johong (Lord Shiva) and other 33 crore gods to keep the environment safe. They believe that through this Puja their crops and surrounding nature and environment will be protected. So it is held in a new month i.e. ‘Bohag’ month.This Puja is held for seven days. The first day of this Puja, they wash cows etc. in the morning and in evening they go for ‘Birkilut’ (sanctifying them) on the bank of the river. They believe that through this ‘Birkilut’ their sins would be absolved. Then they come back to ‘Gosai Than’ (Holi place of the village) and light diyas, offer rice, ginger, mustard oil and bananas to the Almighty. They offer these items on banana leaf, which is called ‘Axon’. They arrange 33 ‘Axon’ for the name of 33 crore gods. On the second day of this puja, in the morning, people make ‘Mala’ for offering the deity. The mala is made from ‘Odal’ (Odal tree) and ‘Nahar’  and in the evening, they clean the holy place and again light diyas and offer rice, ginger, betel nut , leaves and ‘Sansiri’ (a mixture of ground rice made by frying  the rice without oil  and then ground)to Almighty. They offer all these items on a banana leaf on 33 plates (‘axon’).People play ‘Dhol’ and ‘Kali’ during Puja time. Then they place the ‘Mala’ on sharp holy weapons (‘Boli Kata daa’) and on the pots(made from bamboo) of drink. They sacrifice the cocks to the Almighty Johong and a white goat for Goddess Parvati, wife of Lord Shiva (Johong).?Then they fry the meats and ‘Posola’ (made from banana trank) and offer to Almighty and put these on 33 plates for the 33 crore gods. The third, fourth, fifth and sixth day of this Puja, only main diya is lit in the holy place. The last day of this Puja, i.e. seventh day is called ‘Johong bidai’. In the evening , people dance and play ‘Dhol’ and ‘Kali’ , prepare an item called ‘Chatni’ (pickle from ‘Posola’ and offer on 33 plates. They also offer rice and drink.

On the second day of Johong Puja plain karbis are busy making ”malas” in the morning and in the evening, they are busy arranging ‘‘Axon’’ (Ashan) i.e., the special place for Almighty . They arrange 33 ”Axon” for the 33 crore Gods. They bring a cock for sacrifice and a white goat for Goddess ”Parvati”. During the puja time people play ”dhol” and ”Kali” .After the puja they dance. I met my collaborator and asked about the puja . He told me about the rituals of puja . He showed me the worshiping place and it is held in his front yard. Then I met Sanjoy Bey and Ajoy Bey and asked them about the value of making ” mala’’, they told me that ” mala” is made from the ”Odal” tree and ”Nahar” tree, not from jute. Then I observed the works of making ”mala” .In the evening I observed that people were coming and started to arrange ”axon” .They make a pack of rice, ginger, betel nuts and leafs and tulsi leaves and keep it on the ”axon” .Then I observed people brought cocks to sacrifice and  praying in front of ”axon” , sacrificed them.

The last day of Johong puja is known as Johong bidai. On this day people gather at the residence of Banthai and women fry rice without oil and grind it. Men make malas for offering almighty. The main priest arranges axon .Then they bring fried dry fish and mix with ‘‘posola’’,and they keep it in axon with the holy drink  . Then the priests chant mantras and people pray to keep the environment good .During the puja time they play dhol and kali and dance. On that day I met first Golapi Kathar and asked her about puja rituals. Numoli Fangsho infromed me that the first day of Johong puja known as ”Birkilut” day, second day is known as ‘jugan’ , 3rd day is known as sacrificing day ,4th day people meet and have community feast. 5th and 6th day people dance and the 7th day is known as johong bidai . It seems that the rituals of Johong puja varies from place to place .Then I met Nabin Ingti and his family. I asked Nabin Ingti regarding the same topic because he is a priest of Johong Puja. He told me about the rituals of Johong Puja and specially about the Johong Bidai .I observed from the evening people were coming to the residence of Banthai and women were busy in frying rice without oil and grinding it. Men were making mala to offer the almighty. Then the main priest Khargeswar Fangso came and started to arrange the axon. They put rice and banana on the axon .Then Nabin Ingti offered the mala to almighty as well as the people gathered and showered rice powder along with the chanting of mantras .All the time people were playing dhol and kali. Finally they prayed and danced.