Bohag Bihu, once again

Bihu 2004
Nowadays, no one from the bank of Dikhow visits homes for the hunchori.
No one from the Jerenga Pathar now goes to celebrate Bohag Bihu with his dear and near ones. The people called Generation Next now sit in front of the
computer and send web greetings to those who care. They get themselves busy by
writing SMS  to their friends. They now do not go the fields to enjoy Bihu,
instead they stay inside their houses to ‘see’ Bihu in the idiot box. This
is drawing room Bihu, we can coin a new term.

Even then, we the Assamese will never be able to forget the thrill as well as
the zeal that is associated with the season. We will never be able to forget the
freshness of the blooming kopauphool, the reverberating sound of the dhol,
the heart-renching tunes of the pepa, and, well, the beautiful nachonis.
We will never fail to feel the green Bihu carries along with it. We will never
fail to recognize the mesmerizing yellow beauty of a flower called Sonaru.
It has been the pulse of our hearts from time immemorial. And it will remain so.
Wish our avid readers a very happy Bohag Bihu. Enjoy folks.

Beautiful Assam

Guwahati roads with rows of economically important trees like
those of fruits instead of whatever kind of trees we come across. Earthen cups
and pots instead of plastic disposable cups and glasses in receptions, marriage
or for any other function. And banana leaves instead of disposable plates made
from paper and plastic. These are just some of the ‘dream projects’ of some
highly qualified youths of Guwahati who have joined hands to form an NGO,
‘Environ’ that will work towards safeguarding natural resources and their
judicious use, creating employment avenues at the same time.

The group of youths who love to call themselves a ‘revolutionary group’
for ‘conservation, management and utilization of natural resources of
northeastern region’ has set a set of goals, chief among them being making
Guwahati clean and green, surveying natural resources of the region for the
benefit of common people, and creation of work culture among the youths and
developing the concept of self-dependence among the people of the region.

Says Amarjyoti Kashyap, the president of Environ: “To begin with our
programmes, we will start with Guwahati, a city infamous for its garbage. We
have innovated some ideas of garbage management, where garbage will no longer be
a problem. Rather, it will generate money and give benefits to the society as a
whole. Again, we have plans to popularize the concept of planting economically
beneficial trees like those of fruits in every open spaces in the city,
especially the roadsides, that will help green Guwahati as well as bringing
monetary benefits.”

Again for the numerous roadside eateries and kiosks of the city, Environ has
an innovative idea – that of serving food in banana leaves, and water, tea,
etc. in earthen pots. This practice can be seen in south India where banana
trees are part and parcel of their culture. In Assam too such practice is
prevalent but only in a handful places — we find it refreshing when we are
served hot puris on banana leaves at Bokakhat. One must have also noticed
use of earthen pots for serving tea in the roadside eating joints of Kolkata.
Earthen pots were also not so long ago extensively used by the vendors on the
trains.

“Banana leaves and earthen pots are not only biodegradable materials, but
they can well generate money,” asserts Kashyap, adding, “when there will be
a greater demand, the cottage industry of manufacturing earthen pots will
flourish and one can supply banana leaves from the numerous plants in the
forests around the city or by systematic cultivation of banana trees whereby
fruits also can procured.”

 But what tops the agenda of the Environ is the goal of making the people
here realize that they are not backward than their counterparts in other parts
of the country – what they lack is the self-confidence, and once they are
self-confident, they would automatically become self-dependent. Some other goals
of Environ are creating awareness among people about food adulteration, fake
drugs, better hospital waste management, and misuse of public property.

And who does not want a clean, beautiful and prosperous Assam? If a part of
the goals set by Environ is achieved, one will be happy and for this,
involvement of common people is a must, for ultimately, it’s they who will
reap the benefits.



Mridumoloy/Partha Pratim in The
Assam Tribune