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159th Committee Bhaona fest in Morigaon

By Dalim Phukan

MORIGAON, Nov 7 - Committee Bhaona, a historic mega traditional theatrical performance, held every three years synchronising with Sri Sri Krishna Ras festival at Charaibahi cultural complex in Morigaon district has completed 158 years of its existence.

According to the organisers of the Committee Bhaona, at the end of every three years, this mega cultural event is being held at Charaibahi since 1857 � the year of the Sepoy Mutiny or the first war of Independence of the nation. The elders of the Charaibahi area said that as Queen Victoria of Great Britain came to India at the end of the Sepoy Mutiny and declared some welfare measures for Indians, many people throughout the country celebrated with pomp and gaiety.

In Morigaon district, the local people at Charaibahi arranged a mega festival, namely, Committee Bhaona during Sri Krishna Ras Yatra as a mark of respect for the august presence of Her Majesty Queen Victoria in India. Thousands of people irrespective of caste, community and religions took part in this festival. In the first Committee Bhaona festival, the local people took the resolution to observe the festival at an interval of every three years. Right from that year, the Committee Bhaona is going on till today at Charaibahi Cultural Complex.

The local people celebrate the festival by performing ankia bhaonas at a stretch for five to six days. The unique feature of the Committee Bhaona is that altogether 26 teams of different villages stage their plays at a time and at the same place every night and there is no cacophony or confusion in the process. In a big field, several pandals are built and the bhaonas are performed in absolute harmony. The youths of several villages remain busy in rehearsals for months together and local artistes prepare masks and other costumes for the actors of the bhaonas.

The Committee Bhaona always speaks about the unity and integrity of different sections of people as various ethnic groups including the tribals take part in this mega festival of Charaibahi Mouza in Morigaon district. This year, the 159th Committee Bhaona festival will be held from November 10 with a six-day programme. Every day apart from theatrical performances at night, cultural programmes, several seminars etc., will also be held.

On November 11, Union Railway Minister for State, Rajen Gohain will inaugurate the cultural rally while on November 12, in the open meeting, State Education Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma will be the chief guest. The souvenir Koroni will be released by Dr Dhrubajyoti Bora, president, Asam Sahitya Sabha.

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