JAGIROAD, Jan 20 - The Junbeel Mela, where barter trade takes place, has been drawing huge crowd.
The age-old indigenous barter trade system is in vogue only in a few remote corners of the country in general, and this has remained unnoticed within the larger society. But such instances can be seen at the ongoing historic Junbeel Mela, 4 km from Jagiroad in Morigaon district.
As per tradition and the direction of Deepsing Deo-raja, the ceremonial �King� of the erstwhile Gova Kingdom, the indigenous age-old barter trade system continued this morning in the presence of about 4,000 hills people from Karbi Anglong district and some from Meghalaya. The hills people bartered essential items, such as ginger, lac, indigo, mats, etc., for various traditional cakes, rice powder, dried fish, etc., from the plains people. With the necessary food items collected from the plains people, the tribal community will celebrate Magh Bihu. Tomorrow, the �Uruka� of the Gova tribe will be celebrated.
Another significant event of the occasion is the community fishing at �Junbeel�, the natural water body after which the Mela has been named. This community fishing is an important component of the occasion, which is conducted subject to permission by the Gova Tiwa Deo-raja Rajdarbar. It plays a big role in fostering the spirit of friendship among different communities.
While inaugurating the barter trade, Morigaon MLA Rama Kanta Deuri, in his speech, spoke on the ancient Gova Kingdom. He appealed the hills and the plains people to preserve the ancient cultures through this big annual get-together. A souvenir, named � Junbeel� and edited by Abanti Kr Bora, was released on the occasion by social worker Basistha Bujarbarua during a cultural function organised at the mela ground in which Jagiroad MLA Piyush Hazarika, Morigaon MLA Rama Kanta Deuri, among others, including several dignitaries from the tribe participated.
The mela is of ethnic and socio-cultural importance as this has become a common meeting ground for the various hill tribes and the plains people.