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Traditional boat race held on banks of Pahumara river

By Nava kanta kalita

PATACHARKUCHI, Oct 19 - Around 10,000 people this evening gathered on the banks of Pahumara river to witness the traditional boat race at Medhikuchi of Bajali subdivision. At a time when many traditional events are on the verge of extinction, people of no. 2 Medhikuchi village undertook this praiseworthy effort. In fact, they have been holding the boat race competition for more than 100 years now.

Today, the banks of the Pahumara river wore a festive look with the beautiful kohuwa � the harbinger of autumn fluttering in the breeze � on both banks of the river and thousands of jubilant faces thronging to enjoy the rare event on the day of Bijoya Dashami.

Local people informed that such boat races have been a tradition of the locality for more than 100 years now. But the villagers have been organising it in a systematic manner since the last five decades. A distance of 600 metres was fixed for the competition.

Dipul Patgiri informed that the villagers since many yeras have been holding the event without the considerations of any caste or creed and this has strengthened unity and integrity in the society. The race started from Member Ghat. The boats, least 50-feet-long and in resplendent colours were powered by at least 50 rowers on the mildly flowing waters of the Pahumara river. With the kohuwa on both the sides of the river playing the perfect backdrop, the cheering crowd put an extra dimension to the competition. The rowers in colourful attires also provided a lyrical touch to the competition as they sang rhythmic songs playing �taal� while navigating their boats with ores. The rowers took part with full enthusiasm.

Four teams, namely Tazmahal, Ma Mayurjan, Moishal Bandhu, and Tazmina took part in this year�s competition that was held in various rounds. �Mayurjan� came first and won a cash prize of Rs 10,001 in memory of Sahadev Kalita while �Maishal Bandhu� got the second prize amounting to Rs7,001 in memory of Surendra Nath Patgiri.

Earlier, Zakir Hussain Sikdar, MLA of Sarukshetri constituency formally declared open the traditional event. He expressed the hope that unity among the people will be strengthened through such events. He also praised the efforts of the organising committee for holding such an event which is in the verge of extinction.

Dipul Patgiri, president of the organising committee anchored the opening and felicitation programmes. The opening function was attended by Tileswar Saikia, SDPO, Bajali subdivision, Shantanu Sarma, president of the Barpeta District Congress. The authority also took precautionary measures to avert any untoward incidents by deploying security forces along with a NDRF rescue team.The prize distribution meeting was held in the evening which was presided over by Dipul Patgiri. The day also saw immersion of Durga idols in the river in the specific ghat.

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