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Indigenous communities celebrate New Year

Indigenous communities celebrate New Year
Emran Hossain Emon

Discontent and protest marked the year’s first-day celebration programme, jointly organised by different indigenous communities, titled ‘Biju, Sanggaring, Bishu and Kaishuk Utsab’ in Rangamati recently.”We have hills and forests, youth and valor to fight against injustice on our culture and people,” said speakers who addressed the opening-day cultural function held at the Rangamati stadium. In focus were the rape of widow Rupali Chakma in 2004, deprivation of the rights of indigenous people and other forms of aggression. Speaking in their indigenous languages, the audience welcomed the New Year and took a vow to uphold their culture and identity.

Artistes from Chakma, Marma, Tanchainga and Tripura communities rendered a choral song to welcome the New Year. Child artistes of the Marma community wowed the audience with a dance accompanied by a popular song.

The five-day long Baishakhi Utsav, titled Maha Sanggraing Poa (Great Utsav): 1368 Sacrio (Year), organised by Utsav Udjapan Committee, Bandarban, ended recently. The participants took a collective vow to resist social, political or cultural aggression on indigenous communities.

Celebrating the first day of the year, a colourful rally was brought out where people of different ages, including women and children, joined hands and marched through the streets of the hilly town. Indigenous women in their traditional attire danced to the ethnic tunes. The much-awaited and popular game Bali Khela (a form of wrestling) was held on the same day.

People queued again in the evening to pay their respect to the idol of Buddha. Spraying water on the road, the religious procession went down to the river Shankho with a large number of participants and spectators who performed the religious rite.

Moitry Pani Barshan, a popular two-day long event where people frolic, showering each other with water also took place. Young women and men sprinkled each other with water as a symbol of cleansing the weariness of the past year. Wai Jangsan Acoustic Band staged a concert the same day.

The other programmes included Boyoska Puja, Climbing oiled bamboo, cake making, offering of cakes at Kiong (place of worship), a cultural programme by Marma Shilpi Gosthi, and a variety of indigenous games. The programme drew to close by hearing Dhamma Deshana (religious preaching).

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