Sunday, March 20, 2011

The many colours of Barak Valley

The Concern For Silchar team wishes all its readers a very happy and prosperous Holi. May the festival of colours shower success and satisfaction in your lives and bring an end to all your problems and negative thoughts.

As we celebrate Holi, let us all spare a moment today and remind ourselves about the many myriad colours that effortlessly intermingle to create the canvas called Barak Valley. Yes, we have our share of problems and their solutions also seem far away, but the many colours that represent the diversity of the valley and yet mingle with each other to create an identity of unity, are probably our biggest strengths and also the answer to many of our woes.

The deep green tea leaves that dot every nook and corner of the valley cannot exhibit their real lustre and beauty if they do not have the muddy brown and grey colours of the waters of rivers Barak and Kushiara for company near them.

Similarly, the sparkling white ‘takki’ (the white cap wore by Muslims during prayer), which every devout Muslim wears on his way to the mosque, looks all the more bright in contrast to the red vermillion put on by married Hindu women. 

The colourful saris wore by the Marwari women add a tinge of glamour to the streets of Nazirpatty and Janiganj and when the village lasses of Barak Valley come to these shopping hubs clad in their black and blue burqas, the glamour increases manifolds.

While the Phaneks and Mekhlas wore by the Manipuri and Assamese women remind us of our centuries old tradition of unity, the smart western casuals adorned by the tribal folks tell us that western outfits and culture as a whole has also effortlessly assimilated into our lifestyle.

When Mother Durga comes calling every autumn, the Muslim community also join the revelries with equal vigour and the Hindus earnestly look forward to the Bakri Eid parties to feast on the sumptuous Biriyanis. The Saraswati Puja is an occasion to celebrate for all students. I still cannot forget my friend Aziz who distributed Khichuri Prasad with great interest in the college.

Those coming to work here from outside are never harassed on the basis of their language or caste. Therefore, Assam University and National Institute of Technology, the two central government entities of the valley, have become mini Indias where people from all parts of the country are working and contributing to the valley’s progress.

A certain Mr. Johnson, from Kerala, is the owner of two massive automobile showrooms and the sardars who have settled here after being forcibly evicted from Manipur acknowledge that they feel at home here.

We would like to believe that the communal violence in the early nineties and the attacks against the Marwaris in 2004 are mere aberrations in the otherwise secular portrait of the valley. So, as we debate and discuss the various problems that have gripped our valley, we must realise that this unity that we have amidst all the diversity is our biggest strength and therefore we must all stand together irrespective of our caste, creed or religion and strive towards bringing the glory days of the valley back.  

(* The series of articles on the findings of the CAG regarding the various development projects of Cachar will continue in the coming weeks)

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Silchar through the Lense