Sunday Monitor

BOOK REVIEW: Assamese society, economy & the history of Bhaona

Samiran Bhuyan

Bhaona and Assamese Society is about the deeply rooted history of Assam in all aspects. Bhaona or Ankiya Bhaona, created by Sankardeva, is one of the prominent unifying festivals in Assam.

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The ingredients of Bhaona were taken from the existing resources of Assam and India. So, the research and discourse on Bhaona propound many important realities or study-worthy facts about Assam and Assamese polymath Sankardeva in Indian cultural history.

It’s not a simple history of chronological events. It is akin to investigative journalism with an inventory outlook. Author Arup Saikia projects Mahapurush Sankardeva as a social scientist. Religion is just a part of his multifaceted personality. Moreover, as a full-fledged drama, Bhaona has music, dance, orchestra, make-up, costumes, stages and some other paraphernalia. The origin and creation of the above-mentioned features are elaborately discussed in the book.

The author also shares his experiences in the book. Saikia travelled extensively and visited many countries for cultural performances. The experiences gained through interaction with various people are put in writing words. This is the main resourceful foundation of the book.

This book is based on the ground realities of mankind. Even gods and goddesses are not shown supernaturally. Spirituality is nothing but morality. Everything is written in real-world analytics. There is also an aspect of comparative sociology as it takes into account the traditions and culture of various countries.

The Satra and Namghar are two prime institutions of Assam. Saikia describes the origin and functions of Satra and Namghar. One chapter is added about Assamese architectural aspects from personal houses to religious shrines including temples and Namghars.

This book also covers an amazing chapter on wildlife. It tells the story of ‘Bagh Bheta’ (Enclosure of tiger), which was once a thrilling festival of Jamugurihat (Sonitpur).

Finally, the economic conditions play an important role in society. Therefore, any historical writings are imperfect if it does not touch the monetary sources and dealings of the said country with others. Hence, the book reflects on that too.

Book: Bhaona and Assamese Society; Author: Arup Saikia; Publisher: Eastern Book House; Pages: 160; Price: Rs 450

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