By Shweta Sachdeva:
Known primarily for being home to the precious one-horned rhinoceros at Kaziranga, and the mind-numbing paradox of birds committing mass-suicide at Jatinga; the beautiful state of Assam stands as much more than just these! Moving beyond the clichÃ©d notions that many people have aboutÂ the state, here are some interesting things about Assam to broaden your horizon about the place!
1. Assam has a State Anthem!
The anthem has been composed by Lakshminath Bezbaroa and goes like this — ‘O Mur Apunar Dex’ (O my endearing motherland). It was officially adopted as the anthem of the State in 1927 at a conference in Tezpur.
2. Celebration of Cultures
Unlike the image that people have of Assam, it is not a ‘separate country’ in itself. It is in fact home to several Bengalis, Marwaris, Biharis, etc. Every street is peppered with chat wallahs and mithai wallahs, predominantly run by people from Bihar. Marwaris are also very high in number here. They have a specific area earmarked to themselves in the form of ‘Fancy Bazaar’.
3. Assam has Three Different Types Bihu Celebrations
Bihu is the state festival of Assam. But instead of coming once in a year, it comes thrice! Having been living in Assam for two years now, the grand celebration of the festival has always amazed me. They have the Bohag or Rongali Bihu (mid-April), Maagh (mid- January) and the Kaati Bihu (in the month of October).
4. Guwahati — the pseudo-capital of Assam
Dispur as we all know is the official capital of Assam. However, the High Court, National Law University, IIT, DGP Headquarters and other important offices are all located in Guwahati. It functions as the un-official capital of the State. Dispur, in fact is so small that the area skids away in a bus-ride of two minutes!
5. Jonbeel Mela
Lesser known even amongst the people of Assam, this is a three-day fest that occurs some 30 kilometers away from Guwahati at the entrance of the Porbitora Wildlife sanctuary. It is unique as it revives the dead and gone concept of ‘barter system’ and agricultural produce and native products are exchanged. This festival is inaugurated by the King of the Tiwa tribe who then collects taxes from the people based on their earnings.
6. All Kinds of Food Available Here!
Assam offers an inviting palate to all. From rava dosas, cheese momos (try Fancy Bazaar in Guwahati) to scintillating pastas — the state affords all avenues for foodies to take them on an ultimate-gastronomic journey. With their own native specialties of pitha ladu, bamboo shoot-infused duck, pigeon dishes and rice beer, Assam has fantastic options to silence the naysayers about the only food in Assam being ‘rice with anything’. Popular eateries line up the city of Guwahati and other districts. Bhoot Jolokhia is another spicy chilly the place is famous for.
7. Not a Jungle or Rape-state or Flood-land!
Lastly, here’s a myth that has been “busted” several times previously (and thus its notable mention here). Guwahati happens to be a booming and ever-developing, globalization-welcoming city. Also, since Brahmaputra is one of the largest rivers of the country, it does make sense that once it gets over-flooded during monsoons, there will be floods throughout the state. But it isn’t all ‘water water everywhere’ opposed to popular notion. Thus, these grossly misrepresented impressions need to be debunked.
Open up your minds fellow readers and appreciate the state a bit more! Come to Assam and celebrate life! Pre-sentiments are in attendance forÂ every place, but don’t let that dampen your spirits; let this state spin its magic upon you as well!