BARECHAHARIA BHOWNA- It's Significance and Popularity

- Dr. Pranjit Hazarika


Barechaharia Bhowna is a novel and splendid performance of Shankardev’s ‘Bhowna Culture’. As the pioneer of ‘Bhowna’ (The theatrical performance), Shankardeva propagated his ‘Neo– Vaishnavite faith’ through this audio visual media and captivated the illiterate masses by the eternal ethos–'victory of truth and vanquish of untruth’. Bhowna has been rendering immense service since the days of Srimanta Shankardeva in educating the masses and bringing about tolerance and catholicity of out look in matters of religion. Hence, Bhowna is a precious jem of our cultural heritage whose spirit and appreciation has not tarnished by any fallacious and sinister forces. It still remains as a cementing force of unity and integrity in the midst of countless divergence and disharmony.

Since the hoary days, the people of Jamugurihat have been performing Barechajari Bhowna at the interval of 5 to 7 years. Records show that the first performance of this Bhowna took place in the remote part in 1797 at ‘Raghudalani’. The entire populace of this area has been showing keen interest in launching this Bhowna as a matchless cultural heritage. Imbued with the sense of spiritual tolerance, people of Jamugurihat generally shun all the trivial differences and come together to celebrate this Bhowna Mahatsava with much joy and merriment. No social and political divergence can misguide the people any way. Certainly it is a plauditory aspect of Jamugurihat. Spontaneous community–effort is the aitar on which the whole edifice of Barechaharia Bhowna stands. No doubt, through the performance of this Bhowna, the people of Jamugutihat offer momentous and distinctive contribution to the acceleration of Assamese indigenous as well as Indian national culture. It is very pertinent to mention that, though modernization has taken place in staging this Bhowna, yet the originality of it as preached by Sankardeva has been kept intact and under no circumstances, the Jamugurians allow it to lost its original tenets. This incessant effort of the people has therefore, glorified the name of this place in the annals of Indian culture.

The social significance attached to this Bhowna is the sense of hospitabilitly of the local populace. People eagerly wait for the days of Bhowna to welcome the guests. Every house becomes full of kith and keen. The host gets tremendous joy to ever the guests according to their ability.

During the life span of Sonitkonwar Gajen Baruah, Barecharia Bhowna got nationwide attention and popularity. A host of cultural icon of Assam and its outside visited the Barechaharia Bhowna and sincerely recognized the inherent cultural worth of this Bhowna Mahatsav. Delhi based cultural researchers and critics attended this fabulous programme and advocated for nationwide publicity. As a result of relentless effort of late Gajen Baruah, this dramatic enterprise got wide publicity all over India. He even wrote numbers of article on Barechaharia Bhowna at some of the leading news papers of the country.

The ethos of integration is deeply attached to this Bhowna Mahatsav. Gajen Baruah rightly did it through this cultural event. Initiating cultural exchange between hills and plains and by displaying varied culture of north-east at cultural programme especially arranged at Barechaharia Bhowna. Gajen Baruah did stupendous task in regard to amity of hills and plains. That concept is still a commendable spirit of this Mahatsav.

The popularity and attraction of Barechaharia Bhowna has been increasing year after year. The deep reverence at the minds of the people towards Sankari art and culture has compelled to launch this grand theatrical enterprise at a regular interval. People extend their helping hands much generously to make this fabulous occasion a success. The mammoth gathering during the Bhaona Mahatsav generally turn Jamugurihat into a sea of humanity which deeply inspire all to be prepared for the next occasion.

Ardently following the tradition, the people of Jamugurihat is going to hold this Bhowna in the month of April (2007) at the gap of 7 years. Brisk preparation is going on to make this enterprise a grand success. It is the pious duty of all to preserve this cultural heritage by any means. If in future any prejudicial outlook becomes the acute impediment to stand before Barechaharia Bhowna, it will then be a great discredit to all and enough to dismantle the broad cultural edifice erected so passionately through generations.


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