Guwahati's Don Bosco School bridges rural-urban divide through grand Bihu festivities

Story by  ATV | Posted by  Aasha Khosa | Date 03-05-2024
Students of Don Bosco celebrating Rongali Bihu
Students of Don Bosco celebrating Rongali Bihu


Daulat Rahman/Guwahati

In Assam, Bohag or Rongali Bihu is not just a festival for the people of Assam. Music maestro and Bharat Ratna Bhupen Hazarika once termed the festival Bihu as the lifeline of the Assamese society. The tradition dates back thousands of years when the advent of spring prodded the farming community to celebrate fertility rites.

This festival found its way into the campus of an elite urban school for the first time in 2006. That year, the Don Bosco School, Pan Bazar, started the tradition of hoisting the Rongali Bihu on its campus. The idea behind this celebration by one of the most elitist English Medium schools in the North East was to preserve the cultural traditions and connect the students with their roots.

Recently the school hoisted the 17th edition of Rongali Bihu festival with a series of colourful events. 

Students playing traditional instruments to celebrate Rongali Bihu

Don Bosco School campus wore a different look on the Rongali BIhu day. The usual staple of students noodles and sandwiches were banished as their tiffin boxes contained sira-doi, tilor pitha, and laroo. The students came to school in colourful Assamese traditional attire. They carried conventional musical instruments like Dhol, Pepa, and Japi

The day-long Rongali bihu festival included a Bihu dance competition, an exhibition on traditional Assamese paraphernalia, exhibition of a typical village house/scene during Bihu, stalls on ethnic food as well as handloom clothes, homemade delicacies, handicrafts, handwork, etc. Students also engaged in traditional indigenous games like tug-of-war, koloh bhonga (breaking of earthen pot), and koni juz (egg fight).

The winning team displays its trophy

“One of the basic objectives of holding such a festival is to bridge the urban and rural divide. There is a perception that Bihu is popular only among the rural youth or students of Assamese medium schools. The Rongali Bihu Utsav in our school has tried to break this rural-urban divide. Just because you attend an English medium school does not imply that you forget your roots and tradition,” Principal and Rector Don Bosco School Father Sebastian Mathew said. 

Father Sebastian said that his school has students from different religions, castes, and communities and, therefore all celebrating the Rongali Bihu together has highlighted India’s unique culture of unity amidst diversity.  

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Noted academician Dayananda Pathak, chief guest at the function, said he was amazed to see a grand Bihu celebration in a Catholic English medium school. He said other schools should follow Don Bosco School to celebrate the Rongali Bihu in such a way.