21 October, 2020

Bihu By Any Other Name

Bihu By Any Other Name

Ask an Assamese how many Bihus he celebrates. The answer would be three—spring, winter and autumn. And of course a fourth, springing from popular artistes gigging at shows held across Assam for a full month and which are coeval with the advent of 24x7 television. Rongali or Bohag Bihu, the happiest and biggest in the troika, is by tradition a week-long affair. Even that timeframe is a stretch, but the dance-and-music continues on the loop on TV and social media until it’s time for the next Bihu. That’s ‘TV Bihu’—much like Pluto the planet, debated whether it’s the real deal or a con.

The spring Bihu has always been an outdoorsy affair (And Oh, the lifelong affairs born out of the festival that brings people together, bonds them with music!). Even Assam’s cussed floods or those cholera outbreaks of yore haven’t been able to stop the spring-break ever. But then, these are unusual times—a virus threatens to infect people more than viral Bihu videos. Social distancing has taken over an event that brings people closer....



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