Stalls display banners opposing CAA, shopkeepers wear anti-CAA badges and say that protests against the Act and work have to go together
GUWAHATI: The Bhogali Bihu or the Magh Bihu, which plays an important role in the Assamese cultural identity, is just two days away. Amidst the stress and protests against the CAA (Citizenship Amendment Act) people here in the city seem to prepare for celebrating the festival. However, it seems that people, including those engaged in business, are not ready to accept the contentious Act. They have shown their protest against the Act in all possible ways.
Many temporary stalls for Bhogali Bihu stuffs have sprung up in different parts of Guwahati like Khanapara, Ganeshguri, Aambari etc. The Assamese ethnic cuisines with varieties of pithas and munchies have glutted the market. Pitha, ladu, curd, beaten rice, bora chaul and many other Assamese delicacies are on display for sale. However, amidst such a brisk business, the stall owners seem to have not been able to console themselves on the CAA (Citizenship Amendment Act) that has already come into effect. The stalls in the Bar Asom Bhogali Mela have displayed banners and placards opposing the CAA. The shopkeepers also have anti-CAA badges on their lapels.
Talking to The Sentinel two of the shopkeepers, Dulumoni Hazarika and Khanin Hazarika, both hailing from Lakhipur, said that the Assamese would never accept an anti-Assam Act. “No matter how forcibly the government tries to impose the Act upon us, we’ll never accept it. The Bihu is our cultural identity. We’ll carry on Bhogali bazar and the anti-CAA protest simultaneously,” said Dulumoni Hazarika.
“Assam is a rich state. Now it is time we thought of safeguarding our cultural identity. We’re selling the products made in Lakhimpur and our tagline says Chiro Chenehi Mur Bhakha Janani. We’ll never allow anyone to put the Assamese identity at stake,” said Khanin Hazarika.
The Bhogali Mela going on at Lakhidhar Bora Khetra and Siddhinath Sarma Bhavan are filled with ethnic food items, including curd, cream and gur made in Ramdia, Sarbhog and Mangaldoi. Sira, Handoh, Pitha Guri, Bora Chaul and many other items prepared in home by individuals and self-help group are also on display for sale. The price for most of the items costs from Rs. 100 to Rs. 200. In most of the stalls the price for curd is Rs 150 per litre whereas the price for cream is Rs. 500 per kg. The price for Bora Chaul, Handoh and Pitha is Rs 100 per kg each.
However, there seems a little price hike in products in comparison to last year. One of the shopkeepers, Mainu Handique from Dhemaji, said that there is an increase of Rs. 5 to Rs. 15 in some of the items, and this is because the prices for raw materials have already been increased.