From our Correspondent
AZARA, June 28: ‘Bat Puja’, which has been prevalent at a village in Kamrup (M) distirct in Assam from time immemorial, can be called as the precursor of all cleanliness drives. The practice has been followed at tunbasti in Keotpara under Azara police station, centuries before Prime Minister rendra Modi introduced his Swachch Bharat Abhiyan.
The word ‘bat’ means road or path in Assamese and the word ‘puja’ means worship. Thus ‘bat puja’, in Keotpara parlance, means worshipping roads. The practice of worshipping roads may sound odd to many, especially for those who are from outside the Northeast. However, for the people of Keotpara, ‘bat puja’ carries much meaning and solemnity. This is the day when the old and youth alike of the village clean their roads and worship them. This is a yearly event in the village.
In accordance with the age-old tradition, the youths of the village came out in hordes today and cleaned the roads and sub-roads in their area.
Speaking on ‘bat puja’, two senior citizens of the area – Tilaram Das and Majuram Das – said: “This is an age-old folk belief in our community here, purely based on hygiene. We know that diseases spread through people walking on roads. Roads are thus ones that bring ominous elements among us through people using them. Of course, this is also a fact that through roads we get many goodies as well. ‘Bat Puja’ is also called ‘Bat am’ by some people since songs and instrumental companion are very much part of this puja. If not anything else, ‘Bat Puja’ does the purpose of, what we call, cleanliness drives nowadays.”
Meanwhile, this year the ‘bat puja’ coincided with the post-Ambubachi Mela cleanliness drive carried out by the Kamrup (M) district administration as part of Swachch Bharat Abhiyan.