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Barter system back in Jonbeel Mela

Jonbeel Mela

Sentinel Digital Desk


Morigaon, Jan 20: No currency changed hands but only farm produce for rice cake and dried fish at the centuries-old Jonbeel Mela here, as thousands of people of the Tiwa and other tribes from the hills of Karbi Anglong and neighbouring Meghalaya engaged in a barter trade with communities living in the plains from the early hours of a foggy Friday.

The Tiwas, a colourful tribe living in the plains and hills of Central Assam and in Meghalaya, have kept this ancient system of trade alive.

Thousands of people belonging to the Tiwa, Kariu, Jaintia and other communities coming down from the hills of Karbi Anglong and neighbouring Meghalaya, exchanged goods with the Tiwa and other communities living in the plains.

The tribal people coming from Hills had disposed of their stock of turmeric, ginger, pepper, bamboo shoot, pumpkin, ash gourd, green chilli from their jhum (slash and burn cultivation practice) fields and also medicil herbs. In return, they had plenty of pitha (a traditiol Assamese rice cake made during Magh Bihu), dried fish, chira (flattened rice) sandoh (roasted and grounded rice) that they will get to take back home.

The three-day annual fair, held under the aegis of the king of Tiwas, Deep Sing Deo Raja, began on Thursday with him joining the Tiwas at a community feast. The Tiwas who came from the hills meanwhile have built small, makeshift bamboo huts with thatch spread on the floor.

Attending the second day programme, Jagiroad MLA Piyush Hazarika said that there would be a cultural complex at Jagiroad for preserving of rare weapons used by Gouva king and other things used by him.

On the other hand the Jonbeel Mela organizing committee displayed the weapons used by Gova king at the mela. A souvenir was also released on the occasion.

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