With the Rongali Bihu beginning on Sunday,people turned out in large numbers in the Bihu pandals across Assam ignoring the threat by ULFAs Paresh Barua faction against performing Hindi film songs and dance numbers during the cultural programmes.
The ULFA faction had issued a statement last week warning musicians and other artistes against performing Hindi film songs and dance numbers,describing these as Indias cultural invasion of Assam.
However,Bihu organisers have expressed surprise over the ULFA factions threat. This is a baseless idea because performers compete among themselves to put up the best folk songs and dance performances during Bihu, said Anuj Baishya,an organiser of the Latasil Bihu Sanmilani in the state capital where Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi hoisted the Bihu flag on Sunday morning.
Bihu is the lifeline of Assamese life. Bihu is about keeping our tradition and culture vibrant, said Gogoi,borrowing from a famous Bhupen Hazarika song where the musician had also described Bihu as the strength of Assamese society.
Rongali Bihu,which began with the public bathing of cattle in a traditional manner,marks the beginning of the Assamese New Year.
The festivities last for about a week.
Gogoi,who refrained from making any direct reference to Paresh Baruas threat,however said,Bihu creates camaraderie and bonhomie among various communities. Bihu is quintessentially all about communion with nature. But,above all,Bihu is also a reminder of our task ahead of building a prosperous society.
Meanwhile,a senior Assam Police official said the authorities have kept an eye on the Bihu festivities in view of the threat issued by the ULFA faction. But singers are anyway not known to perform Hindi numbers during the Bihu celebrations, he said.