Encircled by the enchanting Dayang Belguri grounds, an annual celebration unfolds, weaving together the vibrant cultures and agricultural prosperity of the region. The Jonbeel Mela, affectionately known as Mamas and Mamais, has commenced, drawing men and women from both the hills and plains for a joyous convergence.
Jonbeel Mela Bridges Culture
As the tribal communities descend from their hillside abodes, they bring with them a kaleidoscope of agricultural produce and handmade treasures, turning the grounds into a living canvas of colors and flavors. The festival, a testament to unity in diversity, sees the hills contributing a rich bounty of spices, aromatic herbs, zesty ginger, and an assortment of fruits. Simultaneously, their counterparts from the plains offer essentials such as rice, a variety of ‘pithas’ (sweet rice cakes), and the freshest catch of fish.
The festival’s display extends beyond edibles, encompassing betel leaves, areca nuts, lively lime, piquant black pepper, and mustard seeds. The rustic charm of earthenware and ironware adds an authentic touch to the showcase, while the presence of livestock further enriches the diversity of this regional celebration.
At the heart of the festivities lies the ritualistic exchange following a community fishing event at Dayang Belguri, Jagiroad. The Guva King, a central figure in the celebration, conducts his Rajdarbar at the decorated mela site, creating a captivating spectacle for attendees. The culmination of these vibrant traditions unfolds with an open meeting on January 20, a moment when the community comes together to reflect on the shared experiences and connections forged during the festival.
Elevating the global significance of Jonbeel Mela is the imminent visit of a research team from UNESCO, acknowledging the historical and cultural importance of this unique gathering.
The seamless organization of the mela has been made possible through the dedicated support of the Morigaon district administration and the Tiwa Autonomous Council, Morigaon. Their collaborative efforts ensure that the festival unfolds smoothly, preserving the essence of tradition and culture. However, amidst the jubilation, the fair management committee, represented by secretary Jursingh Bordoloi, has raised concerns about the long-term sustainability of the mela venue. Urging the State government to implement special measures for its protection and development, Bordoloi underscores the need to safeguard this cultural heritage for future generations.
Jonbeel Mela, beyond being a celebration of agricultural abundance and cultural exchange, stands as a testament to the resilience of communities and the bonds formed through traditions. It is a reminder that, despite the challenges faced by the region, the spirit of unity prevails, and the festival continues to serve as a living bridge connecting the hills and plains, weaving a cultural tapestry that resonates with generations past and those yet to come.