Saturday, April 17, 2010

Bizu 2010 celebrated by Chakmas in Delhi

By Paritosh Chakma
On 13th April 2010, three social organizations namely, Mizoram Chakma Development Forum, Chakma Welfare Society, Noida and Arunachal Pradesh Chakma Students’ Union organized “Bizu 2010” celebration at Ashok Buddha Vihar, Rajghat, New Delhi.

“Bizu” means the Chakmas’ New Year. As a matter of tradition, the Chakma community follows the Bengali calendar, and hence, their Bizu coincides with Bengalis’ Pohela Boishakh. The Chakmas, although of Tibeto Mongoloid stock, have intrinsic similarities with the mainstream Indian culture in several ways. Prominent among them is that they celebrate their New Year not on the 1st January but in the month of April as celebrated by several Indian communities across the country: Bihu by Assamese, Bwishagu of the Bodos, Bishu in Kerala and elsewhere, Baisakhi in Punjab, Pohela Boishakh by Bengalis etc.

The Chakma people are found mostly in CHT in Bangladesh, Mizoram, Tripura and Arunachal Pradesh. As a people, they had been betrayed during the 1947 Partition, and henceforth forgotten. Despite their rich history and culture they are too fragmented by political borders and marginalized everywhere. Struggle is their daily bread and butter. No surprise that they have been called the “Palestinians of South Asia”.

Yet, they as a community are proud of their past and present. They share a spirit that is indomitable and unparallel amidst the circumstances in which they live. This spirit was once again on display during the “Bizu 2010” celebration by the Chakma community in Delhi.

The stage was set at Ashok Buddha Vihar near the famous Rajghat. It was 8-30 in the morning. Chakmas, with broad smiles in their faces, began pouring in. Girls and women were dressed in traditional phinon-hadi (The Chakma ladies are identified by their phinon-hadi attire) and some of the boys and men were in white kurta (I got myself one, Bizu being a pious day). The Chakma songs provided solace to the ears and instilled immediate pride to the heart. You would immediately like to yell aloud – “This is the place where every Chakma should be today”. But I restrained my emotions on that and didn’t yell.

Refreshments were served. The programme was already running one hour late (it’s Delhi, so excuses are evident). Soon, arrangement was made for the Buddha Puja (Worship of the Buddha). The religious act was over in nearly one hour and the monks concluded by blessing every body.

The welcome song “Oh aisye aamaa Bizu din/ Aisye aamaa Bizu” (oh, today is our Bizu) was sung. It was followed by speeches by leaders from the civil society organizations and student body. They exhorted the audience to do what is good for the society and enjoy the Bizu in the right spirit.

Then came what we were all waiting for: cultural programmes. First came the group dance performed by boys and girls from Arunachal Pradesh. It was received by the audience with thunderous applause. This was followed by a dance by two young “couple” who received “engkur” (a tradition in Chakma community to loudly utter this word if you liked the performance and like to present some money to the performers. In turn performers shall perform the act once again). A spectacular dance was presented by four girls from Mizoram, followed by another dance by boys. The performances were so enthralling that “engkur” followed after every dance. The audience erupted in thunderous applause, laughter and gaiety.

No wonder, today is our Bizu.

The cultural programmes were followed by “Gile Haaraa”, a traditional game of Chakmas played during Bizu. Four teams were formed – two of boys and two of girls. The decision was taken the girls will challenge the boys. Hence, two games. Two empires were quickly nominated. It was extremely entertaining to see both boys and girls trying their hands at the game that is fast fading away from Chakma society. And behold, these girls were surprisingly not that bad in the game! However, despite spectacular show by the girl teams, they lost to the boys.

Another round of refreshments followed by award ceremony. The prizes and certificates were awarded to all those who have participated in the cultural events and Gile Haaraa.

By this time, it was around 2 PM. Every body was hungry. The food came. It was cooked by some of our boys and girls. Believe me, the taste of the food like this was nowhere to be found but here.

Such was the Bizu that was celebrated in Delhi on the occassion of Phul Bizu on 13 April 2010. Of course, the main Bizu is a day after, April 14th. On this day, Chakmas go house to house in groups to celebrate and wish Happy Bizu. Even in metros like Delhi, Bizu is by no means a small affair as you can see hundreds of boys and girls going in small and big groups to one Chakma house (or room rented by Chakmas) after another throughout the day. They sing Bizu songs and dance in each house.  

5 comments:

國昆 said...

路過--你好嗎..很棒的BLOG.........................................

romeo said...

Dol huye !! biju bo jonomaan thebo..

Saurav Chatterjee সৌরভ said...

Our "Pohela Boishakh" as well as "BIZU" is approaching.
Wishing you a very Happy New Year in advance.
-Saurav Chatterjee, Pune, Maharashtra, India.

Paritosh Chakma said...

Thanks Saurav for your wishes. Wish you happy "Pohela Boishakh" too..

Hero Barua said...

amon biju jeno bar bar ase