Assam reverberates with Bihu drumbeats

By Syed Zarir Hussain, IANS,

Guwahati : Sounds of drumbeats and cymbals were echoing in the hills and dales of Assam Monday with the state heralding the Assamese New Year or Rongali Bihu with tremendous enthusiasm.

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People in their hundreds were thronging Bihu pandals across the state with dancers in their traditional fineries performing gyrating Bihu dances to the accompaniment of dhols or the traditional drums and flutes made of buffalo horns.

“The mood is festive and we hope Rongali Bihu ushers in a new dawn of hope and peace to the state,” Assam chief minister Tarun Gogoi told IANS in between trying his hand playing a drum slung across his neck at a Bihu celebration in Assam’s largest city here.

And enjoying the festivities are the many foreign tourists currently scattered across the state. “The dancers are simply mind-boggling and the music is too sensuous…the experience is just unbelievable,” said Mark Cook, a tourist from Australia.

Singers and musicians are working extra hard trying to keep their dates in various community cultural shows organised across Assam on Bihu.

“It is great fun performing live before thousands of people…I have composed some new numbers for the people of Assam on the occasion of Bihu,” said Zubeen Garg, well known singer of “Ya Ali” fame.

“This is the time of the year when people tend to forget all worries. What matters now is how best to enjoy the spirit of fun and bonhomie,” said Arun Pratap Sharma, a young doctor.

For the moment, it’s not the burst of staccato gunfire, but the pulsating beats of drums and cymbals that are reverberating in Assam.