Buffalo fight adds thrill to Magh Bihu in Assam

From Our Correspondent

Guwahati: The traffic along the busy National Highway 37 ( newly named NH 715) was forced to slow down at Anhotguri in Nagaon district of central Assam on Tuesday at the sight of thousands of people who gathered around a sprawling roadside ground.

The huge crowd was there cheering pairs of buffaloes fighting on the ground.

For those who want to get thrilled and excited at the sight of fiercely competitive buffaloes charging at each other at menacing speed to lock their horns, Anhoyguri is the place to go on this day of the year.

At Anhotguri , buffalo fight continues to be held as a tradition on the first day of the month of Magh as per Assamese calendar (January 15).

Tuesday, about 15,000 people from neighbouring villages as well as various parts o the State converged at Anhotguri to stand witness to 70 pairs of buffaloes fighting.

Though buffalo fights are held on January 15 at various locations in Assam as per tradition of Bhogalee Bihu festivities , the one held at Anhotguri is the biggest and most popular among all.

Here the tradition has its root in the days of Ahom King who ruled Assam for six centuries before the advent of British rulers in 19th century.

The tradition continued even after Ahom dynasty as local agrarian community held onto it firmly on their own without any patronage. However, since 1972, it has been held in an organised manner under the aegis of an NGO.

The buffaloes are brought to such fights are taken extra care by their owners since the month of October.

These beasts are given choicest varieties of nutritious herbs and grass that grown in natural swamps. In addition, surgarcane juice and pulses’ shrubs are also provided as food supplements to these buffaloes so that they become fighting fit.

Of course, there have been voices of concern against the practice of buffalo fight in Assam from the organisations fighting cruelty against animals.

However, the state government is yet to take any step till date to put an end to the practice given that sentiment of masses in the rural Assam is associated with this tradition.