JAGIROAD, Jan 21 – The three-day Junbeel Mela concluded on Saturday evening. The mela was organised under the Gobha Tiwa Deo-raja Junbeel Samiti and at the direction of the Gobha Tiwa Deo-raja, Deepsing and Rajdarbar at a place at Junbeel Pathar, 4 km from Jagiroad in Morigaon district in the presence of very large gatherings from various regions under the country and abroad with great enthusiasm and excitement.
A temporary Rajdarbar was organised by the Gobha Deo-raja Junbeel Samiti at the Mela site on Saturday noon in which 14 kings from various kingdoms in the State namely Bhadra Sing Deo-raja (Pachim Nagaon), Ram Sing Deo-raja (Nellie), Sumangal Deo-raja (Khola), Suren Deo-raja (Chahari), Bhugeswar Raja (Kumoi-Kachari), Holi Sing Raja (Dimoria), Muniram Raja (Tetelia), Susen Raja (Kumoi), Arup Raja (Khatigarh), Nayan Jyoti Deo-raja (Uttar Khola), Nandeshwar Raja (Torani), Pradip Raja (Domal), Gumal Raja (Charai) and Deepsing Deo-raja, a ceremonial ‘king’ of the erstwhile Gobha Kingdom, along with his Rajdarbar followers namely – Barbarua, Senapati, Deka-Doloi, Bordoloi, Arandhara, Khatoniar etc., assembled.
Ramakanta Deuri, CEM, Tiwa Autonomous Council released the mela souvenir named ‘Junbeel’ brought out on the occasion. Attending the Rajdarbar as chief guest, Parliamentary Secretary, (Veterinary) Govt of Assam, Bibekananda Doloi in his speech explained the importance of the historic Junbeel Mela. Doloi further assured all possible help to the development of the mela ground. Among others, Deputy Commissioner, Morigaon, Rakesh Kumar, Morigaon SP, Inul Hoque, CO, Mayong, Dhiraj Saud, Lal Sing Madar, president, Tiwa Sahitya Sabha also attended the Rajdarbar as guests.
Earlier Jursing Bordoloi, secretary, Mela Samiti welcomed the guests. Some foreigners also visited the Junbeel Mela.
The age-old Junbeel Mela has some historical importance. It is an accepted historical fact that there were some seven prominent territorial provinces in North-East India, contemporary to the Ahom kingdom, each governed by an indigenous king. They were known as Hat-Raja and the provinces were Gobha, Nellie, Chahari, Dimorou etc.
According to historical records, the mela started not later than the 15th century AD. On the occasion the tribal people from the hills came down to meet their relatives in the plains. Till the 14th century, the hills people frequently, created disturbances among the people of the plains of these areas and looted their commodities. To overcome this, the Ahom king during the 15th century organised some melas in certain places on the border areas of the kingdom to ensure commercial and cultural amity between the hills and the plains. The tradition still continues through the Junbeel mela. It is believed that, originally, the kings of Gobha, Nellie, Chahari and Dimoria collectively took a decision to hold this big get-together, but at present, the Gobha king solely declares the holding of the mela. He also witnesses the fair every year.
It has also been observed that subscriptions from the participating shops are collected from the representatives of the Gobha king. During the act, traditional Tiwa songs are sung by the royal team throughout in their traditional dress.
The mela is of ethnic and sociocultural importance as this becomes a common meeting ground for the different hill tribes of Assam and the people of the plains.
Moreover, the market held on Saturday gains commercial importance due to its expansion day by day, where nowadays not the barter, but the current system of trade is practised.
However, it is disappointing to note that no scientific research on the ethnic and sociocultural aspects of the mela has been done so far. It is hoped that many historical aspects of their socio-cultural life will come to light through scientific research.