Chador-mekhela, drums, keyboard, guitar, cultural activists, bihu and Being Assamese

Courtesy: Raul de la Nuez
Recently, in one of the Bihu functions (April, 2015), one of the leading female singers of Assam was not allowed to sing for not wearing Chador Mekhela by the committee members. (Chador-mekhela is the traditional Assamese dress worn by women.) What I feel personally in that case, even the male singers, including Papon, Zubben, should be asked to wear Dhoti-Kurta or ban them too. Why this unfairly prejudiced view? And all the committee members also should be wearing Dhoti-Kurta or Chador-Mekhela all the time. Do they? Embarrassing moment for Assam and Assamese culture. This is not culture, This is not Bihu.

I understand that cloths are integral part of any culture; but cloths alone can't defy culture. If one has to follow one of the cultural aspects with full devotion, he has to follow everything with complete honesty and sincerity. That means, if one has to wear mekhela-chador to defy bihu, she can't actually use keyboard, guitar or drums in bihu functions, because these instruments are not integral part of bihu or any Assamese culture. Infact, one should not even go to the stage to perform, as, bihu is supposed to be celebrated in the open field. Also, on the day of the first bihu, one should eat only doi-shira and pitha-pona, not burger or sandwich.

But, as we have adopted many things over the time, we have changed our style of celebrating the festivals. So, my point is, if we have brought in the things which were never part of our tradition and culture, what is the problem with cloths? That's just one of the aspects of a culture.

And lastly, if mekhela-chador is something a lady artist has to wear, even the male artists should wear their traditional attire in the bihu functions. As many of you say that 'there is a relation of our dress with our tradition', I would urge you to boycott any of Zubeen, Papon or any of the male or female artists if they are not in traditional attire. Also, make sure that their instrumentalists (musicians) should be wearing traditional dresses and play only traditional instruments. All the organisers should be in traditional dresses too. There should not be any kind of alcohol in the green rooms, behind the stage which is not traditional.

So, if you can actually take care of these small things, I don't mind people shouting about women's traditional cloths. Let's not make our tradition, culture a comic affair.

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