Bhagoria starts from the Haat markets in different areas in a week before Holi and after that there is a big gathering in one place. The participation of eight-ten thousand people in the weekly hot markets of Bhagoria is a minor thing. In large events, this number reaches 40-50 thousand. The special thing is that most of the young men are involved in this. This is an annual meeting festival for the tribals of these areas, which they celebrate with equal energy, enthusiasm and enthusiasm. During this time dance and singing are also done, toddy is also consumed in the traditional drink.
Since the outbreak of corona was not so much till the time of Holi last year, that event was organized, but in the last one year people have also seen the effect of corona and have suffered the loss from it. It is also a matter of concern that after a year, the situation is again becoming the same which was the reason for the lockdown last year. Despite suffering so much in this one year, people are not taking proper precautionary measures and that is why Madhya Pradesh is among the first states in the country to announce limited lockdown in some cities during the second wave of Corona. .
Meanwhile, this news has increased the difficulty of many district administrations in western Madhya Pradesh, stating that the Indore High Court has refused to ban the organizing of Bhagoria this time in view of the corona outbreak. In fact, a public interest litigation was filed in the Indore High Court demanding that in view of the Corona outbreak, this time in Jhabua, Khargone, Alirajpur, Dhar and Barwani districts, the Bhagoria festival held before Holi every year should be banned.
It was argued that up to half a million people participate in Bhagoria festival and there is neither physical distance nor compulsion of masking. If this event takes place in the circumstances that are present at this time, then it may be in danger of spreading the epidemic in rural areas, especially tribal areas. If this happens, then the situation is expected to be uncontrollable, because the health facilities in these areas are not as good.
According to reports, the government was assured in court that the Corona Protocol will be strictly followed in Bhagoria festival. The preparations for the fair have been completed. Since Bhagoria is the traditional cultural event of the tribal and tribal community of the region, it cannot be stopped. Now the government may have given assurances in the court, but the local people say that it will be impossible for the district administrations to follow any kind of restriction in Bhagoria.
Local photographer Anil Tanwar, who has been covering Bhagoria for national and international forums for the last several years, says that there are so many people who organize Bhagoria that they are difficult to handle. One, it is organized by youths, in the center of which there is mainly a sense of fun. Secondly, toddy, the traditional drink of this region is also consumed in plenty, in which case any strictness can cause problems in law and order.
Bhagoria is celebrated in many tribal areas but its main centers are Jhabua, Alirajpur, Dhar, Barwani and Khargone in the five districts of western Madhya Pradesh. The festival of Bhagoria starts seven days before Holika Dahan and under it, weekly haats are held in different circles for seven days, in which a large number of tribal youth girls come to attend.
However, there has been a perception about this festival that it is a love festival for tribal youths. It has been said that “In Bhagoria Haat-Bazaars, young men and women come to find their future soulmates very carefully. The way of expressing mutual consent is also very unusual. First of all, the boy gives the girl to have a drink.” If the girl eats the bet then it is considered yes. After this, the boy runs away from Bhagoria Haat with the girl and both get married. Similarly, if the boy puts a pink color on the girl’s cheek and in response the girl also turns to the boy. Even if you give a pink color to the cheeks, the relationship is considered fixed. “
But Anil Tanwar says that in order to sensationalize this festival, the media publicized it as the ‘Valentine’s Day’ of the tribals. It is basically a festival celebrated with nature in which the fungi of the phagun dissolve in different colors. This annual fair runs for seven consecutive days and every day, Bhagoria fair is held somewhere in the region. In these fairs, village to village gather. Although the participation of the young generation is mainly in this, but from the child to the old age they are involved in it.
Amidst the melodious sound of folk instruments such as dhol, mandal, flute and folk music, when there is a collective dance phase in Bhagoria fair, there is gaiety all around. From the swing of the fair to the photo studios, crowds of people keep on gathering. Along with this, food and drink also runs in parallel. Regardless of the region’s youth, on the occasion of Bhagoria, he is eager to come to his zone. The life of the tribals may be full of struggles and difficulties, but in these seven days, the whole region seems to be immersed in the fun of Bhagoria.
Last year, Bhagoria festival ended on March 9 i.e. before the start of the round of lockdown. But this time the dates of this festival are from 22 March to 28 March i.e. this event is going to be held only during the second wave of corona infection. In this, not only Madhya Pradesh, but also the people of the tribal region of neighboring states of Gujarat and Maharashtra gather in thousands in different places. It is almost impossible to discipline or control such a large number of people. In such a situation, this time the event has emerged as a big challenge for the administration and the government. It can only be wished that this festival of ecstasy does not become the cause of any untoward incident. (Disclaimer: These are personal views of the author.)