Rules of Bash Puja:
Bambusa Tulda which is commonly called as Jaati Baah in Assam is used in this puja. 15 bamboos of 10-11 feet each are prepared. The bent parts are made straight by heating. These bamboos are washed with water and tied with ‘Sowor’ ( a tuft of animal hair) and pieces of cloth. Out of 15, 8 are tied with white pieces of clothes, 4 with red, 2 with multicoloured (Pokhora) and one with blue coloured cloth.
In this puja, either Lord Shiva or his wife Goddess Kali is worshipped. Therefore, in the name of idols, masks or ‘Tepari’ are made of thermocol. The rest of the 19 Gods and Goddesses are worshipped without making any kind of masks or idols. These Gods and goddesses are namely -Burha hori, Burha Sardar, Gaabu sardar, Burhi Thakurani, Gabu Thakurani, Kali, Pagili, Kasai Khaiti, Vidya Gaya, Gaon Raja, Sikuniya Raja, Dutt Natha, Meru, Haal Maji, Burha Madar, Danguwa, Bhanguwa, Kahuli, Khujali, Handori, Sakuli. One can see this puja being performed these days in Jeth mas of Assamese calendar. This puja starts or ends on either Saturday or Tuesday. If the puja starts on Saturday then it has to end on Tuesday or vice versa. The day before this puja, all the villagers strictly have only vegetarian food and prepare themselves to worship with pure heart. On the day of puja, all the villagers invite the gods and goddesses for the puja with betel nuts and betel leaves, reciting ‘Haridhwani’ and chanting ‘Uruli’/‘Jokar’ (a kind of sound created by women moving their tongue) and lighting earthen lamps at the place of worship. In Koch-Rajbongshi language, this ritual is called ‘Jagaran’ or ‘Jagai’. According to the prevailing rules and regulations, necessary things required for organizing the puja or to do list are as follows- To complete the ceremony in a neat way one ‘Gar Deuri’ is appointed and to help him, two ‘Jogali Deuri’ are appointed from among the villagers. The main role of this ceremony is played by a godlike man known as ‘Deo-dha’. For each bamboo poles beautified with pieces of clothes and Sowor, 2-3 young men are required. They are called ‘ Basuwa’. In order to create a magnificent festive aura, 2 professional ‘Dhol’ players, one ‘Tarsa’ player, one to play ‘Jhanj’ and at least 15 women are required for chanting ‘Uruli’/’Jokar’ These women are called ‘Ayoti’ or ‘Boirati’.
Following are the things required for the Puja:
1) Sardar Baba ( another form of Lord Shiva) and Maa Kali’s Masks and Tepari made of thermocol.
2) At least 25 pairs of ‘Kadamkali’ made of thermocols.
3) A small wooden stool.
4) 2 earthen pots (Ghot) , 5 earthen lamps, 2 earthen incense resin burner, 1 big mouthed earthen pot (locally called Paila).
5) 2 reed sticks of about 3.5 feet in length.
6) A pair of wooden sandals called Kharam.
7) A weapon ( Ram Da)
8) One Koroni ( made of Bamboo)
9) 3 kgs of Joha rice Borni
10) A Vermilion red coloured cosmetic powder called Sindoor, a piece of white cloth, white thread.
11) 5-7 kgs of Rice every day.
12) Incense sticks, incense resin, banana leaves, Tulsi leaves, Dona ( a kind of utensil made of the body part of a banana plant ) , Jatrachitra, Betel nuts and betel leaves, Cotton, etc.
13) Fruits of at least 7 types.
14) A goat, a pair of pigeons and a hen are required.
15) Two banana plants for making “Dinga” ( a type of boat)
16) A Gamsa.
The Koch-Rajbongshi Tribe’s Folk Dances, Theatres and Folk songs at a glance:
Folk dances are dance forms which originated as rituals transmitted from generations to generations. Folk dances are the dances that reflects the traditional life of the people of a certain place, country or a region. Folk dances are often performed during social gatherings of the respective tribes or community to which they belong.Folk dances are a medium of socialization of the tribes and communities.Nearly every individual tribes,communities or ethnic groups of all over the world have their own individual folk dances .The Koch-Rajbongshi tribes of Asia also have some very unique and beautiful folk dances namely Kushan Nritya
1. Goalini Folk Dance
Goalini Nritya is the most popular form of folk dance among the people of western Assam basically warmed up by the Koch-Rajbongshis.This particular folk dance originated at a place Gauripur in Assam,the cultural centre of Koch-Rajbongshis from the myth (Folk Tale) of a couple of Goal and Goalini (Milkman and Milkwoman) inhabiting in the undivided Goalpara district of Assam. It depicts the day to day life and longings of the ordinary people of the Koch-Rajbongshi society in the agricultural background during the period of feudal system
2. Auri Maga Gan
3. Baas Puja/Nritya
Baas puja is celebrated basically in Assam and North Bengal by the Koch-Rajbongshi people in the month of Baishag(April-May) and Aghon(Nov-Dec) intending good health, fortune and welfare of the villagers. Baas puja, songs and dances are performed in a slight different manner in different region. The different perspectives of Baas puja are Madankam and Kamdeva , Chatali etc. Actually these are the same performances of different mode. In a Baas puja basically Madankam (Lord Siva) is worshipped. To perform the puja, bamboos of different length (8 to 10 feet) are collected and a “Choar” is tied to the top of each bamboo. The puja conducted by Deuri. In Chatali Baas, a troupe of young men moves door to door and collects alms presenting songs and dances. On the other hand the troupes are compulsory to attend in the “Thalabari” where the songs of are more often erotic in theme. In some places Baas Puja is also celebrated in the form of Shakti Puja or Kali Puja.”
4. Kartika Puja
Kartika Nritya is a kind of folk traditions of the Koch-Rajbongshis basically practised by the women of this community and performed during the worship of Kartika Thakure (a folk deity) aspiring for off spring in the month of Kati (October /November). The songs of this dance are generally long ballads describing the wedding of Lord Siva, the birth of Kartika and the rituals related to birth and humorous situations. At a time the dancers sing and dance around the deity with bow and arrow at their hands. Besides these symbolic representations of agricultural activities are performed by the women in the disguise of man
5. “SANGI DHANKER GAN”
Sangi dhaker Gan Indigenous folk dance and song of the koch rajbongshis of north bengal.This form based on fertility cult which is a primitive form. Sangi Dhaker gan means in which song main instrument is dhak perform by men .In general sense its song may be “aslil” but this meaning based on cultivation,Which sense came from vedic age.
6. “Madan Kamdev Puja”
Madan Kamdev is the tradition deity worshipped by the Koch-Rajbongshi of South East Asia. Modankam symbolisese the male genital. Mostly men from the community participate in the 2days festival where they sing,dance & offer prayers to God Madan Kamdev. Particularly couples aspiring for offsprings mainly seeks blessings form this God of fertility.
7.Kamalesh Sarkar with Arup Jyoti Das
8. Late Ambika Charon Choudhury
* Notedhistorian Late Ambika CharonChaudhury, Speaks in the Intarnational Seminar Chandrapara, Assam,India on 24th Sep,2011
9. How to Put on “KOCH RAJBONGSHI” Traditional Dress “PATANI”
10. KOCH RAJBONGSHI SEMINER-2014 ,New Delhi Part-1
11. Prof. Deepak Kr. Roy, of North Bengal University on diffent variations of Koch-Rajbongshi Culture
12. “KHETI LAXMI PUJA”
“KHETI” means cultivated field,once upon a time the “KOCH RAJBONGSHI” perform Kheti puja in the field in the month of KARTIK by the sacrifice a duck which collect from the field.
14. KOCH-RAJBONGSHI WOMEN FOLK PERFORMING “NAMATI GAAN”
NAMATI GAAN ARE TRADITION KAMATAPUR (KOCH-RAJBONGSHI) SONGS THAT ARE SUNG BY ELDERLY WOMEN OF THE COMMUNITY.THESE SONGS ARE SUNG ON SPECIAL OCCASIONS LIKE MARRIAGE(BIYA), CHILD’S FIRST HAIRCUT(SULAKORON) ON AN INFANT’S FIRST FEEDING(ANNAPRASHNA).
15. BENA ( The making of the Bena)