|Naga villagers participate in the puja in Sivasagar
on Friday. Picture by Kongkon Bora
Sivasagar, Oct. 18: On the occasion of Lakshmi Puja, the idol of Lakshmi found a place in a traditional Naga hut in Sivasagar.
Regular incidences of trouble between the residents of neighbouring Assam and Nagaland along the border encouraged a group of Sivasagar youths to use the occasion of Lakshmi Puja to build the bridge of harmony between the two states.
The group created a small Naga village equipped with traditional huts of Nagaland, a platform and a richly decorated surroundings akin to a Naga village. They also invited Naga residents to take part in the occasion, thereby creating an atmosphere of a full-fledged Naga village.
The idol was placed in a Naga hut, which attracted thousands of devotees who came to offer their obeisance. People made a beeline to witness the Puja, which was held on the premises of the Kali Mandir near Phukan Nagar in the town.
However, the main attraction of the ceremony was the Naga residents, who came in large numbers in their traditional attire. Besides attending the ceremony, they also offered puja.
One of the organisers, Arabinda Gogoi, said they decided to create the Naga theme with an objective to bring the people of the two states closer. “People of the two states have been living in harmony since the Ahom era. A few recent violent incidences, triggered by a few miscreants, have disturbed the century-old harmony between the residents of the two states. We have made a solemn attempt to build the bridge among the people,” he said.
Another organiser, Jyoti Dehingia, said they have been working overnight for the past one week to create the ambiance of a Naga village on the temple premises. “We have not collected any donation and the artisans have rendered their services free of cost,” he said.
Mantooh Koynak, a resident of Hahsara Naga Gaon in Sivasagar district, said he came to witness the occasion on an invitation by the organisers. “Twenty-five residents of our village have come here to participate in this rare occasion. The ambience of the place has attracted us and it has been perfectly done to match the villages of Nagaland,” he said.
He added that such initiatives would definitely help in promoting friendship between the Nagas and the people of Assam.