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Buffaloes keep ancient ritual alive

- Rangghar to host animal fights as part of Bihu celebrations

Sivasagar, Jan. 12: Buffalo fights are being organised by different organisations in Sivasagar district as part of the Bhogali Bihu celebrations, keeping an ancient tradition alive.

These fights had been held on the Rangghar lawn to mark Bihu festivities.

The Sivasagar district committee of the Tai Ahom Yuva Parishad is now organising a buffalo fight tournament on a grand scale. The fourth edition of the tournament will be held at the Rangghar courtyard on Wednesday, with 30 buffaloes.

“We started the tournament four years ago. The fights have been held for a long time now in different parts of the district but a tournament on such a grand scale was organised only in 2011,” said Hemanta Changmai, a member of the Tai Ahom Yuva Parishad.

The group will give away prizes worth Rs 80,000 to the winners.

They are expecting participants from different parts of the district as well as from Nagaon, from where trained buffaloes will be brought.

Changmai said the top three winners would be given Rs 20,000, Rs 10,000 and Rs 5,000 respectively.

“Special prizes will be given to the participants,” he said.

The buffalo fight tournament at Dikhowmukh, nearly 20km from Sivasagar, is also a major attraction in the district.

It is being held for the third year in a row and is organised by Aprins, an NGO, in association with local residents on Tuesday.

The president of the NGO, Chandan Barthakur, said they were working overtime for the past fortnight to make the event a grand success.

“The animal keepers will be felicitated during the event. We have also decided to give away a prize to the most beautiful buffalo,” he said.

Barthakur added that the organisers would take care of the animals in case of any injury during the fights.

“Usually, the end result of a fight is often a profusely bleeding animal but the organisers shy away from taking any responsibility. We shall render all medical treatment to the animals in the event of an injury to them,” he said.

At Desangmukh, 20km from Sivasagar, a buffalo owner said, “The preparations start more than three months ago. The buffaloes are kept on a special diet and kept off regular work till the fight.”

The bulls are kept in isolation to make them ferocious during the training period. They are brought to the ground on the eve of the fighting day to acquaint them with the venue.

The rules of the game are pretty simple.

The animal that gives up and takes to flight loses and is often chased by the winner.