Mayong to weave a spell at festival - 101 practitioners plan procession on friday

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By SUMIR KARMAKAR
  • Published 22.11.11
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Mayong (Morigaon), Nov. 21: Have you lost anything valuable? You could consider going to Sachindra Nath of Roja Mayong village in Morigaon district of Assam.

A mirror in hand, chanting mantras, the octogenarian can help you find the location of the lost object. You can also see the image of the thief in the mirror. His late father Konakata Nath was even better, says Sachindra.

Deuta (father) could make a person disappear or help a boy elope with a girl with his mohini baan,” said Nath, as he sat under a tree in the village.

Lore says the village, along with several others in the area, was once the seat of sorcery where tantriks could cast complex spells to control matter and time. They could make people invisible and command wild buffaloes.

Young villagers are fast losing faith in the practice of mantras or magic but come Friday, 101 practitioners of ancient magic will come together at the first Mayong-Pobitora festival to display this age-old tradition.

The festival has been organised by the Morigaon district administration in association with villagers of Mayong and the Assam Tourism Development Corporation. The practitioners of traditional magic will take out a procession during the three-day festival inside Pobitora wildlife sanctuary, which is located 40km from Guwahati and is known for the highest concentration of rhinos.

To visitors, this art may sound a little bizarre but the villagers said their purpose in organising the programme was to let the world know about their tradition and to keep its alive for generations to come.

“Magic was an indispensable part of the history and culture of Mayong and Assam. We want to keep it alive for generations. Our forefathers used to practise three kinds of art — mantra shakti, jadu shakti and magic. Keeping this in mind, we had decided in 2009 to preserve and publicise the tradition,” Lokendra Hazarika, a teacher at Mayong, told The Telegraph.

Prabin Saikia, another practitioner of the mantras in nearby Ouguri village, said, “I picked up the practice of mantras from my father in 1973. Now I can see people’s fate with mantras and meditation. Many people come for help and I feel lucky to keep the art alive.”

On the healing powers of the ancient practitioners, Utpal Nath, a college teacher who is doing his PhD on the practice of magic in this area, said, “We only want the people to come here during the festival and know about our past. The healing powers of bej (quack) is yet to be recognised by science”.

Nath, one of the organisers, stressed on systematic research on the subject.

“My father left some manuscripts in Brajawali language which my children do not understand. Those need to be preserved and studied,” Sachindra Nath said.

Apart from the procession, in which 101 bej and magicians will take part, the festival will have attractions like spot therapy, an exhibition of the historical remains of Mayong kingdom, traditional food festival, kayaking and sight-seeing. The present king of Mayong, Tarani Kanta Singha, will also participate in the procession.