Most people think of the arctic as remote – a wasteland inhabited by polar bears (true) and penguins (untrue) – with little relevance to their daily lives.
What is life like in Assam?
Life is awesome here. There is no place else like home. Talking about Guwahati in general, it is a ‘melting pot’ of different cultures, faith and ethnicities and is truly a symbolization of “unity in a great diversity”. It can rightfully be termed as a Mini India in this northeastern heartland. People from across the seven states as well as from the rest of India call it home. Even though it cannot be compared to any metro cities in terms of infrastructure and wealth, herein lies the true spirit of an independent and united India.
Apart from the greenery, the massive water bodies(The Brahmaputra and the Dipor Beel), the blue hills surrounding the city and a host of new faces, the first thing that will definitely catch your eyes, once you are on the streets, are the familiar names of shops; Aggarwal Sweets, Sharma Sweets, Gupta Store etc like any other north indian city. The business community is majorly Marwari, Bengali and Bihari followed by other local communities who have settled down here from generations and have played an integral role in the formation of the city.
Being the most cosmopolitan city in the region, it is well connected to all the seven sisters and rest of India by road, rail and air. It is a commercial, educational and industrial center of the region. This sprawling city is a major hub for most business activities in the northeast.
The Rupnath Brahma Inter-State Bus Terminal (ISBT) connects most of the capital cities and other towns and places by road.
Rupnath Brahma Inter-State Bus Terminal
The Guwahati railway station and the Kamakhya Jn. along with the Lokapriya Gopinath Bordoloi International Airport act as lifelines to the rest of India.
Guwahati Railway Station
Lokapriya Gopinath Bordoloi International Airport.
Majority of the population is lower middle class but is very simple, down to earth and broad minded in nature. People from all religions and ethnicity live here in peaceful coexistence. The lingua franca is Assamese but most people speak Hindi as well , along with English. People from all over India and abroad are welcome and accepted. Each and every culture has been embraced happily from generations. There is a strong community bonding and represents secularism in its true nature.
Don Bosco Church
Buddha Vihar, North Guwahati.
The city is laden with opportunities. People from all over the northeast and other parts of India throng here for employment, livelihood and in search of a better tomorrow. Students from far and near come here in their quest for a better and higher education.
Assam Engineering College.
National Law University.
Delhi Public School, Guwahati
Sanskriti The Gurukul
Assam Don Bosco University
The city flourishes in trade and commerce and acts as a major wholesale distribution center, retail hub and marketing center of the region. The retail and the real estate sectors are progressing by leaps and bounds. Large housing projects and apartments are sprouting up in and around the city and the suburbs. Retails chains like Pantaloons, Big Bazaar, Central mall, Roodraksh Mall etc. have started their operations and have started making good profits.
Fancy bajar Street market
The weather is generally moderate. It gets a little humid during summers. Like each and every other place in the northeast, it rains heavily during the monsoon. A few days of continuous downpour might result into artificial floods and bring the city to a temporary standstill.
Bihu is the most important festival which is celebrated in three parts during the year; Magh Bihu or Bhogali Bihu is celebrated in January, Rongali or Bohag Bihu in April and Kati Bihu in October. Rongali Bihu is the one celebrated with the most pomp and grandeur by all ethnicities as one, which is accompanied with merry making, music and dance. Open bihu stages are organised across most localities where a number of cultural activities are organized. Bihu troupes and solo dancers(Bihu Konwaris) display their prowess and moves, cultural activities and competitions for each and every age group is also conducted along with fun and ice breaking games; activities like tug of war, musical chairs etc are also some of the attractions. Celebrities like Zubeen Garg, Angarag Mahanta along with other local performers are invited to present their performance to the public.
The Colorful and Vivacious Bagurumba Dance of the Bodo Ethnic Community.
Bihu dance of the Mishing Community.
Bihu Dance of the Tiwa Community.
Children perform a traditional Karbi dance.
Traditional Dance by beautiful girls from the Dimasa community.
Jhumur Dance of the tea garden community.
Apart from Bihu, Durga Puja, Saraswati Puja, Christmas, Holi, Deepawali, Eid, Chatth Puja and other festivals are celebrated with the same pomp and ardor. During Bihu and Durga Puja the night life can be enjoyed till the wee hours in the morning, however one can get stuck in traffic if unfamiliar with the inner routes and shortcuts.
A Durga Puja Pandal.
Girls dressed up for Saraswati Puja.
Baptist Church Guwahati lit up for Christmas.
Guwahati Sikhs Participate in a religious procession.
With the diversity in culture comes a huge variety of cuisines that will tickle your taste-buds and leave you craving for more. From ethnic Assamese and tribal food to North & South Indian cuisines, it is a complete haven for a foodie. There are plenty of eateries that serve all kinds of Indian and international dishes. From pork, chicken, duck and fish, it is a foodie’s heaven for meat eaters. The food is pure bliss.
An Assamese Thali comprising of Rice, Barbequed Pork, Fish and chicken, Dal, Aloo Pitika, Khar, Bhaji and Torkari.
A Naga thali; Pork with bamboo shoots, boiled vegetables, mashed potatoes and dry fish chutney.
Public transport is very well developed in Guwahati. City Buses are the lifeline of the city and enables ease of commutation within the city and neighboring areas. Guwahati also has a very good network of Ola and Uber Cab services to move around.
The private job scene and Corporate life pretty much sucks here. The number of private companies operational here is inadequate to generate proper employment to the majority. Many students move to other cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore etc in order to build a better career and future. However, the scenario is changing rapidly as MNCs have started investing in Guwahati and the Northeast lately. Several reputed companies have their eyes fixated in the region. IT giants like TCS, Infosys and Wipro have revealed and stated their will to start operations in Guwahati.
Like every other city in India, Guwahati also experiences artificial traffic jams during peak hours at various places across the city owing to narrow city roads.
It is the most liveliest and happening city in the Northeast and has some of the best places of entertainment and recreation with some of the best cinemas , sports complexes, international hotel chains like Vivanta by Taj, Raddisson Blu, restaurants, pubs, nightclubs with live musical shows and a lot more.
Vivanta By Taj.
Assam is world known for its Bhramyamaan Theaters(Mobile Theaters) and showcases some of the best acts and plays and represents the unique culture of Assam by entertaining both the rural and urban areas. From sinking the Titanic, making the Anaconda Crawl to recreating Jurrasic Park on stage, the mobile theaters have been there and done that. They are even said to have surprised Hollywood at times with the level of technical perfection in their presentation.
Reputed theaters like Abahan and Hengul have been instrumental in gifting us talented actors like Adil Hussain, Seema Biswas, Parineeta Borthakur and others of the like.
Overall Guwahati is a very good place to be, bustling with life and vigor. However, far from the chaos and the hustle and bustle of this madding city, if we move towards the villages, we will notice a huge disparity in livelihood, sustainability and income.
The rural economy is agrarian in nature. Agriculture is the major occupation and people are masters in cultivating a number of crops.
Simplicity of the villagers is the most striking aspect of Assamese villages. People are very hospitable and guests are treated no lesser than Gods(Atithi Devo Bhavo). The climate is mostly pleasant and the landscape picturesque. People live in traditional houses made of mud, bamboo and steel roof sheets. However new buildings and constructions are taking over gradually and replacing the humble and traditional accommodation.
Almost every household has a tatsaal. Hand loom weaving plays a significant role in the Assamese socio-economic culture and has a very large presence across most villages. It is used by women in almost every house and the knowledge is passed on through generation to generation.
Most houses have a kitchen garden(Bari) or a pond attached to the house.
Even though the villages lack in basic amenities like proper hospitals, educational institutes, roads etc and many people leave below the poverty line, yet a great deal of importance is given to educate the next generation. Several government schools along with private ones have been established lately to provide quality education to the villagers.
The villages are not devoid of their share of problems. Nature can be very harsh and cruel. It plays spoilsport every year. During the monsoon season the rain Gods wreak havoc in most places. Floods have become annual trauma to millions of villagers across Assam. It gets worse during the months of July and August with the Brahmaputra flowing in full spate.
It results in mass destruction of infrastructure and biodiversity. Crops are destroyed, lives are lost, houses and entire villages are submerged and swept away at times. Villagers meet with their ultimate nemesis.
Still with hope in their hearts, they start afresh even after losing everything. For many the losses are irreparable, the trauma wont get out of their heads and haunt them for years to come, but still they stand up without any external support, they survive, live and help others live hoping for a better tomorrow.
Despite all their sufferings year after year, the calamity has remained completely absent from the national media and political discourse. The silence has given us the perception that as far as mainstream India is concerned, the northeast is nothing but a periphery, where calamity and crisis are not worthy of front page news or political attention.
A salute to the sons of the soil and to the undying spirit. Like a phoenix from the ashes, may you rise again, O son of the soil.
A heart rending video on the impending threat to existence of Majuli !!!!!!
Experience Awesome Assam
Bistirno Parore is an epical composition of Dr Bhupen Hazarika and one of the most powerful lyrics ever written in Assamese. It’s a tribute to the mighty Brahmaputra that flows through the fertile land of Assam. The music is influenced by Paul Robson’s ‘Old man River’ (only the first line of the song). This song was later translated into Hindi by Gulzar as “Ganga” and also into Bengali. It is considered as a milestone composition in both the languages as well.
A must watch!!! A fusion of folk dances from the northeast at the opening ceremony of South Asian Games 2016 (SAG 2016) in Guwahati.
Drums of Northeast
A Borgeet is a Vaishnava devotional song, popular in Assam. Literally meaning great songs, Borgeets were composed byand Sri Madhavdev in 15th to 16th century in Brajaboli language. There were 240 Borgeets written by Sankardev, out of which only few exists today. Madhabdev also authored more than 100 Borgets.
Borgeets are lyrical songs with specific raga. They express the religious sentiments of the poets reacting to different situations. Borgeets are practiced in Sattras, the monasteries of Ekasarana Dharma. Outside the religious context, Borgeet now enjoys an important position in the world of Assamese Music.
“Naam Ghosha – The sacred scripture of Monikut”.
Like the Borgeet, the “Zikir” is also a valuable treasure in the Assamese society. These religious folk songs are believed to have been composed by saint Ajan Pir who is believed to have come from Arab. He composed these poems in the 17th century. Zikirs are melodious combination of Sufi and Vaishnavi cultures along with deep folk influences.
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