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‘Rohi, Xaaj’ Allowed in Assam Festivals: Why CM Sarma Favours Local Brews Over Whiskey & Rum

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Earlier, the Assam government decided to form a new department for indigenous faith and culture
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Earlier, the Assam government decided to form a new department for indigenous faith and culture

Guwahati: Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Friday has given permission of selling and displaying local brews in all indigenous festivals of the state. The chief minister believed that by doing so, indigenous communities would continue to stick to the traditional customs and history of the state.

Sarma who was attending the historic Joonbeel festival of the Tiwa community, known for continuing the primitive barter system for over 500 years, said that unless the indigenous communities embraced their own culture and tradition, rapid globalisation may wipe out several customs from the ethnic communities.

He said, “If we can go to a liquor shop and buy whiskey, rum or any other foreign liquor openly then why do we shy away when it comes to our local and heritage brews? Today, I am giving permission to promote local brews in every indigenous and Bihu festival. However, it’s not advisable to drink much but to take it as a tradition only.”

The chief minister’s comment came after the organisers of the Joon Beel festival offered him to take the local brew –‘Rohi’ in the office room but not in open.

Sarma added, “My forefathers use to drink the local brews like Rohi, Xaaj and others. So why should we shy away to take it as a part of our tradition?”

He added that due to rapid globalisation, people have embraced several modern etiquettes, dresses, food and even religion over their traditional ones. “But we must remember that if the tribal society of the state continues to do so; it will be a major threat to our own culture and history in the coming days. We will open our doors and windows for change but we must hold our grounds tight. Tribal societies should also avoid changing their religion. We must remain loyal to our own tradition, religion and culture to progress with our own identity,” he added.  

Earlier, the Assam government decided to form a new department for indigenous faith and culture aiming at protecting and preserving the language and culture of tribal people.

Sarma said, “The new department will work to preserve the faith and traditions, of tribal people. We are expecting good support from the finance department for this new department.”

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