Guwahati, January 19, 2019:
Joon Beel Mela, which is perhaps the only fair in India where the currency-less barter system is still in function, has entered its third and final day. The indigenous Tiwa community fair held during the weekend of the Magh Bihu has finally come to its final day where the royal court will be convened.
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The ‘Gobha Roja’ will preside over the court affairs which will be attended by many Tiwa kings.. The Gobha King along with his courtiers visits the mela and collects taxes from his subjects. People perform their traditional dance and music, making the atmosphere one of joy and fun.
The indigenous Tiwa community people will move back to their hills today after the royal court adjourns. The tribal people will take back rice, pithas, handoh, chira and other ingredients from the plains in lieu of spices and greens from the hills to celebrate Magh Bihu.
Some 10,000 villagers had come down from the hills of Meghalaya, Jaintia and Karbi Anglong to the plains of the beautiful valley to participate in the fair.
In the Age of Demonetization, where cashless transactions are being projected as the country’s stepping stones to a brighter future, the Jonbeel Mela – arguably India’s only fair that works on the barter system – comes as a veritable blast from the past. In the late 17th century the Tiwa rulers started the tradition of this indigenous fair to discuss the prevailing political situations.
The royal court was graced by the chief minister of Assam Sarbananda Sonowal along with other tribal representatives.