GUWAHATI, Oct 18: People across Assam are celebrating Kati Bihu today and will light an earthen lamp in front of a Tulsi sapling and in paddy fields praying for a good harvest and hoping their granaries will not go empty. But there are many for whom even these rituals will have little significance.
For residents of Malow Pathar situated on the outskirts of Jorhat town, as is the case for thousands of deluge-hit people meeting a similar fate, Kati Bihu bears little significance.
“It’s Kongali for us who have lost almost everything we had. Our paddy fields are now covered with silt from the Bhogdoi. We won’t even be lighting an ‘Akash Bonti’ (earthen lamp lit on the occasion of Kati Bihu) today. We have really become ‘kongali’,” a farmer of Malow Pathar said, almost in tears.
Besides washing away most of their belongings, the annual floods have been depositing layers of silt on croplands, thus snatching away their only source of livelihood.
“There’s nothing left. Our croplands are buried by silt. Floods and resulting siltation have snatched away our only means of livelihood,” he added.
It is the same story for villagers of around 10-15 villages in Baksa district whose croplands were also burried by silt and sand deposits following the devastating floods earlier this year.
“What have lost everything? Do we have a reason to even observe the ritual of lighting an earthen lamp on kati Bihu?” a farmer from a village in Baksa district devastated by floods said amid sobs.
Many villagers of Dhemaji and Gohpur also won’t light an earthen lamp after their paddy fields were buddied by tonnes of silt and sand following the waves of floods that have been inundating their homes and croplands since many decades.