Kherwal Tukou 2020

This get-together of tribal families of Shiulibona and surrounding villages was started long back, in the year 1996 to commemorate the visit of Sri Sri prabhuji in Shiulibona village on 1st January.  Over the years, the “get-together”   changed over to a “tribal meet” with hundreds of people participating from distant villages until it took its shape of a festival  with few thousands of tribal brothers and sisters coming from the remote  corners of the Jangal Mahal districts of Bankura, Purulia and Paschim Midnapur. Kherwal Tukou was a two days event – 31st December 2019 and 1st January 2020. The day started with a 14 kilometer road race from Shamayita Math to Shiulibona, where there were 44 participants. As the participants proceeded through the villages of Kesiara, Goaldanga, Ukhradihi, Nadihi, Jamshola, villagers in crowds came out on the streets and cheered up the participants, while a convoy of volunteers carrying the flag of Kherwal Tukou made announcements of the upcoming tribal festival. After the completion of the road race, prizes were distributed and this was followed by a health check up camp, where specialist doctors from Kolkata provided consultancy services. The camp was supported by Makhla Bagha Jatin Club who also provided good quality medicine free of cost.   Post lunch a programme was organized involving the students of primary classes from four local schools. Students of each school performed music, recitation and drama. By evening guests from different distant places arrived almost in every house of Shiulibona. The people of Shiulibona were busy throughout the day and night of 31st making preparations for the 1st January festival. The hustle and bustle for the last minute preparations made the villagers feel exhilarated; as hosts they worked tirelessly for the festival. Guests from near and far off places started arriving in groups from the early morning of 1st January. Swarms of people started pouring into the programme venue and all those who arrived joined in the inaugural Santhali group dance, with the playing of Santhali music and beating of drums (dhamsa-madol). The main programme started at 11 am, when professional dance groups performed different kinds of traditional dance – Dansai, Baha, Lagree, etc. “Sagun Supari” – a solo folk dance by Bijoli Murmu from  Salboni, balancing 11 number of pots on her head, left the audience spellbound. A self composed folk poetry was recited by a professional, Sri Sailen Chakraborty. More than twenty thousand people joined the festival, all of whom had the privilege of taking lunch in the open air. The programme ended in the evening by a tribal music concert and a Santhali drama- “Dhuri Dharao”. The most astonishing part was the discipline and law and order that prevailed in every corner of the festival ground. Now in its 24th year, this colourful festival on the very day of the year has become popular not only in Bankura but in other districts and every year there are visitors and tourists from Kolkata and other cities. They say it’s indeed amazing that every individual present in the festival is responsible for maintaining their own discipline; its people’s belief that it is the spiritual power and blessings of the Dharti Baba, our beloved Prabhuji which is manifested as the power prevailing in every corner of the festival that keeps entire programme discipline, organized and structured.

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