Shimla and Mashobra, Himachal Pradesh, 16 September 2016:
I started from home this morning to meet a friend and then learned that a one-day Buffalo Fair was being held in Mashobra. Naturally, I gathered my friends and we headed straight for Mashobra.
The Fair is organised every year on ‘Sajji’, which according to the local Hindu calendar is the Full Moon Day marking the end of the Monsoon season.
Earlier, such fairs used to feature buffalo-fights; naturally, the practice has now been banned by the government; thus, the Fair has now become an event for which village folks from all around gather to present buffaloes of different breeds and for cultural and social activities. This year, there was this one buffalo who caught everyone’s eye – a magnificent buffalo named ‘Veera’ of the ‘Murra’ breed (owned by Bhopal Singh Thakur of Sunni village).
It was a great day spent in the midst of rural and city folk, listening to traditional music, munching freshly made eatables, watching performances (including a powerful play called Beti Bachao (‘Save the Girl Child’), and visiting the Bhadrakali Temple. The importance of the Fair in the broader Himachal society can be gauged from the fact that Member of Parliament (Lok Sabha) Virendra Kashyap was the chief guest.
The event made me think of the famous Sipi Fair which is also held in Mashobra every year in May. This was the fourth socio-religious-cultural event I have participated in these past four months (after the Sangla Summer Festival, Guru Singye Festival in Rarang, and The Kinner Kailash yatra). And the more I experience, the better I am understanding my culture and roots, and the more I am realising that these local events in Himachal are a great way for people of the state to address the challenges facing society, discuss the evolving nature of culture, keep our diverse traditions and culture alive – not to mention that they are a very interactive social occasion as well.
A detailed article with exclusive photos is available at Glossaread.