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Govt comes in aid of ''runway couples''

Written by: Staff

Jhabua, MP, Mar 6 (UNI) Ever heard of a place where eloping is mandatory to get married? In tribal districts of West Nimar and Jhabua, young men and women of the Bhil and Bhilala tribes must do just this after selecting partners in 'Bhagoria' runway festival marts. Later, they would approach tribal chieftains, bride money would be given for community feasting and the marriage solemnised.

This time round, however, the government is making things a lot simpler. Youngsters need no longer elope and wait to be united forever, as the district administration would organise their weddings at the fairs. Pandal with a capacity to seat five couples for the ritual will be erected at the fair. Every couple would receive Rs 5,000 besides accoutrements. On-the-spot marriage registration would be possible and certificates issued.

'Bhagoria', the festival of love celebrated amidst the freshness of the 'phagun' month and spring winds, attracts lot of tourists as well, who throng to witness the unique ceremony. Traditionally, the boy applies gulal, red powder, on the face of the girl whom he selects as his wife. The girl, if willing, reciprocates in same way.

The boy sometimes has to pursue the girl to succeed eventually.

In view of the cultural significance of this key tribal fest, the government picked up the gauntlet of providing facilities to 'Bhagoria' markets while keeping the traditional nature of the event intact.

The seven-day 'Bhagoria' begins on March 8.

On the eve of the Festival of Colours, the Bhagoria spirit begins to spread across Malwa's tribal-dominated areas. Amidst fiery-red 'palash' (Butea Frondosa) and intoxicating 'mahua' (Bassia Latifolia) trees and lush whaet and gram crop, the tribal love stories begin to take form.

Throughout the year, even children and the aged eagerly await 'Bhagoria' markets.

Nowadays, in a sharp deviation from traditional attire, many tribal youth dress in shirts and pants and even sport spectacles.

The fairer sex has not been left behind in the fashion race and are seen in make-up including lipstick.


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