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Bihu Special 2022: ‘Bhela Ghar’ to raise COVID vaccine awareness in Assam

GUWAHATI: With the COVID-19 cases across Assam again reaching record highs, a man from Assam has chosen to spread a timely message by building a ‘bhela ghar’ with a COVID-19 vaccine theme.

For the uninitiated, a Bhela ghar is a temporary night shelter, used as a community feast hall, made of thatch, bamboo, straws, dried leaves and others

This year, a giant ‘bhela ghar’ has been erected in Simantabarti Amonixaal village of Morigaon district in Assam which has become the talk of the state. The reason? The creators have made the structure to resemble a vaccine being jabbed against a COVID-19 virus shaped sphere, raising awareness about the importance of inoculation.

Bhagawan Senapati, the man behind the ‘bhela ghar’ explains that the structure has been built in order to raise awareness about COVID-19 vaccination.

“We are trying to raise awareness for dual vaccines for the public. We support the government’s attempts to get people jabbed against the virus.”

He said that the built the ‘bhela ghar’ mostly with expenses from his own pocket as he could not collect money from the community due to the economic downturn.

“I sold a few hen and ducks and some paddy from the field. Since the situation is not good, we have to been able to collect from the community.”

He further revealed that the locals of the vicinity have been building a special ‘bhela ghar’ since 2011.

“Since Bhupen Hazarika’s death, I have been building bhela ghars like this. In the past, we have built structures built in the shape of the Rang Ghar, Titanic, Eagle, rhino conservation, doves of peace, nature conservation, etc.”

Last year, he explains, he had built a ‘bhela ghar’ with coronavirus theme, while this year the focus has been shifted to inoculation amid the government’s extensive drive to get a 100% vaccination rate.

Magh Bihu is a harvest festival celebrated in Assam, North-East India, which marks the end of harvesting season in the month of Magh.(January–February). A bonfire (Meji) is lit for the ceremonial conclusion and prayer to the God of Fire.

A traditional feast is held on Uruka (the day before Bihu) at the Bhela Ghar, which is later burnt on the morning of Bihu.

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