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KHAMBUS THE FORGOTTON TRIBE OF MOTHER NATURE : Festival of revival

Bandana Rai , New Delhi 

On 28th Feb 2015 the event of "All India Kirati Khambu Rai Associations” celebrates the brave and doughty warrior tribe of Darjeeling was inaugurated by Minister of Women and child, Social Welfare, Langauge, SC & ST by worshipping Bhaumi Puja. A weekend affair to be held from February 28, 2015 to March 1, 2015, took place in New Delhi. Thousands of Khambu Rais from across the nation will be participating in the festival and performing Sili Dance, Bhumi Puja and worshipping Mother Nature.

Khambus are one of the earliest inhabitants of Darjeeling,Sikkim, Assam and other parts of India with a glorious history of gallantry. Khambu (or people from the hills) have their own language, religion and a rich cultural heritage. Their customs are very rich and colorful with artistic ornaments made of pure gold and precious stones. The Khambu Rai People (also known as Khambu, Kirawa or Rothungcha), are a hard working lot and they are worshippers of nature as their creator and protector. They are mainly cultivators who consider themselves as the offspring of Paruhang ( Kirateswar, the God) who is also believed to have been dwelled in the Himalaya.Their religious leanings are reflected in their folk dance, Sakewa Sili, annually observed during Sakewa- a day when the tribe offers prayers to the soil, in the hope of a good cultivation before they sow the first seeds. The Khambus dance with the spirit of togetherness and fraternity, praying for a good harvest in the coming season.

Also the use of the Wabuk, or the Chindo is very common with the Kirati Rai people for their daily and religious rituals. In fact, millet beer from a Wabuk is considered holy. Ancient tales are filled with interesting facts about its usage. It’s said that the Kiratis used to carry the Wabuk with them, while crossing big rivers. They would cover the mouth of the Wabuk and strap it to their waists, and this prevented them from drowning. The inside crust of the Wabuk is bitter, and after adding ash to it, the bitterness increases. This bitterness would regulate the density or quantity of fat and cholesterol in a person’s body. And after adding millet beer to this bitter crust, it formed just the perfect mix to kill any poisonous substance that might have been formed over long hours of traveling and exposure. The consumption of this millet beer controls high blood pressure and the infestation of worms inside the stomach.  These fascinating facts about the Khambu Rai community speak volumes about their rooted heritage. A tribe, that’s closest to nature, and one that fights for an identity thriving against odds, and trying to ward off an anonymous existence.

Khambu Rai, an indigenous ethno-linguistic community, has been demanding a tribal status from the central government. The objective behind holding this festival is also to showcase the community’s rich culture and tradition and demand a Scheduled Tribe status under Article 342 of the Constitution, and to save the community that forms an intrinsic part of our country. This one of a kind event has managed to take shape, because of the funds that have been generated from donations made by the Kambus themselves. With a meager daily income of hundred rupees a day, this noble initiative also looks to induce people to come forward and help with this cause.

EVENT DETAILS:

KHAMBUS: THE FORGOTTEN TRIBE OF NATURE
Event Director Bandana Rai
Event Design Mahesh Khambu Rai
To be held at: Sector- 12, R. K. PURAM, NEW DELHI
Time: 11:00am- 9:00 pm
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