By Nirmal Ashu Ranjan and Mudita Girotra
Madhubani, Bihar–Marriages are made in heaven, they say. But there is at least one more place where marriages are made in large numbers — in Saurath village of Madhubani district in north Bihar.
A matchmaking festival — Saurath Sabha — is held here every year in the Hindu calendar months of Jyestha-Aasadh (June-end), which brings together many Brahmin families to negotiate marriages of their children.
In this unique 700-year-old festival, parents and relatives of prospective brides and grooms gather and get marriages fixed after an elaborate system of checking genealogical records by the “Panjikars” (community marriage registrars).
But, over the years, this age-old tradition has been losing its sheen in the hustle and bustle of modern life, as people have moved away to far off places, losing touch with their customs.
Now, a socio-cultural organisation, Mithilalok Foundation, has taken upon itself the task of reviving the tradition by organising a similar assembly here on June 25 with an anticipated participation of around 20,000 people from different places in the Mithila region.
“The assembly in Saurath used to have a pre-eminent position in not only settling marriages of Maithil youth but also providing a socio-cultural platform to debate and deliberate upon matters of local significance,” Mithilalok Chairman Birbal Jha told IANS.
“Two decades ago, Saurath Sabha Gachhi (the orchard, where the event is held) used to attract more than 100,000 people from across the country. But this custom has been fading. We wish to bring this very interesting and important tradition back to life to facilitate marriages,” he said.
Jha said that the upcoming assembly would bring together Maithils of the world and reconnect them with their roots. “People will walk from Madhubani to Saurath and gather there to participate in the age-old tradition,” he said.