Community fishing - an age-old practice
The granaries are now full with a bumper harvest from the paddy fields. It is also now the time for the farmers in Assam to get ready a major post-harvest traditional practice—community fishing. Men, women and children in rural Assam are seen taking part in this community activity in large numbers in beels and other water bodies when these become shallow during winter. They use traditional fishing contraptions made of bamboo and cane like Polo, Jakai, juluki, khalai, chaloni (sieve) to trap the fishes. Some of them also use small fishing nets. In most of the places the community fishing is done on the day eve of Magh bihu or Bhogali bihu - the post harvest festival—a when the villagers enjoy a community feast. Assam has 430 regisetered beels spreading over an area of 60215 hectares and 767 unregistered beels spreading over an area of 40600 hectares.
Photo and text by Dasarath Deka
( Dasarath Deka is a freelance photojournalist based in Guwahati. He travels extensively in the region to capture stories. He can be reached at email@example.com and 9435114793 )