The traditional Bhagoria festival of Madhya Pradesh that concluded on Tuesday displayed a modern colour. Tribal men were seen wearing T-shirts and jeans and sporting sunglasses. Women clad in colouful petticoats, a few in salwar kurtas as well, were glued to their cell phones. DJ music was resonating in the air, in sharp contrast to the tribal folk rendition in the past.
The Bhagoria Haat celebrated among tribals of Jhabua and Alirajpur districts a week prior to Holi has been the amalgamation of modern elements and traditional landscape. The fairs are held every day for a week at all the places where 'haats' are held in these two districts.
"While men would wear dhoti-turban and women would sport ghagras, today we find men in western attire. Women too are experimenting with colourful petticoats and salwar kameez," says Jaishri Kiyawat, collector, Jhabua.
The reason behind the sea-change in the way event was held is that many people have migrated to other areas, says Madhya Pradesh culture director Shriram Tiwari. "When they come to attend the haat, they want to flaunt their modern self to their friends and relatives."
Kapil Tiwari, a tribal folk scholar, says that the symbolic culture of choosing life partners at these haats by eloping is no more visible. 'The girls have become educated and prefer to have a social consent."