You must have heard about many fairs from books, cloths, to furniture and almost every non-living thing. But have you ever heard of a Groom fair? Yes, the ‘groom fair’ or ‘Dulha Mela’! Mithilalanchal ‘Saurath Sabha’ in Bihar is famous for ‘Dulha Mela’. The practice of buying grooms is being celebrated for almost 700 years and the tradition is still continued.
However, the debate over its significance in the modern age has been increased.
‘Saurath Sabha’ is being organized on a massive land in Madhubani district every year. It is also known as ‘Sangigachhi’. The traditional registrars in ‘Saurath Sabha’ play the same role of the Magistrate in the Court Marriage and do the proper validation of the wedding.
The registrar maintains the genealogy of the groom and the bride. They match the upheaval (marriage records) of seven generations of both the families. After all this, the registrar gives nods to the marriage considering there is no blood link between the probable couple before.
While the centuries-old practice is losing its significance, Dr Birbal Jha, chairman of the Mithilalok Foundation, strongly advocates the existence of ‘Saurath Sabha.’ He has also started a ‘Chalo Saurath Sabha’ (Let’s go Saurath Sabha) campaign to promote the 700-year-old practice.
“Earlier there was no easy transportation available. Finding a suitable groom for girls used to be a difficult task. So, all the Brahmins of Mithilanchal used to gather here at the Saurath assembly to get their son/daughter married. But now, people are living in other states and they get qualified groom there as well. Boys and girls are educated now. They make their own decisions, so they hardly choose to come here. However, people still come here to record or register their marriage with registrar,” said a registrar, Vijay Chandra Mishra.
Local villager Vaibhav Mishra said, “It is true that people have no interest in this meeting now. The reason is government’s negligible policy. Earlier, Saurath Sabha was given facilities like water electricity, transportation which aren’t given these days.”
Vaibhav is also concerned about the fact that wealthy Brahmins don’t come here anymore. Besides of the fact that many people are now demands dowry.