User Rating:  / 0

Flash Back October 1996

Naokhel of Assam

Naokhel or boat racing competition is held with enthusiasm throughout the state and people participate in large numbers irrespective of their religion, language, caste and community.

The sport which is steeped in tradition is very popular in the rural areas, especially in Lower Assam. This sporting event is generally organised in the month of ‘Bhado’ (August – September). Every village which has a small river running through it comes alive with activity. Besides, competitions on a large scale are organised at various places along the course of the mighty river Brahmaputra.

The Naokhel is a traditional sporting event and is believed to have its beginnings in the 12th century, though at that time it was not organised as a competition. At that time it was a sport popular among fishermen. It is also believed that this sport was introduced to Assam from Bengal.

In retrospect, it can be said that the Naokhel was reflective of the strong bond that the inhabitants of the riverine region developed with nature, particularly the rivers. Since the boat had been the only means of communication in society, therefore, it was a symbol of status or prestige in society. It is assumed that the social elite had started the game, perhaps to gain social recognition and prominence. In the 15th century, Srimanta Sankardev, the great....