Cash prizes worth Rs 2.5 lakh given to participants of Choudal contest
Jamshedpur: Tusu Mela was inaugurated today at Gopal Maidan by the former CM of Jharkhand Arjun Munda who garlanded portraits of the state’s martyrs and former politicians and lit an inaugural lamp on the occasion.
The former Jamshedpur MP, late Sunil Mahto, had started the fair to promote tribal culture. The annual Tusu mela has turned out to be a jamboree of tribal artistes and performers not only from Jharkhand but also from neighbouring states like Odisha and Bengal. People started flocking in groups from the morning carrying their Tusu idols and the choudal.
While one side of the field was lined up with a dozen-odd giant Tusu idols, it were the towering choudals that adorned the other side of the field. Made out of hay and bamboo sticks, the choudal is an elongated structure like the towering head of a temple with figures of tribal deities on it. The two main choudals brought today were 70ft and 80ft tall respectively.
‘Tusu’ is similar to harvest festivals, which take place in other parts of the country, and is celebrated by preparing food from newly harvested crops. ‘Tusu’ is stated to be a symbolic emblem of goddess ‘Tusu Devi’, made of cardboard and decorated with colourful paper and female dolls, some reaching a height of even ten feet. This is prepared by group of chaste unmarried teenage girls a week before the actual festival and kept at the village for everyone to admire.
People from different places came to the Tusu mela in large numbers. “Our group comprises 40 Chhau dancers, over 30 drummers and many more performers,” said Mohan Mahto, the secretary of a group.
One of the major attractions of this group was a huge traditional drum, which needs at least six people to play it.
“Traditionally, groups of artistes and performers from rural areas visit different Tusu melas and participate in competitions for the best idol or best decorated choudals,” said Sudhir Mahto, a member of the group from Chandil.
Among others present during the programme included MP Bidyut Baran Mahato, Shailendra Mahato, Roreya Soren, Ganesh Mahali, Astik Mahato, Sadhucharan Mahato and Amarpreet Singh Kale.