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Moh-Juj Fights: A Cultural Resurgence in Assam

After a hiatus of nine years, Moh-Juj, the traditional buffalo fights, have made a comeback in Assam. This revival, held during the Magh Bihu festival in mid-January 2024, marks a significant cultural reclamation in Assam. The Assam Government’s approval, along with strict Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), ensures a balance between cultural preservation and animal welfare.

The Ban and its Revocation

The tradition of Moh-Juj was suspended in 2015 following the Supreme Court’s ban on similar events like Jallikattu in Tamil Nadu. The ban was primarily due to concerns regarding animal cruelty. However, recognizing the cultural significance of Moh-Juj, the Assam government, after deliberations and the issuance of detailed SOPs, decided to permit these events again​​​​.

Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs)

The SOPs, designed to prevent deliberate torture or cruelty towards animals, include the following guidelines:

  • Historical Continuity: Only locations with a history of organizing such events for at least 25 years are eligible.
  • Timeframe: The buffalo fights are permitted from January 15 to January 25, 2024.
  • Emergency Medical Care: Veterinary teams must be stationed at the fight locations for immediate medical care.
  • Safety Measures: Strong barricades are required, and the use of sharp objects or intoxicating substances to provoke buffaloes is prohibited.
  • Documentation and Monitoring: Proper videography of the entire event is mandatory.

Cultural Significance

Moh-Juj is deeply rooted in Assam’s heritage and has been a part of the Magh Bihu festival for generations. It symbolizes strength and valor in Assamese culture. The revival of Moh-Juj is seen as a reclamation of Assam’s rich cultural traditions that have been passed down through generations.

Ensuring Animal Welfare

The SOPs reflect the government’s commitment to ensuring animal welfare while reviving cultural practices. These measures are aimed at maintaining the well-being of the animals involved and preventing any form of cruelty during the festival.

Important Questions Related to Exams

  1. What traditional event recently made a comeback in Assam after a nine-year hiatus?
  2. Why was the tradition of Moh-Juj suspended in 2015, leading to a ban by the Supreme Court?
  3. What safety measures are in place to prevent cruelty or harm to buffaloes during Moh-Juj?
  4. What is the cultural significance of Moh-Juj in Assam, particularly in relation to the Magh Bihu festival?

Kindly share your responses in the comment section.


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