THE Divar island’s wonderful festival of Bonderam was celebrated with a big bang by the Piedade Youth Association on August 25 evening, with plenty of colour, music and entertainment.
With every passing year the crowd at the flag festival appears to be larger than the previous year. The six participating floats were: Vittozem Sports Club’s “Goa by the Sea”, Maddant Star’s “Madd: Dhir and Adhar Goemkarancho”, Primero’s “The Beauty of Nature in God’s Own abode, Goa”, Divar Centre’s “Bonderam in Peace”, Jingle Bells’ “Lakeside Romance” and Romantic’s “Discover Goa”. The last-named float bagged the prize for the best float, while Maddant and Primero took the second and third prizes respectively.
Teenagers bearing the colourful flags of the various wards led the parade, with a traditional brass band in tow. The leading troupe comprised of quite a nostalgic mix with a bearded Arab, with a traditional khanjar (dagger) at his waist, a man-size baby sucking a feeding bottle, a dhoti-clad man, a nurse bringing along a blood transufison kit, a bewigged brunette. A pistol-wielding cowboy hopped around excitedly.
The stretch of the road at Fetorim gets overcrowded, with the youngesters spilling on the roads and making movement rather difficult. Perhaps the comanisers could think of a slightly longer stretch. Missing this time round was the traditional, popular sound of the “fotash“, which has been banned from the festival because some youngsters tend to irritate the crowd by hitting people with the “teflam” (small fruit) pellets. In fact, the Divar Centre’s float “Bonderam in Peace”, displayed a large green fotash to signify the end of the ethnic element in the Bonderam festivity.
Each of the floats tried to bring out essence of Goan heritage and the natural grandeur of the emerald island to the best of their abilities. The floats had groups of young dancers in colourful attire. Commendable was the fact that quite a lot of native elements like the fisherfolk, Goan Kunbis and cultivators were featured prominently. Of course, the festival appears a bit too commercial but it is quite an entertainment. It attracts people from all over Goa to the picturesque island 10 kms from Panjim. Many come for the first time, to behold the spectacular event.
Writing in a daily, Luis Antonio de Souza from Divar, however, bemoans the fact that though “the festival of Bonderam celebrates the bounty of a favourable harvest, in reality, there is no harvest to rejoice about in Goltim-Navelim in Divar. The bunds in Divar have created vast tracts of reclaimed land for cultivation by the local farmers. However, due to neglect of this unique agricultural and water harvesting system, an agrarian tragedy is unfolding in Divar, causing an alarming socio-economic fallout”.
After the colourful parade ended, people were still arriving as so much more music was still being played by Forefront and Crimson Tide.