Microkhan by Brendan I. Koerner

The Fighting Bulbuls of Assam

February 24th, 2009 · No Comments

fightingbulbulsEvery year ’round this time, the denizens of Assam throw a harvest shindig called Bhogali Bihu. Folks eat too much, dance around bonfires, and bang on dhols all night. Less predictably, they also watch drunken songbirds beat the tar out of one another.

Fighting bulbuls attract thousands of onlookers during Bhogali Bihu, and countless rupees are wagered on the bouts. Songbirds aren’t too aggressive by nature, so the birds’ handlers must fill them with an aggression-inducing drinks—one that would make a fine addition to hoity-toity cocktail lairs here in New York:

“We make a concoction containing bananas and some locally available intoxicating herbs, some black pepper, clove, and cinnamon, and feed the bird regularly to make them strong and sharp for the fight,” local resident Madahab Bora said.

No word on how many bulbuls meet grisly ends during these contests, though I reckon the number is quite high. The survivors are set free, though their ensuing songs must surely be of a darker nature—sort of like Brian Wilson after his agoraphobia kicked in.

Oh, and there’s buffalo combat, too. PETA really needs to look into opening a branch office in Guwahati.


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