CHITTAGONG: A three-day historic 'Jabbarer Boli Khela’ and ‘Baishakhi Mela' begins in the city’s Laldighi Maidan on Monday.
The organisers of ‘Jabbarer Boli Khela’ and ‘Baishakhi Mela’ have already completed all preparations to make the traditional event successful.
While visiting the fair venue yesterday, this correspondent found that a good number of sellers had already set up their shops, mostly of potteries, sweetmeats and children’s toys, in and around the venue.
Some participants were seen passing busy time erecting their shops at suitable places.
Mohammad Belal Uddin, a potter from the port city's Bohoddarhat area, said he has been participating at the fair for the last five years and hoped to get good response from the city dwellers this time too.
Sources said sellers from different parts of the country started arriving at the fair venue stretching from Nandan Kanan to Kotwali intersection and Anderkilla to Jail Road and KC Dey Road from three days before its beginning.
Shopkeepers are set to display varieties of products, including potteries, furniture, fruits, sweetmeats, handicrafts, handloom products, textile garments, household materials, showpieces and toys, which are not commonly available in the port city.
People irrespective of ages will throng the fair venue since early morning till midnight to enjoy the fair, hoped organisers.
The main component, ‘Boli Khela,’ will be held on Tuesday, the 12th of Baishakh, and the second day of the event, as usual, being participated by a good number of wrestlers from different parts of the country.
Shawkat Anwar Badal, general secretary of the organising committee, also grandson of Abdul Jabbar Sawdagar, who introduced this competition back in 1909 (Bangla year 1316), said around 120-150 wrestlers from different parts of the country are expected to take part in the competition this year.
Abdul Jabbar Sawdagar introduced the competition with an aim to organise the youths for anti-British movement.
The number of the stalls would be more than 1,500, he said.
Now, the event has turned into an event of the people of Chittagong as well as the people of Bangladesh, he further said.
Contacted, Kotwali police station officer in-charge (OC) Jashim Uddin said they have beefed up security in and around the venue to ward off any untoward incident.
“Watch towers will also be set up and CCTV cameras will also be installed for increasing vigilance,” he informed.
It is also said the history of this event dates back to the Muslim and Arakani rules when aristocratic families, particularly the landlords, used to employ healthy and strong wrestlers to counter their rivals.
There were 22 families of wrestlers hailing from 20 villages on the alluvial plain between the rivers Karnaphuli and the Shankha in South Chittagong.
Some two lakh people of Chittagong were expatriates in the then Burma long before the partition of this sub-continent. The expatriates used to return home with their huge savings to organise wrestling competition in the month of Chaitra or Baishakh every year..