Navanil Barua, a neurosurgeon by profession and one of the organisers of the first-ever International Couples Day to be held in Assam talks about the initiative. The Day is open to gays and divorcees as well
What made you decide to organise this day?
We found that Valentine’s Day is so popular as day of love but it’s almost exclusive to the youngsters. We see that Joymoti was an excellent symbol of love, yet unrecognised. We, therefore equated Joymoti with love and decided to observe it as International Couples day.
Please tell us more about the love story of Joymoti Kuwori?
The Ahom dynasty was the longest ruling dynasty in the world. They had a law that any prince with any physical disability cannot become the king. A minister called Laluksola Borgohain wanted to usurp power. He put up a young puppet prince called Lora Raja and started killing or maiming all claimants to the throne. Prince Gadapani escaped to Nagaland to avoid being maimed. His wife Joymoti was arrested by Laluksola and tortured severely but she refused to divulge the whereabouts of her husband and accepted all kinds of inhuman torture for 13 days. She was tied to a tree at Jerenga Pathar and finally succumbed on 13/Chaitra.1402. Because of her extreme sacrifice, the Ahom dynasty was saved and Joymoti Kuwori gave Assam its greatest King, Swargadeo Rudra Singha.
You are open to gays and divorcees as well?
Yes. divorcees and same sex couples are human beings too and no one can deny their right to celebration.
How do you plan to celebrate the day?
I plan to take my wife out for a drive and a romantic dinner where we will journey back into the days passed.
Does this also mean equal status to women?
Since it is Joymoti Kuwori and since we are from Assam, gender equality is but natural. In this celebration too, women shall be more than equal.
Is the day open to people from all caste, creed and religion?
This is International Couples day, it cannot have any differentiation based on caste creed colour religion.
And do you plan to make it an annual event?
Undoubtedly it shall be annual event and date will be fixed on 27th of March. We expect and hope everyone will join in and celebrate.
What kind of a change can this indigenous Valentine’s Day usher in?
Valentine’s day shall continue. We are not competing with it. This day will make couples of all types discover themselves and also remember Joymoti Kuwori.
Do you think it will help in ushering in a sense of love and brotherhood in society?
Yes, Joymoti Kuwori transcends religion, race, creed. A robust celebration of Couples day will definitely enhance a feeling of brotherhood and amity.