In a bid to popularise the Assamese culture across the globe, a youth from Dibrugarh, Mousum Sonowal has embarked upon a massive task of crafting 1 lakh Assamese Japis and Xorais using waste thermocol. A resident of Nagaon Koliani village in Jokai area of Dibrugarh, Mousum along with 200 students of Junak Art Academy has begun the work of designing Japis and Xorais at his native village. The Junak Art Academy is run by Mousum himself where young students hone their skills in art and craft. Mousum said that he wants to create 50,000 Japis and 50,000 Xorais but he has not set a time period for completing it. The initial target is to create 4,000 Japis and Xorais in one month’s time, he said. Thermocols from fish boxes collected from fish sellers and fishermen are being used for the purpose along with adhesive, polythene and fabric colours.
An integral symbol of Assamese culture, Japi is an essential headgear for the farmers while working in the fields. People also wear the Japi during festivals and important occasions. They are made of bamboo, cane and palm leaves (tokou). There are various types of Japi such as Bor Japi, Tupi Japi, Uka Japi or Haluwa Japi, Sorudaya Japi or Fulam Japi, etc. Among the various types of Japis, the most popular one is the Fulam Japi or the Sorudaya Japi. It is made of small smooth sticks of bamboo. It is widely used in Bihu dance and as a decorative piece in the drawing room of the house. Japi finds a prominent place in the Assamese socio-cultural way of life. It is deeply connected with Bihu. Mention of Japi can be found in both Bihu dance and Bihu folk songs. At present, Fulam Japi has turned into a cultural symbol of Assam on a global platform.
The Xorai is a manufactured bell metal product and is one of the traditional symbols of Assam. It is considered as an article of great respect by the people of Assam In simplistic terms it is an offering tray with a stand at the bottom which is used in felicitations also. Generally, the Xorai is used for worshiping deities, offering respect to elders, keeping holy books on it, and highly used in doing other various traditional rituals of the Assamese culture.