Fests take off in Garo hills
– Tableau showcases and spreads anti-militancy message
Ampati (Meghalaya), Dec. 16: The winter festivities in Garo hills kicked off today on a colourful note at Ampati in the South West Garo Hills, Resubelpara in North Garo Hills and at Tasek in East Garo Hills.
At Ampati, two events are being held simultaneously -Dimchrang and Kite Festival while at Resubelpara, Awe Festival is under way.
Tasek Festival is being held in East Garo Hills. Meghalaya chief minister Mukul Sangma inaugurated the Dimchrang and Kite festivals at Ampati.
The cultural parade and carnival was led by the Dimchrang troupe followed by a skill troupe from Manipur. At least 11 troupes displayed the cultural lifestyle of different communities – Koch, Hajong and Garosat Ampati.
A tableau, which showcased counter-insurgency operations, caught the much needed attention as it spread the message “enough is enough” and urged militants to lay down arms. It spoke volumes about people across the Garo hills not willing to tolerate violence anymore.
Speaking at Ampati, Mukul Sangma said, “Meghalaya should promote all its festivals and brand them to attract tourists to witness the exclusive culture and lifestyle of the people.”
He said that a dedicated annual budget was available for the promotion of arts and cultural activities in the state. “We have to market our culture and our uniqueness to the world, which will boost the economy of the state and benefit the people.”
Sangma added that the festivals offer a platform to the locals to take part in different activities and showcase their skills. “Our entrepreneurs can benefit from these festivals as they can showcase and sell their products,” he added.
Sangma said the government, over the past few years, has been allocating funds annually, through the respective art and culture societies, to organise festivals that preserve and promote the vibrant culture and traditions of the different tribes in the state and also to create a platform for the youth to showcase their talents.
“There is a clear intention behind promoting such festivals. We need to create a platform that enables our youth to unleash their talent. At the same time such festivals also help create economic activity, which percolates down to the local masses”, he said.
“When we make such festivals an annual event, they become known across the country and the world. We create positive stories about the region, which will attract visitors to this part of the world,” said Sangma and exhorted the organisers to make the festival bigger and grander.
Speaking about the government’s objective to build the skills of the youth in various fields so that they look at opportunities beyond government jobs, the chief minister informed the gathering that he has taken up the issue of construction of four football stadiums in the state with the Union ministry of DoNER. He also added that one stadium would be constructed in Tura and another in Ampati.
As part of the festival, the chief minister also inaugurated the Ampati Aqua Fest organised by the fishery department. In the afternoon, he joined children in flying kites at Ampati Kite Festival where events like kite making workshop, kite flying contest and air shows are held for the two days.