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SAIDUL KHAN  writes about AHAIA winter festival held at Tura, Meghalaya, from Dec 16th -19th,2014, which facilitated an opportunity for the rich talent pool and entrepreneurs to showcase their products and display of rich cultural mosaic and presentation of high dose of music …


The much-awaited four-day Ahaia winter festival kicked off with a mega carnival which showcased the vibrant culture, unity of religion and  celebration of life.  The carnival was flagged off by chief secretary Barkos Warjri in the  presence of principal secretary R.K. Mishra and deputy commissioner of  West Garo Hills Pravin Bakshi among other dignitaries, from Chandmari playground. It passed through the main thoroughfares of the town and  culminated at Dikki Bandi Stadium, Dakopgre.  The carnival was led by Cariz Dreamz – a group of people participating   in the carnival – which was based on this year’s Ahaia theme   “celebrating life”. The contingent had participants all dressed in   Venetian masks, fancy headgears and colourful costumes.

The Caring Father’s Foundation, an NGO, propagated the message of   peace among all communities, while the Kramcheng Socio-Cultural club  displayed unity of all religions by showing Hindus, Sikhs, Christians   and Muslims on a single platform.   Among other tableaux which displayed the rich rendition of Garo   society, one propagated the message of apiculture by the Integrated   Basin Development and Livelihood Promotion Programme.

The festival was inaugurated at Dikki Bandi Stadium by Meghalaya’s   youth and sports affairs minister Zenith Sangma in the presence of   parliamentary secretary Noverfield Marak and Bajengdoba legislator   Brigady Marak besides a host of other government officials and   dignitaries.



Speaking at the inauguration, Sangma said the government intends to  take the festivals of Garo Hills to a much bigger level. He said: “The   festival demonstrates cultural heritage and tradition and creates a   platform for the visitors to showcase their talents.”   He said aggressive marketing and promotion of Garo hills was the need  of the hour. “Efforts are on to promote Garo hills as a winter   destination which will boost the tourism potential.”  Stating that the government’s programmes were aimed at the uplift of   the socio-economic condition of the people, Zenith Sangma said: “The  growth of the people will ensure actual development of the region.”

He was of the view that everyone should take the opportunity of   government initiatives and make contributions for a better Meghalaya.  Highlighting the recent natural calamities, which wrecked havoc in  Garo hills, Warjri said: “It is a sign that people cannot be put down.  It ensures that people have faith and hope and move forward to  celebrate life”.



Speaking at length about innovation as key ingredient for development, Warjri expressed happiness that people have come forward to showcase  their products and their entrepreneurial activities.  “The people of Garo Hills should avail themselves of the best use of   their natural resources for a holistic human development,” said   principal secretary R.K. Mishra. He appreciated the manner in which   the festival kicked off in Tura.   Bakshi said: “The festival will send the message of peace,  tranquillity and fortitude.”

The other highlights of the festival were — Ahaia Teen Queen, display  of designer outfits by Jenjum Gadi and Chandrani Singh Flora.The designers showcased outfits designed by using fabrics from Meghalaya.

The show was presented under the title – “Eco Weaves”. “The objective of the show is to present modern outfits and markets textile of   Meghalaya for the rest of the world”, said Matsiewdor War Nongbri, Director Arts and Culture, Government of Meghalaya.

The show also gave a platform for bands from Garo Hills to display  their talents before the crowd. Some of the prominent bands, which performed during the four day event were – Ahohe, a fusion band, which  won the hearts of many with their numbers influenced from Garo folk songs, Titans, Haystacks, etc.

The high voltage event concluded with a “peace concert” on Dec 19  with  the internationally acclaimed – “Girish and The Chronicles” taking the  stage on fire. The concert was witnessed by Meghalaya chief minister,  Dr. Mukul Sangma, who was overwhelmed with the festivities that he  made an announcement to host an international rock festival in Tura  next. He also said that government will lay foundation for centre for  excellence in music at Tura and Shillong.

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