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Milton Alam writes about the beauty and grandeur of Karbi cultural heritage which he experienced in his recent visit to 41st Karbi Youth Festival…

North-East is slowly becoming a hub of voluminous events in today’s context. Be it ‘National Youth Festival’, ‘Hornbill’, ‘Metropolis’ and many others. Every day we have one or the other events being organized in different places of the region. These events are really encouraging the Artists in the region to think and visualize more and showcase their talents.

Being an adventurous person I have always had a weakness for the beautiful hills of Karbi Anglong. So whenever there is a call to visit the place, I do not hold back. This time I got the chance to visit Karbi Anglong for the sake of Karbi Youth Festival. Five hours of journey by train from Guwahati me and my co-traveller Sandip Ghimire reached Diphu town. A few kilometers away from the town is a place called ‘Taralangso’ where the festival is organized every year.

Karbi Youth Festival is a cultural extravaganza where tribes from different community come together and celebrate the cultural heritage of the karbis. Held every year since 1974 KYF is the oldest and largest ethnic festival in North-East India.

As we reached the venue of KYF we were welcomed by Mr. Dharamsing Teron, one of the core members of the committee. He introduced us to an active member of KYF Mr. Hingchong Tisso who guided us throughout the festival. He stated that the idea behind KYF started with the movement to protect their culture, keep it alive and pass it on to the next generation and thus ‘Karbi Cultural Society’ was formed in 1961. This society became a hub for all Karbi youths to meet and discuss and take initiatives to preserve their culture.

Sitting on a tree house we spent a long time chatting with Mr. Tisso who gave us a brief idea about the Karbis. Compared to other tribes of the country, the Karbis do not follow any of the mainstream religion. They are peace loving people who believe in Karma. They respect spirituality. When asked about the disturbances in the region, he smiled and said that all his life he has never seen a fight in his local area, and there has been no record of any disturbances in the venue of KYF. Whatever disturbances we talk about is mostly political.

Coming back to KYF2015, it was a wonderful experience to taste the Karbi tradition and take a closer look within. The venue of KYF is surrounded by hills, and there were tree houses on top of the hills to give an ariel view of the festival. I mostly loved the event of Mr. & Miss. KYF 2015, where the young Karbi boys and girls showcased their ethnic dresses, their love towards their language and culture. The Karbi youths brightened up the festival with their singing talents, showcasing their cultural dance and also traditional sports. Apart from the Karbis, a glimpse of other tribes could also be seen during the festival which includes the Bodos, Dimasas, Kukis, Nepalese, the Nagas and many more. Mr. Longbir Engti, a Cottonian and one of the contestants, India’s got talent  Season – 6, showcased an extraordinary form of art in the event.

The organizers deserve a great appreciation for the way they have co-ordinated the festival and taken care of all the obstacles. Should you visit KYF? Yes, of course. Just not to enjoy the beautiful scenario of the place, but at least to know more about our brothers and sisters dwelling in the hills. It was a lifetime experience to relish and cherish forever for me.

Kardom and Kurvangthu!






 Photography: Sandip Ghimire and Milton Alam

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