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 Bijoy Ghimire

Mostly reported for its conflicts and stressful atmosphere, people across Northeast and outside have developed the notion that Karbi Anglong is a risky and volatile terrain to visit and explore. Highlighting only violent acts and thereby becoming completely oblivious to the wonderful things that happen in this fascinating tribal land, media has done immeasurable disservice to this district and its people. Almost certifying it to be a conflict zone, media and the administration have in fact facilitated the local administration to become more lethargic which has developed the habit of being not accountable and answerable to its people over and over again.

But to know Karbi Anglong and its true essence one need to visit Karbi Youth Festival atleast once. This 5 days’ event of such huge scale is organised in such a wonderful coordination and precision.
KYF witnesses around 1 lac visitors every single day but to maintain such a huge crowd you will hardly find a single police man, or any paramilitary force. It is all managed by its volunteers with absolute care and decency. You will not find any unruly behaviours from any quarter of the event area where four programs at four different venues are being performed simultaneously with equal enthusiasm and funfair and surprisingly with equal number of audience.

I have nowhere seen such a decent crowd who cheer up even to the newcomers on the stage and help the budding artists get easy on the stage when they perform. KYF has produced from its shows several artists who are doing well today professionally. It is considered to be the oldest youth festival in Northeast which has inspired several other festivals which are being organised in different parts of Northeast today.

There is no denying the fact that KYF has been solely taking the responsibility of protecting, sustaining and uplifting the rich Karbi culture in the truest sense. The addition of the magnificent showcase of ethnic village in KYF, 2017 where the cultural heritage of other tribes of Assam was beautifully replicated is also a testament of the accommodating attitude of this pristine tribe who are considered to be the first migrants of Assam.

KYF since its inception in the early 1970s has set a benchmark to be followed by other communities who think that their very identity is at stake and that the best way to protect it is not to take to arms but to delve deep into its culture and manifest it in its most beautiful form. Now one might ask that Karbis too adopted violent means to assert their identity and unfulfilled aspirations but one should clearly understand that all these so called insurgent outfits at several periods of time were politically motivated. These violent acts are minimised or aggravated as per the political necessities of the opportunists who are at the helm of affairs.

Thus, one should not miss the outstanding traits of the great tribe that is the KARBIS, and how KYF(Karbi Youth Festival)all these years have been facilitating its people to manifest their love to its culture in every possible way.


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