Adivasi Cultural Fest and Competitions (28th Feb. & 1st Mar.09)
Adivasi Cultural Fest and competitions (28th Feb. & 1st Mar.09)
Various comments:" This adivasi cultural Fest and competitions are powerful means to unite the adivasi community" spoke Sangaliyabhai Vasave, the President of Adivasi Ekta Parishad, Gujarat .. "We have been meeting often as Gamits, Chaudhrys, Vasavas etc. so far but this is the first time that we meet together as adivasis forgetting our sub titles which shows that we have grown in our awareness of adivasi unity very much" said Manilalbhai Gamit, the Secretary of Adivasi Mahamandal, Gujarat. "As all sub Dalit groups are able to meet as a community for a cause, so the adivasi community is able to meet here at Songadh today. This is a cause for joy as this will slowly result in all adivasis coming together to claim their rights for building a dignified world", spoke Mr. Subachan Ram, the Commissioner of Income Tax, Mumbai.
"It is very good that we meet like this", said Mansinghbhai one of the leaders. "We should have such fest and competitions every year", said Harisinghbhai, one of the audiences. "Such competitions help us to develop our talents and to keep up our identity", said Induben Gamit, one of the women leaders. "It is a very good example of good collaboration between various groups", said an NGO leader. "This is one of the ways of making us aware of the various rights enshrined in our Constitution", said Rukshmaniben, the programme coordinator.
Welcome and Registration combined with signature campaigns: As the participants of the fest came, they were welcomed by adivasi traditional dance and drum beats.. Then all the participants went for registration. During the registration, they were requested to sign or imprint their thump print on 8 canvases to become part of the campaigns conducted that concerned adivasi community. The eight pertinent issues on which the signature campaigns were conducted were: 1) Irrigation water from Ukai right canal for 59 adivasi villages, 2) Lift Irrigation for the Ukai displaced villages of Nizar and Uchchhal talukas, 3) Removal of Gaikward Hindu Law that is adverse to adivasi women property rights, 4) Giving title to the Forest land tillers, 5) Meaningful implementation of Adivasi Self-rule (PESA Act), 6) Proper implementation of NREGA, 7) Place for vegetable vendors of Songadh and 8) Bifurcation of Songadh Taluka. Then all those who had a pass took part in a meal. The meal was prepared for 6,000 people. "The late comers went away without food."
Welcome, address by special guests: The celebration started by welcoming the special guests, the competitors and the people. The special guests were taken to the dais by adivasi dance. Then Amrutbhai, the Director of LAHRC specially welcomed Mr. Subachan Ram (Mumbai), the Chief Guest and the speakers like V.K Gadhvi (Jamnager), Mr. Bahel (London ), Sangaliyabhai, Induben and Manilalbhai. Then many other special invited guests like Elected Members, Government Officials, Supporters of Adivasi Community and Friends of SHAKTI-LAHRC were welcomed with flowers. Some important persons were honoured with shawls. Then the speakers in their inimitable style reflected with the audience the present realities and invited them to think and act.
Dance Competition: 27 teams took part in the dance competitions out of which 5 were of children. Because of the children, the dance competition was divided into two parts-the first part was of children and the second part of adults. There were dances from various sub groups of adivasis. The competitors had come from far and wide. The enthusiasm, the style, the colourful dresses, the beat of the musical instruments, songs of the dancers just made the audience dumbfounded! "I had never seen so many dances at one time and in the same place" said one of the audiences. "It is fantastic. What a way of reviving our culture!" exclaimed another. The applause the dancers received and the interest with which the audience witnessed the events made many feel that such things should be held regularly! One important thing to be noted was that the children, youth and the elderly men and women took part in dances with vigor and joy. It lasted for about 4 hours
Songadiya party programme (traditional entertainment): The songadiya party brought a lot of laughter and fun among the audience. The songadiya party tried to convey social messages to the audience through the entertainment programme.. There were more than 6,000 people to watch this programme. This programme kept the audience awake all through the night (1.30 to 5.00 am)!
Drum competition: 23 drummers with their teams took part in it. They beat the drums in different ways with different tunes to capture the interest of the audience. Many were dancing around when the drum competition was going on. The drum beats reminded the audience of the arrival of HOLI (festival of fire) festival. This lasted for an hour. It was wonderful to witness the drums of different adivasi sub groups and feel proud of the uniqueness of adivasis!
Catapult competition: 118 competitors took part in it out of which one was a woman. This competition reminded a lot of adivasis their traditional recreational games. It is a cute game!
Bow and Arrow competition: 8 took part in it out of which one was a woman who is the Sarpanch of Bhadkuva panchayat. By winning the 2nd prize in the competition, she quietly managed to challenge the men and inspire the women! Catapult and Bow and Arrow are some of the adivasi games that are being forgotten. If revived then these could become one of expense-less weapons for our modern age!
Adivasi Fancy Dress competition: 15 took part out of which 7 were women. It was a learning process for the audience to learn about the traditional dresses of the adivasis which almost have been forgotten. The competitors were proud and bold to exhibit their traditional dresses in their unique styles.
Prize distribution with certificates and vote of thanks: Then at the end, the winners were given cash prizes along with certificates of appreciation. During the competitions, some of the competitors were given special cash prizes by audience.
For Fancy dress, Catapult, Bow and Arrow, the first prize was Rs. 501/ each, second prize was Rs. 251/ each and the third prize was Rs. 151/ each.
For Dance and Drum competitions, the first prize was Rs. 1001/ each, second prize was Rs. 501/ each and third prize was Rs. 251/ each.
Then Navinbhai Chaudhry, the President of Adivasi Mahamandal thanked all the guests, competitors and the audience for their contributions in making the cultural fest and competitions a very big success. He also specially thanked all the donors who in cash or kind contributed towards the execution of the fest and competitions.
People from Dangs, Tapi, Surat, Narmada, Navsari, Valsad, Bharuch, Sabarkanth Districts has come.
RukmanibenChaudhary and Mahendrabhai Gamit coordinated a programe well.
It was organized by Adivasi Mahamandal Charitable Trust, Gujarat, Adivasi Sarvangi Vikas Sanghs- Nizar, Uchchhal, Songadh, Vyara, Mandvi,Zankhvav,Umarapada., SHAKTI- Legal Aid and Human Rights Centre, Songadh.
The Cultural fest and competitions were a real "JAI HO……."for adivasis in the words of the Oscar Award Winner AR Reheman!