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Vice President Dhankhar inaugurates 10-day Hornbill festival

Hornbill Festival begins

Says Nagaland is a pinnacle & a place of the culture of the cultures

KOHIMA, DECEMBER 1: Even as Eastern Nagaland Peoples’ Organisation (ENPO) has boycotted the 10-days long Hornbill Festival, it started colourfully with Vice President Jagdeep Dhankhar beating the traditional Naga gong at Naga Heritage village, Kisama, some 12 Kms from the State capital Kohima.
Addressing the mammoth gathering of tourists ~ both domestic and foreigners ~ and local visitors, Vice President Dhankhar said he was thrilled, excited, enthralled and captivated by the energy of Naga cultural troupes.
“It is a great day in my life, and I will never forget it”, he said.
Stating that India is a land of culture with civilization of thousands of years, he however said that ‘Nagaland is a pinnacle and a place of the culture of the cultures’.
“The moment I got down from the car and saw the sparkle in the eyes of Naga boys and girls, their energy and enthusiasm, I knew I was in place which is the best in the world”, he said.
He said that Hornbill festival is truly the festival of festivals and Naga culture will ever be imprinted in his heart.
Nagas are known by the world for their culture, courage and display of talent and the captivating food, colourful dances and customs, he said.
Appreciating Nature’s beauty of the State, he said God has been kind to the Nagas with great tourism potential. Apart from the gift of nature, the State has something unique i.e. people with great love, affection and hospitable.
This festival displays the commitment of Nagas and will bring alive the tourism industry in the State to be the most favoured tourist destination, he said
He also expressed happiness that Kiwis, Pineapples and Coffee of Nagaland have special taste.
As Chairman of Rayjya Sabha, he congratulated the people of Nagaland for sending a woman representative to RS in Phangnon Konyak for the first time in the Naga history.
Congratulating Nagaland for having lowest crime rate amongst women in the country, he said Nagaland exemplifies women empowerment which needs to be emulated by rest of India.
Meanwhile, Dhankhar said that great changes have taken place in the country since 2014 with Prime Minister Narendra Modi starting the Look East and Act East policy with the focus centre being Nagaland.
Developmental changes are taking place and there is a Ministry at the Centre committed to the development of the Northeast and funds are earmarked, he said.
Further, today being the 60th statehood day of Nagaland, the Vice President congratulated the people of the State for coming thus far.
Ambassador of France to India, Emmanuel Lenain, Trade Commissioner for South Asia and British Deputy High Commissioner for Western India, Alan Gemmel and Australian High Commissioner to India, Barry O’Farrel Ao as the honoured guests of the inaugural function extended greetings on the occasion.
As chief host of the festival, Nagaland Governor Prof Jagdish Mukhi said Nagaland is truly enchanting and anybody who comes here would not want to leave in a hurry.
“We also deeply appreciate the Government of India for recognizing this Hornbill Festival as one of the premier and major events for the performing artists in India”, he conveyed.
Over the years, with the immense cooperation and enthusiastic participation of all tribes of Nagaland and neighboring States, this Cultural Festival have acquired much fame and name, he said.
Saying that the GoI, under the dynamic leadership of Narendra Modi, is committed to ensure development of the region, he said the Central and State Governments are working together to bring in lasting peace in the land.
“We, as beneficiaries, should make up our minds and create a conducive atmosphere for welcoming the new dawn for a peaceful and progressive Nagaland”, he said.
In this, he urged all to look back and introspect at what has been achieved over the last 60 years of Nagaland statehood and what ground remains to be covered.
Today, he said, Nagaland is at the edge of making history as after years of insurgency, there is hope.
“With the support from all stakeholders including the general populace, there is an opportunity for lasting peace”, he said while congratulating all Naga political groups for having come so far.
He expressed confidence that a final agreement ~ one that is fair to all and meets the expectations and aspirations of all ~ will be reached soon.
Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio, as host, said Hornbill Festival exemplifies the Naga way of life, celebrating the rich cultural heritage of the Naga people along with the rest of the Northeastern States, showcasing our unity and our oneness under a spirit of solidarity.
“It is aimed at protecting, preserving and promoting the culture and heritage of the people, while creating opportunities for economic growth and employment generation.
It is a platform that allows the creativity and innovation of our youth to blossom and flower while opening vistas for the entrepreneurs to pursue their aspirations”, he said.
After inaugurating the festival, the Vice President and his wife along with dignitaries witnessed the cultural performances and also visited the various tribal morungs.
Eastern Nagaland Peoples’ Organistion (ENPO) boycotting the festival has compelled its seven tribes ~ Chang, Khiamniungan, Konyak, Phom, Sangtam, Tikhir and Yimkhiung from the six districts ~ Mon, Tuensang, Longleng, Kiphire, Noklak and Shamator ~ not to participate in this year’s festival.
ENPO resolved not to participate in the festival till their demand of a separate state is fulfilled.
The seven morungs of the Eastern Nagaland, including that of the newest recognized tribe ~ Tikhir ~ have been left without any attendee.
Tribal Guest of the occasion Yeshüsü Tureng from Porba Village of Phek district pronounced the traditional blessing while prayer was offered by Pastor of Kohima Ao Baptist Church Temjenmongba Sempo.
Advisor for Tourism and Art & Culture, H Khehovi Yeputhomi pronounced the vote of thanks which was followed by cultural presentations This is Nagaland by Task Force for Music and Arts (TaFMA).
(Page News Service)