By The Editor
India is a vast country with huge population of about 1.4 billion people which has recently superseded China to become world’s most populous nation. It is a land of diverse cultures, plurality of religions and sects, many different languages, myriad dialects, varied topographical regions, etc. Hence it deserves to be addressed as a subcontinent whose inhabitants in spite of countless differences are united thus earning the honour “unity in diversity.” Main groups of people are the Dravidians of the south, the Aryans of the north, west and central India, and the Mongoloids of North East (NE) India. After India achieved independence on August 15, 1947 our leaders through hard work and selfless service with integrity had tirelessly endeavoured to bind the nation together and strengthen it amidst trials and tribulations. With regard to culture a full-fledged Ministry of Culture was created in 2006 with the chief task of preserving and promoting art and culture. For effective and better implementation the ministry had notified three different sectors which were categorised as National Akademies:
Sahitya Akademi for literary arts, Sangeet Natak Akademi for performing arts, and Lalit Kala Akademi for visual arts. Recognising the importance of NE India the North East Zone Cultural Centre (NEZCC) under Union Ministry of Culture was specially created in 1987.
Union ministry is very active in organising fairs and festivals in the country and abroad to highlight the rich cultures of the subcontinent. It is also interacting with international bodies like the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and entered in bilateral cultural agreements and cultural exchange programmes with many countries. Cultural tourism is emerging as an attractive and profitable venture which brings good revenue. A three-day festival of music, dance and drama from May 19 to 21 was organised by Sangeet Natak Akademi in Shillong. The festival Amrit Yuva Kalotsav showcased the rich and diverse cultures which included folk and classical songs, folk and classical dances, theatres and other creative performances from all over the country. Governor of Meghalaya Phagu Chauhan was the chief guest and quite a number of dignitaries attended the festival. Among the participants were Dajied Sing Kharkongor and his group, the troupes of Silbi Passah and the Aroha choir.
Sangeet Natak Akademi team led by chairperson Sandhya Purecha visited many cultural organisations in rural areas and extended support to a few groups. About 20 students of Seng Riti Cultural Organization of Wahkhen village, East Khasi Hill district will be awarded scholarship for training in traditional performances and honorarium will be given to their gurus. The Pahambir Cultural Club, Ri Bhoi district was granted three sets of musical instruments and traditional costumes for some performers. Proposal for award to some outstanding gurus in near future is in the pipeline. These kinds of encouragement will surely awaken cultural clubs across the state to revive and revitalise splendour of the past many of which have become dormant.