Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel inaugurated the National Tribal Dance Festival on Tuesday. The Festival aims to protect centuries-old traditions and the rights of indigenous communities.
Speaking at the Government Science College field event in Raipur, Baghel said the wrong concept of development has become a threat to nature and tribal rights.
The comments come amid a boycott of the festival announced by the Chhattisgarh Sarva Adivasi Samaj, an umbrella organization of 42 tribal communities in the state. He accused the government of failing to protect their reservation rights.
Baghel said the three-day festival aims to unite the world for tribal rights, adding that it provides a great opportunity for them to share their thoughts and experiences.
“The aim of this festival is to protect age-old traditions and tribal rights and promote them across the world,” Baghel said.
The CM said 1,500 tribal artists from India and 10 other countries – Mozambique, Mongolia, Tongo, Russia, Indonesia, Maldives, Serbia, New Zealand, Rwanda and Egypt – will participate in the third edition of the festival.
“The changing times have brought about a transformation in people’s way of life. Today, our thinking on development has been divided into two directions. In one sense, our primitive values still persist today, while the other that calls itself modern has become an enemy of our nature,” Baghel said.
He added that the wrong concept of development has become a threat to nature and the rights of the tribes to their “jal, jungle, zameen” (water, forest and land).
“If we preserve our traditional values, then solidarity and unity will also prevail. Even this development thinking will also remain, which is necessary to save humanity,” the chief minister said.
Baghel opened the festival with excerpts of tribal dances from Togo, Egypt, Mongolia, Indonesia, Russia, New Zealand, Serbia, Rwanda and the Maldives to the tunes of “Sare Jahan Se Accha in their distinctive styles.
The opening ceremony saw brief performances from all the participating states, in addition to dances from tribes from Tamil Nadu, Jammu and Kashmir, Jharkhand and several others.
The Russian troupe performed traditional dances, in which performers mimic the movements of animals and birds, while depicting processes such as sowing, harvesting and weaving. They also performed the traditional Khorovod dance, which can be seen as a mix between a game and a song as continuous lyrical dialogue takes place between the performers.
ACCD Ungassoly, a cultural group from Mozambique, showcased their traditional dance styles through Mutxongoio and XiguBo dance. While Mutxongoio demonstrates happiness at harvest time, XiguBo represents colonial resistance or the strength of African ancestors in the 19th century.
Supported by a rich and diverse choreography, Mongolian dancers presented a fusion performance that involved elements of several traditional tribal dances, in particular ‘Joroon Joroo’ and ‘Biyelgee’.
The fusion performance showcased the East Asian country’s unique dance forms that embody and stem from the daily lifestyle of Mongolian herders, such as milking cows, cooking, hunting and other household chores. .
The festival will also witness an exhibition of state arts and crafts including bamboo work, wood carving, bell metal carvings and terracotta work.