Students of St Michael’s School for the Blind perform at the Christmas fete at Loyola grounds in Ranchi on Monday. Picture by Hardeep Singh
It’s a fair with a difference.
The eight-day Christmas fete at Loyola grounds on Purulia Road in Ranchi, which commenced on December 14 with blessings from Cardinal Telesphore P. Toppo, is spreading the message of women empowerment.
The event has all the ingredients of a perfect Christmas carnival — the usual eateries, stalls selling handicraft items, books, cars, two-wheelers, home appliances, sewing machines, ayurvedic medicines, fitness equipment et al.
There is also a special cart — with Santa perched atop — doing the rounds of the campus and distributing chocolates to all and sundry. The usual fashion shows and quiz are also being organised.
But messages of women empowerment — being aired through a public address system on the sad anniversary of the brutal Delhi gang rape — are what make this rather ordinary fair extraordinary.
“Irrespective of what we wear and how we wear them, we are the better and brighter half,” said the loudspeaker on Monday, December 16.
“Our dress does not give the right to a man to rape us,” was another message conveyed to visitors at the fair.
The Christmas extravaganza is being organised by Times Event, a Mumbai-based event management firm, which opened a branch in Ranchi about six months ago.
“We have dedicated this fair to the Delhi gang rape victim and women empowerment. We are giving out messages that girls need to be respected and honoured and that we should not be treated as commodities, ones that can be touched and groped at random,” said Sunita Beck, the co-partner of Times Event.
Ranchi boy Anup Kujur is the other partner.
The talented twosome, who are alumni of National Institute of Event Management (NIEM), have for the first time organised such a big fair.
“We have been organising one-day events throughout the country. But this is for the first time that we have organised an eight-day-long Christmas fair in the Jharkhand capital,” Sunita said.
The fair timings are from noon to 8pm.
“On the first three days, we have witnessed over 1,000 guests. The fair is open to all, not just Christians,” she added.
Around 150 stalls are stepping up the buy-buy quotient at the fair.
Stall owners, however, said the response so far had been lukewarm but they were expecting the footfall to increase in the remaining five days.
At Premsons Motors’ stall, employees of the company said that only two cars had been booked on the first three days of the fair.