|Workers create a replica of Maluti temples (top) at Morabadi grounds in Ranchi on Thursday and an idol that will be on display. Pictures by Prashant Mitra
It’s official. The ancient Maluti temples of Dumka will not find a place on Rajpath in New Delhi on January 26.
So, while other states will take out floats during the Republic Day parade in the national capital this year, Jharkhand will have to be content with displaying its pride on its own roads in Ranchi and the sub-capital of Dumka.
After a successful entry last year, Jharkhand has failed to qualify for the January 26 tableau show in Delhi this time.
The state information and public relations department had proposed three themes — the Maluti temples, which has been declared a heritage site, the famous kuchai silk from Seraikela and rock paintings of Palamau.
Although the Maluti model reached the last round, it got nixed by the final experts’ committee.
“We had made it to the final round. But the expert committee, comprising members from the defence ministry, did not approve it because they wanted maximum participation of children in the parade. Besides, they said that we had taken part in the parade last year too and they wanted to give a chance to those states that haven’t,” director of the department Awadhesh Kumar Pandey told The Telegraph.
In 2013, the state had showcased its signature dokra art.
The year before, it had proposed a tableau dedicated to the rock art of Hazaribagh and sericulture farming in the Delhi event. But the plan was rejected.
The public relations department has taken the setback in its stride and will instead display Maluti tableaus at R-Day functions at Morabadi grounds in Ranchi and in Dumka, where chief minister Hemant Soren will attend the parade at police line grounds.
“We have decided to showcase the Maluti temples in the R-Day functions at Ranchi and Dumka on January 26. Artists have been roped in from Bengal to design the tableaux at a total budget of Rs 10 lakh,” Pandey added.
The two tableaux are being readied at Morabadi grounds and the police line grounds in Dumka.
“We have brought in around 60 artists from Purulia and Hazaribagh. They are working on the models since January 11. We have been asked to complete them by January 24,” said Ramesh Prasad Sharma, the man in charge of the project.
Around 150 pieces of wooden ply, pots of clay and plastic fibre are being used to recreate the heritage site. Models of the deities are also being made with the help of black clay and plywood.
The tableaux, Pandey added, would not be disposed of or dismantled after January 26. Instead, they would be put on permanent display either at the state museum or at a park.
“We are yet to take a final call on the location. But it’s decided that the tableaux would be on permanent display even after the January 26 show,” he said.
A centuries-old village near Shikaripara in Dumka district, Maluti once boasted of 108 temples clustered within a diameter of 350 metres.
The temples were built under the Baj Basanta dynasty between the 16th and 17th century. However, state apathy and the absence of a conservation plan, three dozen — mostly shiva —temples have been reduced to rubble over the years.
The remaining 72 temples are also crumbling.
Jharkhand made its debut in the Rajpath parade in 2004. The state’s entries got rejected for the next two years till 2007 when a tableau on Sarhul — a traditional tribal festival worshipping Mother Nature — won the Centre’s approval.
The state made the cut next year too. A tableau on Tana Bhagats, their Gandhian way of life exhibited by 35 artistes, found pride of place in the march meant to mark national integrity.
The state’s entries in the subsequent years were rejected.
A central committee, set up to select themes from among entries sent by the states, usually looks for three parameters — national integration, international branding and aesthetic value.
In Ranchi, apart from the information and public relations department, over 20 other departments like social welfare, human resource development, IT, mining, industry, drinking water and sanitation, animal husbandry, agriculture, art, culture, sports and youth affairs, tourism, panchayati raj put up tableaux during the R-Day parade at Morabadi grounds every year.
This year will be no different.
Do you think we should have pitched another theme for the R-Day parade in Delhi?