Kite fest chants respect-Brahmaputra mantra - initiatives to engage youths in assam through festivals

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By Saurav bora
  • Published 2.01.15

Visitors at the kite festival in Guwahati on Thursday. Picture by UB Photos

Guwahati, Jan. 1: It's an attempt to revive a traditional sport and inculcate in young minds the need to care for, and more importantly, respect the Brahmaputra and its surroundings.

Organised by Jeevan Initiative, a Guwahati-based trust, in association with Assam Tourism, the fourth edition of the Jeevan Kite and River Festival got under way at the riverside near Latasil here on New Year's Day.

As many as 40 varieties of kites made of plastic and paper and of different shapes, sizes, colours and themes, brought from outside the state were on offer for the visitors. Those that caught the eyeballs of the young were the eagles, butterflies, jet fighters, Angry Birds, Barbie and Spider Man.

Day I could start only by late afternoon once the inauguration was over as people sought to indulge in kite-flying - a "forgotten piece of history". Several of them were seen snaking upwards atop a clean, sandy stretch beside the mighty river.

"Through this festival we try to create a connect of tradition among the urban youth and the need to respect a river that has shaped lives since time immemorial by keeping its surroundings clean. As it is, prior to the previous three editions held in different stretches along the river, we had set up a traditional ambience after cleaning the area," Suresh Ranjan Goduka, chairman of Jeevan Initiative, told The Telegraph.

The organisers of the four-day festival have also planned to light up the stretch with earthen lamps as a tribute to the Brahmaputra. "There will be a theme song composed on the river by Rupam Bhuyan of North East Breeze. The performance will be choreographed by students from Cotton College. Among others, artistes from the State Music College, will also perform during the festival," Goduka said.

To attract more visitors, this year's edition also features sand art by artist Robin Bar, 3D art work by Dhemaji-based artiste Surya Boruah, aero-modelling/robotics sessions, a demonstration on adventure cycling, sky gazing through telescope, besides live music.

Registered as a trust in 2010, Jeevan Initiative currently has 170 members.

"The footfall in the earlier three editions was encouraging. Last year, the gloomy weather did play a part. But this year, we expect more people, given the pleasant weather. We have set up a traditional ambience, including a number of hut-like structures, a traditional boat, apart from a number of stalls selling traditional food," he said.

Families came in trickles on a lazy New Year's Day afternoon as the organisers were readying for the inaugural ceremony. But as dusk set in, the parking zone created outside the spot for the festival was chock-a-block with vehicles, not to mention the crowd inside.

"The evening ambience at the festival was just about right to break the late-night New Year Eve hangover. The glowing hand-made lanterns only added to the visual treat. But I must say, I have to visit the place again tomorrow to engage my daughters in a kite-flying session," said Barnali Devi, a mother of two.