Hornbill Festival 2016 takes flight at Kisama
KISAMA, DECEMBER 1 : The 10-day long annual tourism promotional event of the government of Nagaland, Hornbill Festival – coinciding with the 53rd Statehood Day – kicked off today at the Naga Heritage village, Kisama.
Greeting the people on the occasion, governor PB Acharya paid tribute to the pioneers of the state for their contributions and the role they had played with courage to make Nagaland a “beautiful state”.
Acharya lauded the Nagaland government for organizing the Hornbill Festival every year with its first day corresponding with the significant Statehood Day, and in doing so, conserving the rich heritage of the Nagas. He said the festival has gone a long way in giving boost to tourism in the state through its miniature representation of the rich cultural diversity of the state. “If tourism prospers, the quality of infrastructure will improve and it will bring more visitors as tourists to the state,” he said.
“Hornbill Festival reminds us (of) our roots, traditions and culture. It is understood that we adapt to modern methods and technologies, yet we cannot forget our old traditions and what is good from that, we take forward with us,” the governor stated. He expressed enthusiasm that international participation in the festival is increasing and it has gained a national status.
Recounting his association with the people of Nagaland during the last two and a half years as the governor of the state, Acharya said he has noticed that Naga tradition shows spirit of community, treating everyone with respect and a spirit of forgiveness. He appealed to all the different (Naga national) groups to come together upholding this spirit to bring permanent peace to the state.
Asserting that peace and stability are important in promoting economic development of individuals and society at large, the governor expressed hope that the “framework agreement” signed between the NSCN-IM and the government of India will end in “respectful peace” in the state.
Also extending greetings to the people of Nagaland on the occasion of 53rd Statehood Day, chief minister TR Zeliang called upon all to recommit themselves to work united towards their common goals and visions of creating a peaceful and progressive state. He reminded that much ground had been covered during the past 53 years but more remains to be achieved.
As the chief host of this year’s edition of the Hornbill Festival, Zeliang while greeting revellers to the festival, also extended warm welcome to his Assam counterpart, Sarbananda Sonowal who was present as the guest of honour along with two of his cabinet ministers, MLAs and cultural troupe. He expressed hope that this would pave way for a new era of better relationship between the two neighbouring states at various levels.
The chief minister also expressed pride that the Hornbill Festival has become one of the most popular festivals not only in the northeast but even at national and international levels as well.
“We hope to leverage this as an important driver of the state’s economic development,” Zeliang stated. He informed that some of the events of the festival are being spread out at various locations outside Kohima starting this year, such as to Dimapur, Mokokchung and Phek districts.
Vision 2030 to be unvieled on Dec 10
Zeliang also announced that the state government has prepared the Nagaland Vision 2030 which outlines the state’s goals for the next 15 years. He said the vision document will be released on the last day of the festival.
He remarked that with the Act East Policy of the government of India beginning to take shape, Nagaland is looking forward to a “much faster pace of progress” in various fronts. Pointing out that Nagaland and its people can form a vital link and bridge between mainland India and the South East Asian countries, he was hopeful that once things are set in motion, the state’s geographical isolation will become a thing of the past and be considered as strategically located.
“The strategic location of Kohima in the geo-politics of South and South East Asia has been clearly demonstrated by the Battle of Kohima during the Second World War,” the chief minister maintained. Recalling his recent visit to Myanmar where he attended the International seminar on connectivity between India and SE Asia as part of the India-Myanmar-Thailand motor rally, Zeliang called upon the people to look forward to “better times ahead”.
Also supplementing to the governor’s call for the need of peace to progress, the chief minister appealed to all the Nagas including the various Naga nationalist groups to unite and work for the common goal of peace in Nagaland.
Earlier in the programme, Guru Sangyusang Pongener of Ungma village pronounced the traditional blessings to the festival and Rev Moa Longchari read out a scripture from the Bible and invoked God’s blessings. Parliamentary secretary for Tourism, C Apok Jamir, who is the host of this year’s Hornbill Festival, later proposed the vote of thanks.
Highlights of the first day of the festival included cultural dances, inauguration of Hortiscape, crafts bazaar, pony ride, photo fest, Naga Chef competition, Kids’ Carnival etc.