North-East India Tiwa Cultural Festival 2014 gets underway from 30 Jan to 2 Feb, 2014 at Jagiroad

A Tiwa folk dance. Photo: Amar Mann 
Tiwa is one of the major native communities inhabiting in Assam with rich cultural heritage. They are also found inhabiting in the state of Meghalaya as well as some other parts in the North-East. Their magnificent cultural heritage has still being maintaining isolated and hidden to the public at large due to lack of proper channel and patronage, lack of opportunities for exhibition, preservation, research and sustenance.
Tiwa society is enriched with various aspects of material culture which are worth learning, research and document and disseminate for social development. Therefore, in order to highlight their life style, folk art and culture, language and literature, folk dance and music, etc.,in making a platform of exhibition towards reaching the global fraternity, the North-East India Tiwa Cultural Festival has been organizing from 30th January to 2nd February, 2014 at Sograsal, Jagiroad, Morigaon district (Assam).
Hence, this festival has become a unique platform to display the various aspects of Tiwa society particularly and it is high time to let the younger generation know and love to spread own art, culture and tradition in the world.

Gateway to Sograsal. Photo: Amar Mann
The King of Gobha maintains great role in social life of Tiwa people

Tiwa (also called Lalung), recognised as Scheduled Tribe in Assam, is a culturally rich tribal community found inhabiting in the States of Assam and Meghalaya in North East India. The principality of the Tiwa people with regard to their culture is closely associated with the Gobha King.  The role of King (Raja) in Tiwa society is well organized and strong from the ancient time to till now. The social life of Tiwa community is still governed mostly by the King of Gobha Kingdom (Rajya). The King is called as ’Deuraja’.

With the features of cultural contrast, Tiwa people are found in two divisions, such as, Hill Tiwa and Plains Tiwa. The Hill Tiwas generally live in the westernmost areas of Karbi Anglong district of Assam as well as in the north-eastern side of Ri-Bhoi district of Meghalaya. On the other hand, plains Tiwas live on the flat lands of the Assam, mostly in Morigaon, Nagaon and Kamrup districts.

North-East India Tiwa Cultural Festival 2014 celebrates at Songrasal

A Tiwa folk dance. Photo credit: Dr Anil Boro
The four day long cultural festival has been organising at Songrasal, Jagiroad. On the feet of Sonaikuchi hill, the venue of the festival, Sograsal is beautiful location with good infrastructure available for this mega event. This venue is easily reachable vide road, rail and air transport. The nearest airport is Guwahati (LGB International Airport).

In the morning on 30th January, 2014, the schedule of the North-East India Tiwa Cultural Festival 2014 was started with opening ceremony of the Gateway to Sograsal, the festival venue by the present King of ancient Gobha Kingdom, Deepsing Deuraja. Next to that, the festival flag was hoisted by the president of organizing committee, Shri Tulsi Bordoloi and Shri Narayan Kumar Rodo Kakati, vice president of organising committee, inaugurated the transitory Guest House of the festival.

The Bachelors’ Dormitory, which is known as ‘Samadi’ in Tiwa language, plays a vital role in Tiwa social formation and it is also same in some other tribal societies in North-East India. The ‘Samadi’ of Tiwa society made in the festival venue was inaugurated by Shri Chidam Dewri, executive president of organizing committee.

Aspects of material culture of Tiwa society. Photo: Amar Mann
The Na’bar (Borghor) was inaugurated by Shri Debo Bordoloi, Member, Tiwa Autonomous Council.The camp of the participating artists was inaugurated by Shri Ananda Dewri, notable social worker. The most flavourful Tiwa Food Fair was inaugurated by Dr. Puniram Patar.

The “Wanchua Miswa”, a Tiwa folk festival of grinding rice powder, was inaugurated by Shri Ramakanta Dewri, Chief Executive Member, Tiwa Autonomous Council. This magnificent folk dance was performed by the cultural troupe from Karbi Anglong. Including the distinguished guests like Shri Rakesh Kumar, Deputy Commissioner, Morigaon district and Shri Rajat Ganguli, Director, North-East Sangeet Natak Akademi, this spectacular moment was also witnessed by a numerous prominent personalities in different areas like literature, research and development of Tiwa culture and traditions.

Pork Meat prepared on fire heat. Photo: Amar Mann
Afterwards, a large number of folk artists coming from different parts of Karbi Anglong and Meghalaya performed various forms of Tiwa dance and culture reviving magnificent form of folk dance and culture which are gradually descending from present day life.

In the evening, the Souvenir of the festival, ‘SOGRASAL’ was released by Dr. Harekrishna Dev Sarma, Principal, Morigaon College. Including Dr. Bhaben Ch. Neog, Principal of Kapili College, Jagiroad, as the guest of honour, several distinguished people were attended the function. In his inaugural speech, Dr. Harekrishna Dev Sarma said that a society gets destroyed not by war but an inappropriate cultural practice. He asked to the young generation of Tiwa community to come forward for research, development and preservation of the traditions and culture of Tiwa people and save the sons of the soil. This programme was followed by the colourful cultural programmes.
Pahariya Tiwa folk dance. Photo: Amar Mann

The festival is full of various cultural aspects in exhibition

To say about the programme highlights in the second day of the festival, there were lot of important programmes conducted where thousands of audiences witnessed the festival, such as, colourful cultural procession, a symposium on “Tiwa Folk Cultural and Tribal Cultural Diversities” where some distinguished persons took part including Shri Lalsing Madar, president of Tiwa Sahitya Sabha, Dr. Anil Boro, Sahitya Akademi Awardee, Proferossor, Gauhati University, Head of Department of Folklore; Shri Maheshwar Patar, former president of Tiway Sahitya Sabha, Shri Lakhi Panging, former president of Mising Sahitya Sabha and so on.

A Tiwa folk dance. Photo: Amar Mann
One of the major attractions was the Tiwa folk festival ‘Sagrafula’ where renowned personalities took part including Shri Uphing Maslai, EM of KAC, Shri Prasanta Rajguru, executive editor of Amar Asom; Dr. Hemchandra Deka, Principal of Dimoria College, Khetri; Shri Rituraj Konwar, senior photojournalist, and so on.

Organizing such kind of community festivals in North-Eastern part of India is really increasing the brotherhood among different communities, uniting among diversities, developing traditional values, enriching social ethos which is making a greater platform to express and exhibit own native identity.

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