Tura: The spectacular rhythm of the Hundred Drums Wangala festival touched the zenith on the concluding day as the beat of 100 drums reverberated across the Wangala A’dam witnessed by a record number of people on the third and final day of the festival.
Addressing the gathering on the occasion as Chief Guest, Meghalaya Chief Minister, Conrad K Sangma, expressed his appreciation and gratitude to the Wangala committee members for their effort and dedication in preserving the rich culture and traditions of the Garos through this festival and for making the event happen successfully every year.
The Chief Minister also highlighted the importance of these traditional festivals and said that the festival is integral to the tribal way of life and crucial to preserving the unique tribal identity, customs and traditions. “It is a celebration of who we are. It is a celebration to showcase to the world who and what we are”, he said.
Speaking about the importance of languages, the Chief Minister said that the resolution to include Garo and Khasi Languages in the 8th Schedule has been adopted by the Government. He also informed that the Nomination for Literary Award to promote local writers is in the pipeline. Moreover, he informed that the Government is supporting local artisans by providing a platform and financial assistance to promote their products and intends to extend more support for promoting traditional artists and artisans from the State.
The Chief Minister also expressed his happiness to see the progress of the Garo tribes in other states and countries and exhorted the organizing committee members to make Garos residing in other parts of the country and beyond to be part of the annual Hundred Drums Wangala Festival in future.
The Chief Minister also announced during the festival that a sum of Rupees Two Crore has been sanctioned from the Meghalayan Age Ltd which would be implemented by the Tourism department in developing the necessary infrastructure and development of the Garo Heritage Village, the permanent site of the Wangala Festival. Mentioning the effort of the government to continue and showcase the rich cultural heritage of the Garos, he said that such festivals should be made bigger and better in the years to come.
The Deputy Speaker, of Assam Legislative Assembly Dr Numal Momin while gracing the occasion as Guest of Honour expressed his gratefulness to the organizing committee for being able to witness the festival and conveyed his heartiest greeting to all.
Meanwhile, PHE Minister, Government of Meghalaya Renikton Tongkhar while greeting the people during the Wangala festival said that he is proud to see the progress of the Garo tribe in other states in the country and beyond.
Earlier, while welcoming the gathering the Chairman of the Wangala Committee Ronald Rikman Sangma highlighted the significance of the festival and the need to preserve the traditions of the Garos.
The Wangala Anthem, “Dimdim Dimchong Dachichong” which is the age-old popular folk song composed by the Late Millickson K Sangma is sung every day of the festival.
It may be mentioned that the 100 Drums Wangala is the post-harvest festival of the Garos, consisting of various thanksgiving rituals followed by merrymaking, music and dance.
Tourists from far and beyond including France, Gujarat, Bangalore, Kerala, Assam, Sikkim and media persons from various places came to witness the Wangala festival and enrich themselves with rituals called Rugala which is performed a day ahead of the Wangala by the Nokma (A Village Chief) in which the offering of the first-hand special rice-beer along with cooked rice and vegetables are given to Misi Saljong, the Giver and Sa∙sat So∙a ceremony or burning of the incense at the pillar of his house performed on the next day to mark the beginning of weeklong Wangala festival.
The ten dance contingent who participated in the competition were Dura Kangkangre, Gondenggre, Chibragre, Chidaogre, Sadolbra, Dalbanggre from West Garo Hills, Wanokdamgre from North Garo Hills, Rapdikgre from East Garo Hills and Chepagre, and Bangkapara from South West Garo Hills Districts. The winner of this year’s Wangala competition is Sadolbra followed by Gondenggre and Chidaogre dance troupes.
Earlier during the festival, the Chief Minister handed over the Sanctioned letter of Two Crores and also handed over the sanctioned amount of Rupees Ten lakhs out of 25 Lakhs to the Chairman of the Wangala committee.
Deputy Speaker, Meghalaya Legislative Assembly, Timothy D Shira, Adviser to the Chief Minister, Government of Meghalaya, Thomas A Sangma, MLA Bajengdoba Constituency, Pongseng Marak, Deputy Commissioner, West Garo Hills Swapnil Tembe, Members of the Wangala Committee and host of distinguished dignitaries attended the festival.
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