The 68th Republic Day parade in New Delhi's Rajpath was a colourful affair — tableaux from 17 states and Union Territories showcased the varied historical, art and cultural heritage of the country. Each state focussed on one theme — especially their socio-cultural aspect. The rich cultural diversity was in full display during the dazzling celebrations which had Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan as the chief guest. The 17 states which performed were Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Delhi, Goa, Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Karnataka, Lakshadweep, Maharashtra, Manipur, Odisha, Punjab, Tamil Nadu, Tripura and West Bengal.
The tableaux also showcased country's progress in different fields, particularly floats from Goa, Gujarat, Odisha, West Bengal, Assam and Jammu and Kashmir with their varied themes, found a special mention. Now, as you would guess, a few states thrilled us while a few made us wonder. Even though the tableau from each state was unique in their representation, it just got a little weird sometime. Here is Firstpost's list of the good and the weird from the state tableaux which were displayed during the Republic Day parade.
Let's start with the good:
Manipur: The focus was on the the ancient theatre tradition of Manipur, Lai Haraoba. Press Information Bureau reported that the tableau is an attempt to recreate the ambience of this 'quaint' and rich cultural tradition with a replica of the local deities and the dance of the devotees and the priestess. This ancient tradition preserved by the Meiteis must be watch for the transcendental trait of it.
Gujarat: Known for its art and lifestyle, the float from Gujarat focussed on the lifestyle of Kutch. Kutch is known for its art and lifestyle and there are reportedly 16 types of embroidery practised in the state. The front part of the tableau displayed women working on embroidery in 'symbolic form'. The rear of the tableau showed the famous cobbler embroidery art, along with Dabda, Kutchi camel embroidered fabric amongst other displays. The Gujarat tableau was colourful, entertaining and lively — probably the best in the lot.
Himachal Pradesh: Chamba Rumal is a unique specimen of Pahari art flourishing in Chamba town of Himachal Pradesh during the late 18th century. The tableau from Himachal showcased these Rumal, something similar to handkerchief, which contained hand woven embroidery which depicted scenes from ancient legends and myths. The Himachal tableau presented the essence of this art. A vivid tableau with a bright green patch in the front made the float stand out from its counterparts.
Goa: The tableau from this former Portugese colony looked like a giant wedding cake. The float focussed on the musical heritage of the state. The musical heritage of Goa has varied influences and each from varied regimes and this was depicted using various musical and dance forms. A truly interesting float — fronted by a peacock head and on top, a fibre figurine of a woman playing the ghumat, which is a percussion instrument made from earthen pot.
Karnataka: The tableau showcased the Goravas, worshipers of Shiva engaged in the ritualistic dance. The float concentrated on the folk dances of the state. Wearing caps made of bear hair, they danced to drums and flutes, which was followed by sword wielding warriors performing a dance along with other dancers. The visual experience was completed by a dancer attired in attractive mask forming the ensemble of Somas dancers.
Arunachal Pradesh: This year's tableau from the state showcased its famous Yak Dance. It is unarguably one of the most famous pantomimes of the Mahayana sect of Buddhist tribes of the state. It is a depiction of an ancient tale of family and a yak which solved the problems of the family and signifies the presence of 'health, wealth and happiness of the Mahayana Buddhist tribes.
Assam: Portraying the famous Kamakhya shrine of Guwahati, the float from Assam showcased its relevance in the socio-cultural context of India. Kamakhya is considered to be one of the greatest shrine to worship 'Shakti' the female counterpart of Shiva. Devotees from around the globe come to visit this shrine during the Ambubasi fair which is considered as a holy period. The importance of the shrine lies in the fact that there are no idols in the temple to worship. Instead there is a natural crack which reportedly resembles female genitalia and it reportedly bleeds during the Ambubasi period, signifying menstruation.
Punjab: Apart from an old man grooving to a Punjabi number, the tableau from this election-bound state was a lively and an entertaining one. The tableau was based on the theme of 'Jago', which is a festival of dance full of energy and celebrations and is celebrated the night before a Punjabi wedding. A pot decorated with oil lamps is carried on the head while dancing and singing songs of ‘Jago’ tradition. This mood of the festivity is expected to be stimulated in the parade, showcasing an important trait of the Punjabi culture.
Tamil Nadu: Focussing on Karakattam a popular folk dance form of Tamil Nadu which is performed mostly in festivals in temples, the tableau included the dancers balancing brass pots and a wooden parrot at the top and dancing to drum beats. This is what the float displayed. This festival celebrated mostly in Amman Temple festivals in the rural areas of Tamil Nadu is an interesting dance forms and is guaranteed to entertain.
West Bengal: Another culturally rich states, West Bengal depicted the Sharod Utsav. The advent of the festive season of autumn and finally the Durga puja festival, it is also known as Sharod Utsav. The West Bengal float tried to bring that experience to the audience of the Republic Day parade. The arts, crafts and stylised element along with the festive spirit of the Sharod Utsav mesmerised the crowd and present the richest trait of the culture of Bengal.
Now, for the weird ones.
Maharashtra: Commemorating the 160th birth anniversary of Lokmanya Balgangadhar Tilak, freedom fighter and a social reformer, the Maharashtra tableau got a bit weird. At the rear of the float, they showcased the ancient sport of Pehlwani. Aside from the fact that the visual of a couple of men clad in loin cloth jostling with each other atop the float was jarring, it had absolutely no connect with the front of the tableau, which was the torso of Tilak.
Lakshwadweep: Now, for the winner. The weirdest float was floated by Lakshwadweep. Known for its breathtaking islands and serene beaches, the tableau from Lakshadweep had an uncomfortable turtle perched on top of a tiny hill in the front. To make matters worse, we saw awkward-looking men posing as tourists — the idea was to depict the islands as unexplored tourist destination. Unlike the Andaman and Nicobar islands in the Bay of Bengal which sees tourists from world over, Lakshadweep seems less explored. The objective of the tableau, probably, was to attract more tourists and advertise the ideas of ‘nature tourism’ and ‘adventure sports’ as the island is abundant with diving spots, rich ecosystem, marine wealth amongst many other attractive features.
We think the effect was quite contrary. See for yourself.
Published Date: Jan 26, 2017 15:10 PM | Updated Date: Jan 26, 2017 15:10 PM