The important and spectacular annual event of Republic day of the State Government organised in the Adivasi Ground of the Capital city of Bhubaneswar - the ADIVASI MELA – 2011 started with a big bang. The fortnight long extravaganza was inaugurated by Hon’ble Chief Minister of Orissa, Shri Naveen Patnak in the distinguished company of Shri Bijay Ranjan Singh Bariha, Hon’ble Minister, ST & SC Development, Shri Bijoy Kumar Patnaik, Chief Secretary of Orissa, Shri Santosh Kumar Sarangi, Commissioner-cum-Secretary, ST & SC Development Department and Prof. (Dr.) A. B. Ota, Director, SCSTRTI and Member Secretary, ATLC . A huge crowd witnessed this colourful programme of inauguration organised by ST & SC Development Department.
Welcoming the distinguished guests, dignitaries, media persons, participating departments and institutions, tribal men and women, visitors and officials, Shri S. K. Sarangi, Commissioner-cum-Secretary of ST & SC Development Department, stated that paying due honour to the wish of Hon’ble C.M. who have always shown or special interest to the life, culture and development of our tribal people, the duration of this annual fair has been extended from one week to a fortnight since the last year and encouraged by the overwhelming popular response for this Mela last year, this year’s theme is “Sustainable Development” for the tribes of Orissa. He hoped that the visitors will be delighted to get the taste of arts, crafts, food and non-food products of various tribes being sold in the “Tribal Hat” of this Mela.
Shri B. K. Patnaik, Chief Secretary of Orissa in his brief discourse said, the Adivasi Ground has become a landmark since the time of birth of the capital city at Bhubaneswar in the nineteen fifties. People of the city eagerly wait for the Annual Adivasi Exhibition to begin on the Republic Day every year to buy the product of tribal people which they consider as pure and useful. With the passage of time, this Mela has scaled greater heights and created an opportunity of interaction between the tribal world and the modern world.
This Mela had a humble beginning on the Republic Day of 1951 in shape of a small exhibition held at Cuttack city- the then capital of the Odisha state. With shifting of the state capital to Bhubaneswar, the annual event started here from 1954, said Hon’ble Minister, Shri B. R. Singh Bariha. Expressing his gratitude to the Chief Minister for his love and concern for the tribesmen, he said the State of Orissa has occupied the first position among the States of India in regard of granting ownership rights to the traditional forest dwellers most of whom are tribals under implementation Forest Rights Act.
Hon’ble Chief Minister in his speech stressed the need for development of education for all-round development of tribes of Orissa and highlighted the special efforts, schemes and programme of the State Government already implemented and going to be implemented in future like enhancing the stipend of ST students, supplying bi-cycles and school uniforms to ST boys students, special counselling for professional courses and jobs etc. He expressed his pleasure to see the Mela and the tribal people who have made this event very lively and picturesque.
This years Mela has got a face lift with an innovative concept, immaculate planning, designing and overall management. 135 Government and non-Government stalls have filled the space besides, the tribal food plaza, tribal hat and tribal arts and crafts pavilion. While tribal SHG groups conduct the transactions of tribal products in the tribal hat, the inherent skills of tribal artisans are displayed in the crafts pavilion set up in a flower garden.
The ambience is enchanting. After the inaugural function in which 10 tribal talents in the field of dance, music, material arts, literature, arts, crafts etc. were felicitated by honourable Chief Minister and Minister, the distinguished guests left the pandal. The pandal and its front open air auditorium vibrated to the hypnotic rhythm of tribal dance and music. The tribal dances of the evening were Kalasi dance of Santal of Rairangpur, Kathi dance of Koraput, Durua dance of Jeypore and famous Ghumura dance of Madanpur – Rampur of Kalahandi.
A motley crowd of spectators enjoyed the dances and witnessed the programmes of the evening while visiting the stalls for a taste of tribal way of life, which transported them from the materialistic modern world to the tribal world of nature and non-materialism.
On the coming two weeks the exhibition will remain open from 3 P.M. to 9 P.M. for the public. This is an event extra-ordinary and worth visiting. To say that it is a tour-de-force will not be an exaggeration.