Its all dance and music in Jatinga!
Every year, during the foggy, windy and moonless nights of August, September, October and November, thousands of birds come to a unique place in NC Hills district of Assam to commit suicide. Both migratory and local birds – King Fisher, Tiger Bittern, Little Egret, etc – become part of this unique phenomenon, when they, after getting attracted and disoriented by artificial lights, make a sudden dash to the ground and to their deaths. This unique place is Jatinga, a village on a ridge facing the Borail Hills in the Dima Hasao District of Assam.
Though a land of enchanting beauty in terms of natural wealth and diversity, the Dima Hasao District has gone through turbulent times on account of two-decade long insurgency movements and ethnic turmoil. The situation has now stabilised to a certain extent in the district but the common people are still confused and clueless about their future. This is despite the fact that this district has a lot of potential in many fields, mostly in the tourism sector.
With a view to addressing this peculiar predicament of the people of the Dima Hasao District, an effective strategy is now being planned in the form of a festival that will showcase the rich and diverse ethnic mosaic of the people through a kaleidoscopic presentation of art and craft, music and dance, culture and cuisine of the various ethnic groups.
A district that has borne the brunt of insurgency and corruption, it is imperative that the focus of the youth is now diverted by giving a cultural stimulus. As such, the Jatinga festival is a very good start indeed.
The Office of the Jatinga Festival Organizing Committee informed that the festival is a joint collaborative effort of the Dima Hasao Autonomous Council (DHAC) and the Civil Society of the district, including the various community Apex Bodies, Mother Associations, Student & Youth Organizations, NGOs, Clubs and Media. “A host of stakeholders – right from the local people to the international community – are being invited to participate in this festival. So, thousands of people, including the dignitaries, government officials, tourists, policy makers, opinion makers, journalists, media managers etc. are expected to participate in this event,” the source informed.
Besides adventure tourism, film screening, meet of ornithologists, bird watching, traditional cuisine, traditional dance, etc, a fashion show and rock concert is also being organized to attract the youngsters. A commendable initiative and I wish the organizers the very best!