“Northeast-Gujarat cultural fusion to commemorate Lord Krishna’s wedding with Rukmini”: Dr. Jitendra Singh

New Delhi: The eight States of the Northern Eastern Region will participate in a big way during the Madhavpur Mela of Gujarat due to be held in the first week of April this year. The annual fair is held at Madhavpur Ghed in Porbandar district and the Mela this year will commence on 2nd April, a day after the Ram Navami festival. The Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER), MoS PMO, Personnel, Public Grievances, Pensions, Atomic Energy and Space, Dr Jitendra Singh chaired a high level meeting with senior officials of the Gujarat Government here today to review preparations for the mega festival. Secretary, North Eastern Council (NEC), Shri Moses Chalai and senior officers of NEC, besides Resident Commissioners/representatives of Arunachal Pradesh, Assam and Manipur also participated.

Dr Jitendra Singh directed the officials that besides Madhavpur, events including cultural performances, crafts display and food festivals of the NER region be showcased in other major cities of Gujarat including Ahmedabad to generate wider interest among the local population. He suggested that a logo bringing out the common links between Gujarat and the North-East be designed and the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR), Zonal Cultural Centres (ZCCs), Song and Drama Division of Information & Broadcasting Ministry besides the concerned departments of the State Governments be actively involved in various activities. A multimedia publicity campaign will be launched on March 1, 2020 to popularize the Madhavpur Mela. This will mark the cultural integration of Gujarat with the North-East under the Ek Bharat, Shrestha Bharat announced by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, he added.

The Madhavpur Mela of Gujarat shares its connect to the Mishmi Tribe of Arunachal Pradesh. The Mishmi Tribe traces its ancestry to the legendary King Bhishmak and through him to his daughter Rukmini and Lord Krishna. The festival celebrates the immortal journey which Rukmini undertook from Arunachal Pradesh to Gujarat with Lord Krishna. Bhismaknagar, located near Roing in the lower Dibang Valley district, also finds mention in Kalika Purana.

The week-long ‘Utsav’ will see a vibrant cultural trail of art, dance, music, poetry, story-telling and folk drama from Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur and other North-Eastern States with the aim to integrate the rich cultures of the two regions.

Madhavpur Ghed, a small but culturally significant village, is the place where, according to folklore, Lord Krishna married Rukmini, the daughter of King Bhishmaka. Madhavpur lies on the seashore, close to Porbandar. A 15th century Madhavrai temple marks the site. This event is commemorated by a cultural fair held every year, commencing on Ram Navami. A colourful chariot carrying the idol of Lord Krishna circumnavigates the village and the festivities usually continue for five days.

Madhavpur Mela this year will witness magnificent folk cultural performances from the North-East, especially Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur. Troupes from Assam will perform Rukmini-Haran, a popular folk theatre of the region. Musical troupe from Manipur will sing songs related to Rukmini in the Khullong Ishei and Nat genŕe. Dance-dramas based on Rukmini-Krishna legends from Arunachal and Manipur and folk dance of the Idu Mishmi tribe from Arunachal will be part of the varied repertoire.

An exposition and sale of art and crafts of Gujarat and handloom and handicrafts products from Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur and other North-Eastern states will be part of the event. A Visual Art Exhibition on Krishna and Rukmini put together by different institutions of Ministry of Culture like the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts and Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Manav Sangrahalaya highlighting the variegated legends of Krishna and Rukmini will be the main attraction.