It was time to jig with tribal dancers and try her hand at loom for Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar when she threw open the annual Surajkund Mela to the public on Wednesday.
“It is the beginning of the spring and a time to enjoy,” said Kumar, who smilingly donned a traditional Assamese hat and posed for shutterbugs as she moved around the mela checking out the different stalls.
Kumar showed a keen interest in what Assam had to offer, being the partner state for this year’s edition.
Haryana : Keeping security men on their toes, she posed with dancers and even performed on the steps of the famous Assamese Dance ‘Jhumur’.She also tried her hands at handloom weaving. “It is amazing,” the Speaker said. As the festival, which will be called International Surajkund Mela from next year, was thrown open for public, there were performances from artists belonging to Assam, Congo and Uzbekistan.
“I was very happy. That was a power-packed performance; so much vibrant,” Kumar said, lauding the performance of the dancers from Congo Republic. Kumar also paid glowing tributes to the late Bhupen Hazarika in front of a statue of the Assamese singer, put up by the organisers.
The Speaker visited the majority of the foreign stalls, including that of of Pakistan, Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Thailand. She also praised the designers of the festival for its ambience and natural environment.
Addressing the gathering, Kumar called upon states, artisans and craftspersons to ensure that standard of Indian crafts should not come down.
She also visited the ‘Rang Ghar’, ‘Nam Ghar’ and ‘Apna Ghar’ of Assam and ‘Apna Ghar’ of Haryana. She spoke about the economic stability of India, notwithstanding adverse international conditions.
“This is because of our strength of democracy.” Over 700 artists from India and countries like Thailand, Congo, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan, besides all the SAARC nations will be participating in the 26th edition of the 15-day fair.
Promoting the concept of ‘mini-India’, the fair showcases the rural lifestyle with huts acting as stalls and kachcha roads giving a village ambiance, apart from traditional dance performances.
About 10 lakh people are expected to visit the Mela this year. The site of Surajkund is a historical place, where Raja Suraj Pal of Tomar dynasty had established Surajkund, whose shape is like rising sun, which is the symbol of progress,” Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Hooda said.