GUWAHATI- In an effort to bring forward the untold stories of Arunachal Pradesh’s unsung heroes, the Government of Arunachal Pradesh, as part of the Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav celebration, initiated a month-long theatre festival, ‘Arunachal Rang Mahotsav’ spanning across four Indian cities today concluded in Guwahati.
The first leg of the four-day program commenced in New Delhi on 11th July 2023, followed by performances in Mumbai, Kolkata and the last leg of the festival culminated in Guwahati from 8th August 2023 onward till 11th August 2023.
In Guwahati, the Arunachal Rang Mahotsav took place at the Srimanta Sankardeva International Auditorium, with its concluding show featuring today on 11th August. During the inaugural opening of the theatre festival in the city on 8th August, both state CMs of Arunachal Pradesh and Assam, Pema Khandu and Dr. Himanta Biswa Sarma attended the play along with Deputy CM of Arunachal Pradesh Chowna Mein.
At the festival’s opening ceremony, Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu praised the efforts led by Arunachal Pradesh Deputy Chief Minister Chowna Mein in unearthing the research on the unsung heroes of the state. He emphasized that due to inadequate documentation, both locals and the world remained unaware of the significant historical events of Arunachal Pradesh for a long time, but with the initiative of Government of India under Azadi ka Amrit Mahatsav has given an opportunity to research and documentation of the unsung heroes.
Assam’s Chief Minister Dr. Himanta Biswa Sarma expressed his delight over attending the immersive play on the opening day, featuring the Anglo-Tai Khamti War. He stressed the bond between the two states of Assam and Arunachal Pradesh being strengthened over such cultural exchanges.
Sarma also congratulated Arunachal Pradesh on making remarkable progress in preserving their lost history and sharing the same with the world. He added that the Arunachal Rang Mahotsav in Guwahati provided a wonderful opportunity for everyone to discover the long-standing cultural heritage and traditions of their neighboring state.
Addressing the audience in his inaugural speech at Guwahati, Dy CM Chowna Mein disclosed his fascination with the historical tales of their heroic ancestors stemming from his childhood days. He stated that the enormous task of collecting and documenting the hidden history of the state in an effort towards compiling the list of unsung heroes has been quite satisfactory so far, with the continuance of research work being carried forward with the purpose of reinstating Arunachal’s historical glory.
He thanked Nepha Wangsa, the primary resource behind the entire research project along with the History Department of Rajiv Gandhi University for going above and beyond in the process of collecting evidence from Assam Archives, Regional and National Archives/ Museum and British Library.
Taking to Twitter, Prime Minister Narendra Modi also commented on the success of the Arunachal Rang Mahotsav, stating that the theatre festival goes beyond the realm of an event. and embarks into a beautiful celebration of the diverse cultural heritage of Arunachal Pradesh, in harmony with the ideals of Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat. “It’s encouraging to witness this event taking place in various locations across India, such as Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, and Guwahati”, Modi added in his tweet.
The three plays highlighted the major resistance by the tribal people against British colonial namely ‘Chowpha Plang – Lu’ of the Tai Khamti, ‘Poju Mimak’ of the Abors (now called Adi’s), and ‘Ninu 80!’ of the Wancho Warriors. The final show depicts Arunachal Pradesh’s journey from its NEFA days to the present day Arunachal in a play titled ‘Arunachal Ek Safarnama,’ showcasing the state’s evolution over the decades. These productions reveal the historical resistance of Arunachal’s tribal communities against foreign rule in an immersive theatrical performance put up by the theatre artists of Arunachal Pradesh, under the guidance of Project Director Riken Ngomle.
Many eminent personalities from Assam attended the four days theatre festival namely Minister of PHE & Tourism, etc, GoA, Jayanta Mallabaruah, eminent theatre personality Dulal Roy, Secretary of Srimanta Sankaradeva Kalakshetra Society, Sudarshan Thakur, Actor Pranjal Saikia, renowned Actress and Comedy Queen of Assam Chetana Das, Chief of Ninu village, Arunachal Pradesh Longwang Wangham, Eminent Theatre Personality and Alumnus of NSD Baharul Islam, former DIG of Assam Apurva Jivan Boruah and others.