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Adivasi Mela, a kaleidoscope of tribal culture

By FnF Correspondent | PUBLISHED: 20, Jan 2012, 12:59 pm IST | UPDATED: 20, Jan 2012, 13:47 pm IST

Adivasi Mela, a kaleidoscope of tribal culture

The State Level Annual Adivasi Exhibition (Adivasi Mela) of Odisha, the ethnically vibrant cultural festival is one of the most attractive agenda of SC & ST Development Department. The exhibition, the only one of its kind in the country has had a chequered history, beginning right from the 26th January 1951, just one year after India adopted its Constitution to become a Republic.

The ‘tryst with destiny” speech of Pt. Nehru and the vibes inherent in the message for nation building provided the required impetus to organize the Adivasi Exhibition.

The exhibition got off the ground, in the erstwhile state capital Cuttack under the auspices of Adivasi and Harijan Welfare Department in 1951. With the shift of the department to Bhuhaneswar, the exhibition changed its venue. Due to unavoidable circumstance it went into hibernation from 1962 to 1967 only to revive itself erratically from time to time. But from 1982, the exhibition has been organized continuously. Adivasi exhibition is the earliest institutionalized step towards mainstreaming the tribal people of the state through societal dynamics of interaction and interface with their non-tribal counterparts.

The signature tune of the tribal exhibition goes beyond its literal meaning. The exhibition, making the tribal people of the state to meet in a colorful rendezvous along with their culturally nuanced kaleidoscope. It reflects the culture centric life of the tribal people. The vibes of continuity and change of ethnic life are showcased in the exhibition.

The duration of the Adivasi Mela has been extended from one week to a fortnight from the year 2010. The fifteen days long exhibition with its customary inauguration on 26th January coinciding the Republic day of the nation, has its own seating venue - a sprawling ground, well maintained and manicured by the department in the heart of the Capital city Bhubaneswar.

The ground situated in Unit-1 popularly known as Adivasi Padia by the people of the city is a veritable green oasis amidst the facade of residential location. An ambiance of serene atmosphere hung on the field with flowers and grassy knolls here and there make an un-ending endeavor to replicate the tribal Environment.

Each year subtle changes of tone and tenor are brought into the design and layout of the exhibition to make it more attractive to the people while the underlying concept of showcasing the time tasted tribal culture remains virtually unchanged.

The Adivasi exhibition showcases the rainbow world of tribal culture in its varied and myriad forms which are reflected from their pitched stalls on the exhibition ground. The characteristic house pattern of different tribal people with their material culture in their prototype model adorns the ground making the visitors confused, choosing fact from fiction.

Each day of the exhibition, enactment of ethnic dance by tribal, folk dance by Tribal Students of SSD fill the evening air. The visitor to the exhibition never feels bored even for a single moment. The permanent stage, situated on the ground, with its granite plated galleries for the audience, provides the platform to the cultural troupes and the visitor a place to witness the jovial life sequence of tribal people, which are best expressed in their dance sequences.

The exhibition has stalls pitched by other departments related to tribal life and tribal development. Departments such as Agriculture, Soil Conservations, Fishery, Forest, Small Scale Industries, associated with various development intervention for tribal people to show their operational strategies out of ongoing development concept.

To put it precisely the adivasi exhibition is a place for unwinding of the tribal and non-tribal people at the beginning of the year. The non-tribals come thronging to the exhibition ground to the exotic tribes and also to purchase utilitarian items from mela ground. Starting from handicrafts goods to cooking masala from organic farming can be procured from the exhibition.

This year the Odisha Adivasi Mela - 2012 under the theme “Livelihood of tribals” is showcasing the development activities in the following segment.
1.    Tribal Village Sector       4.  Tribal Craft Sector    7 .   Corporate Sector
2.    Tribal Hat Sector             5.   Tribal Painting Sector
3.    Tribal Food Sector          6.   Govt. Sector