hammer1.gif (1140 bytes) People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)

Vol. XXV

No. 31

August 05, 2001


Youth, Students Hold Second State Level Festival

Tikender Singh

CARRYING the spirit of the soon-to-take-place 15th World Festival of Youth and Students (WFYS), the Himachal state committee of the Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI) organised a three-day state level festival of youth and students in Shimla, the capital town, from July 19 to 21. Endorsing the WFYS’s slogan of "Let’s Globalise the Struggle for Peace, Solidarity & Development against Imperialism," the mega event was organised in response to the DYFI’s all-India call to propagate the message and highlight the relevance of the world festival. It sought to highlight how the anti-imperialist ethos of the world youth movement continues to be vibrant, influencing millions of youth around the globe.

The three-day festival marked a new chapter in the cultural life of the state. Himachal Pradesh, a hilly state, has a vibrant culture of folk art, folk songs, folk dance and folk music, and a rich tradition of brotherhood and community servicing. But all this is being threatened by the new globalisation culture --- the culture of individualism, the culture of cut-throat competition, the culture of cheating, and the like. Besides, the culture of tolerance and plurality, for which Himachal has always been known, is also under threat from the forces of right wing, reactionary communalism led by the saffron brigade. It is in this background that the colourful youth festival was organised in Shimla.

The event witnessed a variety of programmes ranging from the rich Kinnauri folk dance to modern theatre presentations. The event was organised in such a manner as to have the widest possible participation. Three items formed the competitive list --- one act plays, folk dance and folk song. Professionals as well as tender school-going children participated in these programmes.

The famous theatre artist of Punjab, Sardar Gursharan Singh, inaugurated the function on July 19 afternoon. His team also staged a play But Jag Peya (the statue has come alive). It was a wonderful play with a strong satire on the ruling class politicians of today who have little care for the values that inspired Bhagat Singh and other martyrs. Very rich and heart-throbbing performances were put by a large number of school children, in particular those from Dayanand Public School and St Edwards School. The children from the former school presented a folk dance in Rajasthani and those from the other in Punjabi. Equally marked was the presentation of a local group from Shimla, mostly working people, who performed Kariala, a folk play, in local dialect; this too was very educative. The folk dance from Karsog also made a lasting impact on the audience. More than 15 items were performed on the first day. The programme finished at 8 p m.

On July 20, the function was opened by N K Sharma, director of a theatre group, called Act I, from Delhi. He had come with his troupe of 21 artistes. The day saw a large number of performances, both in the competitive and the guest categories. Roshani Justa almost shocked the audience when she picked up a handkerchief from the floor with her tongue, while carrying five pots of water and dancing to the tune of a local folk song. The highlight of the day was the full-length play by N K Sharma as the guest performance --- Ab Pinto Gussa Nahin Karta (Now Pinto does not get angry). The play highlighted the deep sense of cynicism prevalent in our society. On this day tool, the programme went on till 9 p m and, finally, many of the items had to be postponed.

The last day saw a large number of plays including folk (Banthra) of Mandi, a satire on police by Kala Manch from Nangal, and a play Le Chal by Shimla artists. The play on communalism, staged by Nahan team, was also touching. In all, more than 20 schools and nearly 50 teams participated in the festival, with a large number of individual participants performing during short intervals. More than 450 participants made their performances. The hall where the programme was held, remained fully packed, with a large number of the audience standing by the side walls of the hall.

Later a prize distribution function also took place. Earlier, only one prize for each category was earmarked --- one each for folk song, folk dance and play categories. But considering the large number of participants, the committee decided to have a special jury prize for the schools in two categories, namely, folk song and folk dance. The three prizes included Rs 1000, Rs 700 and Rs 500 in cash.

In the general category, the first prize for folk dance was bagged by the students of Dayanand Public School. Similarly, the first prizes for play and song categories were awarded to Kala Manch, Nangal, and Jitender Kumar from Shimla respectively. In the school category, the first prize went to Monal Public School and DAV School, Lakkar Bazar.

The DYFI state committee also brought out a souvenir on the occasion to make the festival a memorable one.

(Tikender Singh Panwar is the general secretary of the DYFI’s Himachal state committee.)

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