The five-day Jeevan Kite & River Festival concluded on Monday. From a one day event in its first year to a five-day grand celebration now, the 7th Jeevan Kite & River Festival has come a long way. Held on the riverbank behind Sonaram field from January 4-8, it has attracted thousands of people.
“Our main objective for this festival is to promote cleanliness and creativity. The Brahmaputra Campaign is for clean riverbanks for Brahmaputra and its tributaries,” Suresh Ranjan Goduka, Chief of Jeevan Initiative said.
“People usually associate Brahmaputra with flood and erosion. We want to change that perception so that people can think of it as a space for music, film, art and the like. Jayanta Malla Baruah Chairman of Assam Tourism Development Corporation Ltd. visited the festival this time and we are thinking of working towards livelihood generation here,” he added.
There was a putola nach (puppet theatre) show as part of the event, in order to revive this near-extinct folk art.
“The kite is a metaphor for our desire to fly in the backdrop of the river which is a reminder of our roots and civilization. We see that in villages, people have a strong connection to river and Nature. This step is towards cultural assimilation of the youth, especially in urban areas,” Goduka added.
As a tribute to the river Brahmaputra which is the lifeline for the people of Assam, thousands gathered to light earthen lamps and sky-lanterns.
“This festival celebrates the presence of the Brahmaputra and its importance in our lives. It is a great effort for cultural uplift. It is a very appreciable step taken by the organizers,” Deep Shekhar Das, a resident of Guwahati said.
Hailed as North-east India’s biggest beach festival, the Jeevan Kite & River festival organized various programmes like quiz competitions, photography contests, folk song competitions, choreography – all on the theme of Brahmaputra.
“I tried kite flying and enjoyed the adventure sports. This is my first visit to the festival,” Trinabrita Baruah, a student of class VII at Assam Valley said.
The art exhibition saw participation from all over Assam, where 25 frames were selected from four zonal competitions each.
“This is a great initiative and I love how creatively they have transformed this space with all the décor,” college student Jayatika Goswami said.
Under the Jeevan Initiative, two villages have been adopted – one in Goalpara and another in Morigaon. In Goalpara, they have cultivated the Assamese lemon on a large scale. The village in Morigaon is a flood-affected one with 118 families. In times of crisis, there occurs a scarcity of drinkable water and people are also prone to water-borne diseases.
In association with Institute of Mineralogy of Orissa they have undertaken an initiative to filter flood water. This initiative will study the area for five years to come up with a workable solution.