Union minister Kiren Rijiju dons Naga tradition attire at Hornbill Festival on Saturday.

Union minister of state for sports and youth affairs Kiren Rijiju on Saturday said the Hornbill Festival has become the symbol of Nagaland and the Northeast.

Speaking at the event at Naga Heritage Village, Kisama, near Kohima, Rijiju said the Hornbill Festival is not only a celebration of festivals but it depicts the spirit and rich cultural heritage of the Naga people.

Consul General of France Virginie Corteval was the honored guest at the event being organised by the Nagaland art and cultural department as part of the ongoing festival.

He said that the various activities at the festival like music, dances, food, display of flowers and organic produces, indigenous sports etc. are very unique as everyone can come together and take part in it.

“Nagas are simple, straightforward and courageous and celebration of hornbill festival is showcasing the basic character of Naga identity,” said Rijiji.

He said Nagaland has the potential to become one of the hubs for adventure activities.

He assured that his ministry would promote adventure sports like tracking, hiking, cycling, mountain biking etc. in the state.

Stating that sports are a way of life for tribal people, Rijiju said wrestling, a unique traditional sport of Nagaland, should be preserved and promoted.

He added that the Union ministry of sports and youth resource will provide funds to promote the Naga indigenous sports.

Rijiju said Prime Minister Narendra Modi through the Act East Policy laid the foundation for development for the north eastern states and bridging the gap between the mainland India and the Northeast region.

He said with the PM’s initiative a special cell in police was set up in all the major metropolitan cities to address any issues concerning the interest of the north eastern people.

He added that it was very heartening to see the Northeast boys and girls recruited in the special force of Delhi police.

Gracing the evening session of the programme, DoNER minister Jitendra Singh described the festival as the torch bearer of cultural festivals.

He said entire India is going to unite through this festival which has become popular not only all over the country but also across the world through social media.

Singh added Nagaland has become an ambassador of the Northeast with uniqueness of its rich culture and tradition of its own.

Bhadra Gogoi

Bhadra Gogoi is Northeast Now Correspondent in Nagaland. He can be reached at: bhadragogoi@yahoo.com