While Chandigarh’s tableau might not have featured in the top three at this year’s Republic Day parade in New Delhi, it had certainly caught the fancy of the Defense Ministry, who organised an outing for the 13 states, whose floats had rolled down Rajpath.
Present in Chandigarh at the Rock Garden on Saturday were 11 states, including West Bengal, whose tableau won the first prize for their showing of the ‘Purulia Chhau’, a tribal dance famed for its vigorous movements and extremely acrobatic nature.
“Winning and losing are both essential parts of life; I was just happy to showcase my culture and for now am very happy to be in a place like Rock Garden with its beautiful architecture. Wish we had more than just a day and got to explore the rest of Chandigarh,” said Raju Kumar, from the West Bengal tableau.
Nazir Hussain, deputy secretary, Jammu and Kashmir, who was present with artists from his state, says that preparations for the floats are very demanding, with waking hours as early as 3am and one-month timescale for getting everything ready. “It’s all worth it though, as there is a feeling of oneness amongst all the different people present there,” says Hussain.
J&K’s tableau showcased the nomadic culture of the state, depicting Gujjar-Bakkarwal of Kashmir, Gaddi of Jammu region and the Changpa tribe from Ladakh. Changpas have the unique distinction of being allowed to move freely amongst the borders of India and China and are keepers of the Pashmina goat from where the famed Pashmina wool is sourced. “Shawls are so fine that they can be pulled through a tiny ring hole,” says Hussain.
Father and daughter duo, Milkhi Ram Mastana and Anuradha from Jammu, who were a part of the float, were more than happy to be experiencing Rock Garden’s architecture, as they say, “For some reason, we almost feel like we are back home.”
Sange Phuntso, part of the Arunachal Pradesh delegation, talks about virtue engaged in a constant struggle with evil and not always winning, something they showed in the Achelhama dance of the Monpa tribe. “It is a masked dance that essentially shows the triumph of good over evil and is performed on special occasions back home, this topic is something that will always be relevant.”
More than impressed by Rock Garden’s unique construction and theme, all the artists and officials present there today expressed their desire to meet Nek Chand, the creator.