TRADITION MARKED the inauguration of the Lucknow Mahotsava-2006, with Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav entering the Ambedkar Sthal on an ornate horse-drawn carriage.
He released a bunch of balloons, lit a lamp and declared the festival open in the backdrop of fireworks. Shehnai recital by the late Ustad Bismillah Khan’s troupe and Kathak presentation by Pandit Birju Maharaj were among the highlights of the occasion.
“Even the smallest of places have a history. Mahotsavas help people become aware of their history, culture and tradition. The trend of holding such annual festivals is catching on. I came to know about Etawah’s history through festivals held there,” he said.
“Lucknow Mahotsava showcases the city’s cultural wealth. Lucknow’s handicraft is famous all over the world. From the main gate to the venue, I saw replicas of the Sikanderbagh gate and the Baradari. They symbolise Lucknow’s glory. The city was beautiful in the past and is so even now. It will become more beautiful in future.
I wish more districts would hold such Mahotsavas which foster amity,” he said.
Tourism Minister Kokab Hameed’s appeal to protect the city’s heritage buildings drew no response from the chief minister.
Hamid said: “While Lucknow is becoming developed and modern, there should be a government order to protect its heritage buildings which are in a shambles.”
Yadav kept his speech short and made no political statement.
‘Viraasat Bhi Vikaas Bhi’ (development and heritage) is the theme of the festival.
After the speeches, the festival’s theme song, ‘Lucknow Gauravgaan’, penned by Yogesh Praveen, was presented. Choreography by City Montessori School students accompanied the presentation titled ‘Phoolon ka shahar Bharat ka chaman’.
Impressed by the performance, the CM presented a cheque of Rs 1 lakh. Sadhna Swaroop was in charge of compering.
The CM also released the Mahotsava souvenir ‘Urmila’.
Divisional commissioner RK Mittal said the tradition of holding the Lucknow Mahotsava began in 1976.