The Bhil and Bhilala Adivasis of Alirajpur organized a mela to celebrate the Adivasi New Year in Vakner village on Monday.
The fair, titled The Jungle Mela, celebrated the nature-friendly lifestyle of the tribals of the region and was graced by renowned interior designer and chairperson of the Asian Heritage Foundation, Padma Bhushan Shri Rajiv Sethi.
Sethi took part in the festival along with her team.
The celebrations not only advocated for environmental sustainability, which is the bed rock of Bhili lifestyle and culture, but also sent a message to the world that the Bhils have something to teach the rest of humanity in terms of healthy living.
Over five thousand Bhil and Bhilala men and women of all ages congregated on the occasion from over fifty villages spread across Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat.
The mela started off with the propitiation of the most important Goddess of the Bhili pantheon, Rani Kajal, whose temple is situated atop the highest hill in Vakner village.
This was followed by a discussion in which intellectuals and activists from Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh spoke about the uniqueness of the Bhili culture and the need to strengthen it further as a sustainable alternative in the present context of environmental and social devastation.
The cultural programme of the mela was kicked off with a recitation of a piece on Rani Kajal from the Gayana, an oral lore that has been passed orally from generation to generation and comprises the Adivasis’ version of how the world came into being and how the natural forces are supreme and should be respected by humans by all means.
A cultural team from the Adivasi Academy in Tejgarh, Gujarat set up by the internationally renowned cultural activist Padmashri Ganesh Devy, also took part in the festivities.