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Aadi Mahaotsav (A Celebration of the Spirit of Tribal Craft, Culture, Heritage, Cuisine & Commerce)

03 Mar 2021

Aadi Mahaotsav- also known as the National Tribal Festival; establishes a direct connection between the masses and the tribal people. It is a joint initiative of the Ministry of Tribal Affairs and the Tribal Cooperative Marketing Development Federation of India (TRIFED), commenced annually since 2017. An avenue of showcasing the unique tribal products and artisans to the mainstream population, the National Tribal Craft Expo – an exhibition, named Aadi Mahotasav, is celebrated, in which all the tribal people participate individually, in groups, agencies, organisation etc.

It provides an excellent platform to familiarise the people with the rich and diverse craft, heritage and culture of the tribal communities across the country in one place. This is also beneficial for the vulnerable and underprivileged tribes where they get a bigger market for displaying and selling their arts and crafts. .The tribal artisans and Van Dhan suppliers can link with other artisans and market drivers and get a chance to know each other. The artisans are able to interact directly with art lovers and get first- hand feedback from them which can then better their creations and designs.

Tribes are an indifferent organ of our society. They constitute over 8% of our population however; they are among the disadvantaged sections of the society. It is really appreciable that our government is taking effective measures to uplift them and give recognition. The first Tribal Festival, in 2017 was inaugurated by our Hon’ble Vice President Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu for a fortnight in New Delhi. In 2018, it was organised for 15 days in New Delhi by the Tribal Affairs Minister Shri Jual Oram. In 2019, it was organised at Polo Ground in Ladakh for 9 days after the government decided to make Ladakh a union territory, inaugurated by the Governor of Jammu & Kashmir Shri Satya Pal Mallik. A new record had been created in 2020, when amid the ongoing pandemic, TRIFED decided to continue this valuable tradition, and hence the first virtual edition of Aadi Mahotsav was launched for 10 days in Madhya Pradesh by the Tribal Affairs Minister Shri Arjun Munda. Recently in 2021, with the Hon’ble Prime Minister clarion call Vocal4Local, this National Tribal Festival was held from February 1-15 at Dilli Haat, INA, New Delhi, inaugurated by our Hon’ble vice president Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu. Now in this digital era, tribal commerce should also be connected with digital techniques and transactions.

Speaking at the venue, Shri Bhaskar Khulbe , Advisor to the Prime Minister, said, “I am very happy to get such an exposure to tribal culture, art and handicrafts from across the country, all in one place. It is indeed a great initiative by TRIFED, and it will surely help in popularising tribal culture to larger audiences."

This festival comprises of display and sale of tribal art and craft, medicine & healers, cuisine and folk performances in which more than 200 stalls and around 1000 tribal artisans, artists and chefs from more than 20 states of the country participate and provide a glimpse of their rich traditional culture. Fascinating jeweleries from the North-east and of the distinctive Dokra style, handcrafted decorating materials, fine textiles and silks such as Maheswari, Karvathi Kathi silk sarees, smooth Tassar silks sarees and Pashmina Shawls; wares like Moonj Grass basketry and blue pottery from Jaipur, famous sand paintings and many more forest products. All these marvelous varieties create a spark in the eyes and touch the viewer’s heart. Visitors can relish themselves with variety of Adi Vyanjans, simple but tasty food from tribal India such as thapdi roti, madwa roti, litti chokha, sabudana vada and Adivasi Laddu at the festive venue. Various entertaining music, cultural and folk performances are also arranged during the Mahotsav.

 Basically the aim behind this festival is to widen the spread and reach of the work of the tribal artisans. The venue for Aadi Mahotsav keeps changing but it brings an awe-inspiring experience in a single space. For the urban residents, it is an opportunity to know more about the natural ways of the Adivasis and interact with them. In short, Aadi Mahotsav is a celebration of the tribal art and culture in holistic manner!

                                                                                                                            -  By Sonali Sharma

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