Tura: Pristine white Me.gong flowers were in full bloom all over the picturesque Garo Hills as Meghalaya knocked into its golden era with Chief Minister Conrad K’ongkal Sangma inaugurating the ‘Me’gong Festival’ that aims to promote the culture, diversity and the lifestyle of the Garos and also usher in the year-long festivity, celebrating the 50th year of statehood.
The three-day fest is showcasing the different varieties of brews from across the northeastern region. In this year’s event, apart from Meghalaya participants from Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim and Assam are showcasing their traditional drinks, mostly made from rice and fruits.
After inaugurating the festival at Babadam in the outskirts of Tura in the West Garo district, the Chief Minister said, “The festival is part of the various celebrations to commemorate Meghalaya’s 50th year of statehood and India 75th year of Independence.”
Sangma said that through the Me’gong Festival, the tourism department will showcase Meghalaya’s Garo Hills as a tourism destination.
“Due to the Covid pandemic, the tourism industry has suffered, as the COVID-19 situation is improving, the State Government has planned various events to promote and attract tourists to the State,” he said.
During the programme, the logo for ‘Meghalaya at 50’ was unveiled by the Chief Minister in presence of his party legislators Thomas A Sangma, Marcuise Marak and Deputy Head of Mission, Embassy of Sweden in India, Gautam Bhattacharya.
Sangma said that a number of activities and festivals will be organized across the state in the run-up to the 50th year of Statehood, which will culminate with a grand event to be held in the State capital, likely to be graced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on January 21 next year.
He also informed about a Tribal Research Institute, which is coming up at Chidikgre in Babadam, which will give opportunity for research and documentation of different tribal cultures.
“We want to make the institute a vibrant centre for research and documentation of different tribal cultures. We will open this centre for all tribes of Northeast and even beyond,” he said, adding that
tribal communities from all over South East Asia would be involved with the venture.
“We started Me’gong with a theme of exploring the different breweries of the tribal cultures. Tribal people are proud of their culture and their traditional drinks represent their cultural identities. And as a Government, we feel that people should be given an opportunity to experience the unique cultural diversities of the Northeast. We all share a bond and through this festival, we aim to foster our relationship,” Sangma underscored.