Surajkund: It was time for shaking a leg
with tribal dancers and trying her hand at handloom for Lok
Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar when she threw open the annual
Surajkund Mela to the public on Wednesday.
"It is the beginning of the spring and a time to enjoy,"
said Kumar, who smilingly donned a traditional Assamese hat
and posed for shutterbugs as she moved around the mela
checking out the different stalls.
Kumar showed a keen interest in what Assam had to offer,
being the partner state for this year`s edition.
Keeping security men on their toes, she posed with dancers
and even performed on the steps of the famous Assamese Dance
She also tried her hands at handloom weaving. "It is
amazing," the Speaker said.
As the festival, which will be called International
Surajkund Mela from next year, was thrown open for public,
there were performances from artists belonging to Assam, Congo
"I was very happy. That was a power-packed performance;
so much vibrant," Kumar said, lauding the performance of the
dancers from Congo Republic.
Kumar also paid glowing tributes to the late Bhupen
Hazarika in front of a statue of the Assamese singer, put up
by the organisers.
The Speaker visited the majority of the foreign stalls,
including that of of Pakistan, Bangladesh, Afghanistan and
She also praised the designers of the festival for its
ambience and natural environment.
Addressing the gathering, Kumar called upon states,
artisans and craftspersons to ensure that standard of Indian
crafts should not come down.
Interest of the new generation should be sustained in
traditional crafts, she said.
Kumar said in order to raise the standards of Indian
crafts, states should consider establishment of Crafts
University, where eminent craftspersons may be engaged as
"Proper graduation and post-graduation degrees should be
awarded and research work should be encouraged in the crafts,"
the Speaker said.
Kumar showed keen interest in the seri-culture stall. She
also visited the `Rang Ghar`, `Nam Ghar` and `Apna Ghar` of
Assam and `Apna Ghar` of Haryana.
She spoke about the economic stability of India,
notwithstanding adverse international conditions. "This is
because of our strength of democracy."
Over 700 artists from India and countries like Thailand,
Congo, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan, besides all the
SAARC nations will be participating in the 26th edition of the
Promoting the concept of `mini-India`, the fair showcases
the rural lifestyle with huts acting as stalls and kachcha
roads giving a village ambiance, apart from traditional dance
Tourism Minister Subod Kant Sahay said the Surajkund
Crafts Mela has come a long way.
"This has developed into an international crafts bazaar
and is attracting more and more tourists," he said and called
upon the states to promote tourism.
"About 10 lakh people are expected to visit the Mela this
year. The site of Surajkund is a historical place, where Raja
Suraj Pal of Tomar dynasty had established Surajkund, whose
shape is like rising sun, which is the symbol of progress,"
Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Hooda said.