A ten-day showcase

By Nagaland Post | Publish Date: 12/4/2019 12:23:42 PM IST

 After day four of the current ten-day long Hornbill Festival, not only the overworked government officials and staff of several departments, but even public are getting exhausted by the hectic schedules. Officials and staff of some departments have to work practically round the clock in order to ‘keep the show going’ and to please their bosses. On the other hand, visitors have run from one end to the other and traversing between Kisama to other venues through Kohima’s perennial traffic jam which is at its worst during the festival. Each year, cultural troupes representing tribes of the state put up their special performance from dances, to hand crafts to folksongs etc. To add to variety, cultural troupes from other states or foreign countries also present their items. There is food, local alcoholic brew, digital technological optics, fashion and beauty pageants, rock music etc to add to the medley. The ten-day festival, replete with arrival of special state guests for the morning and evening events everyday, definitely makes it a government festival programme. When the event is officially declared open by the chief guest or chief host etc, is there any more need for visitors to be kept waiting to witness events till VVIPs or VIPs arrive the venue? All these, packaged in a ten-day capsule also comes with a price and a heavy one at that too, for a poor state like Nagaland. The cost of all the week-long show runs into several crore rupees that can double by providing additional allocations in lieu of additional expenditure. The state government will be spending around Rs.50 lakh per day for ten days during the ongoing festival. The festival seeks to be everything for everybody-from those wanting to see the showcased ‘Naga culture’ to those wanting to enjoy the brief enchantment of food, fun and frolic. There is a dichotomy over showcasing Naga culture and promoting inquisitive tourists. While there is no doubt that the Hornbill Festival has been widely acclaimed for the excellent show put up by the state government and the event managers; at the end of the day and after the show is over, the moot question is whether tourism has grown in real terms or whether the economic condition of those beyond the privileged few and close to the powers that be, has considerably improved? The other is whether it is justified for the government to spend such a huge amount just for putting up a good show and whether it would be advisable to privatise the entire event? There are few questions with regard to the pros and cons on whether the huge expenditure for the short term goal for promoting Hornbill Festival tourism should hold sway over investment for long term objective of promoting the economy?. The best thing state government can do is to devise a sound, long-term strategy of investment in infrastructure (roads, power, connectivity), education, research and economic development, and stick to it. This is not going to be liked by our politicians because there is always pressure to divert the funds to short-term or politically popular purposes. Entertainment is a booming business. Its appeal continues to grow as it adapts to different formats to keep up with the ever growing demands of the tourist industry. There is nothing wrong with entertainment, if we don’t place a higher value on it than our own reality and what matters to us.

Launched on December 3,1990. Nagaland Post is the first and highest circulated newspaper of Nagaland state. Nagaland Post is also the first newspaper in Nagaland to be published in multi-colour.

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