Editorial

VIP festival

By Nagaland Post | Publish Date: 12/10/2018 12:20:48 PM IST

 Curtains came down on the ten-day Hornbill Festival now dubbed as Hornbill International Festival , which began on December 1, after ten days of hectic programmes which had put scores of government servants on their toes. The bonfire signals the end of all the activities at Kisama and also a big relief for those government servants who have been running from one end of Kohima to the other since the past several weeks while preparing for the ‘mother of festivals’. The Hornbill Festival has become well known in India and also heard about in some countries. That is mainly due to the sustained efforts by the state government to put up a good show, no matter how several crores of rupees is used. The Hornbill Festival is seen differently, depending on which side one looks at. To understand the phenomenon called Hornbill mania, one needs to understand that the idea behind the showcasing of Naga culture and tradition, was birthed by the evolutionary minds of planners, who believed (seriously) that showing off was quite alright. However, the fact is that the state has nothing to boast of except the myth of the past and the fantasy of those who think that the state is surely a potential tourist paradise, befitting the proud claim of being an ‘international’ event. To many, the Hornbill is truly a brilliant piece of event management by the government bureaucracy. The show is a pride for the state and the sweet adulations by gracious guests throughout the ten-day official programme, makes it even better. The Hornbill event runs on money for a few good ideas and many just mediocre ones. The problem with a ‘show’ is that it is meant to impress, as the word itself signifies and also limited in duration. Tourists visiting the Hornbill may do so for different reasons. What makes some return for the second or more times, could be any particular item. This could be either music rock contest (those who love rock music); traditional cuisines which are internationally priced beyond the reach of the aam admi or sight seeing places that have lost their primacy as natural scenic spots. For a good number, Hornbill is not anything but a carnival where adulterated alcohol ‘manufactured’ from nearby Khatkhati keeps the festivity warm in the chilly evenings. As commented in this column, Hornbill festival seems to be focussed on VIPs and special guests. Each day, the morning and afternoon events require an official guest of honour. One wonders why any tourist would want to travel all through the dusty and pot-holed Dimapur-Kohima road (hopefully it will be a smooth 4-lane by December 2019) just to pay through one’s nose for accommodation, steep local taxi fares and eat the local cuisines that may as well have at a five star international hotel. The authorities need to check exorbitance otherwise the entire show might collapse one day. Somehow the high spending government does not realise that it’s involvement as a catalyst has taken a wrong turn somewhere and goes against the concept of tourism. Affordable rates is the principle of promoting people tourism but somehow the VIP culture is totally against the spirit because it segregates not integrates people. A lot more can be written but suffice to say, there is need to have a holistic and realistic view of tourism whether it be Hornbill since the government cannot go on footing the bill.

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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