Madhavpur Mela ‘unites people through feelings’, says president
PRESIDENT RAMNATH Kovind on Sunday, after inaugurating the annual Madhavpur Mela, said the five-day cultural fair is a “festival of uniting the people of the country through feelings”. He also expressed hope that the annual cultural fair will hold a special place in the traditions of India.
The fair is held in the coastal village of Madhavpur, about 60 km south of Porbandar, and celebrates the marriage of the Hindu deity Lord Krishna with Rukmini.
The President noted that simultaneous similar events were being held in 20 Gujarat temples and a number of functions in eight states in India‘s northeast region.
“Today, a number of cultural events are being held in eight northeastern states. I hope this fair will have a special identity in our cultural traditions,” he added.
The President has declared that the Madhavpur mela and related events in Gujarat and the North East are India’s mega unity festival. “I am especially happy that this festival which unites people across the county through feelings is celebrated alongside the Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav,” Kovind said.
It is believed that Rukmini, princess of present-day Arunachal Pradesh, wanted to marry Lord Krishna while her brother wanted to marry her to Shishupal.
Therefore, Lord Krishna, who ruled his kingdom from Dwarka in present-day Gujarat, abducted Rukmini and the couple were married in a marriage ceremony held in the village of Madhavpur.
Madhavpur Mela begins on Ram Navami, the day marking the birth of Lord Rama according to the Hindu lunar calendar. Various wedding rituals go up to Trayodashi, or the 13th day of the month of Chaitra in the Hidu calendar.
From 2018, in collaboration with the Union Ministry of Culture, the Gujarat government started organizing side events such as public meetings and cultural evenings at the fair by inviting the incumbent Chief Ministers and artists from the northeastern states.
The government also organizes a handicraft festival showcasing products made by artists from the northeastern states and Gujarat.
The President observed that fairs and festivals have bound Indian people for centuries and Madhavpur Mela also incorporates Gujarat in North East India.
Governor of Gujarat Acharya Devvrat, Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel, Chief Minister of Meghalaya Conrad Sangma, Chief Minister of Sikkim Prem Singh Tamang and Union Minister of State for Culture Pratima Bhoumik were present occasionally.
Gujarat’s Minister of State for Transport and Tourism, Arvind Raiyani and Minister of State for Home Affairs, Culture, Youth and Cultural Affairs, Harsh Sanghavi were also present.
Patel referred to Arunachal Pradesh and Gujarat as the two axes of India’s cultural heritage and said: “Although our languages, dialects and ways of life are different, we Indians, from time immemorial, are culturally one. We may speak different languages, but only one heart beats in each of us.
Addressing the inaugural ceremony, Meghalaya CM Sangma called for more cultural exchanges modeled after Madhavpur Mela between Gujarat and the northeast region of the country. “I would also like a program like this in the northeast. I want to ask you and urge you for an event where west meets east in the northeast,” Sangma said. He said that Such a program would lead to respect for cultural diversity and strengthen national integration.
Praising Prime Minister Modi, he also said the northeast region had made significant progress in recent times.
Addressing the ceremony, Chief Minister of Sikkim Prem Singh Tamang said his state would like to organize a sound and light show similar to the one at Sabarmati Ashram in Ahmedabad.