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Three North Eastern states to display their traditions on Republic Day

The famous Kaziranga National park and famed Rhino would also be a part of the parade

Two northeastern states – Arunachal Pradesh and Tripura – will showcase their traditions, famed customary talents, art and craft while Assam will demonstrate its tea, one of the backbones of Indian economy, and wildlife, in this year's Republic Day parade in the national capital.

Officials said that after around seven rounds of meetings, the expert committee under the Defence Ministry cleared the themes of Assam, Arunachal Pradesh and Tripura with limited participations due to Covid-19 pandemic.

The officials of the three north-eastern states said that besides the Assam tea and its culture associated with the segment, Arunachal Pradesh's Wancho tribes' wooden log drum "Kham" and the Chakzam Bridge at Tawang and the eco-friendly tradition of Tripura in daily life of the tribals would definitely earn the extols of the people.

According to the officials, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, a limited number of states and Union Territories would display their tableau in this year's Republic Day parade in New Delhi on Tuesday.

Assam's Cultural Affairs department officials said that the state's tableau would showcase the state's tea garden, tea workers' life and culture and other related aspects of the tea industry including the famous "Jhumur" dance.

"Assam tea is one of the backbones of India's economy and lakhs of people are associated with the century old industry. To portray tea garden, its traditional life and culture, various activities associated with it, including the well-known "Jhumur" dance, the combined theme was finalised," Cultural Affairs Department Commissioner and Secretary Preetom Saikia told IANS over phone.

He said that the tableau would illustrate a typical tea garden scene of women plucking leaves and dancing to "Jhumur" beats by eleven artists.

"The famous Kaziranga National park and famed Rhino would also be a part of the tableau," Saikia said. Kaziranga National park, a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1985, is home to more than 2,200 one-horned Indian rhinoceros.

Last year, the tableau from Assam with the theme – "Land of Unique Craftsmanship and Culture", was adjudged the best among the tableaux from 16 states and Union Territories.

With the theme "East meets West", Arunachal Pradesh would display tribals' traditional "Wancho's wooden log drum "Kham" and the Chakzam Bridge at Tawang in north-west of state capital Itanagar.

According to the officials of Arunachal Pradesh government, Tangton Gyalpo, a disciple of first Dalai Lama, popularly known as Lama Chag-Zam Wangpo (1385-1464) was an architect, Philosopher and an Iron chain bridge builder.

Gyalpo is credited to have built more than 100 iron bridges all over Himalayan region.

"During 1420-1430, he built the Chakzam bridge at Tawang over Tawang-chu river to make a passage through Kitpi and Mukto. The bridge that exemplifies the finest metallurgy is about 25 km away from the Tawang town," an official of the Arunachal Pradesh government said.

Arunachal Pradesh is the home land of numerous ethnic communities including Wanchos, inhabiting in the Longding district, bordering Myanmar and the state of Nagaland. "Jhum" (shifting farming) cultivator Wanchos are carefree, cheerful and hard working people.

Wancho settlements are usually found on ridges or spurs of mountains and traditionally ruled by a chief called Wangham. Wood carving, bead necklaces, basketry and tattoo are some of the famous craft practices of Wanchos.

Kham or Log drum, carved out of huge wood or tree trunk is an exotic example of creativity and craftsmanship of Wancho tribes. Varying in size as much as 12 meters in length and three meter in circumference, log drums are an integral part of Wancho life. The figure of a typical log drum comprises of head, body and tail. Sometimes these are highly decorated with human and animal motifs.

Tripura tableau would display the eco-friendly traditions of Tripura tribals' life, culture and their traditional talent on bamboo crafts.

Tripura Information and Cultural Affairs Department's Director Ratan Biswas said that this year the Republic Day tableau of the state would highlight the eco-friendly traditions in daily life of tribal people.

"In Tripura tribals' life and culture and festivals, traditionally bamboo plays a very significant role. Tripura is home to 19 tribes with the total population of 12 lakh and life of all the tribes is associated with bamboo in one way or the other," Biswas said.

He said that displaying bamboo made value added products and crafts, the theme of the tableau is 'Eco-Friendly Atmanirbhar Tripura'.

"Focusing on socio-religious aspects of Tripuri tribe and bamboo, being an integral part of the tribals' life, with worshiping called 'Lampra Wathop Mwtai'. The rich cultural heritage would also be showcased through a dance called 'Lebang Boomani'. In this dance young boys and girls visit "Jhum" farm to drive away or catch the insects called Lebang by using bamboo splits," the official said.

According to the official, the rear portion of the tableau is embellished with handicrafts of the state and models symbolising socio-cultural tradition.