The Speaker, Meghalaya Legislative Assembly Metbah Lyngdoh graced the 43rd Hundred Drums Wangala Festival on the second and final day of the celebrations today held at the proposed permanent site, Wangala A’dam, Chibragre under West Garo Hills District.
Expressing his thankfulness to the Wangala Committee, Metbah Lyngdoh said that this is the second time he is witnessing the Wangala festival and that he had attended for the first time in the year 2018. He appreciated the effort of the organising committee for selecting this permanent site which is for the greater cause of the people of Garo Hills and promotes the culture to greater heights.
Highlighting the importance of the festival which is being celebrated every year, he reminded the effort and farsighted wisdom of the then leaders and pioneers of the wangala committee who had worked hard to bring in the concept of preserving the culture and traditions of our tribe for our future generations.
Further, stating that the pandemic had posed several challenges to the people of the State, he said that in spite of this the festival could be celebrated by following the Covid protocols laid down by the government and also advised the people to follow these protocols till the availability of vaccine for Covid-19.
Moreover, he expressed hope that the spirit of wangala festival promotes peace, renew friendship and further strengthen the bonds of brotherhood and urged everyone to preserve and protect our culture not because it is our past or celebrated by others in the past, but it is our cultural heritage which is our identity and represents our values, belonging, strength and pride to be passed on to the future generations the rich culture and heritage of our tribe.
Speaking on the occasion as Guest of Honour, Ferlin C A Sangma, Chairman, Meghalaya State Council on Climate Change and Sustainable Development said that it is a matter of great pride since after 44 years the committee had acquired the permanent site for showcasing the rich culture and traditions of the Garos. Mentioning the valuable contributions of the pioneers of the wangala committee, she said that Lt. H N Sangma, Lt. Hubert K Sangma, Lt Garnett Sangma, Lt. Prabir R Marak and their friends adding that Lt. Prabir Marak who was the then BDO of Rongram C & RD Block had selected the Asanang Field to hold the festival to preserve the culture and it is an honour to remember them for their contribution and visualization.
Informing that the culture and traditions of the Garos are fast disappearings due to modernization, she said that for this reason, the pioneers of wangala committee had felt the need to preserve our custom and values including language, traditional dresses, etc for which this tradition of celebrating wangala festival is being held every year, she added. Further, she extended her support for the development of the heritage village adding that being a woman she felt the need to work hard to encourage and uplift the values and traditions of our tribe.
It may be mentioned that the 100 Drums Wangala is the post-harvest festival of the Garos, consisting of various thanksgiving rituals followed by merrymaking, music, and dance which have been reduced to 30 drums this year due to pandemic. Apart from the usual rhythm of the drums, Garo War Dance performed by Rombagre troops was introduced for the first time in the wangala festival depicting how the Garo forefathers wage war with their enemies and the manner they celebrate their victory after their triumphant win adding more grandeur to the festival this year. Moreover, the age-old popular folk song “Dimdim Dimchong Dachichong” which was composed by Late Millickson K Sangma and has been selected as the Wangala Anthem is being sung every day of the festival.
Earlier during the festival, the Chief Guest and other dignitaries handed over the Token of Appreciation for the participating dance troops at the festival.
Meanwhile, the Wangala Committee had expressed their gratitude to the Nokma of Chibragre A’king land, Kredis Sangma who had generously donated his land about 72 Bighas for the said Heritage Village.
The Working Chairman, 100 Drums Wangala Committee, Ronald Rikman Sangma, Adviser to the 100 Drums Wangala Committee, and President Nokma Council, Skylance G Momin were among other who spoke on the occasion while a host of distinguished dignitaries, district officials, Members of the committee and people of the area attended the festival. EOM