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99 Yatra
At Sharadotsav, they made beeline for carnival carousel
09 October 2006

The first-ever Kutch Carnival that was organised on the banks of historic Hamirsar Lake as part of Sharadostav late on Saturday was impressive in one respect. It attracted thousands of people, mainly Bhuj residents, who thronged the barricaded route of the carnival to watch the performing troupes and individual artitstes.

While the VIP guests — Chief Minister Narendra Modi, his cabinet colleages, top officials, representatives of sponsor industries and invited foreign guests— watched comfortably from their cosy chairs, ordinary people who came with their families had to spend more time in fighting with the policemen than enjoying the show. Even, the mediapersons who were invitees were not allowed to enter the VIP enclosures. Even phone calls to the top district officials did not help.  
One VIP guest, Manilal Thackar, an industrialst and philanthropist, was seen struggling amid the crowd as the policemen did not listen to his plea. ‘‘I phoned a senior official who also made arrangement to fetch us, but we could not get entry and we had to go back home,’’ he said, adding that ‘‘if you journalists cannot get entry, there is no point in wasting time here.’’

The carnival lasted four hours till midnight. The participation was not solely of Kutchi people as expected. Some 61 groups from within and outside the district participated. It was prized participation and winners were not real Kutchi cultural group. While the first prize went to local Matru Chhaya Vidyalaya girls, the second to Malyalai troupe and third to a Vadodara group.

Sources said this was not as per the instructions issued by Chief Secretary Sudhir Mankand, who hails from here. Mankad had come here last month to review the festival preparations and when he came to know that outside parties would be participating, he had disapproved of the idea. He had said all items and entire participation should be by Kutchis only. He had also said that only original Kutchis should be participants. ‘‘If you want to show the culture of traditional Kutchi community, let the real people the State make the presentation,’’ he had reportedly said.

Ahmedabad Newsline - Ahmedabad,India kutchhis globally , from Mumbai

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