Uncertainty looms large over this year's Bangla Sangeet Mela in Hills
Kolkata: Unrest in the Hills that has been continuing for the past 67 days has led to uncertainty over the Bangla Sangeet Mela in Darjeeling this year.
It was the Mamata Banerjee government that had initiated holding the musical fest in the Hills for the first time in 2016 so that music lovers from the region do not need to travel all the way to Kolkata to be a part of the Bangla Sangeet Mela.
The initiative had become immensely successful with participation of Padmashree Sonam Tshering Lepcha, folk musician, composer and lyricist from the Hills. He had performed at the venue in Darjeeling itself. Many other artistes from the region had got the opportunity to showcase their talent in venues including Darjeeling, Kurseong, Kalimpong and Siliguri where several artistes had performed at Dinabandhu Mancha.
Around 10 to 12 artistes had performed in each of the venues. It was a big platform for the new talents in the Hills. Many folk artistes also performed in the programme. Last year traditional dance forms from the Hills including Maruni and Kukri were also performed.
Though Bangla Sangeet Mela takes place in December, the Information and Cultural Affairs department needs to start preparations from now onwards. According to an official of the department, this year's Bangla Sangeet Mela will commence on December 27 and it will continue for the next seven days. There is no surety yet whether this year it will also take place in the Hills or not. "The all party meeting is scheduled to take place on August 29 to ensure restoration of peace in the Hills and everyone is waiting for its outcome," the official said.
He further added that besides mere changes, rest of the entire programme will remain the same. Individual artistes, folk artistes and Bangla bands will be performing as usual in the other venues including those in the city. There were 10 venues in Kolkata in 2016.
For seven days, the programme would start in the evening. The timing at the venues in the Hills was also set accordingly keeping in mind the fact of early sunset.
So the programmes there used to start a bit early compared to those in the plains.
It may be mentioned that the unrest in the Hills had started on June 8 and it had been causing immense harassment to the common masses in Darjeeling. The agitation claimed some lives and led to damage of property.