The Vice President, Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu urged the younger generation to understand the rich and diverse traditions ingrained in Indian festivals and called for protecting, promoting and enriching our exceptional culture and folk art forms.
Inaugurating the fourth International Kite Festival and Second International Sweet Festival at Parade Grounds in Secunderabad on Sunday, he said that festivals are occasions for social bonding and inculcate a spirit of communal harmony and national integrity. They symbolise renewal, rejuvenation and revival of our traditions and heritage and bring in the sense of togetherness, unity, love and brotherhood in today’s fast-paced world.
We witness the coming together of families and communities during such festivals. They are also occasions for social bonding, he said.
Calling Makar Sankranthi, which is a harvest festival, a celebration of life and vitality, he said the important festival holds great historical and religious significance. It is the festival of Sun God who is often regarded as the symbol divinity and wisdom. Those who celebrate this occasion of thanksgiving and merry-making revel in anticipation and joy, he said.
The Vice President also tried his hand at kite flying for a few moments. Shri Naidu said the fascination associated with the kite flying transcends age, class, and community. Flying kites is tremendous experience, he added. Observing that kite-making was an art form, the Vice President said that it requires skill, precision, devotion and inventiveness.
Saying that India’s tremendous diversity and plurality made it home to several colourful festivals, he stressed the need to understand the meaning and values associated with festivals. They also have deep ties to nature.
Referring to the display of 1200 sweets from different countries at the Sweet Festival, he observed that sweets symbolize the sweet happenings in life and hold a place of great prominence in Indian culinary tradition, Shri Naidu said that they symbolize prosperity, joy and abundance and lend great flavour to celebrations, he added.
As many as 42 professional kite flyers from abroad and 60 from India are participating in the Kite Festival.
Telangana Home Minister, Shri Mohammed Mahmood Ali, Telanagana Government’s Special Representative in Delhi, Shri S.Venugopalachary, Telangana Legislative Council Chairman, Shri Swamy Goud, World Cultural Tourism Association President, General Officer Commanding, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh sub area, Major General, Srinivas Rao attended the function.
The following is the full text of the speech:
“I am very happy to be at this cultural extravaganza that is the Telangana International Kite Festival. I am told that this third edition of the Festival would witness participation of nearly 100 enthusiasts of kite flying from 19 different countries including India.
Every year, hundreds of people gather to witness this festival of colours on the occasion of Sankranti.
Makar Sankranti is a very auspicious day in Hindu customs. Throughout India, people celebrate this festival with great enthusiasm and fervour.
The festival is celebrated in different names in different parts of the country. In south India, it is popularly called ‘Pongal’, in Punjab and Haryana it is called ‘Lohri’, in Assam it is called ‘Bihu’ and ‘Khichdi festival’ in Bihar.
This important festival holds great historical and religious significance. It is the festival of Sun God who is often regarded as the symbol divinity and wisdom.
Makar Sakranti or ‘Uttarayan’ is the day when the sun begins its northbound journey, marking the beginning of the decline of winter. The days become longer, the skies clearer and the breeze warmer.
Those who celebrate this occasion of thanksgiving and merry-making revel in anticipation and joy.
The festival is a celebration of renewal, rejuvenation and revival. Sankranthi is also a harvest festival, a celebration of life and vitality.
The fascination associated with the kite flying transcends age, class, and community. History tells us that India developed a rich tradition of kite flying under the patronage of the Kings and Nawabs' who found the sport both entertaining and used it as a way of asserting their authority and might.
The skill, devotion and inventiveness that goes into making and flying kites is tremendous. Kite making is an art form by itself.
I applaud all those kite makers whose ingenuity and creativity would be displayed in this 3 day long spectacular celebration.
Sisters and brothers,
India’s tremendous diversity and plurality make it home to several colourful festivals. Our festivals have deep ties to nature and are reflections of the vibrancy and vigour of our cultural traditions.
Festivals in India witness the coming together of families and communities. It is a celebration of togetherness, unity, love and brotherhood; it is a great occasion for social bonding.
In India, festivals also inspire a spirit of national integrity and communal harmony as they often cut across religion and community.
In today’s fast paced world where members of a family live and work far apart from each other, the sense of togetherness that the celebration of festivals inspires, becomes even more crucial.
Festivals bring neighbours into dialogue, they act as catalysts to creativity, they inspire civic pride, they improve our general psychological well-being and they make our countries and our communities happier, safer and better places to live.
Festivals are an important way to teach our children about our rich mythological legacy and more significantly, to teach them about celebrating the great diversity that exists in our society.
I am very happy to know that this Year’s Telangana International Kite Festival has adopted the theme of the empowerment of the girl child; ‘educate girl child and she will save the world’.
Let our girl children fly high and proud, just like these beautiful kites.
It is also heartening to know that, in tune with the message of harmony with nature that forms the underlying theme of Indian festivals, this kite festival too has vowed to use only eco friendly material in making kites.
India is on the verge of realizing its long cherished goal of cleanliness. Let this festival serve as an example to all such festivals being organized in the country.
I am told that this Kite Festival would also showcase cultural performances and art forms unique to Telangana. The finesse and refinement that our art forms possess have always been a source of great pride to us.
We should do our best to protect, promote and enrich our exceptional classical and folk art forms. Such showcases and performances would go a long way in taking our art forms to wider audiences and ensure their vitality and continuity.
I am also happy to note that the 2nd international sweet festival, which would present us with an opportunity to relish sweets from different communities of India and the world, would also happen here along with the kite festival.
Since time immemorial, Indians have bonded over food. Sweets hold a place of great prominence in our culinary tradition.
Our sweets are legendary, popular all over the world. We celebrate every single auspicious occasion with an array of delicious sweets.
They symbolize prosperity, joy and abundance and lend great flavour to celebrations.
I am delighted to know that in a bid to empower home makers of Hyderabad, the sweet festival would exclusively feature home-made sweets.
I wish the Kite festival, its organizers, the Department of Tourism, Government of Telangana and the Ministry of Tourism, Government of India and the participants all the very best.
May the winds forever be in your favour.