|01 February 2007|
Press Release No. 60/07
ATONG FESTIVAL HELD AT KARUKOL
For the first time ever, a two day “Chugan Festival”, the post-funeral festival of the Atongs was held on January 29 and 30, 2007 at Karukol, a small village with modest population located at some 15 kms away from the headquarter Baghmara, South Garo Hills. The festival was organized by the Southern Youth & Cultural Organisation, an NGO based at Karukol. Meghalaya Minister for Tourism etc., Mr. R. G. Lyngdoh graced the concluding function as the Chief Guest while Mrs. D. C. Marak, Chairperson of Meghalaya Tourism Development Council (MTDC) attended as the Guest of Honour. The first day of the festival was inaugurated by Co-Chairman of State Level Public Grievances Committee, Mr. Sengman. R. Marak on January 29, 2007.
Mr. Lyngdoh, in his address, expressed his pleasure to associate himself in such a colourful event, adding that one must take pride in one’s cultures and traditions. He said that Garo Hills, especially South Garo Hills District has much to offer in terms of development of eco-tourism and if given a proper attention, could become a good tourist destination. He also urged upon the NGOs of the area to submit proposals to the Government for the development of necessary infrastructures for tourism industry and assured that the Government would certainly help if it is found viable. Emphasizing the need for maintenance of peace for development, Mr. Lyngdoh said that confrontational attitudes and agitations like bandhs etc. serves no purpose but brings only destruction.
Mrs. D. C. Marak, in her brief speech, said that materialism and influence of other cultures has corrupted the innocent minds of the Garos in the recent years and added that progression in life and preservation of one’s valued cultures could go hand in hand without actually diluting or destroying the latter or both. She also informed that Garo Hills has tremendous potential for development of agriculture and tourism.
It may be mentioned that the Atongs is one of the many sub-tribes of the Garos, inhabiting the Siju and its surrounding areas of South Garo Hills District.