Friday, February 15, 2019



Earth Festival is an important event in the life of Swadhina that is being organized every year in the working area of Swadhina.

A: Objective:
The basic objective of this program, termed as “Vasundhara Mela” in the local language, is many folds:
- Creating environment awareness among villagers, especially women and children,
- Exhibiting the importance of nature and natural resources in our daily life,
- Showcasing the cultural heritage of various communities,
- Fostering unity of human kind in a pluralistic society, with co-existence of many communities, race, creed and colour,
Vasundhara Mela is on
-Showcasing the varied and colourful world of animals, birds, reptiles, flora and fauna many of which are fast becoming extinct,

Recently Swadhina organized such a “Vasundhara Mela” sponsored by ERM  (Environmental Resources Management) at Kanku village in Patamda Block of East Singbhum district, Jharkhand. Kanku is located about 50 k.m. away from Jamshedpur on the border of Purulia district of West Bengal  and it is dwelling place of various tribal and OBC communities in a forest region .This was a 3-day event held from 25th January, 2019.

There were many stalls to exhibit different items also there were open-air exhibition of posters, charts, banner, and hoardings. The place was colourfully decorated with streamers and other decorative items.

B: Respect Tree:
One of the important aspects of theVasundhara Mela was an event called “Respect Tree”. An old tree was decorated with coloured papers and some glittering decorative. Early in the morning of the first day children
"Respecting Tree" event
and women of the village gathered under the tree. With incense sticks in their hands, and, amidst the sweet sound of conch-shell blowing they were encircling the tree with songs praising the usefulness of tree.

C: Exhibitions:
1.Vegetables: There was stall exhibiting various vegetables grown in the area brought by the local small farmers as a part of competitive vegetable show.

2.Birds: There was a exhibition showing large variety of birds depicted on large laminated display board with colourful picture and details about and interfering feature a contest for children wearing posters after visiting these exhibit they are ask the questions on the and contested giving best answers were winners.

3.Animals: Similar exhibits were there on different animal including the ones now extinct like dinosaur and dodo bird.
4. Dresses: There was on display a stall on laminated photo chart of dresses of different communities of India.

5. Seeds: There was stall on exhibiting various seeds grown in the area

6.Handicrafts:  There was interesting stall exhibit various handicraft items prepare by the local women and best one was given prizes.

7.Musical Items: Musical instruments made from nature like clay and wood etc.  Dance mask made of clay were on display.

8.Agricultural Implements: There was stall on various agricultural implements by local ironsmith.

9.Household items like mats made of various rope.

10.Pottery: Various clay items prepared by potters were put on the exhibitions

11.Bamboo-craft: Household kitchen items like basket were made of bamboo sticks were on display.

D: Discussion session

Everyday- there was open-air discussion sessions on women’s health, nutrition pollution, health and hygiene, women’s empowerment conducted by women leaders and social activists.

E: Competitions

There were many interesting competitions conducted which were conducive to the festival mood of the program for women.

1.Drawing Alpona/Kollam:  Alpona/Kollam is the art of floral design drawn on floor.  Women do this during festivals and happy occasions in the family like birthdays, marriages and so on. These are made by coloured powder or wet colors or at times with coloured chalks. Local women were seen participating enthusiastically in this. .

2.Conch Shell Blowing: Blowing a Conch-shell during the festivals and happy occasions are considered very auspicious and is a long time tradition. There was conch shell blowing competition held and those who can blow the conch shell for longest duration was
declared as winners.

3. Throwing the Ball Game: There was another interesting competition - putting the ball in the basket, which the women thoroughly enjoyed in participating.

4.Speech Competition: This was an instant speech contest where a participant has to speak for three minutes on the subject display on the chit. This again was very interesting event showing the leadership skill of the participating women.

5.Sit-n-Draw competition: This was held for children where every participant was provided with paper and pencil and color crayons for the drawing. The best one very given prizes.

6. Know Your Nature Competition: This again was for children. In this event participating children were asked to study the bird-animal charts on display intently and then come to the the main arena where in the were to say specific questions on those birds and animals. Children answering maximum correct answers were declared the winners.

Three days of festival which provided not only the intended awareness on the environment, nature and ecology for the villagers but also an occasion   of one and all to enjoy the good time of togetherness.

     Documentation by:
    Diptendu Mukerji

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