First N-E Festival outside India, in Bangkok, to push trade and tourism

“Northeast India, connected by a 22 km-corridor to mainland India, has always suffered due to its geographical isolation.

A mega “Northeast India Festival”, comprising of trade, tourism, culture, academics and fashion was held this weekend in Bangkok, the first of its kind outside India. Chief organiser Shyamkanu Mahanta, who has held similar festivals in Delhi, informed that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “Act East” policy had prompted him to undertake this mega Northeast India Festival, outside India. More more than 500 officials from Northeast Indian governments had flown down to Bangkok for the mega event. These included bureaucrats, MPS, tourism heads, entrepreneurs, academics, chefs and artistes.

“Northeast India, connected by a 22 km-corridor to mainland India, has always suffered due to its geographical isolation. But opening up Southeast Asia through Northeast India, is full of promise”, he stated.

In fact the tagline of the festival was “Connecting Northeast India to Southeast Asia.”

With the Northeast region sharing a common border with Southeast Asian countries like Bhutan, Thailand and Burma, the festival was an important event, especially as Thailand is chairman of the Asean this year. The 1582 km-long Trilateral Highway, from Manipur to Burma and Maesot in Thailand, to be ready next year, was often referred to in the discussions, as it was expected to make Northeast India, “the hub of Southeast Asia”.

Thai deputy commerce minister Chutima Bunyapraphasara inaugurated the “Northeast India Festival,” speaking of her good impressions of Assam during a business trip, and informing that she would be taking a trade delegation there in May.

The highlight of the Northeast India Festival in Bangkok were two important and well-attended seminars, aimed at increasing bilateral trade and tourism.

The Trade and Investment Seminar attracted as many as 100 participants. The Northeast Indian representatives spoke of the abundant natural resources available in their states, for which they required developmental support as also investments — bamboo, limestone, rubber, textiles, medicinal plants, construction, pharmaceuticals, hydro power, food processing, flowers and fruits, oil and gas and hotels and spas.

Thai entrepreneur Prim Jitcharoongphorn, who is also the president of the Thai-India Business Council, informed the Thai participants that “the current environment is very good to do business with India.”

“The market is big, the price is competitive, the compensation is the volume”, she declared.

Meanwhile, the Tourism Seminar was attended by more than 100 tour operators from Thailand, and 40 from Northeast India. The latter’s delegation was made up of the top officials from the tourism sector, including tourism heads, bureaucrats, MPs and advisers to the government.

The high-level officials enumerated the specialties of each Northeastern Indian state — rich fauna and flora, wildlife sanctuaries, trekking and adventure trails, Unesco heritage sites, cultural festivals, ecstasy and rural tourism. With Spice Jet announcing a direct two-hour flight from Bangkok to Gauhati in March, the tourism potential of the region received a big boost. The GM of the airline, Ajaykumar Gupta was proud that the flight would accentuate bilateral trade and tourism with Thailand.

The People to People Exchange event of the festival was attended by a galaxy of top scholars, academics and researchers from both countries. There were excellent presentations about the huge “Thai” connection with the Northeast Indian region, through the large number of “Tai” tribes living there. These were descendants of Thai migrants to Assam, as far back as the 11th century. It was fascinating to learn that the “Tai’s” language, script, customs, beliefs, rituals, festivals, food and cuisine closely resembled that of the “Thai” people in Thailand.

In fact, the much-loved Thai Indophile Princess H.R.H. Mahachakri Sirindhorn had visited the Northeastern region to meet and interact with these Ahoum tribes. Among the well-known academics at the “People to People Exchange”, were Thai Ahoum scholar and Assam MP Lakhya Konwar, famed scholar who has written many books on the Tai Ahoum community, professor Chattip Nartsupha, ethnographer-researcher Dr Rajni Gogoi, who organised whole event, and the VC of Gauhati Varsity Dr Mridul Hazarika of the “dedicated Southeast Asian department” in his varsity which offered “credits” to students from the Southeast Asian countries. In fact, a group of Thai students from the India Studies Centre of Thammasat Varsity were currently doing a semester there!

Meanwhile, a vibrant array of cultural performances were the ultimate icing to the festival cake. There was a grand display of old and new forms by the best artistes of the Northeast Indian region — folk dances from Nagaland and Manipur, famed rock bands Featherheads, Girish and the Chronicles, riveting rapper Rahul Rajkhowa, well-known Bollywood singer Zubeen Garg, and even an international DJ, Teri Miko.

There were fashion shows by three top designers too, displaying a seamless amalgam of traditional textiles with modern designs.

All the shows were held on the outside grounds of the popular Central World Mall, and attracted a mixed variety of audiences. It was not easy to pack in so many high-quality artistes, with the best of acoustics in an open-air setting, but the artistes did their best to produce some vibrant shows.

No mention was made of the political insurgency in the Northeast region, nor the troublesome Citizenship Bill.

But mention was made by several Northeastern Indian delegates about their Mongloid features, which made them feel like “outsiders” in their homeland. As one speaker said, “We have an identity crisis in India, but we have a face-connect in Thailand!”

The newly-arrived Indian ambassador to Thailand, Suchitra Durai, orchestrated the mega festival in less than two months, and said she was proud it was a “resounding success”. Organiser Shyamkanu Mahanta admitted that he never expected to get such ‘‘astounding support’ and was now tempted to do Northeast Indian Festivals in neighbouring Southeast Asian countries like Singapore and Laos.

Considering that this was an amazingly holistic festival which covered almost every aspect of the seven rich and diverse states of the Northeastern region, one must admit that the “Northeast India Festival” in Thailand was huge trailblazer indeed.

Source : The writer is a critic and commentator on films and culture based in Bangkok.

First N-E Festival outside India, in Bangkok, to push trade and tourism

First N-E Festival outside India, in Bangkok, to push trade and tourism

The Indian ambassador lighting the lamp to inaugurate the festival

“Northeast India, connected by a 22 km-corridor to mainland India, has always suffered due to its geographical isolation.

A mega “Northeast India Festival”, comprising of trade, tourism, culture, academics and fashion was held this weekend in Bangkok, the first of its kind outside India. Chief organiser Shyamkanu Mahanta, who has held similar festivals in Delhi, informed that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “Act East” policy had prompted him to undertake this mega Northeast India Festival, outside India. More more than 500 officials from Northeast Indian governments had flown down to Bangkok for the mega event. These included bureaucrats, MPS, tourism heads, entrepreneurs, academics, chefs and artistes.

“Northeast India, connected by a 22 km-corridor to mainland India, has always suffered due to its geographical isolation. But opening up Southeast Asia through Northeast India, is full of promise”, he stated.

In fact the tagline of the festival was “Connecting Northeast India to Southeast Asia.”

With the Northeast region sharing a common border with Southeast Asian countries like Bhutan, Thailand and Burma, the festival was an important event, especially as Thailand is chairman of the Asean this year. The 1582 km-long Trilateral Highway, from Manipur to Burma and Maesot in Thailand, to be ready next year, was often referred to in the discussions, as it was expected to make Northeast India, “the hub of Southeast Asia”.

Thai deputy commerce minister Chutima Bunyapraphasara inaugurated the “Northeast India Festival,” speaking of her good impressions of Assam during a business trip, and informing that she would be taking a trade delegation there in May.

The highlight of the Northeast India Festival in Bangkok were two important and well-attended seminars, aimed at increasing bilateral trade and tourism.

The Trade and Investment Seminar attracted as many as 100 participants. The Northeast Indian representatives spoke of the abundant natural resources available in their states, for which they required developmental support as also investments — bamboo, limestone, rubber, textiles, medicinal plants, construction, pharmaceuticals, hydro power, food processing, flowers and fruits, oil and gas and hotels and spas.

Thai entrepreneur Prim Jitcharoongphorn, who is also the president of the Thai-India Business Council, informed the Thai participants that “the current environment is very good to do business with India.”

“The market is big, the price is competitive, the compensation is the volume”, she declared.

Meanwhile, the Tourism Seminar was attended by more than 100 tour operators from Thailand, and 40 from Northeast India. The latter’s delegation was made up of the top officials from the tourism sector, including tourism heads, bureaucrats, MPs and advisers to the government.

The high-level officials enumerated the specialties of each Northeastern Indian state — rich fauna and flora, wildlife sanctuaries, trekking and adventure trails, Unesco heritage sites, cultural festivals, ecstasy and rural tourism. With Spice Jet announcing a direct two-hour flight from Bangkok to Gauhati in March, the tourism potential of the region received a big boost. The GM of the airline, Ajaykumar Gupta was proud that the flight would accentuate bilateral trade and tourism with Thailand.

The People to People Exchange event of the festival was attended by a galaxy of top scholars, academics and researchers from both countries. There were excellent presentations about the huge “Thai” connection with the Northeast Indian region, through the large number of “Tai” tribes living there. These were descendants of Thai migrants to Assam, as far back as the 11th century. It was fascinating to learn that the “Tai’s” language, script, customs, beliefs, rituals, festivals, food and cuisine closely resembled that of the “Thai” people in Thailand.
In fact, the much-loved Thai Indophile Princess H.R.H. Mahachakri Sirindhorn had visited the Northeastern region to meet and interact with these Ahoum tribes. Among the well-known academics at the “People to People Exchange”, were Thai Ahoum scholar and Assam MP Lakhya Konwar, famed scholar who has written many books on the Tai Ahoum community, professor Chattip Nartsupha, ethnographer-researcher Dr Rajni Gogoi, who organised whole event, and the VC of Gauhati Varsity Dr Mridul Hazarika of the “dedicated Southeast Asian department” in his varsity which offered “credits” to students from the Southeast Asian countries. In fact, a group of Thai students from the India Studies Centre of Thammasat Varsity were currently doing a semester there!

Meanwhile, a vibrant array of cultural performances were the ultimate icing to the festival cake. There was a grand display of old and new forms by the best artistes of the Northeast Indian region — folk dances from Nagaland and Manipur, famed rock bands Featherheads, Girish and the Chronicles, riveting rapper Rahul Rajkhowa, well-known Bollywood singer Zubeen Garg, and even an international DJ, Teri Miko.
There were fashion shows by three top designers too, displaying a seamless amalgam of traditional textiles with modern designs.

All the shows were held on the outside grounds of the popular Central World Mall, and attracted a mixed variety of audiences. It was not easy to pack in so many high-quality artistes, with the best of acoustics in an open-air setting, but the artistes did their best to produce some vibrant shows.
No mention was made of the political insurgency in the Northeast region, nor the troublesome Citizenship Bill.
But mention was made by several Northeastern Indian delegates about their Mongloid features, which made them feel like “outsiders” in their homeland. As one speaker said, “We have an identity crisis in India, but we have a face-connect in Thailand!”

The newly-arrived Indian ambassador to Thailand, Suchitra Durai, orchestrated the mega festival in less than two months, and said she was proud it was a “resounding success”. Organiser Shyamkanu Mahanta admitted that he never expected to get such ‘‘astounding support’ and was now tempted to do Northeast Indian Festivals in neighbouring Southeast Asian countries like Singapore and Laos.
Considering that this was an amazingly holistic festival which covered almost every aspect of the seven rich and diverse states of the Northeastern region, one must admit that the “Northeast India Festival” in Thailand was huge trailblazer indeed.

Source : The writer is a critic and commentator on films and culture based in Bangkok.

First N-E Festival outside India, in Bangkok, to push trade and tourism

First N-E Festival outside India, in Bangkok, to push trade and tourism

“Northeast India, connected by a 22 km-corridor to mainland India, has always suffered due to its geographical isolation.

A mega “Northeast India Festival”, comprising of trade, tourism, culture, academics and fashion was held this weekend in Bangkok, the first of its kind outside India. Chief organiser Shyamkanu Mahanta, who has held similar festivals in Delhi, informed that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “Act East” policy had prompted him to undertake this mega Northeast India Festival, outside India. More more than 500 officials from Northeast Indian governments had flown down to Bangkok for the mega event. These included bureaucrats, MPS, tourism heads, entrepreneurs, academics, chefs and artistes.

“Northeast India, connected by a 22 km-corridor to mainland India, has always suffered due to its geographical isolation. But opening up Southeast Asia through Northeast India, is full of promise”, he stated.

In fact the tagline of the festival was “Connecting Northeast India to Southeast Asia.”

With the Northeast region sharing a common border with Southeast Asian countries like Bhutan, Thailand and Burma, the festival was an important event, especially as Thailand is chairman of the Asean this year. The 1582 km-long Trilateral Highway, from Manipur to Burma and Maesot in Thailand, to be ready next year, was often referred to in the discussions, as it was expected to make Northeast India, “the hub of Southeast Asia”.

Thai deputy commerce minister Chutima Bunyapraphasara inaugurated the “Northeast India Festival,” speaking of her good impressions of Assam during a business trip, and informing that she would be taking a trade delegation there in May.

The highlight of the Northeast India Festival in Bangkok were two important and well-attended seminars, aimed at increasing bilateral trade and tourism.

The Trade and Investment Seminar attracted as many as 100 participants. The Northeast Indian representatives spoke of the abundant natural resources available in their states, for which they required developmental support as also investments — bamboo, limestone, rubber, textiles, medicinal plants, construction, pharmaceuticals, hydro power, food processing, flowers and fruits, oil and gas and hotels and spas.

Thai entrepreneur Prim Jitcharoongphorn, who is also the president of the Thai-India Business Council, informed the Thai participants that “the current environment is very good to do business with India.”

“The market is big, the price is competitive, the compensation is the volume”, she declared.

Meanwhile, the Tourism Seminar was attended by more than 100 tour operators from Thailand, and 40 from Northeast India. The latter’s delegation was made up of the top officials from the tourism sector, including tourism heads, bureaucrats, MPs and advisers to the government.

The high-level officials enumerated the specialties of each Northeastern Indian state — rich fauna and flora, wildlife sanctuaries, trekking and adventure trails, Unesco heritage sites, cultural festivals, ecstasy and rural tourism. With Spice Jet announcing a direct two-hour flight from Bangkok to Gauhati in March, the tourism potential of the region received a big boost. The GM of the airline, Ajaykumar Gupta was proud that the flight would accentuate bilateral trade and tourism with Thailand.

The People to People Exchange event of the festival was attended by a galaxy of top scholars, academics and researchers from both countries. There were excellent presentations about the huge “Thai” connection with the Northeast Indian region, through the large number of “Tai” tribes living there. These were descendants of Thai migrants to Assam, as far back as the 11th century. It was fascinating to learn that the “Tai’s” language, script, customs, beliefs, rituals, festivals, food and cuisine closely resembled that of the “Thai” people in Thailand.

In fact, the much-loved Thai Indophile Princess H.R.H. Mahachakri Sirindhorn had visited the Northeastern region to meet and interact with these Ahoum tribes. Among the well-known academics at the “People to People Exchange”, were Thai Ahoum scholar and Assam MP Lakhya Konwar, famed scholar who has written many books on the Tai Ahoum community, professor Chattip Nartsupha, ethnographer-researcher Dr Rajni Gogoi, who organised whole event, and the VC of Gauhati Varsity Dr Mridul Hazarika of the “dedicated Southeast Asian department” in his varsity which offered “credits” to students from the Southeast Asian countries. In fact, a group of Thai students from the India Studies Centre of Thammasat Varsity were currently doing a semester there!

Meanwhile, a vibrant array of cultural performances were the ultimate icing to the festival cake. There was a grand display of old and new forms by the best artistes of the Northeast Indian region — folk dances from Nagaland and Manipur, famed rock bands Featherheads, Girish and the Chronicles, riveting rapper Rahul Rajkhowa, well-known Bollywood singer Zubeen Garg, and even an international DJ, Teri Miko.

There were fashion shows by three top designers too, displaying a seamless amalgam of traditional textiles with modern designs.

All the shows were held on the outside grounds of the popular Central World Mall, and attracted a mixed variety of audiences. It was not easy to pack in so many high-quality artistes, with the best of acoustics in an open-air setting, but the artistes did their best to produce some vibrant shows.

No mention was made of the political insurgency in the Northeast region, nor the troublesome Citizenship Bill.

But mention was made by several Northeastern Indian delegates about their Mongloid features, which made them feel like “outsiders” in their homeland. As one speaker said, “We have an identity crisis in India, but we have a face-connect in Thailand!”

The newly-arrived Indian ambassador to Thailand, Suchitra Durai, orchestrated the mega festival in less than two months, and said she was proud it was a “resounding success”. Organiser Shyamkanu Mahanta admitted that he never expected to get such ‘‘astounding support’ and was now tempted to do Northeast Indian Festivals in neighbouring Southeast Asian countries like Singapore and Laos.

Considering that this was an amazingly holistic festival which covered almost every aspect of the seven rich and diverse states of the Northeastern region, one must admit that the “Northeast India Festival” in Thailand was huge trailblazer indeed.

Source : The writer is a critic and commentator on films and culture based in Bangkok.

First N-E Festival outside India, in Bangkok, to push trade and tourism

FIRST-EVER ‘NORTH EAST INDIA FESTIVAL’ IN THAILAND

Dazzling range of activities, on 9-10 February, at Central World

The first-ever ‘North-East Festival of India’ will be held in Bangkok, on 9th and 10th of February, at Central World (Zones A and B).The North-East region of India consists of seven exotic and culturally rich states- Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Mizoram, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Tripura. Some of the ethnic tribes in the region speak the ‘Tai’ language (which closely resembles the Thai language), and infact, it was none other than HRH Princess Mahachakri Sirindhorn, who visited this region some years back.

These North-Eastern states which have close geographical proximity to Thailand, have become a great gateway to SE Asia, and infact, have come to the forefront of India’s ‘Act East’ policy.

To quote the newly-arrived Indian Ambassador to Thailand, HE Ms Suchitra Durai- ” I am delighted that the first-ever North East India Festival outside of India is being held at Bangkok on 9-10 February, 2019 at the Central World. North East India has much to offer – breathtaking landscapes, top class human resources, a rich and diverse cultural heritage. We invite Thais to savour this distinct region of Incredible India.

“In order to introduce the riches of this region to the Land of Smiles, the Embassy of India, in collaboration with various partners , has organised a mega ‘North-East India Festival’, on the coming week-end, which covers a large and exciting range of activities.They include seminars and discussions on bilateral trade and investment, education, tourism, with important participants from both countries.

They include academics, historians, entrepreneurs, tour operators, and hi-level officials from the Govt of India, State Govts of North-East India, and Govt of Thailand.

These ‘Business’ meetings will be held at the Lotus Suite, Centara Grand Hotel, on the mornings of 9 and 10 February.

The afternoons will be studded with Exhibitions, and a scintillating range of music and dance performances, in Zone A and Zone B, of Central World.

The seven North-East states or ‘Seven Sisters’ as they are called, have a rich and varied range of folk traditions, and these will be in full display at the Festival, through their colourful and charismatic folk-dance forms, like the Naga, Manipuri,Bodo, Bihu, Bagrumba, Assamese and other dances.

What’s unique about the North-East region of India, is that apart from ethnic tribes,they have a diverse range of communities, religions, thanks to which they boast of diverse and rapidly developing music forms. Thus, they have brilliant pop, rock, rap bands, and also some famed individual singers.

Many top rock bands of North-East India, like The Chronicles, The Featherheads, and others will be performing at the North East Indian Festival, as also well-knownindividual singers like Rahul Rajkhowa, Zubeen Garg, and international DJ Teri Miko.

What’s exciting to note is that there will be many Thai musical artistes also performing in conjunction with the North-East Indian performers.

The Fashion-scene is big in the North East Indian states, thanks to their rich textiles, ethnic traditions and individual styles. There have been some excellent fashion-shows from the region earlier, in Bangkok, and another scintillating one is coming up, at this Festival, by well-known designers Atsu Sekhose, Arita Kashyap and others.

There will also be many Exhibitions at Central World, with numerous stalls displaying the rich and varied textiles, arts and crafts of the region (handlooms, cane, bamboo), not to forget their horticultural products (fresh fruits, organic vegetables), as also the famed teas of Assam.

Last but not the least, will be the varied and vibrant cuisines of the seven North- East Indian states, which will be available on both evenings, at Central World – a rare opportunity to get a taste of the unique food of this region.

So, watch out for a dazzling blitzkrieg of activities, this weekend, at the North- East India Festival – everything, from culture and cuisine, to economics and academics, trade and tourism. And most important, people-to-people contacts and exchanges.

Infact, a special program of the Festival, involves a unique ‘People to People Exchange Programme’ on 10th February, among students, academicians, historiansfrom North East India and their South East Asian counterparts, in order to discuss their shared heritage.

It’s easily one of the largest and most holistic Indian Festivals to be held in the Land of Smiles, and not to be missed.

All the events at Central World, are Free and open to the public

All the events at Centara Grand Hotel, are on Invitation.For more details of the ‘North East India Festival’, please check:

http://northeastfestival.com/#schedule

https://www.facebook.com/IndianEmbassyThailand/

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