The only known Great hornbill alive today in Nagaland is named ‘Julie’ and is kept at the Nagaland Zoological Park. (Photo Courtesy: Mongsen Phom)
- In Nagaland, 16 tribes have different festivals at different times of the year. Hornbill Festival is a very good initiative of the Government of Nagaland whereby all the tribes come together to celebrate one big Festival which enhances social fabric and promotes tribal unity. It is a festival that brands Nagaland as the cultural hub of Northeast India and beyond. Capitalizing on our rich cultures and traditions, it is a marketing strategy to promote cultural tourism. Socio-economic development is visible during this time of the year as many of the locals are engaged in some other kind of home based economic activity. When tourists come, they spend on our food, transportation, lodging etc, part of which goes to the government as tax. The government also earns through tourism. Hornbill is a novel concept, but over the years, the festival is slowly losing its contour because the same things happen over and over again. It lacks creativity. The road condition of Nagaland doesn’t create the ambience for a second visit.
– Ato Longkumer
- Hornbill festival is a ‘festival is a festivals’ only for the few residing at the capital city. I find that the festival is organized targeting particular section of society than on general. It aims at generating revenue by attracting tourists but so generated revenue by the government is not utilized for bringing development to the state. If it is state festival, it should be organized in all the 11 districts on rotation basis. Then only it can aptly be called state festival.
- The first question that pops to mind when I hear “HORNBILL” festival is… where are the Hornbills? Reflects on the ecological scenario of Nagaland. Secondly, if Nagaland has the potential to organize and host an international extravaganza as such, what happens to the inflow of money and where and how is it utilized?
- Hornbill Festival is too hyped. Too expensive now for the common man compared to yesteryears. 10 days seems a tad too long, where the locals lose interest in the first three days or so, since all they see is the same ol’ shows and culture every year. Not that it’s bad to showcase our rich heritage, culture to the West. Shifting the beat contest to Dimapur may sort of seem biased about it but it will surely help in easing the traffic congestion during the shows every evening. But one thing I’d surely like to remind officials is, whether they’ll keep the promise of rotating the festival or the rock show to every district. Let’s wait and see. But if I had to choose between hornbill fest and good roads, I’d go for good roads any day.
- This is festival of festivals and in fact festival of Nagas, but we don’t know what is going on and we are not bothered of this festival except some cultural troupes being invited from each district. In addition, the Tourism department should also do something for other far flung districts so that there is balance of celebration. But that is not happening so this Hornbill festival is not for all Nagas. It’s for certain Nagas because cultural troupe representation can’t be called whole Naga festival.
- If the state government wants to boost tourism in Nagaland as a sustainable economic option for the educated unemployed Naga youth, they should not choose Kisama alone every year. District wise rotation every year will bring some change in economics, standard of living and also increase knowledge and value of different traditions, foods, craft, woven shawls and many more. Though stalls are allotted district wise to SHGs, but it is difficult for SHGs. They have to organize fooding, lodging, transport etc. and even for the dancing troupe for a nominal to and fro fare. So participating there at Kisama means having to leave field work and going there dancing shouting out for somebody’s benefit. If system doesn’t change, ENPO should not take part.
- Hornbill Festival started as a festival to showcase the customary and traditional practices of the Nagas. While many assume it as a blessing to boost the ever declining economy of our State, many feel that it is a waste of time and waste of State exchequer. I happen to be part of its celebration during its initial stage, when it was held at Kouchiezie Ground. The festival was a bit different during those days. There were no fashion shows, Hornbill International Rock Contest or other cultural or modern extravaganza. It was a simple Cultural gathering of all the Nagas, displaying various cultural and traditional practices of different Naga tribes. I was in for a shock, when I saw various local brews being sold in the stalls openly, though I enjoyed it then. Things got more interesting when I saw traditional dances and display of various traditional items of several Naga tribes in and around the Ground. Competition of traditional dance, both men and women, traditional games like Top spinning, arrow shooting, traditional fire making, greased pole climbing etc were also held. There was handful of international tourists then as it was more of a regional festival and the most reliable facility for publicity available was print media which took 3-4 days or even a week to reach the interior parts of the State. During its initial years, it was a three days event displaying and showcasing the much hyped rich cultural and traditional ways of living of the Nagas. It is said everything has its drawback, the Hornbill festival celebration was misunderstood by some section of the society as a merry making event, where many met with car accidents, got injured or even died, many experienced the pain of a broken family etc. The State Government had its own story, the amount spend on the Festival did not, at all, match the amount/revenue generated from the Festival. Though I enjoyed witnessing the Hornbill festival, I questioned myself, whether the State Government can spend the extravagant amount on a not so Revenue generating programme at the cost of the lives of the poor and innocent citizens? If it is benefiting the Nagas, we ought to know, in what way? While appreciating the State Government for its relentless efforts in hosting the Festival, it is suggested to make the festival more fruitful and productive so that it can sustain the lives of some educated youths or the downtrodden from any corner of the state.