President of India, Ram Nath Kovind during the inaugural day of the Hornbill Festival in Kohima on December 1. (Photo: President of India @rashtrapatibhvn)
Kisama | December 1
President of India Ram Nath Kovind today said that Nagaland is at the edge of making history.
“After years of insurgency, there is hope. With the support of the people of the state, of civil society institutions and all stake-holders, there is an opportunity for lasting peace,” the President said and congratulated all the Naga groups for having come so far.
“I am confident that a final agreement – one that is fair to all and meets the expectations and aspirations of all – will be reached soon,” he said while addressing the inaugural function of the Hornbill Festival here.
Referring to the much touted ‘opposition-less government’ in the state, the President said this is a “unique situation.” “It also offers a chance to resolve long-standing political problems, bring lasting peace – and it can accelerate the process of development and of creating jobs and opportunities,” he added.
Kovind said the past half-century has been one of both achievements and difficulties for Nagaland. The people of the state have come through many trials, but their essential talent and wisdom, and their essential goodness, has been so apparent, he viewed.
Stating that the key to Nagaland’s development is infrastructure and connectivity projects, the President said these will link Nagaland to new markets, both in India and abroad. “That is one of the key goals of the Government of India’s Act East Policy and of its thrust for connectivity in the states of the Northeast, including Nagaland.”
He identified Nagaland’s strengths in its organic farm produce, flowers and fruits, and pointed to the state’s rare medicinal plants and herbs, which can help create jobs to boost the economy. He specifically touted the idea of commercializing the Naga Jolokia or King Chili in a much bigger way.
The President also maintained that Nagaland has the potential to be an attractive tourist destination, offering a unique blend of heritage, culture and spectacular natural beauty.
“Another attribute of society here is the high literacy rate. A young population that is fluent in English, comfortable with Information Technology and forward looking can transport the state and the region into a hub for the services industries of the future,” he added.
“We are among the world’s fastest growing economies,” the President said of India, while adding: “We are also a diverse nation. Our linguistic, ethnic, religious and geographical variety makes India special – and that is our biggest strength. It is an exciting time to be an Indian. And it is an exciting time to be a Naga. Nagaland and the Northeast are central to the India story. Without the development of Nagaland, the development of India will be incomplete.”
Hornbill pulls in 12, 200 visitors on day one
Kisama | December 1
Day one of the Hornbill Festival in Kohima attracted 12, 200 visitors (Foreign- 273, domestic- 2105 and local visitors from Nagaland at 9822).
The festival made a colourful start on December 1, graced by the President of India, Ram Nath Kovind as the chief guest. Kovind was accorded a warm welcome by the cultural troupes with yell and yodel and beating of log drums. The President visited morungs and exhibition halls after his inaugural address.
Kovind said that the Hornbill Festival is the perfect showcase of rich Naga culture and traditions, preserved over the years in the form of music, dance and food.
The inaugural function also witnessed the release of a book entitled ‘The Konyaks: Last of the Tattooed Headhunters.’ L Sangkumwongto Chang Naga, village chief/head GB of Tuensang village pronounced the traditional blessing. Sky Entertainment scored the opening ceremony with the title ‘Enculturation,’ showcasing the vibrant Naga traditions and culture.
Governor of Odisha, Dr SC Jamir will grace the second day of the festival at Kisama. The North East Day will also take place on the same day from 10:00am onwards.