The mandate of the Ministry of Culture revolves around functions like preservation and conservation of our cultural heritage and promotion of all forms of art and culture, both tangible and intangible.
In addition to contributing to showcasing India’s culture across its boundaries, the different autonomous organizations under the Ministry of Culture, namely the Zonal Cultural Centres and the three national Academies have been organizing national level festivals like Octave and J&K Festivals, Bharat Rang Mahotsav, and Poorvottar Natya Samaroh, etc. However, these festivals are often limited to showcasing a limited region or performing art form genre.
India possesses possibly the world’s largest cultural diversity in areas of music, dance, literature, spirituality, food & lifestyle practices. Due to the constraints of distance and plurality of cultures, the people of one area are often not well aware of the cultural traditions of other areas & a substantial portion of the country’s youth population, remains ignorant about the larger part of their country’s historically rich and extremely diverse culture.
Keeping the above in mind Rashtriya Sanskriti Mahotsav (RSM), the National Cultural Festival of India was conceptualized by the Ministry of Culture, Government of India in 2015 to celebrate the spirit of Tradition, Culture, Heritage, and Diversity of our incredible country. Apart from the broader objective, this Mahotsav aims to Preserve, Promote & Popularize the heritage of the Indian Spirit & reconnect the new generation with our culture and showcase to the country and the world our soft power of unity in diversity.
The first Rashtriya Sanskriti Mahotsav which was organized on the grounds of IGNCA, New Delhi in November 2015 and inaugurated by the then Hon’ble President & attended by eminent dignitaries evoked a good response from the media and public which prompted the Ministry to organize the second one the following year at the same venue. However thereafter it was decided to take it to different states & Ministry of Culture has been organizing Rashtriya Sanskriti Mahotsav almost every year at different venues of the country as under-
Rashtriya Sanskriti Mahotsav (RSMs) organized by the Ministry of Culture
||Uttar Pradesh (BHU, Varanasi)
||Arunachal Pradesh (Tawang)
||Gujarat (Ahmedabad and Dwarka)
||Karnataka (Hubli, Bangaluru & Mangalore)
||Madhya Pradesh (Gwalior, Bhopal, and Indore)
||Madhya Pradesh (Jabalpur, Sagar, and Rewa)
||West Bengal (Cooch Behar, Darjeeling, and Murshidabad)
After their grand beginning at the IGNCA ground in the first two years, the RSMs were organized on a smaller scale in Auditoriums from 2017-to 18, where the number of audiences got limited. However, in 2019 seeing the audience response, a decision was taken to hold them again in large public spaces /open grounds. The last RSM in West Bengal was organized on the majestic grounds of Coochbehar Palace, Darjeeling RajBhawan & Murshidabad Heritage property with the buildings themselves in the background of the huge stage, providing a majestic appearance to the whole event. The audience participation ranged from 6000 at Darjeeling to 10000 at Cooch Behar Palace.
The Mahotsav is held in 2 or three cities in a state over 7-8 days & is open throughout the day. The 12th Rashtriya Sanskriti Mahotsav is now proposed to be held as follows in the states of Andhra Pradesh & Telangana-
- Rajahmundry - 2 days - 26th & 27th March ‘22(Saturday & Sunday)- Margani Grounds
- Warangal -2 days - 29th & 30th March ‘22(Tuesday & Wednesday)-Arts & Science College grounds
- Hyderabad -3 days - 1st to 3rd April ’22 (Friday to Sunday)- NTR stadium & grounds
The Mahotsav presents a unique opportunity to witness every folk, traditional, tribal, classical, and popular art form of India under a single roof where approximately more than 1000 artists showcase their talent in front of a large audience. Colorful Aangans are also set up by each ZCC, representing their regional cultures to showcase their member states' traditional Arts & Crafts where artisans set up their stalls to sell their wares as well as demonstrate their craftsmanship. The visual arts community, especially Folk painting camps are also organized on the sidelines of the Mahotsav. The entry of the public is kept free for the entire duration of the Mahotsav.
The Folk artists perform impromptu throughout the day either on the stage or among the public. However, the main cultural performance is staged between 5.30 pm to 10.30 pm & has five components-
- Local Artists performance- Mati Ke Lal
- Folk troupes combined Choreographed performance- 45 mins
- Classical Instrument /Vocal/Band
- Classical Dance production
- Popular Star Concert
Apart from Folk troupes eminent Padma & SNA awarded classical artists covering all genres have been showcased every year at the Mahotsav. To recognize the contribution of Popular music concerts by prominent names such as Suresh Wadekar, Anuradha Paudwal, Roop Kumar Rathod, Kailash Kher, Satinder Sartaj, Gurdas Mann, Malini Awasthi, Bickram Ghosh, Sourendro-Soumyojit, Sabri brothers, have been a successful part of the Mahotsav. Special Care is taken to choose artists reflecting the regional flavor of the State where the Mahotsav is being organized. eg in Darjeeling for the first time NE bands singing in Lepcha & Nepalese were invited & proved a big draw for the audience while in MP the ‘Dohar’ band which performs in Sanskrit was featured.
This year the Mahotsav is being held under the aegis of the Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav umbrella & includes the participation of other bureaus such as NSD, IGNCA, CCRT, NGMA which will organize seminars, theatre fest & painting workshops to draw attention to the rich culture & history of the cities where the RSM is being organized
The upcoming Festival at Rajahmundry, Warangal & Hyderabad would be a wonderful opportunity to showcase the Southern states' rich heritage and introduce the local population to the varied culture of the other parts of India all on one platform & one place.