It was undeniably one of the most captivating cultural evenings in the capital city on 6th July’2019 as the Apatanis community of Arunachal Pradesh celebrated the traditional “Dree” with all pomp and festive fervour.
Inhabitants of a tranquil pine clad valley named ‘Ziro’ in Arunachal Pradesh, the Apatanis are known for their unique practice of wet rice cultivation, and sustainable agricultural practices. The agricultural festival of Dree is the key highlight during this period, and as part of the ancient tradition, ‘cucumber’ epitomizing the sacredness of vegetables, was served to the guests and participants.
The three day long festive celebrations comprised traditional songs, dances, games and some thrilling sporting activities.
The gala event on 6th July commenced with the gathering at the tree podium followed by Dree Anthem and the Flag Hoisting. This was ensued by Pri dance by all the members, and then there was the welcome speech by Michi Paku.
Senior bureaucrat Dr Ngilyang Tailey enlightened the guests on the Dree Mythology and the significance of the Dree Celebration.
The guests were fully entertained with a solo song by Hibu Akha (Apatani), dance by Tapi Yam, and a solo song by Dr Gampi Padu Hibu.
Guest of Honour and Urdu Scholar M.A. Khan spoke on the rich legacy of India’s cultural and traditional legacy.
Eminent Media personality Rajni Panwar spoke on how India’s growth story is incomplete sans the integration of North Eastern states into the mainstream. In her brief speech, she hailed the painstaking efforts of all the crusaders especially Robin Hibu who had played a pivotal role in promoting the rich cultural diversity of Arunachal Pradesh as well as other North Eastern states.
Rajni Panwar said, “One of the most outstanding officers of the Delhi Police, and the first IPS officer from the North Eastern state of Arunachal Pradesh Robin Hibu has brought laurels to not only his home state, but to the entire country. I feel really honoured to be part of the timeless Dree Festival, and wish to thank the organizers for inviting me to be part of this unforgettable evening.”
The event proceeded with a group dance by the women team, and a dance by Ngilyang Opi, and a solo song by Hibu Akha, and a dance by Dulley Yasing from the Delhi Police. The audience loved the solo song by Puna Chobin as well as the group song by the Dree Core Committee.
Chief Guest of the evening Bipin Sharma, noted writer, editor and crusader commenced his speech by lauding the brilliant efforts of all the participants who made the event truly memorable.
In his speech, Bipin Sharma said, “The vision of “New India” is simply not possible without the inclusion of North Eastern states and J&K into the manifold. The Prime Minister is pledged to transforming India into a “Superpower”, and the North Eastern states will play a very critical role in realizing the dream of our PM. It is time for action, and the funds allocated for the development of eight states of the North East must be utilized to the optimum, and not remain unused at the end of the financial year. The government of the day along with the key stakeholders must accord due emphasis on improving connectivity to the North Eastern states as that will pave the way for the much needed infrastructural development. Once there is smooth accessibility to these states, it will augment tourism, and therefore lead to overall economic prosperity. My speech would be incomplete if I don’t make a mention of the remarkable efforts of Helping Hands NGO founded by Robin Hibu. A charitable, non profit, non government organization, ‘Helping Hands’ NGO works pan India for empowering the needy from North East, with emergency and legal support. ‘Helping Hands’ has played a crucial role in creating awareness, providing legal-emergency assistance as well as healthcare–education facilities.Kudos to Robin Hibu for assiduously enriching the NE mosaic culture and heritage in the majestic ambience of the Rashtrapati Bhavan at Raisina Hill during his stint as the Joint Commissioner in the Rashtrapati Bhavan Secretariat in New Delhi.”
Special Commissioner of Police and the Chairman of the Dree Committee of Delhi Robin Hibu shared how Dree is celebrated in order to bring a bountiful harvest season. He applauded the efforts of all the members of the Dree Committee as well as other volunteers who had worked relentlessly for the past one week in ensuring the grand success of the event. He expressed optimism about the dawn of a new era for both the local inhabitants of North Eastern states, as well as those who had migrated to other nooks and corners of the globe for better growth opportunities.”
Subsequently, there was an arm wrestling contest and a tug of war match between the seniors and the youngsters. The winners were felicitated by the Chief Guest of the event. A formal Vote of Thanks was proposed by Hibu Tamang.
The evening concluded with a scrumptious dinner that was thoroughly relished by one and all.
As part of the Dree festivity, Delhi based Apatanis had undertaken a tree plantation campaign earlier at North Delhi Kingsway Camp with the core objective of making the city more green and pollution free. Spearheaded by plant scientist Dr Narendra Kumar, the plantation initiative saw the vibrant participation of personalities like Prof Millo Tabin, Radhe Talo IRS, Bullo Mamung IRS, Padi Tatung IRS, Dr Ngilyang Taley along with their family members.