January 11, 2019
Bangla’s Republic Day tableau to highlight Mahatma Gandhi’s ties with the State
This year, at the Republic Day parade on January 26 in New Delhi, the theme of the tableau to be sent by the Bangla Government would be ‘Gandhi Ji in Santiniketan and Beliaghata’. The whole concept has been conceived by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.
Responding to the invitation of Rabindranath Tagore, Mahatma Gandhi had come to Santiniketan in 1915, and stayed at the house named Shyamali. On August 13, 1947 in an effort to quell communal riots in Kolkata, Gandhi ji had started a 72-hour fast. He stayed at Hyderi Manzil while undertaking the fast. On the day of independence, August 15, Gandhi Ji was on fast in Kolkata.
The tableau will have a fibreglass model of Shyamali and various other models. Ten artistes would enact the characters of Mahatma Gandhi and others on the tableau as it would roil along on Janpath.
It may be mentioned that the State’s tableaus have had a successful run during the rule of the Trinamool Congress. Bangla again started sending tableaus for the Republic Day parades from 2012, after a gap of 13 years when the Left Front Government had decided not to send them.
In 2012, the theme was ‘Basantotsav’, as held in Santiniketan; in 2013, it was the 150th birth anniversary of Swami Vivekananda. In 2014, it was chhau dance of Purulia, in 2016, it was the baul artistes of Bangla, and 2017, it was ‘Sharodotsav’. Both in 2014 and 2016, the tableaus won first prize.
Controversially, in 2015, the Centre did not allow the State’s internationally-feted Kanyashree Scheme to be displayed as a tableau. But credit must be given to Mamata Banerjee that she has not backed off, and has continued sending prize-winning concepts for the marquee show on Republic Day.