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Shigmo : The Goan festival of colors, dance and myths

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Image Source: digitalgoa.com

Goa, India: Beginning in the month of Spring and merging with the festival of Holi, Goa celebrates its dazzling Shigmostav, the festival of colors and dance.

The days of the year are always earmarked for the festival in accordance with the Saka calendar. The celebrations are divided into two parts – one is Dhakto Shigma and another is Vhaldo Shigma.  The Dhakto Shigma is usually of more importance to the general classes which includes the rural masses, labors and farmers, whereas the Vhaldo Shigma demands much more significance on its part and is hailed as essential by all.

Dhakto Shigma steps in while in the months of ‘Falgun’ spanning five days before the full moon and ending at the rise of it, which obviously states that the events follow a lunar calendar. It has its hold on the old conquests areas of Goa or the spaces that were under the prolonged Portugal rule beginning its journey from that of the 16th century. Different kinds of folk dances and singing are carried during the festivities.

On the other hand, Vhaldo Shigma takes place on the coming of the full moon day and continues for more or less of another five days. It generally depicts the new conquest areas of Goa. The celebration is believed to take place mainly in the village temples. A large number of devotees attend the Shigma. It starts with the bathing and then draping a saffron robe around the deity. After that, food is offered to the lord, proceeding with a glorious feast.

‘Yatras’ or processions are also carried out from the temples, which does its rounds in the city. The ‘Yatra’ will include the wonderful displays of traditional Goan dances like the ‘Ghode-morni’, also called the horse dance. It carries with them the floats which will depict the scenes of ancient Hindu scriptures and of Gods and Goddesses.

Jot and Naman are the two major types of sung that is usually sung by the villagers. Dhol and Taso are the instruments, which the people carry around throughout the village and dance to its tunes. The dances may as well include the Lamp dance, Hanpet and Gopha. During the last phase of the festivities, it is believed that the spirit of Gade Padap enters into the bodies of the dancers and possess them.

Finally, the celebration is wrapped up with the Mand Davarap, meaning a collective bath taken by the people of the community as one.

Shigmo originates from the Konkani term of ‘Sigmo’.

This year, the much-awaited festival will be held on March 25 and thus continue till that of April 7.

One of the major celebrations held in Goa, it is generally held in regard mostly by the Hindu community and the Konkani diaspora as well.

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A Clean Ganga Not Possible Without Continuous Flow: Green

Bandyopadhayay stressed that the future of the Ganga, as well as that of its tributaries, depends on how quickly the transformation is made

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The Holy River Ganga in Haridwar, Source: Pixabay

By Bappaditya Chatterjee

The Centre’s efforts to rejuvenate the Hindu holy river have failed to impress environmentalists, who feel a clean Ganga will remain a distant dream due to the Modi government’s failure to ensure the continuous flow of the river.

“Nothing has been done for ensuring a continuous flow of the river and also for its rejuvenation by the Narendra Modi government. Continuity is of supreme importance as the holy river has been admitted in the Intensive Care Unit for many years. But the Centre is trying to treat its teeth,” said Magsaysay awardee and a member of the erstwhile National Ganga River Basin Authority (NGRBA), Rajendra Singh.

Spending crores of rupees for beautification of ghats has been “wastage of the public exchequer” because “without ensuring a continuous flow, clean Ganga will continue to remain a distant dream”, said Rajendra Singh, who goes by the sobriquet “Waterman of India”.

 

Ganga, travel
River Ganga is one of the holiest rivers in India. Pixabay

Soon after assuming office, the Modi government rolled out its flagship “Namami Gange” mission at an estimated budget Rs 20,000 crore to clean and protect the Ganga.

 

Under Namami Gange, 254 projects worth Rs 24,672 crore have been sanctioned for various activities such as construction of sewage infrastructure, ghats, development of crematoria, river front development, river surface cleaning, institutional development, biodiversity conservation, afforestation, rural sanitation and public participation.

According to the Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation, 131 projects out of 254 were sanctioned for creating 3,076 MLD (million litre per day) new sewage treatment plants (STPs), rehabilitating 887 MLD of existing STPs and laying 4,942 km of sewer lines for battling pollution in the Ganga and Yamuna rivers.

 

River Ganga is one of the holiest, yet the most polluted river.
River Ganga is also the most polluted river.

Till November-end of the 2018-19 fiscal, the National Mission for Clean Ganga released Rs 1,532.59 crore to the states and the Central Public Sector Undertakings for implementing the programme and meeting establishment expenditure.

Rajendra Singh said: “Ganga wants freedom today. There is no need for any barrage or dam. We want building of dams and any constructions on the river be stopped.”

 

Echoing Singh, another member of the now dissolved NGRBA, K.J. Nath, said the flow of the river had been obstructed at many locations and its own space (flood plains) encroached upon at multiple places in the name of riverfront development.

However, Jayanta Bandyopadhayay, a former Professor of IIM-Calcutta and presently Distinguished Fellow at the Observer Research Foundation, said the success or otherwise of initiatives and projects of any government in cleaning the Ganga cannot be judged in a five-year time frame.

Also Read: Prime Minister Narendra Modi Inaugurates Bogibeel Bridge Over Brahmaputra River

Managing a river like the Ganga, the lifeline of a very large number of people, is socio-technically a very complex issue and should be addressed with deep interdisciplinary knowledge, he added.

Bandyopadhayay stressed that the future of the Ganga, as well as that of its tributaries, depends on how quickly the transformation is made from the one dimensional perspective of rivers by engineers, political leaders, policymakers and others to a multidimensional and interdisciplinary one. (IANS)