It propagates national integration

With nearly 4,000 artistes from all over the country trooping into town for a five-day National Youth Festival beginning on Thursday, this port city is abuzz with activity. A few artistes from SAARC countries are expected to take part.

With its main roads tarred afresh and illuminated, the city wears a festive look and by Wednesday afternoon Mangaloreans were witness to energetic practice sessions by youths from Jammu, Gujarat and Punjab to name only a few. Besides providing a rare opportunity for people here to witness cultural programmes from different states, dozens of cultural troupes from the city and surrounding areas will get a chance to showcase their talents during the festival.

This is the first time that Mangalore is hosting the festival, the 17 in the series. Aimed at spreading the teachings of Swami Vivekananda, the festival propagates national integration, communal harmony, brotherhood, adventure and courage among youth. The logo of the festival comes with the phrase, “Celebrating Diversity in Unity.”

For integration

The event could not have come at a better time for Dakshina Kannada, where deliberate attempts by right wing forces to divide the people along communal lines have threatened to the fragile social fabric of this land. After the infamous series of church attacks in 2008, similar incidents have made a comeback with at least two cases of targeting Christians and churches being reported in the last fortnight.

The youth festival is organised to mark the birthday of Swami Vivekananda on January 12. It began in 1995 as a major activity under the programme for national integration. The State Government has released Rs. 10 crore and the Union Government Rs. 2 crore for the festival.

To be inaugurated by Chief Minister D.V. Sadananda Gowda on Thursday, the youth festival will, from Friday, feature cultural programmes, adventure games, martial arts, art exhibitions in over 10 places in the city and a few in nearby towns such as Moodbidri.

There will be competitive cultural events, including folk and classical dances, classical music, one act plays.

A special Kambala and a flower show at Pilikula will be added attractions on January 15 and 16.

Celebrity performances have been organised every night. Cooks are working overtime to make special dishes for the delegates.

The venue of the inauguration function, Mangala Stadium, has been given a facelift and the main stage is designed to represent the traditional manor house.