Responding to a call of Rajya Sabha MP from Uttarakhand Anil Baluni, many MPs, MLAs and state ministers are going to their villages to celebrate Igas, a folk festival held 11 days after Diwali and also called Budh Diwali in the hill-state’s Kumaon region, on Wednesday.
Ajay Bhatt, BJP MP from Nainital-Udham Singh Nagar, who will celebrate Igas at Dankhal village in Almora district, said: “Following migration, villages are getting deserted and I have raised this issue in Parliament as well. If people return to their native places to celebrate festivals and get connected to their roots, it may lead to a reverse-migration.”
According to folklore, news of Ram’s return to Ayodhya reached people in the hills of present-day Uttarakhand 11 days later, and thus Igas is celebrated 11 days after Diwali.
State WCD Minister Rekha Arya said she has over the years celebrated Igas in Dehradun, Haldwani and Bareilly, but this time is going to her village – Sonadipokhri in Someshwar. “The children should know about our festivals and local cuisine.”
Arya said the idea came last year from Baluni, the BJP’s national media in-charge.
“The objective of my appeal to the people to celebrate Igas at their villages is to reestablish the old glory of this lok parva (folk festival) and preserve the cultural heritage associate with it,” Baluni said.
BJP MLA from Badrinath Mahendra Bhatt, who has gone to his village, Brahmanthana in Chamoli district, said, “The aim is to give a message to migrants to return home. Many people come home during Diwali, and if they stay on, they will understand our rich local cultural heritage better.”
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