Free Press Journal

Bhopal: Gond artistes celebrate Mogli Utsav


Bhopal: Gond artistes celebrated Mogli Utsav at Aadivasi Kala Evam Sanskriti Kendra for the first time in the city on Sunday to mark birth anniversary of Australian aboriginal activist Ken Colbung. Colbung was known as ‘Boomerang Guru,’ ‘River Men,’ ‘Armyman,’ ‘boxer’ and tribal leader.

He was associated with Australian soldier in 1950 and gave his service till 19 years.  He discovered Nyoongar tribe community in Perth in 1977. He was one of the Nyoongar leaders responsible for bringing the head of Aboriginal warrior Yagan – which had been exhibited in a British museum and later buried in an unmarked grave – back from Liverpool.

He arranged for the head to be traced, and lobbied for its return to Australia. He was a recipient of many awards including Member of the British Empire, Justice of Peace and Australia Medal. The fest was inaugurated by disciple of Ken Colbung, Vivek Montrose and former director of IGRMS (Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Manav Sangrhalaya), Vikas Bhatt.

42-year-old Montrose told Free Press, “I have learnt ‘Boomerang,’ a kind of Indo –Autralian tribal art from Ken Colbung at the age of 15.  He had special affection from Indian Gond Community.  And he had to say that ‘Boomerang’ is Indian tribal weapon and it should be back in India. He also wanted that the game be introduced in Olympic and Asiad.

In 2000, he tried to introduce the rare game in Olympic but it was rejected because there were no female players of the game at that time.  “We want to fulfill dream of our guru. We will introduce the game not only in India but in Olympic and Asiad also. I have been working with students in school of Delhi-NCR and Bhopal. In Bhopal, I have trained six students – four boys and two girls. ” said the Anglo Indian who hails from Allahabad whose forefather was associated with Rudyad Kipling.

He said, “It originated from Poland and is around 200,000-years-old art. Nowadays, it is played in Australia.’     Former director of Vikas Bhatt said, “Colbung had visited the city for the first time in 1993 to participate in international conference, held at IGRMS. He visited again in 1996 to represent tribal leader of Australia and stayed for six months. The utasv is a new chapter so that Bhopal could get a new identity.”

“‘Mogli was raised by wolf in caves in 1931 in Santababdi village in Seoni. Boomerang was Mogli’s weapon. The art is mentioned in our Epic Mahabharta too. We want to preserve our art getting back it from England,” Bhatt added. Besides, around 25 rare photographs of Ken Colbung’s life, clicked by Montrose between 1993 to 1995, have been showcased in Aadivasi Kala Evam Sanskriti Kendra.