Madhya Pradesh: With all COVID norms in place, the government plans to organise the annual Lokrang festival

BHOPAL: The Madhya Pradesh Government plans to organise the annual Lokrang festival on a smaller scale because of the corona pandemic. The five-day festival will be held at the Ravindra Bhawan on the usual dates (January 26-30).

The Directorate of Culture has been organising Lokrang for the past more than 30 years. Besides cultural performances by folk and Adivasi artistes, the festival also features Shilp Mela, in which artisans from all over the country display their products and 'Vyanjan Mela' in which traditional delicacies of different states are available.

In view of the Covid-19 threat, it has been decided to scale down the event. The grand dance-drama on the first day, in which folk, classical and tribal artistes from different parts of India participated, would not be held. It would involve around 150 artistes from different places who would have to rehearse together for almost 20 days. That is being considered risky in view of the prevailing situation.

Ashok Mishra, curator of Tribal Museum told Free Press that the number of Shilp Mela’s stalls would be halved. "There would be sufficient distance between the stalls so that the people can maintain social distancing. Chairs would be placed where one would be able to wait if a particular stall is too crowded," he said. Mishra said that not more than five stalls of food items would be set up.

According to him, instead of calling artistes from different places, they would try to call more number of artists from one place. "In this way, there won't be mixing of people from different parts," he said. Also, a higher number of local artists would be involved.

He said that a decision on which artistes to invite and other details are being worked out. "Artistes are also reluctant to travel to other places. No one wants to take any risk. Till last year, we used to get numerous requests from artists who wanted to perform at Lokrang. But this year, we haven't received a single request to date," he said.

Mishra said that Lokrang celebrates the founding of the Indian Republic and as such, canceling it altogether would have been inappropriate. "Everything will be there. Only the scale would be smaller and every possible attempt would be made to ensure that neither the audience nor the artistes are put to any risk," he said.

The pandemic effect:

  • No dance-drama on the inaugural day

  • Number of stalls selling handloom and handicraft products and food items to be halved.

  • Waiting area to prevent overcrowding at stalls.

  • More artistes to be invited from one place.

  • Higher number of local artistes to be involved.

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