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TURA | Nov 16, 2019:

The Garo Students’ Union (GSU) – Assam State zone organised a 2-day Wangala programme at Derek village near Agia under Goalpara in Assam.

The event saw a plethora of activity, beside of course a Wangala dance performed by troupes from Meghalaya and Assam.

The two-day event, which concluded today, saw indigenous games being promoted along with Wangala and was attended by most of the councilors of the Rabha Hasong Autonomous Council (RHAC), Goalpara MLA, AK Rashid Alom, Dudhnoi MLA, Dipak Rabha and the deputy CEM of the GHADC, Dolly K Sangma, who was also the chief guest of the program.

The area consists of 6 villages predominantly of the Garo community. The event was held at the Derek HS School ground on Nov 15 and 16.

Wangala troupes from West and North Garo Hills as well as one from the village enthralled the audience with their hard performances which depicted the lifestyle of the villages of the Garo community.

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Wangala is a dance performed to thank the benefactor for the blessing of a good harvest with major movements being inspired from wildlife and plant life.

“The tradition began more than 5900 years ago when our forefathers knew nothing about harvesting or agriculture and depended completely at the mercy of Mother Nature. Possibly after the first hundred years, the tradition started wherein we began to thank our benefactor for her blessings. In time the tradition stuck with our tribe,” said noted historian of the Garo community and language expert, SR Marak.

Marak added that all of the dance moves have been copied from movements of animals and plants, including the war cry performed before the beginning of dance being taken from animal sounds.

Although initially a Songsarek form of tradition, the dance form has now been taken into the life of the now predominantly Christian Garo community.

Members of the organizing committee, the GSU stated that the efforts of the past two days were to continue living the tradition of their forefathers.

“We will strive to make this an annual program. The Assam based Garo community used to perform Wangala in the village of Nishangram near Dudhnoi. However due to constraints, we had to stop. We restarted the tradition with a program last year at nearby Rangsapara and will look forward to continuing the tradition in the coming years,” said adviser to the GSU – Assam zone, Dr TK Sangma.

Chief guest, Dolly K Sangma expressed sadness over traditions being lost in the Garo community and urged Assam based Garo community members to take up the mantle for its promotion.

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