INDIA. Mumbai: The 10-day 23rd Hornbill Festival, providing a glimpse of tribal culture and art, is being held at the Naga heritage village of Kisama in Nagaland till December 10.
The festival was inaugurated by Vice President Jagdeep Dhankhar on Nagaland’s 60th Statehood Day on December 1.
With its daily cultural events, such as music festivals, fashion shows, adventure sports, and night carnivals, the festival has been enrapturing audiences for roughly a week now.
As part of the Indian Navy’s outreach program, it has set up a large stall at the festival. An official statement read that the focus of the stall is to provide local youth with information about the Indian Navy, its contribution to national security, and the various opportunities for employment as officers and sailors.
A part of the stall has been converted into an audio-visual room where movies highlighting the Indian Navy are being screened.
Virtual reality headsets are also available, which provide the viewer with a lifelike experience of being on a naval ship (INS Kolkata) or an aircraft carrier (INS Vikramaditya). These sets have been a great hit with the visitors.
Some interesting products exhibited at the venue are innovative solutions for artificial intelligence and cyber security. In addition, an “indigenization desk” to interact with industry and startups has been set up.
On Wednesday, the chief of Naval Staff (CNS), Admiral R. Hari Kumar, graced the afternoon cultural session as the chief guest and said that to generate maritime consciousness through the festival was the Navy’s aim.
The outreach programme seeks to create better consciousness about the “silent services” of the Navy, as this part of the country witnesses less representation.
At present, there are only about 200 personnel in the Navy, and “we are very keen to increase the number of personnel from Nagaland in the Navy,” he said.
The naval chief informed me that the response at the Navy stall has been very positive and that over 6,000 visitors have stepped foot at the Indian Navy stall. He hoped that the huge footfall would lead to more recruitments into the Navy.
He also explained the opportunities in the Indian Navy, the Agnipath scheme, and the types of recruitment, along with eligibility criteria.
Further, the naval chief stated that around 3,000 aggies have been recruited for the first time, out of which 341 are women.
The Indian Navy is working towards ensuring that all key technologies are developed in India in the next 25 years, for which it is in dialogue with startups and MSMEs.
The Navy is working out ways to sign memoranda of understanding with startups in Nagaland that can help build technology for defence purposes, Kumar said. He also called on Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio on Wednesday.
Motivational lectures on “Career in the Indian Navy” were organised for school children in association with the State Education Department at Government Higher Secondary School (GHSS), Dimapur; GHSS Purana Bazar and Pranab Vidyapith HSS; Ruzhukhrie GHSS; and Thenocha Memorial GHSS, Kohima. In all, 1280 students attended the interactive lectures.
As part of the festival, the Naval Band, with a total of 17 musicians, performed from December 5 to December 7. The band gained immense popularity among the local population.
Besides, the Indian Navy Motorcycle Expedition was flagged off by the CNS from Guwahati on November 25—from INS Vikramaditya—to coincide with Lachit Divas, the 400th birth anniversary of the famous Commander-in-Chief (Borphukan) of Ahom Kingdom.
The Indian Navy expedition is supported by Royal Enfield, which has provided 15 Meteor 350 Royal Enfield Motorcycles along with service support.
The team comprises 31 naval personnel, including two women officers, spread over two phases and covering a total distance of 3500 km in 21 days.
During Phase I, the riders covered a distance of 2000 km. The riders visited and interacted with students at schools in Guwahati, Sohra, Aizawl, Kolasib, Loktak, and Imphal.
The interaction with students provided a boost and motivation for young students to join the Indian Navy and Armed Forces. The rally reached the Hornbill festival site on Wednesday.