LEH: President Ladakh Gonpa Association Leh, Gelong Shatup Chamba inaugurated the 22nd Sindhu Darshan Festival Sindhu Ghat Shey in Ladakh on Sunday.
The three-day festival began after hoisting of the tri-coloured National Flag and offering prayers to the Indus. The festival is celebrated as a symbol of multidimensional cultural identity of India that got its name from the River Indus called ‘Singhey Khababs’ in Ladakhi. The festival is organised by Sindhu Darshan Yatra Samiti and Ladakh Phanday Tsogspa and devotees from across the country offered prayers to the river and also took holy dips since morning.
Speaking on the importance of Indus River, Gelong Shatup Chamba urged for the need to keep the river need and clean as it originates from sacred Kailash Mansarover which is itself like a self-formed Stupa. Chief Patron and Margdarshak Sindhu Darshan Yatra Samiti Indresh Kumar, who is a Senior Pracharak and member of the national working committee of the RSS, informed that this time as many as 1,345 Yatris, pilgrims, from different parts of the country, are taking part in the festival.
General Secretary RSS, Suresh Joshi who also spoke on the occasion emphasised up on the need to empower women in the country.
On the occasion, a colourful cultural programme depicting cultural diversity of India was performed by cultural troupes from different parts of the country.
Executive Councillor LAHDC, Leh Gyal P Wangyal, President BJP Leh Tsewang Gonbo, President DCC Leh Tsering Samphel and few BJP councillors were among dignitaries present on the occasion besides other guests and Yatris.
However, MP Ladakh Thupstan Chewang and former Minister and MLC Leh Chering Dorjay were not present on the occasion. It may be noted that last year, the inaugural session of 21st Sindhu Darshan Festival had witnessed an ugly scene as present MLC Leh who was then the Minister for Ladakh Affairs had to leave the function along with the Chairman LAHDC Leh since they had to vacate their seats to ministers and other VIPs who on not on the list of VIPs.
Sindhu Darshan was first started in 1997 with the aim to promote national integration and celebrate unity in diversity. In 2006 LAHDC, Leh, in consultation with the state and the centre governments brought slight modification with name of the festival. It was renamed as ‘Ladakh Singhey Khabas Festival (Sindhu Darshan)’. In protest against the change with the name of the festival, Sindhu Darshan Yatra Samiti started organising its own Sindhu Darshan every year parallel to the one celebrated officially.
However, the official festival, known as the ‘Ladakh Singey Khabas Festival ( Sindhu Darshan)’ was suspended since 2016 on account of unknown reasons. It is learnt that the official festival had to be suspended as the state and the Centre Government stopped funding it, apparently to make the one being organised by by Sindhu Darshan Yatra Samiti, backed by Rashtriya Swayam Sewak Sangh (RSS), stronger and the institutionalised one.
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© 2017 State Times Daily Newspaper