17 May 2015
The week long Nature, Culture and Bird Watching and bird guide training programme of the ‘Himal Kala Sutra’ festival concluded with the 9th Annual Mesar Van Koutik , or Mesar Forest Fair in Sarmoli, Munsiari, (11-17th May)
The annual Mesar Forest Fair celebrates the deep connection and dependence of people and their natural surroundings.. Begun in 2007 as a celebration of protection, regeneration and rejuvenation of the forests of Sarmoli, the Forest Fair is a culmination of the seven-day Himal Kalasutra festival that includes cultural activities including art, photography, stories that get expressed through creative writing, movement and drama. It is being organized by the communities of Sarmoli and Shankhdhura, Mesar Forest Fair, Himal Prakriti, Himalayan Ark, Jungli School, Maati, and Kalpavriksh (Pune/ Delhi). The event has been supported financially by WWF-India, Himalaya Education Foundation, BD Uniyal Trust, DST Delhi, and materially by the Uttarakhand Forest Department and many individuals
A total of about 500 people attended the fair. This included residents from the villages of of villages of Munsiari area (Sarmoli, Naya Basti, Shankhdhura, Nanasem, Tiksain, Ghorpatta) and Askot Sanctuary area (Khartoli, Shiling, Umargada), from the Madkot area (Waiga) as well as visitors to the village and tourists from other hotels and resorts.
Uttarakhand Nature Handbooks, Checklist of Birds of Uttarakhand and Tourism Maps were distributed to participants of Himal Kalasutra, these were provided by the Uttarakhand Forest Department.
1. Lok Prakriti Puraskars to Shri Harish Singh Nikhurpa (posthumous) a retired defence service person who on return from duty engaged deeply with the community and any common / volunteer work. He was deeply committed to helping his fellow people and was contributed to the up of Sarmoli's Community Nature Tourism Enterprise,
Shri Shyam Dutt Joshi, who has been deeply committed to the care and governance of the village common forests and was an active Van Panchayat Committee member for many years.
2. Lok Kala Puraskar to Shri Nain Ram, age 55, of Jainti village, was awarded the First Lok Kala Puraskar – an initiative to recognize and award traditional arts and crafts. He was presented the award for is long work in ringaal crafts, across many villages of the region. The ringaal crafts are a dying art mainly because of lack of interest in the craft as well as lack of availability of suitable ringaal bamboo.
The Block Pramukh of Munsiari Block , Shri Narender Singh Rawat, presented the award to Shri Nain Ram,
The Block pramukh has proposed to organize a special ringaal crafts training with Shri nain Ram as the lead trainer craftsperson and also to support future Mesar Forest fairs.
The fair included an extensive exhibition of the natural history and culture of the Munsiari area.
Runners for Life , organized a 3 day long distance running training camp–with warm up and cool down exercises as well as short runs everyday. The 20 participants were presented with sports gear, to encourage them to take up running as a sport and for good health. Arvind Bharathi of Runners for life said that he was very impressed with the talent and energy shown by the young participants and felt that it was something that needed encouragement and support.
Artist troupes, including women groups from Sela, Nanasem, Shilling, Umargada , Sarmoli, Shankhdhura, Daranti, Sela, Shilling, Waiga.
performed traditional songs and dance, bagpipes and drumming
A live demonstration and a slide and movie show on the 2000 kilometer Nadisutra river kayaking expedition on the Kali-Sharda-Ghaghra-Ganga was screened.
Various agencies, groups and individuals set up stalls to demonstrate their work and make available some crafts, art work and food produce.
There were demonstrations of innovative fuel saving wood chulha's, solar device, and on bee keeping
The Forest Department put up a display, with some publications and also promoted planting of forest saplings by making them available on request during the planting season.