Traditional Art To Protect The Traditional Forest.

On 21st Of October, Youth For Aarey Environmentalist group along with WWH Charitable Foundation organized a Rangoli event at beautiful Aarey Forest in Goregaon East.

The main aim of the event was to spread awareness by igniting the creative aspect of the contestants through India’s traditional art Rangoli about the ongoing issue of Aarey Forest Land Scam and the deforestation of the only Green lung Mumbai has got.
The event was at ‘Khambachi Pada’, an Adiwasi ‘Pada’ (Adiwasi Village) situated nearly 10 minutes away from Aarey Picnic Point. The event started at 11 am sharp as it was mentioned in the event description. Another aim of the event, which was to establish a connection of Rangoli Art with Nature was fulfilled as the event took place among giant trees of Aarey Jungle.

 

Aarey forest issue has been a long battle fought between the environmentalist and the state government, yet a large chunk of Mumbai’s population is not aware of the issue or simply is apathetic about it. Addressing the issue, a local group of young environmentalist of Youth For Aarey along with the WWH which is a charitable foundation helping Adivasis, especially women Adivasis from years, decided to take up this initiative to spread awareness through the traditional art of Rangoli.
The event was a huge success considering the participation of the masses along with the creative themes which were apparent at the sight. Everybody, from a child to an adult, enjoyed the event as there was no age restriction for this beautiful event. The focus was also on the Adivasi population as their participation is crucial for the Save Aarey Forest Movement.

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Despite not having any particular theme, many beautiful themes emerged to show an intimate relationship between Adivasis and nature, especially leopards, which are considered as God by many of the Warli tribals in Aarey. Rangoli based on the coexisting relation of Leopards and Adivasis made by Mahesh Bariya grabbed the first prize in the adult male category as it beautifully depicted the centuries-old relationship between the tribes and leopards in Aarey. (Add who won the female first prize followed with kids section). Apart from prize-winning Rangolis, there were many beautiful rangolis on the show as many citizens of Mumbai along with the native Adivasis were showcasing their talent. The prizes given to the winning contestants were also unique as the prizes were made by the Adivasis.

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Judge for the event ‘Madhuri James’ is an activist from Agni and has been teaching this art for many years to professionals. She was really amazed by the participation of people from across the Mumbai City and also from the Adivasis. Initially worried about the participation, Mrs Madhuri James loved the enthusiasm and the creativity of all the contestants at the event. She appreciated the efforts of the volunteers by saying

“Willingness to make this event as eco-friendly and intimate with nature as possible made it unique for the people who came to see the event.”

To summarize, the event was a great medium to interact with Adivasis and understand their living and their problems in this era of deforestation. As many themes emerged more and more people got aware of the situation at Aarey. Rangoli is a great medium to send out a message with traditional and cultural aspect to it, especially in Mumbai. The message given was loud and clear, the need of the hour for Mumbai is to Save Aarey Forest and to protect its indigenous community which is the only natural ecosystem left in this ever-growing city where the terms growth and development are meant only for a short section of the population which is the ruling class.

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