The Arunachal tableau on Republic Day: My experience from ground zero

[ Nyatum Doke ]

The Arunachal tableau with the theme ‘East meets West’, which showed two tribes – the Wanchos from Longding district, and the Monpas from Tawang – was selected for the Republic Day tableaux parade.

I got goosebumps when the Arunachal tableau, with soothing music and colourful dance, marched past me proudly. It is a different experience being on the Rajghat, experiencing the extravaganza and the glamour of the Republic Day celebration. It was another level of experience to watch the tableau of one’s state marching proudly on the Rajpath.

For many, it is just an experience of a minute, but the amount of hard work, time and money that is invested in bringing out the final result is huge. In order to get a theme of any state to get selected for the event, several rounds are held by the defence ministry – each round being a knockout round. Therefore, till the last moment, no one knows if it is finally selected – but all work needs to be carried out without waiting for the results.

This year was no different, and the selection was confirmed on 31 December, 2020, and we were asked to identify a team of artists by 4 January, 2021, and get them to reach camp in Delhi by the first week.

We were happy and anxious at the same time. Anyone who is acquainted with Arunachal would understand how difficult it is, mostly in terms of logistics and finance. However, we didn’t give up and managed a team of artists to represent the state and reached Delhi.

The difficult part doesn’t end here. In this cold month of January, the artists are accommodated in camps and daily rehearsals are held early in the morning. The artists had to walk/dance down a stretch of more than 3 kms along with the tableau daily. A tableau therefore is not just a lifeless sculpted figure but hard work, sweat and pain of each and every person of the department, and others involved in it. Finally, all the hard work of months ended within a few hours. Many will go back home and forget, but for us the memories and experience are etched deep. After the event was over, the artists in the camp came to me and said, “We will be happy if we win a prize.” I said, “Reaching here (being selected for the parade) itself is a prize for us – a matter of pride.” After all, not every state got the pass – let’s celebrate! (Nyatum Doke is DIPRO, Longding. He was the troupe leader of the Arunachal contingent for the Republic Day tableaux parade, 2021)