National

50 Years of Arunachal Pradesh: How the State Inaugurated Its Month-Long, Golden Jubilee Celebrations

The inaugural ceremony for the golden jubilee celebrations in Arunachal Pradesh took place at the Padi Yubbe Outdoor Stadium in Ziro

Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu speaks at the inaugural ceremony
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Fittingly enough, the celebrations commemorating the golden jubilee of Arunachal Pradesh’s conception and existence commenced in Ziro on January 20, 2022 — the same place where Indira Gandhi had, 50 years ago, officially named and designated Arunachal Pradesh as a Union Territory.

Due to the threat of Omicron, the original, ambitious plans had to be scaled down by the organisers. The inaugural ceremony was held at the Padi Yubbe Outdoor Stadium, where crowds were kept to a minimum in keeping with rigorous COVID-19 protocols. However, nothing could take away the significance of the day — a fact that was reflected in the celebratory events and the underlying themes.

One of the most important themes was that of ‘celebrating the past and nurturing the future’. In line with this theme, the eight chief ministers Arunachal Pradesh has seen were all felicitated, as were the first members of the erstwhile NEFA Council from the Subansiri Basin.

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Dignitaries pose for a photoshoot during the inaugural ceremony of the golden jubilee celebrations in Arunachal Pradesh

Say No To Drugs was decided as the signature theme of the month-long celebrations. It also happens to be the name of the campaign launched by the state’s brand ambassador, the veteran actor Sanjay Dutt. Under this programme, a dedicated website to give online counselling and support to those seeking help is scheduled to soon be launched. Dutt also made a virtual appearance in a promotional video that premiered at the inauguration ceremony venue on January 20, 2022.

Contests and competitions were also announced, but all of them will be held online. These include literary and photography competitions which hope to give young locals a platform to tap into and display their skills and creativity. Other events showcasing the state’s indigenous sports, songs and dances will also be conducted virtually.

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Women perform a folk dance during a cultural programme

The inaugural ceremony also saw uplifting speeches from several dignitaries and politicians. A slew of social welfare measures were announced, and plans outlined to improve the well-being of the state’s residents. These include the expansion of road networks in villages, development of 50 government schools as model ones, inauguration of 365 infrastructural projects within this year and increasing the amount of money allocated to every girl child under the Dulari Kanya Scheme from ₹20,000 to ₹25,000.

The inaugural day of the month-long festivities on 50 years of Arunachal Pradesh hit the right notes. It was melodiously capped off by performances from popular musicians in the state, such as Taba Chake, a Mumbai-based indie singer, and Thupten Tsering (of Indian Idol fame), in the evening.

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