Thanks to support from the District Administration, RTD, TRI, UAVDA and many other players, the initial “Guiding for Gavari” workshop today began the series quite auspiciously. In the inaugural session Udaipur RTD director Sumita Saroch addressed nearly 40 veteran guides and eloquently welcomed their interest and enthusiastic participation in such tribal-focused programs.
The first session, conducted by Gavari documentarian Harish Agneya, described the basic structure of Gavari; and he showed brief representative clips from various Gavari dramas & skits to acquaint the guides with their basic characters, themes and stories.
UNESCO cultural correspondent Lokesh Paliwal then spoke about Gavari’s extraordinary importance as an Intangible Cultural Heritage treasure and the major role it can play in improving Bhil tribal welfare and their socioeconomic development. In the session’s second half Ms. Kiran Jain emphasized Gavari’s spiritual & ritualistic aspects and urged the audience to explore and help preserve the tradition’s deep wisdom.
In the second session RGP publicist W. David Kubiak noted Gavari’s great potential to enliven Mewar as a sacred theatrical center in the beautiful but overlooked September season. He focused on Gavari’s globally resonant calls for women empowerment, human equality and environmental protection that Mewari Bhils not only preach, but also practice in their communities. He closed with a plea to Udaipur’s guide corps to recognize modern society’s obvious need for this threefold wisdom and help their guests understand its indigenous roots and contemporary relevance.
RTO director Dr. Mannalal Rawat ended the workshop with vivid examples of Gavari’s remarkable contributions to inter-communal social cohesion and how the egalitarian values it dramatizes can help restrain social conflicts arising from misconceptions or cynical political machinations. He therefore asked the audience to deeply respect Gavari not just as an enlightened tribal phenomenon, but as a true national treasure that expresses the best instincts of Indian culture. Although Mewar’s Bhils now embody these values most dramatically, he reminded the guides that this indigenous legacy now belongs to all Mewar and the nation as a whole; and he advised them to accurately and gratefully present tribal culture to their tourist clients as a vital inspiring part of India’s history and heritage.
The guide community’s appreciation of the event can be gauged by their warm reviews and the many suggestions they submitted – e.g., to celebrate Gavari with reverent annual festivals, to protect its sacred nature with a tour operator Code of Conduct, to help it achieve deserved respect with national & global Intangible Cultural Heritage recognition, etc.
TRI will again host the next Guiding for Gavari workshop at 11:00 AM, September 17th, this time sponsored by RTD and featuring distinguished Adivasi voices.
– Submitted with gratitude by the RGP team
Guiding for Gavari is a local community awareness initiative conceived and organized by the Rediscovering Gavari Project (RGP) team. All sessions are free and open to Mewar’s tourism professionals, but require an RSVP .