Re-inventing the wheel Suggestions for Dasara
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Re-inventing the wheel Suggestions for Dasara

September 7, 2023

By N.K.A. Ballal, Retd. Sr. Vice-President, ITDC

Recently the District Minister of Mysuru, at a meeting he chaired in connection with Dasara, asked officials to come up with some new ideas for Jumboo Savari procession.  So far so good. The present Committee is full of Government servants who are juniors to the Deputy Commissioner of Mysuru who is the Secretary of the Committee. DC is also new to his job and has to rely on old files and staff to make this programme a reality. 

The officials by now must have dusted the old files of the Dasara festivities and prepared a replica of last year’s festivity with some little modifications. If the Minister was really interested to change he should have some new faces  in the Committee to get some new ideas. Last year there was some unpleasant experience of national-level artistes getting booed because they could not sing Kannada songs. So it is better for the administration  to call  only Kannada artistes  for the events or at least get some national artistes who also sing Kannada songs like Shreya Ghoshal, Kunal Ganjawala etc.

For all the villages and small towns in and around Mysuru, Dasara is a yearly habba and they would come in large numbers and be happy with the lighting  display and the very popular food mela.

Mysuru has become a transit point for domestic tourists visiting Kodagu, Wayanad etc., and practically out of international tourism circuit.  One can hardly see any foreign groups. Let us not count on yoga students and classify them as tourists. Mysuru  is  now  a weekend and holiday destination for the cash-rich Bengalureans. One can  hardly get a room on weekends nowadays. To get international tourists,  the Dasara festival and procession has to become real “heritage” since heritage sells in international market. 

Orchard Street lighting in Singapore during Christmas. [Pic. courtesy: Internet]

I have some suggestions which I have enumerated several times earlier too but always with a little hope someone in power reads it and tries to implement a few:

1. Dasara procession should be a real heritage one. Request, cajole or even plead to make the Prince a part of the procession in his silver chariot behind the howdah elephant. The fact that in the earlier times the kings used to come along the procession is an indication that the Prince has enough time to be a part of the procession after performing his Private Durbar at the Mysore Palace.

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2. Private Durbar to be marketed and sold to high-end tourists. 

3. From the reserve Police force, please select about 100 personnel and make special Palace uniforms as per the old tradition. Designs can be taken from various paintings in the Palace complete with turbans, spears, swords  etc.  These 100  persons should accompany the Prince as part of the procession.

4. Have a vintage car rally as part of the  procession and the  mlas and mp  of Mysuru can sit in those cars. 

5. Reduce the number of tableaux to just 12 only. Let there be a competition and a committee can select the best 12 tableaux for the procession. It should be ensured that the people accompanying the tableaux should also be in uniform.

6. Provide good colourful dresses to  the folk dance troupes.

7. Request other States to put up stalls in the city displaying their culture, cuisine etc., like Rajasthan, Kerala and Goa.

8. Police should ensure that people should not roam in the procession routes.

 9. Ask the Department of Tourism to draw a list of top travel agents and travel writers, invite them over for Vijayadashami procession and honour them.  This will go a long way in putting Mysuru back in tourism circuit.

10. The Government must actively ensure national tv coverage by better pr.

 11. Lighting. At least Devaraja Urs Road and Sayyaji Rao Road to be lit up like Orchard Street lighting in Singapore. One can get details online.

Every year the free pass issue is a reality and I do hope that this year at least it is solved in advance so that gold card holders are not disturbed. Hopefully if some suggestions are implemented it will go a long way to ensure that this year’s programme would be different. Time to re-invent the wheel has come.

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