State Affairs

Stories from Hornbill night bazaar

NAGALAND
It gets dark by 3:30 pm in winter, the Hornbill Night Bazaar opens at 4:00 pm with the streets of Kohima all lighted – a sparkling river like the Milky Way. People in thousands, children in multi-coloured blinking hats, families queuing up for hot roadside pakoras, young men and women in over-sized fun sun-glasses, and tourists throng the streets; where goodies, burning stoves and steaming food magically appear by nightfall.

Just like 99% of small-scale traders at the local vegetable Bazaar, most stall owners at the Night Bazar are Naga Women. Atobu and Aseno are 21-year old business partners who come from Kezobasa Village to sell novelty items. Children of “kheti kuria manu,” as they informed, one of them had her baby strapped to the back. They made some profit the previous Hornbill and were happy to sell again this year. Their eyes hinted at bigger plans for the future.

Naomi, a graduate from Kohima, selling colourful wigs is unemployed and says that Hornbill was an opportunity to experiment her skills. She wants to start her own business… but people have no money this year, she laments. Aroma of roasted chicken beckoned… skewered piping hot above red coals, and the banner read ‘Little Lights Home Orphanage.’ Run by Hekali and David, this Home in Dimapur has 30 children from 11 Naga tribes. In between chicken and European Coffee, there are children out there orphaned by parents dying of HIV-AIDS; who are shunned, discriminated and abused by a “Christian” Naga society.

Little Lights’ first time at Hornbill was to have fun and raise funds for a plot of land. The home aims to educate these children and let them become ‘Lights’ of the world. Hekali terms the Hornbill Festival as a great platform to promote Nagaland and to generate income though responsible tourism. However, she expresses concern about young Nagas and binge drinking.

“Tai-po! Tai-po! All the way from Gangtok!” Vangaurd Youth of Faith Harvest Church shouted. Volunteering for their friends from Sikkim, fundraising for the construction of Victory Fellowship Church in Sikkim, Vane (15), Medovine(14) and Kelhousetuo (17), express they were not too keen about the Rock Fest, as people get drunk and abusive. But they are happy with the Night Bazaar as sale of Tai-po (Gigantic dumpling) will help their friends.

Read the full report here, Morung Express

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