Bengaluru, 5 June: “Let us say ‘no’ to destruction, and let us learn to say ‘yes’ to alternatives,” said Dr Niranjana, Vice-Chancellor of Bangalore North University, as the day-long festivities of the Bhoomi Habba 2022 concluded at the Visthar Eco-Sanctuary on Saturday (4 June). His message – “We need to protect nature, not for the sake of others, but for our own sake” – resonated with the theme of the festival, “Only One Earth”.
Over 3000 participants from different walks and stages of life joined the celebrations from 10 in the morning till 7 in the evening. The festival featured music, dance, theatre, paintings, films, and workshops, in addition to stalls selling environmentally sustainable products.
Students from six neighbouring schools arrived early for the inauguration. As they danced to the beats of Djembe music, the tone was set for a day of fun and learning. Over ten workshops awaited children – on how to convert trash into toys, on cartooning, on traditional games, and others. “The programs were beautifully organised and we enjoyed it a lot,” said Rajesh, a teacher from Veerabhadra School.
A wide range of artists engaged visitors with paintings, theatre and music. Across the campus, artists and visitors were making live paintings, this was facilitated by Visual Artist Mahesh of Visthar Lalit Kala Kendra also known as Center for Fine Arts. Several large paintings adorned the only open field in the eco-sanctuary. Broke Artists Collective has come up with ‘Pay What You Want’ Bhoomi Thayi Belage, the City-based music group, and Djambe artists kept the campus alive with their music. Children’s collective from Timbaktu performed enchanting folk dances of Andhra Pradesh. The theatre artist Anish Victor offered a preview of a new performance he is working on.
“The purpose of the Bhoomi Habba is to raise awareness about the environmental issues we are facing, and to learn how we can respond,” Mercy Kappen, Director of Visthar, said. “Thus, we featured a wide range of stalls that contribute to environmental sustainability and art and theatre workshops and performances that nurture imagination and creativity.”
At the entrance, the visitors were greeted with stalls related to soil and growth. “Soil Vasu”, the well-known educator and team introduced participants to the diversity of soils and why we need to protect soils. They facilitated a workshop on gardening and soil composting. Across them, ‘The Daily Dump’ offered composting bins ideal for homes in the City. The cool and shady Manoranjitham nursery made available a wide range of plants from the Visthar Eco-Sanctuary.
From buttermilk to vegan smoothies, and millet pakodas to jackfruit meals, the food court of the Bhoomi Habba featured an eclectic array of food stalls. Visitors enjoyed freshly cooked, hot food from across the country. The Timbaktu collective from Andhra Pradesh was promoting millets, a crop that requires less water, is more resilient to climate changes, and provides excellent nutrition.
As the day’s programs flowed to an end, theatre artists from the Visthar Ranga Shaale highlighted the urgency of environmental issues. And as the audience listened enthralled to the concluding Djembe rhythms, Dr Niranjana’s poem on ‘the need to say no, and the need to say yes’ stayed with participants.