Uttar Pradesh’s biggest and one-of-its-kind rural festival, the 17th edition of Ranvir Singh Memorial Saifai Mahostav, got off to a spectacular start at Samajwadi Party president Mulayam Singh Yadav’s ancestral village on Friday afternoon.
Speaking at the inauguration at Master Chandgiram stadium, Mulayam said that many criticised the festival but that did not deter him. “Some say it is all dance and songs. Do only the people living in urban centres have the right to enjoy dance, can’t rural folks take pleasure in it? All have a right to entertainment. But it’s not all dance and songs. The festival in a mix of all — rural, folk, urban, agriculture, trade, knowledge exchange, sports, literary and at the same time has something for everyone — men, women and children — rural or urban,” said Mulayam.
Actor-turned-politician Jaya Bachchan inaugurated the show — the first significant Samajwadi Party event to be inaugurated by a woman. “I have been a witness to the fact that the festival is growing bigger by the year. The children here presented a spectacular and mesmerizing show. It is from such shows that the artistes of tomorrow are born.”
The biggest cultural festival of its kind, the Saifai mahotsav mela ground has endless stalls of tractors, cars, fertilizers, seeds, agriculture science, livestock as well as a number of varied eateries.
About 2-3 lakh villagers from adjoining districts attend the annual fortnight-long festival. Chief minister Akhilesh Yadav accompanied by nearly half of his cabinet and other SP leaders were present at the inauguration.
New attractions at the festival will include a body building show, a rural cricket league and a mass Karate show by girls.