From its humble beginnings, Goa Yuva Mahotsav has evolved to be one of the state’s prominent events, and has impacted Goan society in many ways
In the past 23 years since its inception, Goa Yuva Mahotsav has emerged as one of Goa’s biggest youth festivals. This year, 24th edition of the event organised by Konkani Bhasha Mandal will take place at Panchayat grounds in Molem, Dharbandora on January 19 and 20, and a segment of the programme has been dedicated to brainstorming ideas for the event’s silver jubilee.
Apart from that, this year’s edition will witness 31 teams compete in 18 different contests including singing, dancing, theatre, short films, street plays poster-making and many others.
“Right from the beginning, the core purpose of Goa Yuva Mahotsav has been to encourage the youth to embrace Goan culture, language and ethos”, informs Anwesha Singbal, the former working president and currently member of organising committee of the event. “Since it is organised by Konkani Bhasha Mandal, and as Konkani is the mother-tongue of most Goans, Konkani has become the language of most competitions by default, but considering that culture is a broad term, we are open to participants and ideas from all languages spoken across Goa,” Singbal adds.
The youth festival has been growing in stature in reach over the years, receiving around 3000 participants and over 10,000 guests in attendance. Beginning as a medium to connect Goan youth to their culture, Goa Yuva Mahotsav has itself impacted Goan society in a number of ways, avers Singbal. “A number of youth who gained confidence on the stage of Goa Yuva Mahotsav have left their mark on Goa. For instance, most of the prominent faces in a number of agitations surrounding social issues in Goa have been GYM participants,” says Singbal, noting that there is more to the event than meets the eye, and what the youth take from here stays with them long after the festival has concluded.
That said, it has been the tradition of the festival to take up key social issues of the day as themes for its various competitions, and this year, the topic surrounding a troubled temple in Kerala has been included in skit competition has raised some controversy. “The purpose of GYM is to generate discussion among the youth about pressing social issues of the day, and what is happening in Kerala affects all Indians,” singbal asserts, “What matters is that we openly debate and discuss all kinds of views and themes, and I believe that has been achieved here.” All in all, Goa Yuva Mahotsav has played a key role in not only bringing the Goan youth closer to their culture, but has also impacted and shaped the society that it seeks to study, concludes the former working president of the event.