“Sirish Festival 2017, organized by APPL Foundation, celebrates the unique cultural heritage of Tea Tribes in Assam and West Bengal. The third Sirish Festival, a colourful cultural extravaganza of folk songs and dances, an audition was organized at Hatigore Tea Estate in Udalguri on 25 January 2017. The audition saw the participation of teams from various estates of Amalgamated Plantations and other tea companies of the district. The competition was judged by an eminent jury panel selected from within the tea community led by Shri Subil Barg. The Sirish Festival audition was attended by over 1000 members of the local community, from in and around Hatigore estate.
Tribal communities were brought to the plantations from the Chota Nagpur Plateau region and other parts of India over 200 years ago in order to meet the shortage of labour in the plantations. These communities collectively came to be known as the Tea Tribes. They emerged with the tea plantation in Assam and have since then, immensely contributed not only to the growth of the tea industry but also to the State Exchequer. The Assam tea community constitutes 24% of Assam’s total population. As these tribes were initially inducted from different parts of the country, the tea estates became a melting pot of diverse cultural practices. The Sirish Festival is an attempt to promote, exhibit and preserve these distinct cultural and art forms and facilitate their integration into mainstream Assamese society.