Connecting people through stories
The Genesis: Growing up in a decade that has witnessed innumerable socio-political conflicts, the founders of the organization recognized that creative arts and performance arts transcend all boundaries by forming a language of their own. If we have to bring people together, we have to delve deeper into our roots and give platforms of convergence to celebrate ethnic diversities that build our cultural ethos. The more people get an exposure to cultures other than their own, the greater the inclusivity. It is not just about presenting an event, but to allow for meaningful interactions at the same time supporting dying art forms by making them accessible to all. With that belief in mind, in 2015 Octave Foundation was formed to carry forward that vision through actionable goals.
Vision: Octave Foundation aims to bring people together to celebrate the cultural diversity of our planet.
Mission Statement: To build platforms for cultural interactions and centres for learning that promote and preserve diverse cultural heritage, and build inclusivity and encourage peaceful interactions between India’s North-Eastern states with the rest of the country.
Time and again we get to hear about crimes committed against people who do not ethnically belong to a certain region. In 2014, the Govt of India released the statistics that there had been a 226% rise in crimes against North Eastern (NE) people in Delhi. According to Bezbaruah Committee report (which was submitted in July’2014), more than two lakh people from the Northeast have migrated to Delhi between 2005 and 2013 and about 86% of them have faced discrimination. And even though the Capital leads among the metro cities when it comes to racial discrimination, others like Bangalore are not far behind. Only two years after it witnessed a mass exodus of people from the Northeast following rumours of many threats and assaults, Bangalore has become an unwelcome host once again. And this is only a small statistic from a cohort of instances of violence and ethnic discrimination that one comes across every day.
There is a lack of narratives in mainstream media and entertainment, which are instrumental in shaping up public opinion and awareness. The NCERT textbook doesn’t talk enough about North Eastern Region despite many proposals being made repeatedly. This further alienates the people of the region from the national ethos and allows mistrust to seep into their minds; the intent of the authorities is questioned.
Likewise, even in the Northeast, there is a sense of suspicion and lack of trust for people who do not belong to the region. Cultural exposure about other regions is low and hence even when travelling or migrating to a new region, many times people from the Northeast assume it is safer to be in their respective communities even if in a different city.
Most cultural events end up becoming community centric meeting points and do not explicitly promote cultural amalgamation. Travelling productions focusing on cross-cultural interaction especially in the Northeast are either rare or negligible.
Apart from this, the craft and art of storytelling is gradually disappearing from our lives. People have moved on to digital platforms while the good old community storytelling practices have started disappearing. Our folk culture is rich in stories and storytelling styles and need to be brought to mainstream platforms before these arts and stories are forgotten forever.
We hope to have you join us in this journey we have undertaken to bring together various narratives, from India and around the world, leaving out the borders dividing us. In times like the present, where people around the world are fleeing homes to stay alive and are facing extreme times as ‘immigrants’, ‘outsiders’, it is imperative to bring as many people under a roof to tell stories – to keep the tradition going, to not forget our past, to bring alive lost tales and to bring people closer with closely strung a variety of narratives.