Culture in MeerutMeerut reflects an eclectic mix of culture, traditions and art forms, which despite the changing times has retained the ancient roots. The origin of Meerut can be traced back to 273 B.C, following which, the city has gone through a transition from the ancient era of Mahabharata, the Ashokan times, the Gurjaras and finally, the British occupation in Meerut and rest of India. In present day, Meerut local population is represented by the Jats community, Rajputs, Tyagis, Gujjars, etc., each of whom have retained their cultural identity and thereby contributing profusely to its rich cultural heritage and practices. With the eclectic mix of cultures and traditions all blended well into the modern vibrancy of the city culture is what that reflects the present day life of Meerut.
The upheaval during the struggle for Independence brought in a new wave of patriotism led by the freedom fighters of this region such as Mangal Pandey, Master Chandrabhan, etc. Post Independence, Meerut, has marched towards development, while at the same time maintained its local norms and identity. Besides celebrating all popular festivals particular to each religion, Meerut is a home to many other fairs and melas, exhibitions and also has a number of pilgrim centres. Celebration of festivals across all religions held with equal revelry adds a festive look to the place. Music and dance classes are present in every quarter of the city. Kushti the traditional form of Indian wrestling is practiced here in the region of Meerut. Competitions, display of strength at various levels take place periodically.
Some of the notable personalities known for their contribution to culture, art traditions in Meerut are Vishal Bharadwaj, Chithrangada Sen, Mandakini and Achint Kaur. Pandit Vishwantath, Bhaskar Nath, Kailash Kher, etc. are some of the renowned musicians from Meerut. Meerut has a small, but a thriving film and television industry that caters to the audience of few states of North India like Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Punjab. Popularly known as “Mollywood”, these films are made with shoe string budget and reflect the village life of the people here.
Art and Handicraft in Meerut
Meerut has a number of handicraft industries and is renowned for the wooden handicrafts, inlay work and metal craft. Engraved wooden work, Ceramic work, pottery are some of the crafts. The city of Meerut is the largest producer, manufacturer and exporter of musical instruments in India. Cottage industries manufacturing traditional art with bamboo, paper mache, ivory art, metal inlay work, horns etc., are found here. These industries are, in fact, particular to the state of Uttar Pradesh and have been followed from time immemorial.
Music and Dance in Meerut
Music and dance have received great acclaim and impetus in Meerut. The Sitar and Tabla were known to have originated here. The Kathak dance form that was known to have originated in Uttar Pradesh in the 18th century is popular among the younger generation here among various other dance forms. Folk dance and music is part of the culture especially during festive times such as Diwali, Navratri, Baisakhi, Holi, etc. Dance and music classes of great acclaim and reputation have presence here and are popular among all generations.
Nauchandi Fair in Meerut
Nauchandi fair is a thirty-day-long celebration that happens after the first week of Holi. It was originally organized by the rulers of the land but is now organized by the Municipal Council. This tradition of having this fair has stood the test of time for nearly 350 years. Thousands of stalls exhibiting crafts, art, handicrafts etc., is found in the Nauchandi grounds here. Renowned musicians have music recitals during the fair and several competitions; display of art forms take place during the festival. Over a period, new events such as holding of beauty pageants, felicitation of people for their contribution in a particular field.
Other Fairs and Exhibitions in Meerut
Some of the other festivals and fairs that are held in and around Meerut are Meerut Mahotsav, Sardhana Mahotsav, Boodha Baboo Mela, etc. Exhibitions, dance programmes, music recitals by the famous personalities from all over the world are being conducted with gaiety and galore. Besides, the Hare Krishna Mahotsav organised by the ISKCON Foundation takes place in Meerut too.