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Chizami festival celebrates indigenous biodiversity

By Our Correspondent Updated: Mar 06, 2020 12:33 am
Neignulo Krome examines exhibition models during the biodiversity festival on Thursday, March 5, at the NEN resource centre in Chizami of Phek district.

Our Correspondent
Kohima, March 5 (EMN):
The two-day North East Network’s (NEN) 11th biodiversity festival started on Thursday at the organisation’s resource centre at Chizami in Phek district with the theme “Rediscovering indigenous science for a sustainable future.”

The NEN was formed as part of a ‘preparatory process’ for the Beijing World Conference on women in 1995. The organisation said the NEN is one of the pioneer organisations in the Northeast region to combine activism with advocacy from a ‘liberal feminist perspective, conveying critical as well as sensitive gender issues through dialogue and dissemination.’

The festival is said to have started in the year 2010 and 5-6 districts participate every year.

The main objective of the festival is to celebrate and strengthen people’s indigenous knowledge and local food system, and to strengthen the community’s relations with nature and biodiversity, organisers said. With the perspective that ‘our future is uncertain if we do not care for our biodiversity,’ the festival is also a connecting platform the community to share ideas.

The festival also conducted an inter-school science project competition based on themes of sustainable food and farming systems, among other competitions.

There were eight participants in the science project competition. The first prize was won by Sacred Heart Higher Secondary School of Chizami, while the second and third prizes were won by Eastern Mission School of Chizami and Government High School of Chizami respectively. Consolation prizes were given to the other participants as well.

In the indigenous quartet competition, there were 10 participants. The first prize was won by Government Middle School of Kikruma, while the second and third prizes were won by Government Middle School of Chizami town and Government High School of Mesulumi respectively.

Wekoweu Tsuhah, state director for the NEN told Eastern Mirror the organisation is celebrating its 25th year of establishment this year. She said that the organisation works in capacity building and does research work as well.

‘Naga struggle recorded in global forums’

The secretary general of the Naga People’s Movement for Human Rrights, Neingulo Krome, spoke at the festival during which he spoke about the various aspects of the Naga political issue. ‘Although in the course of the Naga struggle in defence of our rights and the consequent brutal human sufferings our people went through in the past went unheard of and remained isolated to the rest of the world, we are not alone anymore now as those insufferable and unspeakable stories of the past are all sufficiently informed and recorded in all the United Nation’s forums and other international bodies,’ said Krome, at the event.

He said that even the present ‘unpredictable peace processes are being closely followed and monitored’ by ‘many’ well-meaning international mechanisms. “This is also to say that in the past the Indian public and civil society organisations did not know what the government of India has done to us. But today, they are fully aware and are in full sympathy and in solidarity with us,” he said.

He stated that there over 370 million indigenous peoples in the world and they are the most discriminated people in the world. Indigenous peoples have sought recognition of their identities, way of life and right to traditional land territories and natural resources. The United Nation acceded to their identities and rights on August 9 1982.

“Nagas were part of these processes and are also founding members of the indigenous people’s movement and organisations in Asia, beside other international indigenous people’s movements of the world,” he said.

Atula Wai, principal of the District Institute of Education and Training, explained ‘indigenous’ to be something that is locally practised and evolved locally, and uses local resources. It also has traditional characteristics which were passed down through generations.

‘If the scientific advancement of the modern world has taught us anything, it is that the natural world is a delicate eco-system in which the activities of the humans have consequences that affects the balance of the natural world,’ she said.

Wai explained that overexploitation of natural resources, the use of artificial fertilisers, and pesticides, the use of synthetic materials etc. has resulted in a lot of unintended consequences that has raised troubling questions about the long-term health of the planet.

“It is a humbling experience for us humans to know that evolution is more intelligent than we credit it for and it can also tailor itself to local conditions quite especially with all its microscopic complexity,” she remarked.  

“In our relentless march to modernise, we have discarded some of our old ways of doing things and retained some traditions quite half-heartedly and perhaps it is time to re-examine and reassess the traditional time-tested tactics of survival using a holistic approach with the benefit of the knowledge gained so far,” she said.

By Our Correspondent Updated: Mar 06, 2020 12:33:51 am