Southern Angami students devise strategies to conserve culture
Kohima, Jan. 25 (EMN): Southern Angami Students’ Union (SASU), on Saturday, converged to discuss and act on the polarisation of culture on the occasion of its 70th annual literary-cum-cultural day at Sakhabama village on the theme ‘ Indigenisation.’
Retired director of treasuries and accounts, Daso Paphino, who attended the occasion as special guest, sounded alert on the unprecedented change of climate in the world and unimaginable forms of sicknesses and diseases.
“The world has desperately been seeking for answers from the indigenous people and their worldview. What can we, as Nagas, offer as answers to these problems? Do we have anything to offer?” asked Paphino.
He said that many indigenous people in the world today suffer from the loss of their culture and language due to the advent of Christianity. He has termed it ‘unfortunate’ that missionaries imposed their western culture and called it a Christian way of life by converting the people.
He however maintained that ‘one of the reasons the Nagas managed to keep many of our forefather’s traditions is due to the similarity of our cultural and traditional heritage with the practices of the old testament, and the religious beliefs of the jewish people.’
Dwelling on the theme, the speaker opined that Indigenisation is becoming a common phenomena because the western world is beginning to recognise the damage their culture has done to native or indigenous peoples particularly to countries like South America, the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
Practices and world views, as he observed, had their own set of world views. For instance, he stated that the Tenyimias have belief strongly in ‘Penie’ ‘Kenyü’ and ‘Menga’ – whereas others don’t seem to have that in their world view, the yore and values of forefathers.
Paphino observed that today, Nagas are at a crossroad. Some who feels very privileged and blessed to see development taking place rapidly in all forms and shapes. The others who feels very unsettled because they are at risk of losing our language, traditional habits and even culture.
He also expressed concern that shawls and other attires have become a commodity for display during special occasions; becoming more inconvenient and less useable.
Towards this, he suggested some key areas to practice despite many pressing challenges of western or outsiders influence.
The speaker also went on stressed on the importance of enabling oneself to speak one’s own “mother tongue fluently and without shame and also being able to speak the common dialect ‘Tenyidie”.
“Without language you lose your indigenous heritage,” said Paphino, while stating that without speaking ones dialect and language, ‘you lose your indigenous worldview.’
He commended that Naga food is one of the healthiest food in the world, yet, lamented that our ‘own’ is becoming less ‘popular’ as what was introduced from outside is becoming more attractive and sought after.
He also underscore the importance of music and noted the significance of songs on harvest, seasons, love, poetry in our language and traditional tunes. He cited examples of “Sohi mozho Sono diyole,’ ‘Welo hole lohele azho’ which are unique and special.
Paphino viewed that Tenyimias, unlike any other Nagas, are attracted to village life and have an emotional bond with one’s village. Towards this end, he commented that southern Angamis are fortunate that all the villages are easily accessible to spend more time in their own villages more than most other people living in Kohima, other than Kohima village.
Besides, he also other indigenous elements such as weaving, basket making, wood carvings, firewood collections, paddy fields, tree plantations, collective feasting and celebrations.
Stating that use of plastic had polluted the environment, he advised the gathering to go for traditional way of life.
The occasion was marked by cultural competitions like tati (duet), war cry, folktale and other literary competitions like essay, story writing, painting and photography based on the theme ‘Indigenisation.’
Onokü and Diezeno Chüzho were crowned Mr and Miss SASU 2020.