Speaking at the valedictory event of the two-day dialogue on intangible heritage organized at the Rajiv Gandhi University’s (RGU) Arunachal Institute of Tribal Studies (AITS) at Rono Hills near Itanagar, noted poet and author Mamang Dai said that the culture of any community is in a complex process of evolution and there is bound to be cultural change.
“We have to accept this fact and understand that culture cannot grow if it is frozen or mummified. What we need to do is understand this process and find ways of how we can retain a sense of continuity,” she said.
Participating in the discussions on the ‘way forward’ for retention of indigenous culture, former Vice Chancellor of RGU and founder director of AITS Prof Tamo Mibang said that there have been many initiatives taken by both the University and the Government in regard to the promotion of cultural practices, but it was seen that there were not many takers.
“It is important that communities themselves come forward and engage with the University and government for these initiatives to be successful,” he said.
Professor Sukrita Paul Kumar spoke at length about the need to include culture and folklore into the curriculum to make younger generations more aware about their culture and identity. She also suggested that a mentorship programme be initiated with the traditional practitioners as mentors, which should include curriculum based participatory learning.
Nerupama Modwel, director, ICH at INTACH stressed on the need to create a network of community resources which could evolve into an organic database and said that the primary challenge is about how to get the youth interested in the discourse on cultural heritage and suggested that promotion and creating awareness was key to achieve this.
Earlier in the day, the event witnessed interactive sessions with weavers, indigenous chiropractors and beads-and-accessory makers, along with a performance by a Galo cultural troupe.
During these sessions, which were moderated by Zilpha Modi, Dr. Tarun Mene and Dr. Lienzang Zeite of the AITS, live demonstrations of weaving, indigenous chiropractice and bead-making were also carried out.