The Arunachal Institute of Tribal Studies of Rajiv Gandhi University (RGU) on Friday signed an MoU with the state government’s Directorate of Research to carry out extensive heritage documentation and formulate a State Culture Policy.

The MoU was signed by RGU registrar Nabam Tadar Rikam and director of research, Batem Pertin in presence of Vice-Chancellor Saket Kushwaha and Pro Vice-Chancellor Amitava Mitra.

The project will engage with communities and prepare a roadmap of government intervention, define support mechanism of such initiatives and evolve strategies and an action plan through an academically driven prism.

The expected outcomes of the MoU are assessment of existing fault lines and finding ways in which to strengthen them, which will ensure that the culture of the indigenous communities are protected.

Terming the MoU as historic, Prof Kushwaha said that traditional knowledge by itself is very structured and contains within itself tremendous wisdom.

“There is a need to document and share that wisdom today,” he said.

He urged upon both the AITS and the Directorate of Research to let the project be dynamic and evolve as it progresses.

Prof. Mitra said the MoU was a sign of how the university was fulfilling its commitment to playing a proactive role in the socio-economic development of the state.

Saluting the early research done by Verrier Elwin, Parul Dutta and other pioneers in the Research department, he said that the project should carry the same spirit.

Dr. Rikam commended the vision of the project and assured the university’s fullest support towards it.

AITS Director Jumyir Basar said that the idea of the agreement emerged from the Dream Change Conclave organised by the state government in collaboration with the RGU and CCRD in 2017 and in response to an invititation by chief minister Pema Khandu.

Flagging intellectual property, cultural and language endangerment as cornerstones of the project, she said that the policy will emerge from a synergy of academics, policy planners and the communities themselves so that the traditional knowledge systems can be protected.

She said in addition to the Directorate of Research, the AITS will collaborate with the Communication Resource Centre of RGU’s Department of Mass Communication led by DoD and cultural activist Moji Riba for effective implementation.

Pertin said the combined synergies of RGU and the department will ensure a cohesive culture policy. He also handed over a draft of Rs. 45,24,000 as the first instalment of the project funds.

Earlier, S. Simon John of AITS said that with the signing of MoU, the paper process has ended, which also marks the beginning of the action phase of the research.

RGU joint registrar David Pertin, while proposing the vote of thanks, maintained that it is an important academic exercise as RGU has been striving to execute both its responsibility as an institution of learning and as an active contributor to the socio-economic and cultural development of the state.

Among others, RGU Finance Officer Otem Padung, Riba, Research Officer Radhe Yampi, AITS faculty members Wanglit Mongchan, Tarun Mene and Zilpha Modi were present on the occasion.

DAMIEN LEPCHA

Damien Lepcha is Northeast Now Correspondent in Arunachal Pradesh. He can be reached at: lepcharaul@gmail.com