Shillong, Nov 15: Along with the rest of the country, Meghalaya celebrated Jan Jatiya Gaurav Divas (Tribal Pride) at U Soso Tham Auditorium, here to honour the brave tribal freedom fighters. The celebration was graced by Arts & Culture Minister Paul Lyngdoh as the Chief Guest and Deputy Chief Executive Member, KHADC P N Syiem as Guest of Honour.
In his speech, Paul said that as we celebrate Tribal Pride Week, we should celebrate the pride of belonging to the soil and we should keep in mind that the soil and the soul are one integral part of a tribal. While watching the live streaming of the speech of the Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, Paul said that he noticed the PM is donning the gamcha of Assam. This shows that the North Eastern Region has finally registered itself in the national consciousness, he added.
Referring on the recent visit to the United Kingdom, Paul said that when he visited the Stonehenge, he was surprised that the Stonehenge is more or less dated around the same time that we have the Geological Age called the Meghalayan Age. It is a matter of pride for us that the world has decided upon the name of Meghalayan age as a Geological Age 4200 years ago till 1950, he said.
Paul said that when we talk of the brave hearts of Meghalaya, one major and distinct factor is the fact that the Khasi Resistance Movement led by U Tirot Sing in 1829 was far ahead of the Great Revolution against the British Rule of 1857 and that is a fact that should be fully absorbed by those scripting our history books. “We should no longer be just a footnote in history but we deserve an entire chapter of our own,” he said.
As we celebrate our roots, origin, we should also acknowledge the son of our soil, Rev J J M Nichols Roy who was a member of the Constituent Assembly and who has articulated the need of the tribal people of this region that today we have a space and capacity to protect, promote and perpetuate our interest within India, Paul said.
He called upon everyone to celebrate with a sense of pride and also celebrate with a sense that we should not be only be proud of our past but also do our bit so that future generation will be proud of today’s generation.
Others who spoke on the occasion were Deputy Chief Executive Member, KHADC, P N Syiem and Commissioner & Secretary, Arts & Culture, F R Kharkongor who delivered the welcome address.
As part of the celebration, various awards were given away by the Chief Guest.
Cash prizes were awarded to the winners of the inter school traditional singing competition where in the solo category, Meghalaya Police Public School bagged the 1st prize, St. Edmunds School 2nd prize and Pariong Presbytery HSS the 3rd prize. In the duet category the 1st, 2nd and 3rd prizes went to St. Mary’s HSS, Shillong, Meghalaya Police Public School and St. Edmunds School and in the group category, St. Edmunds School, Seven Set HSS and Jowai Public School bagged the 1st, 2nd and 3rd prize respectively.
Awards were also given to best performing SHGs and VECs upon completion of PMAY-G Scheme and MGNREGA. The Social Welfare Department also gave away awards for best performing Anganwadi Workers and Helpers.
Earlier in the day, Chief Secretary, D P Wahlang flagged off the cultural procession and march on tribal pride by artistes, cultural troops and cultural associations, from the Meghalaya Assembly premises at Khyndailad. Floral tribute to the brave hearts was also laid at the life size statue premises.
The dignitaries also flagged off the Vikshit Bharat IEC vans earlier in the day.
The dignitaries also undertook a walk-through of the open-air museums which depicted the Garo, Khasi and Jaintia kitchens which are the cornerstones of the tribal hearth, and which richly depicted an immersive experience for the visitors on tribal lifestyles and cuisines.
Earlier, a short video message from the Governor of Meghalaya was also aired.
Paul informed about the upcoming Tri Hills Ensemble – II which will be held on November 24 and 25.
P N Syiem called for more active collaboration between Department of Arts & Culture and the KHADC in the realm of culture. He also highlighted the role of the district councils as constitutional custodians of culture and heritage.
Kharkongor outlined the objectives of the 10- day Jan Jatiya Gaurav Divas which will be celebrated through a display of craft, culture cuisine, folklore, folksong, folk dance in the subsequent days culminating in the Tri Hills Ensemble – II on November 24 and 25 which will be graced by CM and Minister Arts & Culture with the theme of “Stories that matter”. He also announced the names of 6 Art & Craft villages comprising Mustoh, Nongkynrih, Ialong, Babadam, Umladkhur, and Wahkhen as the newly recognized Art & Craft villages which will be awarded on November 24. He said the celebrations will also act as a platform for enhancing outreach on Viksit Bharat with a focus on beneficiaries-oriented schemes comprising Housing, Health, Social Welfare, and Agri-horti domains. Various stalls of the respective departments containing IEC materials were also visited by the dignitaries and the public. Other highlights also included musical performances by AROHA choir on Tirot Sing, performance on the harp by MLCU.