Covid-19 made us reinvent our festivals: Dy CM Mein

Festivals provide an opportunity to showcase our distinct identity and culture, Mein said.

Itanagar: Deputy Chief Minister Chowna Mein on Thursday said the Covid pandemic gave the people of Arunachal Pradesh an opportunity to introspect and retrospect, and seek innovative and modern ways of celebrating their festivals.

He was speaking on the auspicious occasion of Solung Giidi at the Mopin Solung ground here.

“It has been two years due to Covid that we missed the grand celebration of many local festivals including Solung. I believe it will be celebrated with traditional fervour, much fanfare and enthusiasm throughout the state this year,” he said.

Recalling his budget speech, Mein said “our culture is our pride” and “we must adhere to our roots, that is our culture and traditions while accepting modernity”.

He said Arunachal Pradesh is a land of festivals and cultures as diverse as its biodiversity. These festivals celebrate the glorious heritage and also carry the rich culture and traditions to the new generations.

“We can see a silent revolution among the youths across the state for the need to preserve, promote and propagate the rich culture, tradition and heritage. On such occasions, we must ensure the participation of the youths who are our future and will shoulder the responsibilities,” Mein said.

He added that elders and intellectuals of the community should take this opportunity to pass on the legacy to the younger generation and teach the nuances of language, cultural ethos and traditional values.

Mein said festivals also provide an opportunity to showcase our distinct identity and culture. “I am optimistic that the celebration of Solung will strengthen the preservation, promotion and rejuvenation of the age-old customs and traditions of the tribe,” he said.

The Deputy CM alluded to the steps taken by the state government to preserve and promote culture such as registering 3,000 indigenous priests and increasing the allocation for their honorarium to Rs 4-crore.

Mein also said applications for Geographical Indication for five products such as Khamti rice known as Khao-Tai, Yak Churpi and Adi Kekir ginger have already been filed.

“We have also filed a record nine applications for GI registration of handloom and handicraft items this year. They include the Monpa handmade paper, Wancho woodcraft and beads craft, Nyishi textile, handwoven woollen carpets, Apatani textiles and Tangsa handloom,” he added.

Mein highlighted the project to recognise the unsung heroes of India’s freedom movement from Arunachal Pradesh. He said the Centre recognised 15 such heroes, 100 freedom fighters and 64 martyrs from various communities, identified through extensive research, during the Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav phase.

“We salute all our forefathers for the sacrifice they made,” he said.

He termed the Adis as great warriors, as they defended part of Lower Dibang Valley district and the Siang belt from British intrusion. He informed the gathering that the Centre recognised Matmur Jamoh as an unsung hero from the Adi community besides 44 others as martyrs and 22 as freedom fighters.

He also referred to the Khamti Rebellion of 1839, the Anglo-Abor Wars of 1858, 1859, 1894, 1911-12 and the Ninu massacre of 1875 while adding that tributes would be paid to the state’s heroes during the Statehood Day celebration next year.

A war memorial and museum to honour these heroes are in the pipeline, he said.

On the drug menace, Mein said addiction among youths is alarmingly on the rise and urged all to wage war against drugs to save the future generation. He lauded the efforts of women’s SHGs working for the eradication of the drug menace from society.

Mein further said tourism would be the most significant industry in the days to come and “we need to have a tourism package as there is no lack of tourist places in our state blessed with scenic beauty, diverse cultures and cuisines and biodiversity.

Pointing out that tourism can improve the per capita income of the educated unemployed youths, he called upon the leaders of the students’ unions to prepare a combined roadmap for development and take up social issues.

Earlier, Mein participated in the traditional Adi ritual to seek blessings from Ki:Né Nané and Doying Boté.

Besides Ponung and Tapu dances, cultural displays by various other tribes enthralled the gathering.

Also read: Arunachal: Foundation for first palm oil mill laid in East Siang

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