State plans Tribal University

Behdeinkhlam festival concludes

SHILLONG/JOWAI: Chief Minister Conrad Sangma on Sunday said the state government is planning to set up a Tribal University.
Addressing the gathering during the concluding day of Behdeinkhlam festival in Jowai on Sunday, the chief minister said the concerned ministries will be approached for setting up of Tribal University in the coming years to promote the interests of the indigenous communities of the state.
He also informed that the priority of the government is to promote culture, tradition and festivals of the people of the state.
“The government is committed to set up heritage villages and research institutes in this regard,” Sangma said.
He said with the intervention of the state, the Tribal Affairs ministry has sanctioned Rs 42 crore for setting up a Tribal Research Institute at Chidekgre, near Babadam in West Garo Hills to study the cultural aspects of all the tribes of the state.
The four-day Behdeinkhlam festival, celebrated annually by the Sein Raij Jowai, a religious organisation and its members belonging to the traditional faith- ‘Ka Niam Tre, was concluded at the sacred pool called the ‘Syiem Aitnar’ on Sunday.
The festival began on Thursday. The Sunday festival drew thousands of people from across the state and the country besides tourists from foreign countries. Behdeinkhlam is the most important festival of the Pnars and is celebrated after the sowing season every year.
Behdeinkhlam is a festival to drive away plague. ‘Beh’ means drives, ‘Khlam’ means plague and ‘Dein’ means stick- to drive away plague with sticks.
Earlier, on the second day of the festival on Friday, hundreds of faithful mostly men, came out of their respective localities to fetch the ‘Deinkhlams’– the sacred logs and also the Khnong Blai and the Symbud Khnong.
The most sacred log brought by the Chilliang Raij Unit of the Sein Raij Jowai also known as ‘Khong Raij’ was laid for a night at the sacred place called Loom-sooiung near Shillong Tourists Stand.
Other localities including, Panaliar, Dulong, Loomkyrwiang, Loom-iongkjam, Iongpiah, Tpep-pale and others also brought their Deinkhlams– the sacred logs to Iawmusiang Jowai on Friday.
While the Jowai Behdeinkhlam was the most colourful with at least 15 raths, the Tuber Behdeinkhlam is the biggest with 65 to 70 raths. The Sein Raij Tuber will celebrate the festival on July 22.

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