By Our Reporter
Shillong: For any first time visitor to the North East, the first thing that strikes one’s mind is that the region, apart from being blessed with rich landscapes and flora and fauna, is also endowed with rich cultures and traditions, sheltering magnificent tribal lives that have their own distinct cultural features – customs, languages, dress and ethics.
The diversity of cultures, forms and patterns of the tribal people of the North East is visible through the various dance forms and music of the tribes which enfolds a rich formation of dance patterns and rhythmic tunes produced from traditional instruments.
This colourful diversity of the tribes of North East India is on display at a two-day programme which showcases the dances and music of 14 tribes of North East India organised by the Indian Council of Cultures Relations (ICCR) in collaboration with the State Directorate of Arts and Cultures at U Soso Tham Auditorium here on Wednesday and Thursday.
Delivering the inaugural address on Wednesday, Chief Minister Dr Mukul Sangma stressed on the need to promote dance and music of the State in the right perspective as this can ensure flow of tourists which in turn will boost the economy of the State.
He further informed that the State Government is coming up with various initiatives to promote arts and culture in the State. The Government has earmarked funds to the State Tourism and the Arts and Cultures departments as well as the deputy commissioners of all the districts with an aim to promote cultural heritage and traditions and at the same time to ensure that Meghalaya becomes a centre of learning for cultural studies.
“The youth should take advantage of the platform provided to them to showcase their talents and skills in dance and music which would help to keep our culture alive,” Dr Sangma added. The Chief Minister further mentioned that these kinds of events provide an ample opportunity to bring friends together under one roof. “It is the duty of the Government to promote and provide such platforms to showcase the rich cultures of the NE in the form of dance at the same time to indulge a feeling of oneness among the various tribes of the region,” he stated.
The initiative by the ICCR kick started on August 29 in Aizawl, Mizoram where over 250 artistes of the North East participated.
On Wednesday, the participants from the 14 tribes of the NE, wrapped in their traditional attire, enthralled the audience at U Soso Tham auditorium with their unique dance patterns and with traditional musical instruments in their hands together producing a melody which was pleasing both to the ears and the eyes.
It may be mentioned that the fourteen tribes whose dance and music are being showcased at the programme includes Khasi, Garo, Jaintia, Kabui Naga, Chiru, Mao, Mizo, Reang, Tiwa, Tarao, Paite, Karbi, Hajong and Mishing.
Meanwhile, talking to The Shillong Times on the sideline of the programme, a member of the audience expressed immense joy and pleasure at having witnessed a whole range of the diversity of the North East. “Such an event is sure to create a spirit of oneness and also instill in our minds a sense of brotherhood and a sense of respect for each others’ culture,” he added.
Besides, the Chief Minister, other dignitaries present on the occasion included Deputy Chief Minister, In-Charge Arts and Culture, BM Lanong, Regional Director of ICCR M Singh and other government officials.