Workshop on eternal culture of North East janjatis
By Jagdamba Mall
It was for the first time that a unique workshop was organised on the topic ‘Philosophy and Spirituality in Eternal Religions (Sanatan Dharma) and Eternal Culture (Sanatan Sanskriti) of janjati communities of Karbi Anglong’ under the aegis of Janjati Dharma Sanskriti Suraksha Manch (Janjati Faith & Culture Protection Forum) from January 27 to 29 at Diphu in Assam. A total of 153 delegates from nine janjati communities hailing from Karbi Anglong participated in the workshop. Among them 29 were women.
The participant communities included Karbi, Dimasa, Mantai, Boro, Tiwa, Khasi, Rengma, Adivasi and Thengal Kachari. There were some other community representatives also hailing from other states. They were Chakma, Reang, Mizo, Nepali, Hajong and Oriya.
In the workshop, 31 research papers were received and all the resource persons (scholars) attended the workshop and actively participated in various sessions. The research papers will be published in bookform for ready reference.
After prolonged discussion amongst various scholars it was found that though different janjati groups outwardly seem to be different in language, tradition, attire, food habbits and mode of worship etc but philosophically and conceptually every janjati community is one and the same. It was revealed that in every janjati community, the concept of atma and parmatma (soul and supreme god), paap and punya (sin and bliss) hell and heven, birth and death, rebirth or salvation, festivals, rites and rituals, etc were same with no variation.
Addressing the delegates at concluding ceremony, Shri Lunse Timung, president of Reception Committee said, “It is for the first time in my forty years of social life that I witness such a workshop which is arranged mostly by janjati leaders under the able supervision of adhikaris and karyakartas of Janjati Dharma Sanskriti Suraksha Manch. We have, though, been living in neighbourhood, but we—the different janjati communities—do not know much about each other. Taking the advantage of our lack of adequate knowledge about different janjati communities, our adversaries spread rumour and propaganda against each other. They instigated one community against others to cause social upheaval and hatred against each others. Once a chaotic condition is created engulfing the society, it provides golden opportunity for large-scale conversion. This happened during Karbi-Dimasa clash (2005), which was caused by third force, meaning the church. Similarly, foreign forces were instrumental to cause Dimasa-Jeme Naga clash in 2009. The church was also reported to be behind Garo-Rabha turmoil.”
Shri Timung further said he was grateful to Janjati Dharma Sanskriti Suraksha Manch for bringing nine janjatis out of twelve, living in Karbi Anglong at one platform. He stressed that there is no socio-cultural organisation like the Forum, which is uniting all the janjatis.
Shri BB Jamatia, president of the Forum, narrated the role played by it in uniting the janjatis of Northeast for preservation, protection and promotion of sanatan dharma and sanatan sanskriti of janjatis of region. The workshop adopted three resolutions to stop conversion, work for promotion of sanatan dharma and sanatan sanskriti and to codify customary laws.