Three-day workshop on janjatis of Assam
A three-days workshop was organised on December 15, 16 and 17, 2012 at the Vidya Bharati Cultural Hall under the aegis of Janjati Faith & Culture Protection Forum Haflong. The topic of the seminar was Philosophy and Spirituality in Sanatan Dharma (eternal religion) and Sanatan Sanskriti (eternal culture) of janjatis of Dima Hasao district of Assam, which is the home of janjatis like Dimasa, Jeme, Hrangkhal, Hmar, Karbi, Khasi and Khelma. About 120 delegates from 20 villages belonging to Dimasa (37), Jeme (47), Hrangkhal (30) and Karbis (2) and others (4) participated in seminar. The function was inaugurated by Shri Kalijay Singyung, Executive Member of District Autonomous Council, Haflong.
While delivering the introductory speech Shri Ramkuwangbe, President of organising committee said, “The janjati community of Dima Hasao district has been facing many problems. In the very recent past, our district has witnessed a mass upheaval resulting into killing of over scores of innocent people and rendering over a thousand families homeless from various communities. This had left a scar of wounds. It has shaken the mutual confidence and harmonious living. There have been some invisible alien forces which have been reportedly creating misunderstanding causing irreparable loss to our age old family relations between various janjati communities and non janjati brethren as well. Much harm was caused particularly between Dimasas and Jemes.”
Shri Ramkuiji said further, “The other misery which the janjati community of this district is experiencing is the storm of mindless westernisation and conversion to alien religion through proselytisation, allurement and threat. Our people have been in dark about the rapid changes globally in general and at national level in particular. These changes are sometimes not in tune with the needs of the society and these are harmful. The westernisation and conversion are some remarkable negative changes which have a serious threat to the very cultural and religious existence of janjati communities.
The conversion accompanied with western education has shattered the family structure and social fabric. It has given rise to hedonic consumerism and crisis of morality. This has threatened our language, culture, customs and religion as well. Thus, conversion is violence.” While narrating similar threat on the cultural treasure of plains people Shri Ramkuiji explained that the plains people were able to resist and repel the threats because of the strong cultural foundation backed by world renowned Vedas, Smritis, Puranas and unparallel epics like Ramayana and Mahabharata. The plain societies could sustain the threats because of Sanskrit and Hindi literature filled with world’s ancient civilisation, philosophy, science, astronomy and glorious history. The literacy rate is high there and economic condition is exceptionally better.
They are reaping the fruits of advanced technology which our people are still to witness and confront.
While focusing on the reason of conversion to Christianity he said that due to lack of suitable education, prevalent sufferings because of poor economic condition, lack of sufficient meritorious literature on glorious history, religion and culture, custom and tradition and in other human aspects of life etc. our people are very much vulnerable to these alien and hostile forces. For miserable condition of janjati communities of these religions, the Central Government and State Government are undoubtedly responsible, he said.
As per Ramkuiji, the society affected by such miseries are no less responsible. They are required to identify the friends and foes of the societies and accordingly the matching fence is required to be erected.
Shri Ramkuiji said that this workshop was such type of an assembly of elders and enlightened people of major and minor janjati communities of Dima Hasao District. During three days of deep musing and thorough discussions the following points were discussed:
(a) Various aspects of philosophy and spirituality of our Sanatan Dharma (eternal religion) and Sanatan Sanskriti (eternal culture)
(b) Its native origin and by virtue of its originality, its connection and similarity with vedic philosophy
(c) The threat posed to our rich cultural heritage and our sanatan dharma by alien forces and the strategy to evolve the defence mechanism and
(d) To evolve such mechanism of organising such assembly of learned and awakened people who will endeavour to cement dissentions and restore mutual confidence inside a particular community, between different janjati communities and also between janjati and non-janjati communities .
The chief guest Shri Kalijay Singyung EM appreciated the forum for organising this unique seminar.
The different sessions of the seminar were addressed by prominent janjati leaders like Najendra Nunisa, Hiranmay Bathari, Prasanna Hasanu,, Ringpendra Nunisa (all Dimasa), Tanjan Newmai (Jeme), Asong Hrangkhul, Somneibul Hrangkhul (Hrangkhul), Serlin Terangpi (Karbi) and many more.