Being one of the oldest civilizations in the world, Bharat has a rich heritage of knowledge sharing, public discourse, and intellectual brainstorming. Several schools of thought have emerged from countless debates and thoughts of self-aware individuals which have on the whole given rise to the Indian consciousness today that binds the mammoth of the diversity of land into oneness. However, for a few centuries,India had been in a state of insularity facing political and social precariousness that has severely impacted the social, religious, economic, and most importantly its cultural prosperity. After all the essence of our country has rested not on religious, political, or administrative apparatus but on an immutable culture binding the masses across the country. Therefore, it becomes pertinent in today’s world that the thinkers, scholars, the youth of this county,and all the other citizens of the nation invest themselves in debates and discussions that are aimed at reviving the tainted cultural interconnectedness.
Indira Gandhi National Centre for Arts (IGNCA)in collaboration with PrajnaPravahis organising one such event Ishaan Manthan, which is anattempt to celebrate the plural expressions of North-East India and its interconnectedness with the rest of the country. The North-Eastern part of India holds a great importance in the imagination of our Nationhood. The to- and fro- cross-movement of poems and hymns from North-East to other parts of India has maintained a well knitted cultural and spiritual connection. It is one of the most diversely populated regions of the country comprising of eight states viz. Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim and Tripura. Home to over 200 tribal groups speaking a variety of Tibeto-Burmese languages and dialects, this region is a mosaic of cultural diversity and ethnicity. Even though it is filled with diverse groups of people belonging to different tribes and ethnicity, it has always also had strong connections with the rest of the country. One such instance of this interconnectedness can be understood from the example of Manipuri Raas Leela which is technically inspired by Mathura’s Raas. It stands as one of the astounding illustrations of the ancient connection between various parts of India. Despite the vicissitudes faced in medieval and colonial-era this dance form has inspired and transgressed the boundaries of time and space and became a harbinger of cultural expression of India. This idea is the core of the cultural unity of India which says that we are one but expressed in different colors. In other words, our diversity is proliferated in unity.
It is, however, disappointing to see how the North East has been rendered as an exotic destination. Majority of the country has failed to acknowledge the historical and cultural essence of North-East India. Today it is of paramount importance that this aspect of the North-Eastern part of India is brought forth and the gaps in the knowledge about the people belonging to this region are well acknowledged. Ishan Manthan which can be considered as an event of North-East Brainstorming where the well-knitte cultural and spiritual connections of North East with the rest of the country takethe form of deep-rooted discussions, debates, as well as cultural performances. From discussions on the confluence of Manipuri and Mathura Raas to the discussion on cultural interconnectedness from Assam and Mithilanchal through Folk Wedding songs to the discussion on indigenous faiths of North-East to their unsung freedom fighters, Ishaan Manthan attempts to churn the cultural interconnectedness of the North East. Other than the insightful discussions, the programme offers a wide range of cultural events including the including Bhutia Dance, Mamita Dance, KarpungKarduk band, Cheraw (Mizo Bamboo dance), Wangla Dance, and the famous Tetseo Sisters, the singing sisters from Nagaland’s Kohima and so much more. It is an attempt to emphasise and reiterate the importance of North East India along with its interconnectedness with the rest of the country. Ishaan Manthan is this a humble endeavour to help and reflect the diversity of India in the womb of Unity of People.
We invite you all to experience and enjoy the culture, craft and cuisines of the Northeast India, together at one place on 3 consecutive days from March 25 to 27, from 10am to 5pm seminar sessions with fusion of performances and from 6pm to 10pm cultural programmes. The entry is free, there will be food stalls of every eight North-Eastern states.