Like other parts of the world, World Heritage Day was celebrated in the Northeast as well. The North East Zone Cultural Centre (NEZCC), under the Ministry of Culture, organized a cultural performance on April 18 last at its premises to mark the occasion. A coffee table book, ‘North East India: Life, People and Culture’, was also released on the occasion.
The cultural performance was marked by dance as well as music performances. Dance troupes from various tribal communities, including the Lotha Nagas, Ao Nagas and Tati singers performed on the occasion.
Veteran journalist and editor of Nagaland Post Geoffrey Yaden graced the occasion as the Chief Guest along with a host of dignitaries, which included the likes of Naga cultural activist and Padmashree awardee Sentila Yanger, Hope foundation director Zubeno Mozhui, Centre for Cultural Research and Documentation officer Dr. Sandeep Sharma, amongst others. The Chief Guest also released the coffee tabler, ‘North East India: Life, People and Culture’. The book has been written and edited by Aiyushman Dutta, a journalist and cultural activist based in Guwahati.
Fabricated with a jacket-laced hard bound cover and glossy pages, the colourful coffee table book presents a birds-eye view of the dance forms, music, festivals, cuisine and handloom and handicrafts of the North East. Breathtakingly beautiful photographs captured on the lens of photographers like Arif Siddiqui from Arunachal Pradesh and SH Patgiri from Assam add further aesthetic appeal to the book. ‘North East India: Life, People and Culture’ was published as a project undertaken by NEZCC and it took the editorial team one and half years to compile the data and prepare the book.
Complimenting the author Aiyushman Dutta and the editorial team for the hard work in compiling the material for the book, Geoffrey Yaden said such works are fine examples of promoting understanding among people of the different communities of the region. Citing the author as an example for others to follow, he urged upon the gathered audience and socially-conscious people of the region to take up such ventures in recording the rich cultural history of their communities.
Appreciating the efforts of NEZCC for its efforts in promoting the culture of the North East and its rich heritage, Yaden described the North East as a rich garden of various cultures and traditions. With most of the tribals recording their history in the oral tradition, he said research and documentation of various facets of tribal life were invaluable in the preservation and promotion of tribal culture. “Any community which has no touch with its roots is in danger of losing its very identity,” he said.
NEZCC director Som Kamei also delivered a lecture on the occasion and urged the present audience to do their bit for the preservation of the physical and cultural heritage of the region. He also underlined the efforts being made by NEZCC in this front and said it was fitting that a beautiful coffee table book be launched as part of the celebration.