Chief Minister Pema Khandu today joined the Sajolang community at Nafra to celebrate the Silver Jubilee Celebration of Chindang festival. People dressed in traditional Sajolang attire received the Chief Minister with a rousing welcome, in the Chingdang festival ground. Among the hosts were festival Chief patron Kiren Rijiju, Minister of State for Home Affairs and festival patron Japu Deru, MLA, Bomdila.
The day’s celebration began with a group song followed by formal opening of 25 years of central celebration of Chindang festival by the CM. The festival committee presented the Chief Minister with a traditional male outfit ‘Nuuvhu Grie’.
Appealing the Sajolang youths to preserve their traditional identity, Khandu in his speech said that with the advent of modernity, we have to accept change but it must not be at the cost of one’s indigenous culture.
He stressed on the importance of CBOs in preserving traditional culture. “Without their initiative, our youths won’t be motivated to learn our ancient culture and dialect, which has been passed on through generations,” observed Khandu. He expressed concern that as the elder generation of the community dies down, who are the last repositories of ancient culture, the youths will be forever disconnected with their own culture.
Speaking on development initiatives of the state government, the Chief Minister asserted that dependency on centre for funds has to stop some day. “If we have to move ahead, we have to work on how to convert our natural resources to a revenue generating source,” he said.
Advocating for hydropower, the Chief Minister said that state has to tap its natural resources and think of how to make it beneficial for the society. He appreciated the Bichom dam resettlement plan implementation, which he had inspected the previous day.
Observing the success of Bichom dam’s development efforts, the Chief Minister expressed that Bichom residents could become the ambassador of hydropower. However, he stressed that development should not be at the cost of one’s culture and said that development projects will never be forced on people.
Also speaking on the occasion, Rijiju said that a society that has lost its culture is like a body that has lost its soul. Culture is an asset that once lost could not be regained and has to be protected by the local community alone, he stressed.
Earlier the Chief Minister visited the Sajolang cultural emporium put on display by a local women self help group ‘Ladoh Buchung Phong’. The items on display were traditional male/female outfits, bamboo items, hunting equipment, war materials and others. A traditional hut of the Sajolang community was also on display.
The festival committee released a souvenir book on the occasion – ‘Heritage, Culture and Habitat of Sajolang community through Chief Minister. This was followed by a traditional ‘Pong Ho’ dance, which is performed by male folks to drive away the evil spirit.
The festival was also attended by Parliamentary Secretary (Health & FW) Phurpa Tsering, Parliamentary Secretary (PHE) Kumsi Sidisow, West Kameng Deputy Commissioner Dr Sonal Swaroop and NEZCC Deputy Director D. Vashum.