“Nationalism and patriotism is unbelievably high in the hearts of Arunachalees,” said Chief Minister Pema Khandu here today while attending a reception programme of students from various states of the country visiting the state at Dera Natung Government College.
At least 60 students from various states like Telangana, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Uttaranchal, etc are on a three-day visit to Arunachal Pradesh under the ‘Students Experience in Inter-state Living’ (SEIL) organized by Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP). The uniqueness of the programme is that these visiting students live with local families called as ‘hosts’ during their entire stay. The 60 students were hosted by 15 families of the state capital giving them the experience of local cuisine, traditions and culture. They also had the opportunity to join the 31st Statehood Day celebrations and gain knowledge about Arunachal Pradesh.
“Majority of the people in mainland India do not have much knowledge about the North East and Arunachal Pradesh. Now that you have gained firsthand experience and lived the Arunachalee life for three days, you are ambassadors of Arunachal Pradesh in your respective states and universities,” Khandu said.
Explaining about the diverse culture and traditions of the communities inhabiting Arunachal Pradesh, he however pointed that ‘three days’ is not enough to know Arunachal Pradesh.
“We are such a big state with so many tribes and communities, each distinctly different from the other, I think it will take more days of stay to know us better,” he said.
Hailing the uniqueness of the programme, wherein students from across the country visit the North East and vice versa, Khandu opined that visiting students need to be taken to districts for their stay so that they get the real ‘feel’ of Arunachalee culture.
He appealed ABVP to continue the programme which is a silent revolution working as a catalyst in national integration by bridging the gap between the North East and mainland India.
“I am proud to be an Arunachalee and I am proud to speak Hindi and greet people with a ‘Jai Hind’,” he said.
Urging the visiting students to take back good messages of Arunachal Pradesh and its people, the Chief Minister assured them that whenever they felt like coming back, a family and a home will be waiting for them.
Explaining the objective of the programme, ABVP National Joint Organizing Secretary G Laxman said that SEIL was conceived in the year 1965 to motivate ‘emotional integration’ in the ‘distant regions’ of the country.
“In ABVP we believe in combating divisive forces active in the country through emotional integration of cultures and people living in far flung regions,” he said.
Earlier, several visiting students as well as members of the host families shared their respective experiences.
Also present in the civic reception programme were Parliamentary Secretary Mama Natung, Legislator Laisam Simai, BJP state unit President Tapir Gao, office bearers of state unit ABVP, members of the SEIL reception committee, officials and students of Dera Natung Govt College.