The Rain God blessed Nyokum– at its 50th year of central celebration at picturesque Yazali here this year and Chief Minister Pema Khandu along with Deputy Chief Minister Chowna Mein not only donned but lived the life of a proud Nyishi for the day. Sporadic downpours added to the taste of the misty millet– Poliing!
“Nyokum Ane is happy with her children and is showering her blessings from the heavens,” said Khandu, dressed as a Nyishi warrior, to the huge crowd of festival revelers on Monday.
Lauding the Nyishis for preserving their rich cultural heritage and taking pride of their roots, Khandu said Arunachal Pradesh is lucky to have them as one of the most populous communities and leading from the front for the rest to follow.
He appealed the community to set an example in preservation of the state’s rich and varied cultural heritage so that the world comes to Arunachal to witness and savour its unique identity.
Khandu observed that the indigenous festivals like Nyokum can be promoted for cultural tourism and the state government is actively considering the option. He said sufficient fund provisions will be kept in the next budget for celebration of local festivals by all tribes of the state.
“It is indeed praiseworthy that the organizers of this festival have not sought any financial help from other sources but have voluntarily contributed to it,” he pointed.
Nyokum, this year, was organized by the villagers of Talo under the Chairmanship of Toko Jyoti, who is a chief engineer with the state government’s PHE&WS department.
Khandu while dwelling upon few programs initiated for welfare of the people and development of the state said that connectivity is the only panacea to all hurdles of the state on its way to self-sufficiency. He requested people not to demand or expect huge land compensations for road projects but sacrifice for a better future of their children.
On the recent visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Itanagar and expectations of the people, Khandu said Modi is unlike any prime minister the country ever had.
“It is but natural for the people to expect some financial package from the PM but Modiji is different. He doesn’t believe in making announcements but in actual work. He has been kind enough and is helping Arunachal grow as required. He will always there when needed,” he asserted.
Deputy Chief Minister Chowna Mein also had words of praise for the Nyishis. He viewed the effects of globalization cannot be stopped but can be compromised without compromising with the state’s distinct cultural identity.
“Nyishis have kept alive their great legacy. We, the other tribes of the state, need to learn from you!” he said.
Mein, who also holds the Finance portfolio, informed the people of the pain being taken for preparing the ensuing budget of the state.
“We are painstakingly preparing the state budget with several consultations and pre-budget meetings. Recently we had a fruitful meeting with all community based organizations of the state. Our objective as well as commitment is to deliver a pan-Arunachal budget that will cater to each and every need of each and every community of the state,” he assured.
Both CM and DCM earlier paid their respects to the Nyokum deity at the altar to the chants of the priests.
According to festival organizing secretary Biki Bath, this year the Nyokum at Yazali has gone pure ‘organic’. He informed that the main stage, pandals, huts and all houses in the festival ground have been constructed from locally available bamboo by the villagers themselves.
“We haven’t hired any material from outside for construction of the main stage as is a practice. Except for the lights and sound everything is organic…even the cup for drinking and plate for eating are made of bamboo,” Bath added.
Meanwhile, several pioneers and prominent personalities like Late Tomo Riba, Late Tadar Tang, Late Omem Moyong Deori, Bengia Hemonto, Bengia Tab, Nabam Tata and others were felicitated on the occasion. A veteran of two wars, 1965 and 1972 – Taba Chada, a retired army personnel and few pioneering priests were also felicitated by the chief minister.
A pan-Arunachal effect was given to the colourful cultural program of the day wherein cultural troupes from various communities of the state like Monpas, Galos and Khamptis performed their traditional dances. Indigenous games and sports also marked the celebrations.
Besides local legislator Likha Saaya, several former legislators, officers and community leaders were present on the occasion.