ITANAGAR- Chief Minister Pema Khandu, attending the students-teachers meet of partner states – Meghalaya and Uttar Pradesh – under the Ek Bharat Shrestha Bharat program, here this evening, called upon the youths to learn about their counterparts from across the country; learn about their culture, traditions, languages, etc and create a united and strong India.
He informed that the Ek Bharat Shrestha Bharat program was conceptualized by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to enhance interaction and promote mutual understanding between people of different states through the concept of state pairing.
Arunachal Pradesh has been paired with Meghalaya and Uttar Pradesh and about 150 students and teachers from these two states are on a five-day visit to Itanagar.
“It is sad that many of us do not know much about our counterparts in other states of the country. This program is a great initiative to bridge this gap of ignorance and give a platform for our youths to visit partner states and learn about a different culture first hand,” Khandu observed.
Khandu advised the visiting students to make the most of their 5-day stay and learn as much as possible about Arunachal Pradesh, its diverse culture and scenic beauty.
“I know it is not possible to learn all about the people of Arunachal Pradesh by staying at Itanagar. But you have student participants from our state with you, who will be from various tribes of the state. Learn from them. Make friends of a lifetime. Stay connected. Visit each other’s place once you graduate and join your chosen professions. Only then the objective of this program will be fulfilled,” he said.
Khandu suggested the Education Department to engage the visiting students constructively and expose them to various facets of the rich cultural diversity and potential of Arunachal Pradesh so that they go back to their states with the memories that would never fade.
He was also of the opinion that such visits should be organized in the state after the monsoons have passed so that the visiting students can actually travel to different places and meet people of different tribes.
“Ours is a distinct state. Geographically the largest in the North East and culturally too the most diverse. We have about 26 major tribes and more than hundred sub-tribes, each with a different language, food habits, cuisine, tradition and way of life. You have to be one amongst us to understand us better,” he remarked.
The Chief Minister expressed hope that the visit would promote the intended aim of national integration through systematic exchange between paired states in cultural, literary, and linguistic fields.
“As you go back to your respective places, hope you would have attained better understanding and appreciation of the history, culture, language, cuisine, festivals, food, lifestyle, and many such things of each other,” he said.
He urged the visiting students to perform Arunachalee dances or songs during cultural interactions.
“Our youths can sing and dance to Hindi or Punjabi songs. You too should try a hand at local songs and dances of Arunachal,” Khandu advised.