ITANAGAR- A weeklong workshop on Documentation of the Endangered Languages and Cultures of Ashing (Adi) and Bogun Bokang (Adi) concluded today at Rajiv Gandhi University (RGU). The workshop was organised by the Centre for Endangered Languages (CFEL), Arunachal Institute of Tribal Studies (AITS), RGU under the project “Documentation of Endangered Languages, Oral Narratives and Cultures of the Lesser-Known Tribal Communities of Arunachal Pradesh”, supported by the North Eastern Council (NEC), Govt. of India. A month-long fieldwork was carried out in a natural socio-cultural context in the Upper Siang regions during February-March 2021. The field research team consisted of Dr. Tame Ramya (Tarh), Dr. Mechek Sampar Awan, Kaling Dabi, Kombong Darang, and Tailyang Nampi.
As a followup of the fieldwork, the workshop was organised in two phases with the objectives to verify the data collected during the field study and to collect additional data. Various data on different aspects of the cultures and languages of the Ashing (Adi) and Bogun Bokang (Adi) were collected during the weeklong programme. The first phase of the workshop was on documentation of the languages and cultures of Ashing (Adi) speech variety.
This speech variety, numbering around 10 competent speakers, is one of the least-known and undocumented languages spoken in Nyereng village, Kuging village, and a few families in Tuting township in Upper Siang regiont. Four native language consultants along with an interpreter participated in the first phase of the workshop. The second phase of the workshop was on documentation of the languages and cultures of the Bogun Bokang (Adi) community. The workshop was attended by eight native language consultants from various Bogun Bokang villages.
During the concluding interaction programme of the workshop, Prof. Saket Kushwaha, Vice-Chancellor, RGU while terming the community members as a repository of indigenous knowledge, urged them to retain the languages and cultural practices before it is lost amidst modernization and globalization. Citing the relationship between institute and community as a significant aspect, he urged the community members to keep on maintaining the relationship they have with the university. He also urged the communities for the preservation of cultural artefacts in the museum or any other mode. He assured that RGU will extend every possible help in this regard.
Dr. N.T. Rikam, Registrar, RGU highlighted the various research projects undertaken by RGU and urged the community members to be a part of such documentation process in future too as and when required by the university. This will help in the long-term preservation of their cultures and languages. He also urged the AITS to carry out a museum and documentation movement with a larger participation of the communities whereby all culture-related arts and artefacts can be preserved in the university.
Prof. S. Simon John, the Coordinator of the Centre for Endangered Languages (CFEL) and the Principal Investigator (PI) of the research project while thanking the university authorities and community members, exuded hope that the workshop has been successful in bridging the gap between the University and the communities. He also urges the University and the communities to continue to extend their help and cooperation in any future academic endeavour undertaken by AITS.
Prof. Jumyir Basar, Director, AITS, RGU while thanking the university administration, resource persons, and research team mentioned the commitment of AITS in documentation and preservation of the lesser-known tribes of Arunachal Pradesh. She also briefed about the initiative of the AITS in the formulation of the ‘Cultural Policy’ for the state in collaboration with the Directorate of Research, Government of Arunachal Pradesh.
Tatin Medo, Secretary-General of the Bogun Bokang Welfare Society (BBWS) representing the Bogun Bokang (Adi) community thanked the CFEL, AITS and the RGU authority for carrying out an authentic research study. The Bogun Bokang as a subgroup within the Adi tribe has been continuously misrepresented in earlier writings and literature, he informed. He hoped that a workshop of this sort will help the community to be known by others. He also assured to help the university in any way possible to carry out further research on the language and cultural practices of the community.
Dr. Tarun Mene, Assistant Professor of AITS, RGU while proposing a vote of thanks extended his gratitude to the RGU authority led by Prof. Saket Kushwaha, Vice-Chancellor, for arranging the interaction programme and thanked for his constant support and encouragement in any academic endeavour undertaken by AITS. He also extended heartfelt thanks to Kaling Dabi, Workshop Coordinator, the research team and all the community members for actively taking part in the research initiatives of AITS.