Chief Minister Pema Khandu today emphasized that in the pursuit of understanding the society it is important that disciplines like archaeology, anthropology, folklore and history need to re-examine the context in which they survive today, and recognise these shifts in perception.
Addressing during the inaugural function of the three-day National Seminar on Archaeology, History, Art, Museums and Folklores of North East India at Rajiv Gandhi University here, Khandu said, “With the advancements not only in information and communication technologies, but even in the very idea of what constitutes knowledge – whether it is formal or traditional, we realise that how we consume knowledge and information is very different from the way we used to – even just 10 years back.”
Pointing that in historical and cultural context, the northeast of India is a complex megalith with each state having diverse historical growth, Khandu said it has given rise to the existence of the “north east”, which somehow remained a separate geographical and political entity to the larger Indian psyche.
Hailing scholars, researchers and writers striving to bridge the distance, he said as the northeast is a complicated area to study, having been able to document and understand these intricate inter-relationships deserve a whole lot of appreciation.
In the Arunachal context, which is largely an oral society, the Chief Minister accepted that its history, art, identity and folklores have become very vulnerable with a real threat of literally disappearing from the face of this earth.
Despite well intended initiatives by agencies like the state department of Research, Art & Culture and RGU’s Arunachal Institute of Tribal Studies, Departments of Anthropology, History, Political Science, the Life Sciences and others, a large part of these researches remain inaccessible to the young generation, he observed.
“It is in forums like this that we need to explore how we can reinvent our modes of expression and alter our knowledge in a manner that is both at once accessible and exciting for our young,” Khandu suggested.
He said the biggest task facing the academia today is to help the society understand itself and to make use of the knowledge gathered to bind the society closer, to create an acceptance of the diversity of cultures and acceptance of each other’s lives.
“That is where I believe the success of this seminar lies. That, in its very conception, it proposes to examine what has worked, what hasn’t and what needs to be done to make the discipline work. There cannot be a more opportune moment.” he added.
Khandu, who met representatives of the RGU students’ and employees’ associations, meanwhile assured that the issues of approach roads and pensions would be taken up on priority by the state government.
Chairman of the Indian Archaeological Society Dr K N Dikshit and Director General cum Vice Chancellor of the National Museum Institute Dr B R Mani also spoke on the occasion. RGU Vice Chancellor Prof T Mibang gave the keynote address.
The Chief Minister along with the dignitaries later released a book titled ‘History Today’ during the function.
The seminar is being organized by the Indian Archaeological Society, New Delhi in collaboration with RGU and National Museum Institute, New Delhi and being attended by research students and scholars from various parts of the country.