‘Ishanya Parva’: North East, the ancient region reminding cultural glorious past of India

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‘Ishanya Parva’: North East, the ancient region reminding cultural glorious past of India

North east India not only offers ancient Bharatiya traditional music and folk dance but it has also emerged as one of the prime industry of rock music since the western influence has a shadow on the native   traditional music. Shillong is considered as the music capital of North East India and Guwahati as one of the major destinations for live rock band performances.

Music and dance festivals like Hornbill National Rock Contest and folk music and tribal dance festivals are organized across the North East region .Tribes of North East India use some musical instruments like Tamak folk drum, flute, Khamb and lambing which are made of bamboo.

Sanskrit was the ‘official’ language –the ‘Raj Bhasha’ for several centuries in the North East India which is an ancient region reminding the glorious past of India and thus the best destination for nature lovers, trekkers and wildlife enthusiasts.  North East India includes 7 contiguous states viz., Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Meghalaya, Manipur, Nagaland, Mizoram and Tripura. The region is also known as seven sister States of India. The North Eastern region also hosts one brother called Sikkim and some parts of Bengal as Darjeeling, Jalpaiguri, and Kooch Bihar. It is one of the most treasured and eco-friendly area in India with vast natural resources and abode of different people, customs and traditions and yet a common culture of a mixed band of Hindu traits. Every tribal community of these states has its own unique tribal behavioral pattern, tribal folk dance and food and crafts.

The population figures of the Northeastern States according to the 2011 census are: Assam—31169272 , Tripura—3671032, Meghalaya—2964007, Manipur—2721756 , Nagaland—1980602, Arunachal Pradesh—1382611, Sikkim—607688 and  Mizoram—1091014.

North-East region once upon a time was seen as a ‘gateway of commerce and culture which linked India with  South East Asia’ Change in the religious composition of the region was  indicated  in  a  joint research paper by Professor  Namita Chakma and Professor Lalparvul Pakhuongte of the University of Burdwan and Halflong Governmenment College ,Assam, as rate of decadal decline of the Hindus is in : Assam  -3.42%,  in Arunachal Pradesh -5.56% , in Meghalaya -1.74%, in Manipur -4.62%, in Mizoram -0.8%, in Nagaland 1.05%, in Tripura -2.22% and  Sikkim -3.17%. Interestingly, Christian population is seen witnessing a constant rise in its share in the region viz., in Assam +0.04% , in Arunachal Pradesh +11.54%, in Meghalaya +4.34%, in +Manipur +7.26%, in Mizoram +0.19%, in Nagaland -2.04%, in Tripura +1.15%, and in Sikkim +3.23%.The  story of decadal growth of the Muslims ( in Assam it is  +3,3% ), Buddhists and others is almost  negligible.( Source: International Journal on recent and innovation Trends in Computing and Communication Vol. 3 , Issue 9 (  available at http//www.ijritcc.org ).

As at present the demographic map of Northeastern states excluding Assam has indicated a rapid change within which has made the region seriously vulnerable to foreign influences. The latest  census  figures including that of 2001 census indicates the presence of minority  communities which is on the rise whose  growth rate is  of the order of 50.06% especially in the recent decades whereas the growth rate of Hindus there has sharply declined to10% suffering an alarming  loss in its share of population.

In yet another research reference appeared in ‘North East Quarterly Vol. 1 No.2 January 2008 , it is mentioned that in spite of the various tactics adopted and deployed by the foreign Missionaries in the region such as British connivance, theological deceit, introducing  Western education, imposition of Roman Script, self- alienation, harassment and ostracism, extortion, conversion at gun-point, there is of late an awareness of self-identity on the rise and ‘fortunately the tribals are realizing that their conversion has led to loss of identity and  to self-alienation. They are slowly reviving their ancient traditions and customs. ( pg.48 ).  Even , Shri Arun  Shourie ,formerly Union Minister   in the same Vol.1 is on record to have maintained that it was the political establishment that has done worse-the  ruling political party with continued patronization of illegal entrants for captive votes.( pg.77 ).

And yet North Eastern region –the ‘Poorvanchal’ is a wonderful, artistic, poetic land and colourful people. An ‘Ishany scenic scion beauty’.

People: North East Indian people display a colorful reflection of their land and traditional lifestyle.  Mongoloid features of the   people of this region are very distinctive in characteristics of dress, customs and language. Tribal people of the valley have deep religious beliefs and a sensible sense of music, dance and arts.

Life style:  Lifestyles of North Eastern Indian states vary from one place to another. They inhabit in high mountains and   hunting and fishing are their   prime occupations. Agriculture and weaving are the   other major occupations of the people. Tea farming in Assam is one of the main sources of income along with traditional handicrafts. Tea gardens of Assam are world famous for the aroma and rich flavor and taste.

Festivals and fairs:  Fairs and festivals are the integral part of tribes along with ancient Indian traditional dance and folk music... The major festivals of Northeast India are Bihu, Brahmaputra Festival  of Assam ,  Hombill and Sekrenyi festival of Nagaland,  Torgya Monastery Festival Arunachal Pradesh, Shillong Autumn  festival, Chapchar Kut from Manipur, Ningol Chakouba Festival Manipur and Kharchi Puja from Tripura.

The entire 7 sister states have a rich variety and skill in wood-carving, cane crafts, jewellery and bamboo stick work. Art   and craft culture is one of the very old traditions along with the making of musical instruments, carpet and silk weaving. Every tribe excels in craftsmanship and offers a wide variety of traditional crafts and arts.

Mountains and Hills:   Physical geography of the Northeast region falls in the category of Eastern Himalayan ranges and Patkai-Naga Hills along with mighty Brahmaputra barak river systems and Valley Plains. The valley of Meghalaya is surrounded by Garo, Khasi and Jaintia hills from all sides and home to some of the largest waterfalls in India.  Natural Beauty:  The seven sister states are a slice of paradise on earth, this place is blessed with natural beauty and colorful flora and fauna. The picturesque location of meandering water bodies. Astonishing waterfalls, lush green forest and Blue Mountains ranges along with pleasant weather offers a beautiful view  of  the country-side ..  Brahmaputra river belt is covered with mountain peak. Lush evergreen forests and grasslands, which provide a picturesque view of the amazing Brahmaputra green valleys. North Eastern region offers one of the most beautiful Eco-Tourism destinations in India.

Water Bodies: North East India’s river systems, lakes and ponds are the life line of the people and the main source of income. Brahmaputra is one of the biggest rivers in India flows through the North east region and its numerous tributaries flowing through the different states. Wettest area is home to big waterfalls and beautiful lakes such as Tsomgo Lake, the frozen lake of India, Chandubi Lake,Umiam Lake,Kamalasagarand Loktak lake, the largest  fresh water lake in India. Waterfalls includes: Langshiang,. Nohkalikai at  Nohsngithiang and  Vantawng Langshiang  is one of the highest waterfalls in  India.

Wildlife: 13 major national parks and 30 wildlife sanctuaries are the treasure and heritage of the states. These Biodiverse wild parks provide shelter to rare species as many as 55 mammals, 50 reptiles, 380 birds and amphibians. Also home to Great India hornbill. Great Indian One-horned Rhinoceros, Indian elephant, red panda, Indian civet Indian flying squirrel, and  big feline species such as Clouded Leopard, Snow Leopard, Royal Bengal Tiger, Indian leopard and Lesser cats.

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