Mokokchung, 17 April (MTNews): The Jubilee Memorial College (JMC) Mokokchung on Wednesday celebrated World Heritage Day, organized by the Department of History, JMC with Limalenden Longkumer, editor of Mokokchung Times as the guest speaker.

heritage day JMC Mokokchung
Guest speaker Limalenden Longkumer (center), Dr Imtiwati Jamir, Principal of JMC, and faculty of History Department, JMC on World Heritage Day 2024 event

The guest speaker emphasized the significance of embracing one’s culture, identity, and heritage. Speaking passionately about the importance of authenticity, he urged individuals to equip themselves with indigenous traditional knowledge along with the academic.

“What is heritage?” Longkumer posed, distinguishing between two primary types: Natural heritage encompassing land, air, rivers, and ecosystems, and Cultural heritage, which includes both tangible and intangible elements. He highlighted the emergence of digital and built heritage in contemporary times.

“Our village is not merely a geographical location, postal address or a residential area,” he declared, stressing the village’s role as the cornerstone of identity for Naga and other indigenous communities. “For us, it’s the foundational basis of our identity,” he added, encouraging students to maintain a strong connection with their native villages.

On preservation of heritage, he said that one cannot preserve something that is extinct and that efforts must be made before any heritage is lost.

Acknowledging the pervasive influence of global cultures like Bollywood, Hollywood, and K-pop, Longkumer questioned how individuals can navigate these influences without losing their cultural identities. He cautioned against media distortions and emphasized the importance of self-awareness and active engagement.

Highlighting the challenges faced by tribal communities in India, Longkumer cited efforts by fundamentalist groups like the RSS to ‘edit’ history and redefine tribal indigenous religions as forms of Hinduism. “We must be aware and active,” he urged.

Turning his attention to language, Longkumer challenged perceptions that indigenous languages are inferior dialects. “Your mother tongue is not inferior,” he asserted, emphasizing the importance of preserving and celebrating linguistic diversity.

Longkumer also defended traditional agricultural practices like jhum cultivation, refuting the mainstream narrative that portrays it as inferior. “Our culture revolves around agriculture, our heritage is largely based on agriculture,” he proclaimed, underscoring the importance of respecting and preserving traditional farming methods and values associated with it.

Longkumer further encouraged individuals to reconnect with their roots by visiting their villages, engaging with elders, and participating in heritage preservation efforts. “It all comes down to what you have in your mind,” he concluded, urging everyone to be proactive in defending and promoting their cultural heritage.

The event was chaired by Imkongrenla and a welcome address was delivered by Dr Imtiwati Jamir, Principal of JMC. Students of the college also preformed a folk fusion song.

Morung model exhibition
In commemoration of World Heritage Day, students of the History Department undertook a unique initiative to raise awareness about heritage preservation while promoting sustainability.

They collaborated to create traditional Naga morung models using entirely recycled and waste materials, symbolizing the fusion of tradition and innovation in heritage conservation.

Throughout the crafting process, students researched the historical significance of morungs in different Naga cultures, deepening their understanding of cultural heritage and the importance of preserving indigenous traditions.

Konyak Naga Paan
A Konyak Naga Paan or morung model made by the students on display on the occasion of World Heritage Day 2024 at JMC. Nine different Naga morungs were exhibited, all made by the students.

The completed morungs were displayed prominently on campus today, accompanied by informative posters highlighting the significance of World Heritage Day and the role of heritage conservation in promoting sustainable development. Altogether, nine morungs were being exhibited.

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