Imtisenla Jamir | Mokokchung Times
We constantly meet people with a diverse set of skills who are putting their all into a career they respect, appreciate, and enjoy – similar to Sentirenba Longkumer, a visionary and talent-filled person who hails from Changtongya Village, Mokokchung who is lauded and featured today.
Sentirenba, a 28-year old, is an alumnus of Bosco Institute (MSW), Jorhat, Assam, and is also a former participant of Youth Involve Social Initiative, Jorhat, Assam, a project offered by the Bosco Institute to individuals who desire to improve society.
Arju Tsuki Bachelors Dormitory
Senti is the founder of the non-profit organization “Arju Tsuki Bachelors Dormitory,” which works to revive the Ao Naga culture. On August 9, 2019, Arju Tsuki Bachelors Dormitory was registered under the Societies Registration Act 1860, Home Department, Nagaland.
The organization was founded with the intention of revitalizing culture by reaching out to children and young people. Arju Tsuki Bachelors Dormitory is located in Changtongya village, Mokokchung, Nagaland.
Senti noted that ever since he was a young child, he has been fascinated by folktales and sought to learn more about other people’s cultures. Furthermore, he remarked, it wasn’t until after graduation that he had a clear notion of his interests.
He claimed that while there weren’t many landlines at the beginning of the twenty-first century, smart phones are now ubiquitous among even young children, and many of the high school students have their own cell phones. He continued by saying that many people in the current generation will soon lose track of their ancestry if things stay this way.
He added, “While I was pursuing my MSW at Bosco Institute in Jorhat, I travelled to a number of rural areas in India, particularly in the Northeast region. There, I observed that while customs and traditions were being lost in many areas, people were still striving to uphold the traditions of their ancestors despite the immense changes and advancements in society.”
He noted that in order to revive the honorable traditions, he chose to construct a morung cum museum, which he named Nüngo (souvenir) Reju (morung). He also acknowledged that maintaining the dormitory was risky and difficult, citing the difficulty of collecting all of those ancient relics.
There are about 60 artifacts on display in the dormitory where he informed that all those artifacts are valuable. He highlighted a few of the relics, such as the hornbill head, traditional comb, cotton spinner, bronze utensil, traditional baskets, and rice pounder.
Senti reveals that the dormitory was established with the help of family members, friends, and the community. One of the major obstacles to his dream, he said, was the fact that he had nothing with him when the process began. He added, “When I told my classmates (Bosco Institute 2016–2018 MSW, Jorhat) about my financial difficulties, they eagerly offered to assist in any way they could.”
Senti added that there is no entrance fee for visitors to the museum. Additionally, he stated that there were no preservative measures in place and that all of the artifacts were preserved naturally.
“The artifacts become fungus-infected throughout the wet season and the winter,” he said. He continued by noting that if they were successful in securing funding, they would like to improve the museum.
Senti clarified, however, that anyone is welcome to donate their used traditional assets. He added that the donated items had been pasted with the names of the recipients and their village.
Indigenous Fruit Farm
The NGO also runs a farm of indigenous wild fruits. Senti asserts that in 2019, they formally collaborated with the farm owner to manage the indigenous wild fruit farm. He claims that the farm is maintained by the farm’s owner, with whom they collaborate.
The distance between the farm and Changtongya village is about 3 kilometres. He asserts that the primary driving force for the farm is the rapid decline in the availability of wild fruits as a result of several circumstances.
The goal is to propagate such wild fruits in one place and promote their therapeutic potential.
The majority of the plants, in Senti’s view, are mature and capable of producing fruit, but some saplings that were brought from the forest and planted on the farm were damaged by wild animals, while some of them drowned. The difficulty of handling the plants, he continued, is another factor contributing to why the farm’s plants take so long to grow.
They venture into the forest during the planting season to collect any saplings or seeds that have not yet been planted on the farm. He claimed that they are currently unable to secure any support for the farm.
He further stated that they had earlier asked a particular department in the Government of Nagaland for a proposal, but the request was not successful. He did, however, mention that in the future, they would need support from other donors or different departments to maintain the farm.
Nevertheless, he pointed out that some people help them along the way by providing them with saplings that are not available at the farm.
The farm currently has more than 60 different kinds of wild fruit trees. Senti concluded by saying that the farm would be a great site in the future for research academics to pursue additional education and promote a healthy lifestyle.
Traditional Bamboo Plates
On September 28, 2022, Sentirenba was selected as one of the winners of the Wisser Innovation Prize. The prize was given out by The Hub Jorhat, Bosco Institute, and Childaid Network in collaboration with Dhriiti-The Courage Within. The main aim was to gather the best brains in the Northeast Region and beyond, to provide product design solutions using the region’s predetermined natural resources. He won this honour for producing bamboo plates.
The bamboo plates, according to Senti, were first sold at Hornbill Festival in the year 2021 under his initiative and they are currently being produced for sale at the forthcoming 2022 Hornbill Festival as well as at numerous expos within and beyond the state.
Senti stated, “These bamboo plates are handcrafted, and as a social entrepreneur, I try my best to provide this product at the best quality but not quantity.” He added that he use matured (3-year-old) bamboo and seasoned bamboo to make this product.
He stated that he chose this line of work because he wanted to live independently. He continued by saying that since he needs to work to support himself, producing bamboo plates is a significant portion of his life’s work. He continued by mentioning that he participated in “Start Up North East,” which was organized by “Dhriti-The Courage Within,” in 2018. At that time, he began producing the bamboo plates, but it wasn’t until 2021 that he started marketing them.
There are 7 (seven) individuals involved in the production of bamboo plates, but he said that they are all part-timers because the product can only be produced during a specific period of the year. He claimed that although they harvest the bamboo in their field, their home in the village is where they create the finished product. He stated that they offer the plates at various price ranges, starting at Rs.200 and going up to Rs.500. He said he came to the conclusion that since the product will come in two different varieties, the costs will also vary for each of these two products.