Cultural heritage in North-East India
India is a country of diverse cultures, religions, languages. North-East, India, is no exception. North-East India is not only famous for its scenic beauty and alluring landscapes but also its diversity. There is a spectrum of communities residing in the northeast, with each having their unique culture.
NE consists of seven states that include Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, and Tripura. These states are together called Seven Sisters. Countries like Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Myanmar gets connected to North-East India through these states.
A narrow stretch of land between Bhutan and Bangladesh connects North East to the rest of the country. NE India is a mountainous region with perennial waterfalls and hills clad with greenery. The area has a wide range of flora and fauna. Every state in NE India is beautiful in its way. Each state has its unique culture and beliefs. North East India is not easily accessible. Due to this, it has remained untouched and successfully preserved its cultural heritage.
Every year thousands of students from North East India come down to other parts of the country to pursue higher education. Mizoram has the highest literacy rate among the north-eastern states.
The whole northeast is strategically important to India as it shares a border with many countries. In recent times tourism has flourished in the region, which has created employment opportunities for the indigenous tribes of the area.
North East is known for its diverse culture and traditional lifestyle. It has people from different religions that include Hindus, Christians, Muslims, Jains, and Buddhists. Christianity and Buddhism are two prominent religions in North East India. The tribes of North East India have their distinct tribal culture, cuisine, and crafts.
North-East India cultural diversity
Arunachal Pradesh: Bardo Chham is a popular dance in Arunachal Pradesh dance performed during festivals. Sherdukpen tribes perform this dance wearing masks that represent twelve animals. Percussion instruments get used in this dance. Women perform the Ponung dance during harvest time using the Yoksha music instrument. In Wancho dance, men hold swords and thrust it, after which the women start dancing.
Assam: The indigenous people of Assam are known as ‘Ahoms.’ The city Guwahati is the largest in the entire northeast. The Satriya Nritya is a major Indian classical dance. It has its origin in Krishna-centred Vaishnavism.
Bihu is a famous dancing form performed during Bihu festivals. Mostly youths perform this dance, which symbolizes love and affection. Bihu song gets performed with pipes and drums. Bagurumba is a dance performed by women with drums and flutes. Jhumur is another dance form that is performed by both men and women. Men perform Ojapali that consists of song, dance, and story narration. It is a fantastic display of dance and music, and one should visit Assam to experience it.
Meghalaya: One of the most popular dances in Meghalaya is Mask Dance, performed to appease Gods, ward off natural calamities, and to ensure the prevalence of peace and harmony. Nongkrem Dance is performed by both men and women to offer respect to their deity. Ka Shad Suk Mynsiem gets performed to celebrate the success of a harvest. Instruments like flutes, guitars, and drums get used for dancing.
Manipur: Dhol Cholom is a popular dance performed in Manipur during Holi. When it comes to classical dance, Manipur is not behind any other state. Pung Cholam is a blend of Manipuri Sankirtana music and Classical dance. Manipuri dance is quintessential of gracefulness-aesthetic, acrobatic, and finesse.
Mizoram: Cherwa dance in Mizoram is a beautiful dance to behold. Bamboo staves get used for performing this dance. In this dance, the men move in vertical and horizontal direction holding the bamboos, and the women dance between them. The women should continue dancing, avoiding the staves, and not get caught between them.
Nagaland: Nagas consist of many tribes Angami, Ao, Chakhesang, Chang, Khiamniungan, Kuki, Konyak, Phom, Pochury, Rengma, Sangtam, Sumi, Yimchungru, and Zeliang. Chang Lo is a popular dance form in which stories about ancestors and their victories get narrated with the help of songs. The dance has martial and athletic elements in it.
Tripura: Tripura, which is mainly a Hindu dominated state, has dance forms associated with Hindu festivals. Hojagiri, a popular dance in Tripura, is performed during Laxmi Puja and Durga Pooja. In this dance, women try to balance lamps on their heads while men play musical instruments.
Conclusion: Northeast India is captivating due to its diversity and breath-taking scenic beauty. The tribal community out there despite modernization have not forgotten their roots. They have embraced modernization while preserving nature. People from other parts of the country should learn more about these states and their people rather than researching it only while planning a vacation.