A two-day seminar on ‘Features of Sumi Naga oral tradition’, jointly organized by the Indigenous Cultural Society (ICS) and Central Institute of Indian Languages, started on Friday at Indigenous Cultural Society Center with DC Dimapur Maongwati Aier as the chief guest. The seminar was held in a bid to revive Sumi oral tradition from earlier times to present generation and developing it into literary form.
Addressing the gathering, DC Dimapur, Maongwati Aier lauded the efforts of the society for reviving and revitalizing the Sumi oral literature and termed it as a historic literary venture. He asserted that Naga oral tradition was one of the richest in the country, however Aier lamented that tradition was slowing facing extinction due to entry of westernization and urged for reviving and preserving it.
The DC further pointed out declining of oral tradition of past with the present was due to factors such as change of perspective from rural to urban, prevailing educational system and emphasis on allied professional culture to agriculture. Pointing out that communitized structure of Naga society was the main reason for rich Naga oral tradition; Aier called upon the new Naga generation to imbibe this culture.
Earlier, Director of ICS, Dr Hesheto Chishi in his keynote address asserted that language was the first expression in any culture. He informed that Sumi dialect, like any other Naga dialect was a result of various political, social, religious, and cultural practices. “Impact of modernism has benefited the world in many ways yet when it comes to the issue of dialect and language its contribution is comparatively discouraging for a community like ours” Chishi added. He also averred that evolving of cultural adaptation and integration through influences from generation to generation were the key foundation for language transforming into medium of transmission. However, at the same time he also affirmed that the trend was diminished naturally with the incoming of colonialism, nationalization and globalization. Dr Chishi also called upon present generation to identify all language and literary problems of the past and rationally analyze and come up with inclusive and constructive ideas to research, document, develop and implement the diminishing oral literature.
Later in the afternoon, various dissertations on Sumi dialogue, culture, poetry and folklore along with overview presentations were also held.