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Mon diaries: culture, learning and memories

Mon diaries: culture, learning and memories
By Nagaland Post | Publish Date: 6/23/2019 7:04:38 AM IST

 The primary goal of education is to develop knowledge, skill or character of students. Therefore, it is a process of learning which is not restricted to textbooks alone. Field trip can be seen as an important tool to enhance the knowledge of the students through direct experience. 

The chief purpose of such trip is to give the students first-hand experience, which cannot be offered within the confinement of the classroom. Keeping this in mind, the Department of English, ICFAI University, Nagaland under the theme of, ‘Exploring Culture,” organized a field-trip to promote practical understanding of Course topics, particularly culture-related papers, from April 4 to 6 this year.

The team consisted of twenty-five MA English IV Semester students along with two department faculty and one IUN marketing staff. The team started the journey on 4th April 2019 and reached the Mission Centre run by the KBBB (Konyak Baptist Bumeinok Bangjum) in Mon district at 7:30 pm. A few minutes after our arrival, interaction with leaders of the community and youth was made.

Day 1

On April 5, the team set out for the Aoleang festival which was to be held at the district ground. The students, faculty and staff divided into groups to have interactive exchange with young people (particularly) gathered at the festival. The team witnessed the Aoling festival, which was taken as Mini Hornbill Festival in Nagaland and was one of the biggest events in Mon district. It was also a Genius World Record Breaking attempt by the Konyak women performing Largest Folk Dance. Once the function concluded, the team went to Tenyimia Baptist Church (TBC) where interactions with the church members took place and they offered refreshments. 

Day 2

On April 6, the group then departed for Longwa village- 40 kms away from Mon town. It is the village bordering India and Myanmar and also the residence of the Angh (Konyak king). Besides learning and witnessing the historical and cultural significance of the place and the people, the students interacted with the Queen, the villagers and even some tourists visiting the area. Later at Jailei Homestay, where the group stopped for lunch, more interaction took place with village members who catered to us. Upon returning to the mission Centre, the team immediately departed for Dimapur via Network Night Travels. 

Experiences shared by some of the students from the trip

“On the second day of Aoling celebration, we saw throng of people on the street with hues of traditional crimson and red adornments. The Konyak tribe fascinated me meowing to their diverse, detailed and innumerable neckpieces, with gold-paints and silver-steels intricately designed and proudly worn by the natives young and old. An elderly woman explained the significance of a neckpiece called Yansabo, which had several heads, stating the numbers of Heads represent the heads collected after the onset of head-hunting; which is an old traditional practice, the neckpiece is to show or state how many heads have been won or collected by the wearer himself. On the whole, this trip was a great learning experience for me”- Tokaholi Chishi

“The Aoling celebration was a spectacular experience. To make it better, it was the astounding nearly 5000 women assembled for the biggest folk dance world record. I stood there, absolutely amazed watching them perform. The women belonged to all ages. We even met a 62-year-old woman participating with such energy. It surely speaks of their unity and their willingness to participate in promoting their culture and its grandeur. It was also observed that they belonged to different ranges in respect to their own geographic location and languages. As such, there were variations in their attires and accessories. These diverse appearances however added to the beauty of their assembly. What I took away from this exposure was a deep sense of pride for having experienced a beautiful culture and its regality. It is a moment of accomplishment as I also share their huge success in making it to the Guinness Book of World Record, as a fellow Naga. Their enthusiasm and dedication to preserve and practice their tradition and culture is a wakeup call to any tribal who sometimes take his or her roots for granted. The message conveyed was there is no replacement for our culture and tradition though our society has evolved with great changes. This experience has also widened my perspective of embracement. It is both pleasing and edifying in engaging yourself in someone else’s dwelling.” - Neivinuo Dzüvichü

“Despite the hot weather, it is really enthralling to view how thousands of people gathered together to witness the most awaited moment, an attempt to Guinness World Record and its performance created history in Nagaland with its success in entering Guinness World Record for the title- “Largest Traditional Dance” performed by the Women Folk. The dancers standing for hours in extreme humidity reflect respect and dedication for their own community and land. The program was graced by Ayong Chang, President, Eastern Nagaland Women Organization (ENWO). Some local elders informed us that the festival celebrates the arrival of spring season and the people pray for a good outcome of upcoming harvest. They also stated the main purpose of the festival is to forgive each other so that everyone can work together and welcome the upcoming season of spring.”- Mhasivino Sony Nakhro

“The field trip to Mon-Longwa village did not just widen our knowledge but it also helped us discover the new culture, custom and practices of the Konyak tribe. Attending the Aoleang Festival and witnessing the largest Folk Dance, was a phenomenal experience and we were able to experience the real taste of the festival.” Lotus N Odyuo

“The speech made by one of the queens brought the people to applaud and cheers to the fullest. Although we did not understand their language, we did notice the respect and support given to their queen.”- Kechegi Khing

“Visiting Longwa village which lies between two countries; India and Myanmar and ruled by a hereditary King, or Angh was an enriching experience for me”- Lunglubuile

Department of English, 

ICFAI University, 

Dimapur, Nagaland.

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