Home » National Seminar Ethno Science and Traditional Technology of Tribes and Indigenous Peoples of Northeast India held

National Seminar Ethno Science and Traditional Technology of Tribes and Indigenous Peoples of Northeast India held

by williamgurumayum
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A Two-Day National Seminar on ‘Ethno Science and Traditional Technology of Tribes and Indigenous Peoples of Northeast India’ was held at Lamyamba Shanglen, Imphal. The seminar was jointly organised by the Department of Social Work and Department of Sociology, the Indira Gandhi National Tribal University, Regional Campus, Manipur (IGNTU-RCM). The seminar is a continuation of the one on the same earlier organised by the IGNTU, head quarters, Amarkantak, Madhya Pradesh.
In the Inaugural Function of the seminar held yesterday, Ratan Thiyam, Chairperson, National School of Drama, New Delhi, Dr. R.K Nimai Singh, Consultant, Government of Manipur and Prof. Rajendra Kshetri, Department of Sociology, Manipur University graced the occasion as the Chief Guest, Guest of Honour and President, respectively. Smt. Sunita. L. Varte, Director (i/c), IGNTU-RCM delivered the Welcome Address and Dr. Asha Sougaijam, Department of Sociology, IGNTU & Seminar Co-Convener proposed the Vote of Thanks.
Dr. R.K Nimai Singh observed that many of the life curing medicines such as quinine and aspirin were in used by people for curing malaria and fever but it was only in the 1960s that these traditional medicines were recognized by the modern science. The winner of Nobel Prize for Medicine for the year 2015 is based on traditional ethno science. These three examples, according to Dr. R.K Nimai Singh, indicate that traditional knowledge of ethno science holds scope for humanity, free from harm and toxin. Giving another example of traditional practice, he shared the experience of our forefathers who indulged in multiple crop planting system, such as planting corns as secondary crops along with chilly plants. This practice, according to him, reduces the number of germs attacking the plants, thereby giving a better yield of both crops to the farmer. He noted that taking into account the significance of such a tradition even Manipur University has taken up initiatives to study medicinal plants of Manipur used by various communities in the state. However, a collaborative effort from various knowledge streams in this domain is yet to fructify in our society. He hopes that the present initiative taken up by IGNTU-RCM is a promising contribution for the beginning of more collaborative efforts and spread awareness.
Prof. Rajendra Kshetri shared that there has been enormous debate surrounding the model of development to followed for the betterment of the human kind. But so far priority has been placed on economic development and growth at the cost of depletion of natural resources and health. He added that the same model has not taken into account the issues of environment and ecology. Therefore, people started looking for an alternative model which emphasizes on conservation and preservation of natural resources and environment but caters to human needs, which is known as sustainable development. One of the approaches to achieve sustainable development is the due recognition given to ethno science because it is sensitive to ecology and in sync with traditional knowledge and values. He observed that ethno science is a history from below – history of the people in its wholesome cultural milieu. As a sociologist he stated that the increasing significance given to the present trend can be termed as traditionalization of modernity and holds value for treading an alternative path of development.
Unfortunately, Shri Ratan Thiyam could not be with the gathering to grace the occasion as the Chief Guest.
In the first technical session, ENVIRONMENT AND ECOLOGY, Two resource persons presented papers. The session was Chaired by Prof. W. Vishwanath, Dean, School of Life Sciences, Manipur University. In his paper titled, ETHNO SCIENCE & TRADITIONAL TECHNOLOGY OF TRIBES AND INDIGENOUS PEOPLE OF NORTH EAST INDIA, Sukumar Haobam, Consultant, MCCIC stressed on rethinking of the state of Manipur in context to the traditional usages and wisdom and protection of the unique identity from exploitation by the outside groups. He observed that three highly-acclaimed handloom products namely Saphee-Lanphee, Wangkhei Phee and Moirang Phee have been forwarded for GI registration. He added that there is immense prospect for the products to become globally valued goods but there is the need for safeguarding the knowledge and value of these goods at a time when consumerism takes away indigenous knowledge and skills.
The second paper entitled, “Traditional Method of Bio-diversity Conservation in Manipur” was presented by DR. HOMEN THANGJAM, Assistant Professor of Political Science, M.B. College, Imphal. His paper focussed on two traditional systems of the Meiteis such as the Umanglai System and the Salai system which play a socio-religious role form the conservation of the ecology and biodiversity. According to him, sacred groves known as ‘Umanglai Laikol’ in Manipur are sacred territories which are not only repositories of the socio- religious heritage of the people but are also the focus of the cultural and traditional means of bio-diversity conservation system and environment management. Like any other religion of the indigenous people, Meitei religion in Manipur has also been observed to perform important latent functions to preserve environment at two important levels – at the level of the Salai system (clan) and at the level of Umanglai (community deity) system for meeting human needs. The present paper deals with the basic functional issues of this age-old Meitei socio-religious life in Manipur as a way of ecological understanding and management in traditional society. From this we may understand this body of religion which not only functions as a system of socio-religious organization of the people but which also functions as an important factor for the conservation of many forests and species in Manipur valley.
The seminar which was scheduled to continue today has been postponed due to the public rally organised today.

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Imphal Times is a daily English newspaper published in Imphal and is registered with Registrar of the Newspapers for India with Regd. No MANENG/2013/51092


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