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At Sekrenyi festival, Rio sounds unity bugle again

Sekrenyi festival

DIMAPUR, FEBRUARY 24: For more than a decade now, Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio has been blowing the unity bugle ~ especially from festive platforms ~ and on Saturday too, he hit the same notes in front of thousands of revellers gathered to celebrate Sekrenyi-cum-Mini Hornbill Festival at State Stadium Dimapur.
At least half of the seats inside the unfinished 30,000-capacity Multi Disciplinary Sports Arena were occupied by men and women, boys and girls, in traditional wear even as the Chief Minister spoke to them ~ in Angami dialect ~ about the significant role festivals play in binding communities.
Delivering an address as chief guest, he went on to highlight how celebration of such festivals helps revive ancestral traditions and promote peaceful coexistence and unity among the people.
In the case of Sekrenyi, the Chief Minister said that it helps revisit Angami traditions and customs and provide the younger generation with valuable insights into their history.
Therefore, he said, the spirit of Sekrenyi lies in its unifying force ~ fostering familial ties and inspiring the future generation.
Reflecting on “Angami values”, Rio underscored the importance of honesty and truthfulness. He also stressed the importance of hard work, prudent resource management and the detrimental effects of modern greed on the environment.
Also, the Chief Minister repeated his previous call for documentation of traditional food habits and broader cultural preservation efforts.
One of the honoured guests at the festival, Deputy Chief Minister Y Patton said that even as Sekrenyi signifies sanctification of the body, in the modern context,
people should celebrate it as a purification and sanctification of the society “in order to foster more unity and brotherhood among neighbours and various communities inhabiting our domain districts”.
“The Angami community has contributed enormously in their best ways towards the progress of the State. Your people have given good leadership to Naga society, be it religious, social, political, or any other field. May you continue to lead our society towards achieving our common goals and objectives and reap the fruits of sacrifice put in by past leaders as well as those who are in positions of power in any field today.
“There is no differentiation in Naga society but only for geographical reasons we have started identifying ourselves as Central Nagaland, ENPO, Tenyimia, etc. But we are all Nagas, no matter where we are geographically located, so let us learn to live in harmony with each other and support one another towards taking our society to greater heights”, he said.
Furthero, Patton claimed that the PDA Government strives to nurture each tribe’s cultural uniqueness while bringing all communities together in the spirit of harmony. “We believe in unity in diversity and festivals like Sekrenyi showcase that vision”, he said.
The other honoured guest, TR Zeliang, also Deputy Chief Minister, said that it was a wise decision to celebrate the festival this year at Dimapur, “outside the jurisdiction of their District”.
“If such practice could be adopted by other Naga communities, Dimapur will be transformed into a new tourist destination and can become the city of Mini-Hornbill Festival all-round the year. This way, we can expect a regular flow of tourists in our State not only during Hornbill Festival in Kisama but even in Dimapur round the year”, he said.
Zeliang expressed hope that Sekrenyi would be a time for the Nagas to sanctify and renew as a community “to bring forth unity, particularly unity in the logical conclusion of the Indo-Naga peace talks”.
He said that it was the desire of PDA Government for both the negotiating parties, namely the NSCN (IM) and the 7 NNPGs on one hand and the Government of India on the other, to ink an amicable settlement ~ one that is inclusive, honourable and acceptable as aspired by the Naga people at large.
The programme, punctuated by cultural presentations in the form of songs and dances, was also markedly peppered with intermittent rounds of gunshots ~ dummy shells (with only gunpowder) of mostly 12 bore guns ~ fired by the revellers inside the gray arena.
The formal programme was followed by a session of indigenous games.
(Page News Service)