150 years of the Mahatma and Tura town

DR SAMHITA BAROOAH

Gandhiji’s 150th birth centenary coincides with  150 years of Tura town in West Garo Hills district of Meghalaya. The celebration of remembrance of the Mahatma started with the North Eastern Hill University’s efforts on October 2nd 2019, to engage with students from school and the University, weavers from different tribal corners of Northeast region and educationists, literary stalwarts and community leaders whose Gandhian zeal and deep relationship with Tura was unbounded.

NSS Coordinator and Faculty from Department of Management, NEHU Dr. Dipak Bhagat shared his own inspiring moments of realising the Mahatma in daily life set the tone for the programme. While most of the schools,  colleges and district authorities were cleaning up the streets of Tura town to commemorate Gandhian values of cleanliness, students of Garo, History, English, Management, Social Work, Education, Computer science departments of NEHU relived Gandhian values of non-violence, secularism, truth and swaraj apart from cleanliness of mind, body and surroundings through their performing arts on stage and handcrafted exhibits offstage made from wastes and natural materials.

The Pro-Vice Chancellor of NEHU Tura Campus G. Singaiah initiated the beginning of 150th birth centinary celebration of the Father of the Nation Mahatma Gandhi. Despite having a national holiday, every student, faculty, non-teaching staff, guests, participants, artisans and weavers for the exhibition from distant Baghmara in South Garo Hills,  Chirang and Odalguri in Bodoland, woven products from Assam and Nagaland was represented during this programme. Students Welfare In charge and Faculty of Garo, Crystal Cornelious D. Marak,  inspired the audience by his reflection of International Day of Non-Violence.

The guests of honours were eminent Garo literary stalwart and President of the Achik Literary Society,  Icylian Sangma and Daniel Ingty Consultant on agriculture  and Advisor to the Council of Nokmas and former Director of Agriculture Government of Meghalaya. Both of them focused on the Gandhian thought, action and practice which envisioned the beginning of a better future for our country. The silent performing art presented by the students of education department of Nehu Tura campus truly depicted the much needed resilience of non violence and secularism intricately woven into  the making of free India through the Gandhian vision.

Historian Dr. Doneti Sivaji from Department of History at Nehu Tura gave a digital presentation on the history and life of the Mahatma through audio-visual. Another thought provoking role play on the life and living truths of Mahatma Gandhi was presented by the newly inducted MSW students of NEHU Tura Campus under the guidance of MSW faculty Dr.Lindsay Murray M Sangma. Eminent educationist and Head of Education Department of NEHU Tura, Dr Nikme S.C. Momin, highlighted upon the Gandhian perspectives in Education stressing upon the need for Nai Talim which empowers students to be self reliant individuals. On this occasion, weavers, handmade producers of crafts, textiles and utility products from across Garo Hills and other parts of North East were felicitated by the honorable dignitaries present during the occasion. Gandhian economy was based on rural work of hands which was adequately represented during this programme through the exhibition and sale.

Some of the groups from both Government and non Government sectors were Baghmara Bamboo Products, Bakdil Foundation, District Handloom Office in Tura, Industrial Production Office of Basket Weavers, Organic flowers, Bamboo Ornaments and crafts, Aagor weaves, Saneki Weaves and Chizami Weaves from Nenterprise in Nagaland and Assam. It was a historic moment to cherish the 150 year old memories of the Mahatma through all these efforts in the Tura Town which happens to be 150 years old this year.  NEHU Tura Campus has initiated this effort to connect the living truths of Gandhian values through its multi dimensional amalgamation of academic and social commitment towards sustainability,  self reliance and ecological consciousness.  

Samhita Barooah

Samhita Barooah

Samhita Barooah is a Researcher and Travel Writer.