The culture of the seven sisters

The culture of the seven sisters

The North East and Tibetan Students Forum (NETSF) of St Joseph’s College of Arts & Science organised the seventh edition of ‘Footprints’, the North-East festival, over the weekend on their college campus. The festival showcased the rich culture of the seven states of the North East and the students were the organisers as well as the performers.

The programme started with a rock show during which several bands performed impromptu. One of the bands, called ‘Sets’, was actually formed on the spot by one of the teachers! Then a choir took the stage and rendered ‘Heal the World’.

Post the formal inauguration of the fest, it was all about colours and culture as the students presented traditional dances from each of the seven states. Benjamin, a second-year BA student, hails from Meghalaya and performed the Jaintia war dance with his friends.

“The underlying theme of the dance is that the women bless the men before they go for the war and rejoice once they come back,” he explained. The students had practised the dance for almost a month, he explained and even made props like bamboo bows and arrows.

The fest ended with a grand fashion show in which 30 teams took part. “It’s not a competition but merely the students showcasing the ethnic wear of the North East,” said Tojum, a final-year BA student from Arunachal Pradesh, who was also one of the organisers. “The main aim of the forum is to make the North-Eastern students feel at home. If they face problems like finding a place to stay at, we help them out as well,” she added.

While on one side the grand events were taking place, on the other, students were selling some mouth-watering delicacies from the North East at the food stalls like beef momos, pork with bamboo shoots, rice beer, Assamese style chicken biryani, ginger garlic chicken Naga style, eromba chutney (Nagamese potato and bamboo shoots chutney) and Assamese style curd with bhoondiya to name a few. 

Apart from fun and food, the fest also brought to light the sensitive issue of racism against the North-Eastern community, especially the death of Nido Taniam, the student from Arunachal Pradesh.

Said Dino, a final-year BA student who is from Manipur, “We want to bridge the cultures between North East and South India. We felt the pain when our brother from the North East was killed and even went for the protests. Yet, we have met so many wonderful people otherwise. We don’t want to generalise against everyone and call them racist.”

And it was not just the North-Eastern students who enjoyed themselves. Asha, a Bangalorean who is in final-year BA, loved the fest. “I’m so happy to learn more about the culture of the North East. These states have always been kept a little aloof from the rest of the country. So, an initiative like this is great to see,” she said.

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