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VKIC Newsletter March 2018 to October 2019

Across Assam as the spring festivities sow the seeds of hope and longing, I extend season's greetings and warm wishes from VKIC. It is always a joy to arrive at a moment of anticipation and then to look back at the developments which led us to where we are today. For us, the recent months have prepared the groundwork for new achievements to aspire for. Recently we have created a corpus of knowledge that will enable
researchers and academics to launch new intellectual forays into significant cultural issues of our region.
January 31 is the Foundation Day for VKIC and on this occasion the distinguished cultural activist Nabam Tata of Arunachal Pradesh was conferred the prestigious VKIC Sanmaan 2019. Today the North East is in acute need of social entrepreneurs like Sri Tata, who can empower communities to preserve and promote their ancient knowledge and practices which lead to sustainable living by respecting nature and natural processes. The Foundation Day lecture, delivered by Dr Sachchidanand Joshi, Member Secretary IGNCA, gave insights on Sanskriti, or culture in the Indian context. The Jaintia community of Meghalaya is among the oldest indigenous people of North East India. They have evolved with some core beliefs which have remained unchanged over time, even though changes have also affected their day-to-day life. The Jaintia have rich oral history and have maintained institutions of self-governance. A pantheon of gods and goddesses represent their religious and spiritual roots. The national seminar, 'Traditional Systems of the Jaintia Community: Change and Continuity,' organized by VKIC in collaboration with Seinraij Jowai brought these and other facts to light.
Recently we published a book on Namghar, the religious and spiritual institution at the heart of Vaishnavite culture of Assam. Containing articles based on a series of interactive sessions, it attempts to look at the Namghar from different angles, but with the common thread that they are written with knowledge sourced from the grassroots. Another book on the Bodo community of Assam is a compilation of lectures on various aspects of the community, revealing important aspects of their traditional systems and how the people have flourished
in the present while retaining many ancient beliefs and practices.
I hope you gain a bird's-eye view of our latest work and offer your suggestions to enhance our endeavour in the days ahead.
----Dr Parimal Ch. Bhattacharjee

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