The inaugural function of “International Conference on northeast India and Cultural Linkages” was held today at Manipur University which is jointly organised by the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts and Manipur University.
Speaking at the function as the chief guest, Governor Najma Heptulla appreciated the objective of the conference.
The objective is to broadly strengthen the magnificent cultural relation based on deep-rooted culture, religious and neighbourly association between India and Myanmar, and the common heritage of Buddhism and the philosophy of compassion, tolerance, non-violence and peace that have laid strong foundations for the relation, she said.
It is the right and appropriate time to hold the conference as northeast India is on the verge of historical leap forward under the new development policy of Look East or Act East of the Government of India, she added.
Northeast India has the locational advantage with Myanmar as the point of convergence as well as the linking route between India and other South East Asian countries as they are connected by land routes since ancient times, the Governor said.
Myanmar played a significant role in spreading Indian culture, trade, commerce, philosophy, customs, religious practices and belief systems through land to South East Asian countries and records have shown that some of the ethnic groups had migrated from Myanmar, Mongolia, Tibet, China, Laos Cambodia and Thailand, she said adding they are still maintaining languages, traditions, arts, crafts life styles as well as traditional religious practices.
The cultural bond between NE India and Myanmar extends to the field of music and literature such as the similarities of music instruments and the influence of Indian epics like the Ramayana which has various versions in the South East Asian countries, she said.
Another common feature is the use of red colour to symbolize bravery and also the frequent use of black as back ground or in combination with other colours, the textiles found on both sides have intricate designs of human and animal figures.
The chief guest further said that, the conference will look into the different aspects of the NE cultural traditions and their evolution through time and come up with ideas to keep pace with the changing environment, believe that cultural relations run deeper than relations among the peoples as there were no strict concepts of geographical frontiers in the ancient times and further, the conference will bring out the best of ethnic and cultural relations between NE India and Myanmar.
She also encouraged that Mahabharat be discussed in the conference, so that the missing link between the two countries can be found.
The inaugural function was attended by Prof Sachchinand Joshi, member secretary, Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts, New Delhi as guest of honour, Prof M Dhaneshwar Singh, acting VC, Manipur University as president and prof JN Phukan, former member, Indian Council of Historical Research, New Delhi as keynote speaker and prof N Lokendra Singh and prof Dr Bachchan Kumar, IGNCA, New Delhi as conference coordinators, apart from state and foreign dignitaries.