Longte; Festival with a difference

Dear Editor,
I would like to convey the message of ongoing Longte Festival celebration. First and foremost, the present Nyishi tribe have migrated from an unknown place called ‘Nirba’ to present day Arunachal Pradesh. It is considered that ‘Nirba’ is located somewhere in Mongolia. Whatever may be the reason, the Nyishi tribe trace back its origin to a single super ancestor called ‘Nima – Tani’. The ‘Nima – Tani’ existed since the dawn of the creation. The Nyishi mythology begins before the onset of “Big Bang”, a theory which was proposed by Georges Lemaitre. This can be substantiated by our oral record called ‘Jangmang- Jama’. The ‘Jangmang – Jama’ is considered as a time period in universe when not a single particle existed and scientifically this has been concluded by scientist that after the Big Bang when universe expanded, energy ‘condensed’ into matter and the first particles were formed.
Secondly, the Nyishi tribe has many festivals which are hunting and harvest oriented like Yullo, Nyohion, Amji, Changtum – Botey, Boori – Boot, liu – hunam, kiruk ruknam, Nyokum and ‘Longte festival’ being among them.
The Longte festival was brought forth by our ancestor during their ‘Dogin’ (migration). These ancestors are Longte Ane, Yullo Abu, Atu Gungte, Ayu Gamru and others. The actual meaning of ‘Longte’ is large fence (barricade) made up of bamboo; modelled before the sowing of crops in the fields to protect the crops from the cattle. The large barricade (fence) made during ‘Longte’ also symbolises the disunion of human realm from the sphere of evil spirit. Thus, ‘Longte’ is separation of light from darkness, plenty from scarcity, good from bad and health from illness. In other word, the Longte festival is essence and way of human life.
It is also noteworthy to mention that LONGTE festival is very unique and different from other tribal festivals around the world. In a sense, it doesn’t involve the sacrifice of animals like ‘Mithun’ or any other animals. Hence, it is the only festival that prohibits the bloodshed of animals during or after the festival.
The Longte festival champions the restriction of over exploitation of flora and fauna. Today global leaders are conducting summit after summit for global warming but way back, knowingly or unknowingly; our ancestors have taken the initiatives to preserve and protect the environment through festival like Longte. The Longte festival is actually very cogent in preservation of environment and such festival should be backed from all walks of life. The very essence of this festival is to support the existence of flora and fauna which resulted into the nourishment of our environment. Considering the uniqueness, beauty and vitality of Longte festival, the government should give it a bigger platform through department such as Forestry and Tourism, so that it may get greater expose.
Yours,
Yumlam Bai
Itanagar

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