Khandu urges youths to learn about cultures of other states

ITANAGAR, 16 Aug: Chief Minister Pema Khandu, attending a ‘students-teachers meet’ of partner states Meghalaya and Uttar Pradesh, under the ‘Ek Bharat, Shrestha Bharat’ programme, on Tuesday evening called upon the youths to “learn about their counterparts from across the country; learn about their culture, traditions, languages, etc, and create a united and strong India.”

He said that the ‘Ek Bharat, Shrestha Bharat’ programme was conceptualised by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to enhance interaction and promote mutual understanding between the people of different states through the concept of “state pairing.”

Arunachal Pradesh has been paired with Meghalaya and Uttar Pradesh, and about 150 students and teachers from these two states are on a five-day visit to Itanagar.

“It is sad that many of us do not know much about our counterparts in other states of the country. This programme is a great initiative to bridge this gap of ignorance and give a platform for our youths to visit partner states and learn about a different culture firsthand,” Khandu said.

He advised the visiting students to make the most of their five-day stay and learn as much as possible about Arunachal, and its diverse cultures and scenic beauty.

“I know it is not possible to learn all about the people of Arunachal Pradesh by staying at Itanagar. But you have student participants from our state with you, who will be from various tribes of the state. Learn from them. Make friends of a lifetime. Stay connected. Visit each other’s place once you graduate and join your chosen professions. Only then the objective of this programme will be fulfilled,” he said.

Khandu suggested to the education department to “engage the visiting students constructively and expose them to various facets of the rich cultural diversity and potential of Arunachal Pradesh, so that they go back to their states with memories that would never fade.”

He opined that such visits should be organised in the state after the monsoons have passed, so that the visiting students can actually travel to different places and meet people of different tribes.

“Ours is a distinct state – geographically the largest in the Northeast and culturally too the most diverse. We have about 26 major tribes and more than 100 sub-tribes, each with a different language, food habit, cuisine, tradition and way of life. You have to be one amongst us to understand us better,” he said.

The chief minister expressed hope that the visit would promote the intended aim of national integration through systematic exchange between paired states in cultural, literary and linguistic fields.

“As you go back to your respective places, hope you would have attained better understanding and appreciation of the history, culture, language, cuisine, festivals, food, lifestyle, and many such things of each other,” he said.

He urged the visiting students to perform Arunachalee dances or songs during cultural interactions.

“Our youths can sing and dance to Hindi or Punjabi songs. You too should try a hand at local songs and dances of Arunachal,” Khandu advised. (CM’s PR Cell)