A hundred and eighteen years and counting, the Seng Khasis or the Khasi community following the indigenous faith continues to celebrate the renaissance and awakening of the Khasi community and this year was no exception as the streets of Shillong was covered in festivity as people danced through the streets to the sound of the drums and chanting the traditional cry “Hoii kiew”. The occasion was none other than the festival of the indigenous Khasi faith and culture – Seng Kut Snem. The festival is observed to mark the Seng Khasi Movement. During the British rule, continued assault on the indigenous faith and culture of the Khasis and Jaintias led sixteen young men to form an organization called the ‘Khasi Young Men’s Association’ on November 23, 1899 to preserve and safeguard the indigenous way of life also known as ‘Niam Trai Niam Tre’. A year later, the Khasi Young Men’s Association celebrated its first anniversary and called it Seng Kut Snem and the occasion is celebrated every year to commemorate that movement.In 1901, the Association was renamed ‘Seng Khasi’. This year the festivities marked the 118th anniversary of the Seng Khasi Movement. (The views and opinions expressed in the media or comment on this channel are those of the speakers or authors and do not necessarily reflect or represent the views and opinion headed by this channel’s broadcaster. (Due to the social nature of this broadcasting, channel videos may contain content which is copyrighted by another entity or person. This channel’s owner claim no copyright to said content. The broadcaster of this channel cannot be held accountable for the copyrighted content. the broadcaster of this channel is a messenger and sharer of information and strives to verify but cannot warrant the accuracy of copyrights or completeness of the information on this channel.)
At first sight, when I met Jessica for an interview, she looked like some celebrity who had less time yet agreed to do an interview with a group of media persons because, well, of course she deserved all the limelight owing to her various achievements. However, as we proceeded to be seated in her car so she would not get late for gym, I saw a humble, hardworking and a motivated girl next door who is not only herself inspired but possessed the ability to inspire many other people who often give up on their dreams. As we drove past the busy streets of Police Bazaar to our destination Laban, she offered me her inspiring story in just a span of 15 minutes and those few minutes of conversation were totally enough to inspire me and I hope this piece inspires all you readers too. What started as a fitness routine turned into a passion that transcended beyond the normal norms of how the society looks at women in the country. Where elsewhere in the country there is a big debate on how girls should be dressed and behave to avoid being harassed or molested to the extent that some regional or local news channel of the region even aired a story stating that as summer gets hotter the skirts gets shorter, thirty year old Jessica Bamon from Shillong is creating a niche for herself in the otherwise men dominated arena atleast in the country and inspiring many others. She hit the gym for fitness and that is where she found her goals. Jessica continued her work out session and as months turned into years she started competing in various body building competitions. Once she tasted victory there was no stopping since and she continues to compete. She is currently undergoing her fitness training under Mann Sharma from Delhi whom she hired. “I concentrate in what I am doing I don’t think about popularity I believe in hard work,” said Jessica who did her masters in social work from Indira Gandhi National Open University and was working as a counsellor before discovering her passion. Asked if she had this coming, Jessica said, “No I didn’t even know. I wanted to be a doctor or something as time changed I had to adjust and I was not good with books but in sports and so in the year 2012 when I was pursuing my masters I joined the gym in December”. “Gyming was just a fluke. I wanted to go for fitness nothing else. When I was a teenage I often asked myself what is my aim and I said I will leave it to God decide and accordingly it happened,” added Jessica. Changing the typecast of those who think that a female is feeble to take up bodybuilding as a career, Jessica said, “At first they were like she is a girl she won’t even continue for long but as time passed by and I continued they started encouraging me”. “I saw before how people thought I will quit but as they saw how constant I was their view changed and my brother got inspired and joined the gym,” Jessica added. Working two odd jobs to keep her running financially, Jessica finally decided after four years to try working as a bouncer in one of the premiere night club of Shillong who offered her the job and became the first ever lady bouncer of the North East. Asked if she ever wanted to give up, Jessica said, “Lack of finance sometimes brought me down. I am broke at times but it’s a miracle as something or the other works out and I don’t say no to any food it adds up to my supplement,” said Jessica adding, “I never feel like quitting”. Talking about her motivation, Jessica said that she has witnessed how hard her family has worked over the years and it works as a motivation for as she has seen herself and her family grow from one room apartment.. “Life has a purpose you should make it meaningful,” Jessica said. Adding more to it Jessica said, “I have always seen most of the successful are successful because they are constant. What I have learnt is be constant. I think of myself where will I be ten years from now and so I work hard”. “I am here not to waste away. I always want myself to be on top to gibve the best on what I chose to do,” Jessica added Humble to the core, Jessica works every evening at the gym with fellow gym mates as she treads slowly fine tuning herself and her dreams to accomplish much more in the field of body building. Jessica recently bagged the Miss Best Physique 2017 title on October 21st at the 43rd state Body Building Championships held in Meghalaya. Expressing her delight to TNT- The Northeast Today on winning the title, she said, “If you have a dream, just chase it. Be constant and work hard!”. The writer can be contacted at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
If one knows about the tradition of the indigenous tribes of Meghalaya, they would also know about the significance of their faith and their belief in mythological characters.
However, with the advent of modernisation, this belief and faith seems to have been over shadowed by science and the so-called ‘logical explanation of things’.
Interestingly, despite all the threats and challenges, the indigenous faith continues to thrive with the existence of some relics which even science cannot explain.
The perfect example for the same can be drawn from the depths of the Sacred Groves in Meghalaya.
It might sound scary, weird and mysterious. But the fact remains that till date, people don’t dare flout these sets of rules for their own benefits fearing punishment of all sorts from their God of the land –‘U Ba-sa Ryngkew’.
Shillong, December 19, 2017: Meghalaya Chief Minister Dr Mukul Sangma struck the musical chord once again! And this time, it was to an unforgettable rendition of a classic cover — ‘We Shall Overcome’.