SHILLONG | Aug 14, 2019:
The residents of Kongthong village, popularly known as the whistling village of Meghalaya, has sent a distinct musical and melodious invitation to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to visit the village.
The invitation in the form of a “tune” was prepared exclusively for the Prime Minister by one of the elderly women of the village requesting him to visit the whistling village.
The tuneful message was sent to PM Modi through Rajya Sabha MP, Prof Rakesh Sinha, who arrived in Meghalaya on Wednesday just to visit Kongthong village.
“The people have distinctively prepared a tune for Modiji, requesting him to visit the village. I cannot promise anything but I will of course send the tune to the Prime Minister as a kind of an invitation from a mother,” Prof Sinha told media persons here in Shillong on Wednesday.
Visited kongthong,Where people communicate via tunes,known as the whistling village.Last session I raised this issue in RS to include it in intangible cultural heritage of UNESCO. An elderly woman has created one for @narendramodi ji as an invitation to visit the unique village. pic.twitter.com/PgyzC325Nl
— Prof Rakesh Sinha (@RakeshSinha01) August 14, 2019
It may be reminded that Prof Sinha had earlier raised the issue to include Kongthong village in the intangible cultural heritage of UNESCO as Kuşköy village in North Turkey, during the Parliament session lrecently.
Why Kongthong’s unique feature needs to be preserved
“Kongthong is a village which has a unique feature and this is the uniqueness of India’s diversities which should be preserved; which is why I have demanded for preservation of this unique culture and tradition,” said the BJP MP.
Citing his experience during his one-day visit to Kongthong village today, Prof Sinha said that the village serves as a good example of an amalgamation of modernity and tradition.
“It was my moral duty as well as curiosity to visit the village, meet the people and it was a very wonderful experience. Nestled in the lap of nature, I find that the people are very innocent, self reliant and this village is just like an independent republic with nationalistic fervour,” he observed.
However, the MP stated that connectivity is a problem as he cited the difficulty in reaching the village. “The road is not good and such a village which reflects India’s true culture is facing the transportation and connectivity problem,” he lamented.
“I think hospital, transport, minimum facilities should be in place because nothing is remote. India’s every inch land is centre; so remote is a geographical concept but when the land and nation is concerned, that becomes the centrality,” he added.
Research study on unique traditions of Northeast
While stating that he has already made a demand in the Rajya Sabha for setting up of archives and museums for such tunes, Prof Sinha said that he is also going to suggest some universities particularly NEHU to start a department to conduct research study on such traditions.
“This would help to evolve the whistling tradition with scientifically, psychological and traditional concept because this is a perfect example of India being a land of beautiful diversities,” he added.
Northeast is mainstream of India and not vice versa: Sinha
“I have a special interest in Northeast; I believe Northeast does not need mainstreaming; Northeast is mainstream of India because the distinctly beautiful things that exist which can be called ‘true culture’ can be found in Northeast,” said the MP.
While stating that Northeast is a perfect example of women empowerment, Prof Sinha said while the slogan “Beti Bachao Beti Padhao” is apt for the rest of the country where daughters are ill-treated or discriminated, you will find that in Manipur, the biggest market is the Mahila bazaar; “So they (Northeast) don’t need to learn from us, in fact we need to learn from them — that is mainstreaming.”
Furthermore, he also stated that while the entire world has been become a slave to technology, these villages in the Northeast, even though they have and are enjoying the facility, but they are keeping their tradition alive. “Northeast has saved itself from the onslaught of technology, pseudo modernization,” he added.
Visit to Kongthong: A mere political eyewash?
Reacting to a query on the “ulterior motive” of the visit as perceived by some groups and political parties, Sinha said that India is a democratic country, so contestations and differences are not unnatural but the intention should be, that differences should lead to betterment of society.
“My association with a particular organisation, idea, family, community should not dominate my role as a member of Parliament for community development,” he said.
“I think every parliamentarian, every person in public life should keep himself or herself away from the narrow thinking and when we see India from a holistic perspective, then our clashes, differences will lead to evolution rather than destruction,” he added.