TODAY -

Cultural and Religious spaces and Community's Moorings

Dr Kongbrailatpam Ratnabali *



The nature and depth of man's relationship with land varies temporally, geographically, societally, economically and culturally. The first article attempted to capture the essence of deep-rootedness of tribal to their land/traditional habitat which is a place where they 'belong'. And as per Nadia Lovell, 'belonging' "with all its pragmatic connotations and potentials for tying people to place and social relationships, also evoke emotions, sentiments of longing to be in a particular location, be it real or fictive".

Therefore, land is not just a space that has some economic value but it represents a complex system wherein various elements of a society such as social, economics, culture, identity, religion, politics etc. interact and those living there have a sense of belongingness to that space. When belongingness is extended to a group of people in relation to a particular landscape, it is instrumental in creating collective identities.

When the space concerned exude high degree of cultural and or religious sense of belongingness of a community with a collective identity, it has far reaching implications. It is pertinent to mention that the degree of belongingness of communities to such spaces varies from community to community. Where the cultural and religious spaces concerned form part of the traditional religion to which the community presently does not subscribe to then the degree of attachment/belongingness to such spaces will be lower than those communities that still subscribes to the old religion.

In other words the importance of sacred spaces loses its significance gradually when the community embraces another religion to which such spaces have no meaning or when the community, in its attempt to uplift its social status, imbibes or opts practices of other dominant religion and culture that denigrate or belittle such spaces or when most of the younger generation of a community are brought up beyond the environ of these sacred spaces thus breaking the vital umbilical chord that connects them to such spaces.

It is therefore implicit that importance of sacred spaces to a community through the years is not static. Being dynamic, an assessment of the importance of such spaces is required whenever its preservation or otherwise is considered. But at the outset, a detailed mapping of the sacred spaces of a community is required at the local landscape so as to know the number as well as location of such spaces.

Once these spaces are identified, a study needs to be conducted so as to find out what importance is accorded to each of such spaces by that community. This would require an in-depth empirical study on the community's perspective on such sacred spaces. Result arrived at from such a study should be instrumental in guiding the administration as well as policy makers of any project/scheme that will have a bearing on such sacred spaces of that community.

In a field study conducted by the writer in one of the villages in Chandel district, it was found that landscape belonging to that tribal community contained natural spaces that had religious/sacredness in the form of boulders (Zakadungkung), natural stone structures (Sagol-tabi) in a river deep (Kaheava Maza), edge of a hill which looks like a five headed serpent (Mahadev). In addition to these there were other natural structures that have connection with the myths of that community.

It was found that these natural spaces had a different meaning and significance prior to the community embracing Christianity by their older generations. It was shared that the continued practice and belief of their old religion including those related to these spaces was considered to be 'a sin' once they embraced Christianity and therefore, their ancestors discarded them after conversion. But there are still members of some tribe who still believe and follow their age-old religion/beliefs which venerates such spaces as sacred.

As a result of the diversity involved, a single brush cannot paint the significance of sacred natural spaces of all tribal communities even within one State. The possibility of using such spaces to politicise the issue pertaining to autonomy over tribal's land is not underestimated. In order to manoeuvre from such unwanted politics, framing of a guideline to objectively determine the significance of such spaces to the community is the need of the hour. While framing such a guideline the emic perspective should be taken into account.

The need for preservation of sacred natural spaces of a community may not strike the administrative psyche. And the number of such spaces prevalent may make it prohibitive. But the words of Paloutzian (et al) may be remembered that "Religion and spirituality are such overpowering elements in human society that wars are fought or peace achieved through them".

Further when such spaces are considered from the perspective of those communities such as the Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTG) where their identity, culture and religion are inextricably embedded in such sacred spaces, ignoring them may lead to violation of their constitutionally guaranteed rights.

In view of the above, a categorization of those communities which have such intrinsically valued sacred spaces needs to be done so that no inappropriate administrative action impinge upon the rights of such communities.

Religion, culture and identity being important elements of a community, respect of those spaces wherein these elements are embedded will go a long way in assuring these communities the concerns the administration has about them and will help in building the larger concept of their belongingness to this nation called India.


* Dr Kongbrailatpam Ratnabali wrote this article for Hueiyen Lanpao
This article was posted on October 02 2015.


* Comments posted by users in this discussion thread and other parts of this site are opinions of the individuals posting them (whose user ID is displayed alongside) and not the views of e-pao.net. We strongly recommend that users exercise responsibility, sensitivity and caution over language while writing your opinions which will be seen and read by other users. Please read a complete Guideline on using comments on this website.




LATEST IN E-PAO.NET
  • Day 2 : Pung & Dhol Chollom :: Gallery
  • Sangai Day 2 : Maibi Jagoi :: Gallery
  • Sangai Day 2 : MMTA Adventure :: Gallery
  • Hazari/Tombi Polo [7 Nov] :: Gallery
  • Sangai Day 1 : Culturals #3 :: Gallery
  • She left us but who'll forget her ?
  • My New Song :: Poem
  • Indo-Naga Talks 2017 :: News Timeline
  • Thanks Dr. Sinha for highlighting Manipur
  • SN seek clarification from NSCN (I-M)
  • House panel summons Ravi to clarify on FA
  • Sangai Day 1 : Culturals #2 :: Gallery
  • Sangai Day 1 : Culturals #1 :: Gallery
  • Miss Kut #5 :: Gallery
  • Best ever Bond film for children
  • Media Challenge: Glance from hills #2
  • Hard on the hexagon of beehives, Meiteilon..
  • NPF Resolutions of Nov 22, 2017
  • Inaugural Day Sangai Festival :: Gallery
  • Featured Photo for 2017 #5 :: Gallery
  • Kokkhum Festival #2 :: Gallery
  • Seitinmang, Laljangam, Parihal: eMing
  • Khamba Thoibi & Poems on Manipur : Rvw
  • Significance of learning Chinese language
  • JFA condemns Tripura scribe's murder
  • Zeliang calls for NE Tourist Circuit creation
  • Shillong Lajong I-League Squad 2017/18
  • Tourism Potential of Manipur
  • Sangai Run-Marathon @Sendra #1 :: Gallery
  • On Peace Deal & Framework Agreement #1
  • 22nd Winners' Cup (Football) #1 :: Gallery
  • The charge of sisters :: Poem
  • Reorganisation of North Eastern Council #2
  • DAMMS Freshers / Literary Meet 2017
  • (Blank Editorial)
  • Culturals @Mera Houchongba #2 :: Gallery
  • Kang Chingba @ Wangkhei :: Gallery
  • North East Fashion Week #2 :: Gallery
  • Know The Meetei
  • Indo-Naga Peace Process :: Articles
  • Not just the Gateway
  • Use milk for silky smooth skin
  • Mobile Application for Sangai Festival
  • Manipuri Mega Photo Contest Finalist
  • 5 point resolution on Naga Political Issue
  • NE is least favoured tourist destination
  • Final: Hazari/Tombi Polo #1 :: Gallery
  • Sangai Festival 2017- Events Schedule
  • #TB hotspot cannot be on blindspot
  • United Metal 3.0 @Imphal
  • My name is Kom, Mary Kom
  • Swachch Bharath Swasth Bharath
  • Sangai Festival 2017- Online booking site
  • The Killing Fields (2013-17) :: Timeline
  • Mary set on Olympic gold
  • For every causes, there is a reason
  • Moibung Khunou -near khurkhul :: Gallery
  • Miss Kut #4 :: Gallery
  • On the Naga Framework Agreement
  • Media Challenge: Glance from hills #1
  • GIS day at NIT Manipur
  • Pangal Leader Mohammed Hanif Shah
  • NPF questions Speaker convening meet
  • Painting Exhibition by Babli Das (Tripura)
  • Looking out for possible measures
  • Manipur Sangai Festival 2016 #7 : Ooba
  • Cultural Program @ MCA :: Gallery
  • Ningol ChakKouba @MBC #3 :: Gallery
  • Oh dear Daddy, see I a Native Proud: Poem
  • Buddha's metta and karuna #3
  • Narendra Modi will never play Nehru
  • Photo Caption Contest by Whakal.com
  • General Call to All Former NPF Leaders
  • Penguin Readathon & Book Gifting
  • ENNG opposes inclusion of TCL..
  • Report alarm for Arunachal
  • Loktak witness drastic fall in migratory birds
  • Lecture on 'Rohingya Resettlement'
  • 'Weaves of Ching-tam' @London :: Gallery
  • Opening: Jadonang Football #1 :: Gallery
  • Robert's Weaves of valley & hills at London
  • Remembering boy..felled by fake encounter
  • Sangai Photo Awards 2017 : Contest
  • Meeyam meekup nahum singna leibiyu
  • HighWays : Govt. needs seriousness
  • Singcha Wuya Won @Kamjong #4 :: Gallery
  • SDG Consultation: NE :: Gallery
  • North East Fashion Week #1 :: Gallery
  • Distribution Patterns of the Asian Eye
  • Sustainable Development Goal Consultation
  • Wrangle in Mapithel dam: Legal perspective
  • In the Slums of Heaven :: Poem
  • Wreath Laying Ceremony for AR Martyrs
  • Time to take a bow, Robert
  • Create jobs for NE to stop trafficking
  • March: Mera Houchongba #4:: Gallery
  • Sin-Lang Fest @DM College #2 :: Gallery
  • Sangai Festival: Ideas for a change
  • A shadowy dreamer :: Poem
  • Winter - A blessing in disguise for us ...
  • Course in Nanotechnology at NEHU
  • Pamel : Serene Natural Hub, near Lamlai
  • Vacancy at YVU Financial Services, Thoubal
  • System Operators @PR Enterprise, Khurai
  • Just by showing concern will not change..
  • Food Stall @Phayeng #2 :: Gallery
  • The moment :: Poem
  • Board exams decoded
  • 3rd NE Fashion at Itanagar: Day 2
  • Conference : North East in Globalized Era
  • NE-IAS launched to support Startup India
  • Painting Competition on Conservation
  • Ramkung Pamei is new MHJU Chief
  • Priyogopal (Senior Artist)- Photo :: eRang
  • Kabui Dance @Jadonang Football:: Gallery
  • Fashion @NE Festival, Delhi :: Gallery
  • Deviance and Corruption in Kangleipak
  • Applied health research is vital to #endTB
  • 3rd NE Fashion at Itanagar: Day 1
  • Tri-nation Motorcycle Rally reach Imphal
  • Traffic woes continues
  • Kwatha festival #1 :: Gallery
  • Kokkhum Festival #1 :: Gallery
  • Special Rapporteur on Human Rights
  • The threat to balkanize Manipur
  • Cry of a Dying River - 6 :: Poem
  • Biological based integrated Congress grass
  • 3rd Audition of Fagi Unplugged
  • Sadar Hills District Demand: News Timeline
  • Of clean environment
  • Paonam Lily (Archery) Reception :: Gallery
  • North East Fest @ Delhi :: Gallery
  • Girls Football- Nov 4 #2 :: Gallery
  • IBSD, India & VITO, Belgium signed MOU
  • First angioplasty for in-stent restenosis
  • RIST Popular Talk-33: Quantum Hall states
  • Commonwealth alumni event of NE
  • Lecture on The Rohingya Conundrum
  • Tri-National Motorcycle Rally
  • 3rd North East Fashion Week at Itanagar
  • ILP Nov 30 deadline: Why not only for valley
  • Expected changes, do we see ?
  • Festival of Raas Leela #2 :: Gallery
  • Sin-Lang Fest @DM College #1 :: Gallery
  • Hari Uthan- Kang Chingba #2 :: Gallery
  • Code of silence: Concealing gender justice
  • God Rules Over All :: Poem
  • Five day 'Flower Show' at Ukhrul
  • Go birding to honour Bird Man of India
  • Inner Line Permit (ILP) Demand :: Timeline
  • Uphul Waiphul and Leikhom Leinang
  • A reminder to Central Govt.
  • Ningol Chak-Kouba @Pune :: Gallery
  • Miss Kut #2 :: Gallery
  • Meitei Pictographic Writings :: Book Review
  • Careers related to mental health
  • Beauty & Money for a purpose
  • Human rights infractions in Mapithel Dam
  • AMAND Ningol Chakouba at Pune : Report
  • Chef Required at Kakching
  • NHPC Raising day at Loktak Power Station
  • Of ST demand, ILP, peace talk
  • For elderly people
  • Prof. Nongmaithem Tombi Singh : A Profile
  • Hazari/ Tombi Polo Tournament #2:: Gallery
  • U-17 Footballer honored by Guv :: Gallery
  • Just in favour of nocturnal life
  • Dance of Fire Flies at Autumn :: Poem
  • North East Festival bids farewell
  • Agenda of Govt spelt out at DBC, Maram
  • Nurturing the future
  • Ningol Chak-Kouba @Delhi #2:: Gallery
  • NE Fashion Weekend @Delhi #1 :: Gallery
  • History will not forgive us
  • A girl :: Poem
  • Pre-merger political party struggle
  • JRF wanted at NIT Silchar
  • March: Mera Houchongba #3:: Gallery
  • Girls Football- Nov 4 #1:: Gallery
  • Taxi- raising Air Pollution in Ukhrul
  • Skill development training with MUDA
  • Pui Thangamliu -Photos #1 :: eRang
  • NH7 Weekender [28 October] :: Gallery
  • Surjalal: Fellow of American Physical Society
  • Salesian College Grabs UK Project
  • Prime focus
  • Miss Kut #1 :: Gallery
  • Hari Uthan- Kang Chingba #1 :: Gallery
  • Kangujam Chinglensana (Hockey) feted
  • Chavang Kut @Tengnoupal :: Gallery
  • Sub-Junior Girls Football #2:: Gallery
  • Namsai gets Buddha relic from Thailand
  • Ningol Chak-Kouba @Delhi #1:: Gallery
  • 3rd Ningol Chakouba, Delhi : A Report
  • Dr. Rahejuddin Sheikh : Best Director Award
  • Chothe: Shabu Hong Rein :: Gallery
  • Eyek Tamba :: Learn Manipuri script
  • Candle light for Belinda Morse :: Gallery
  • Exhibition of Pottery Crafts #2 :: Gallery
  • Phayeng Cultural programme :: Gallery
  • Khongjom War Memorial #3 :: 360 ° View
  • Ichangi Laidhi #1 :: eRang
  • Ningol Chakkouba by Paomee:: Gallery
  • Ningol Chakkouba @Kolkata :: Gallery
  • Ningol to her mapam lamdam :: Gallery
  • Manipuri Calendar for 2018 : Download it
  • Mera Men Tongba :: Gallery
  • Old Manipuri Movie #1 :: eRang Classic
  • Landscape of Manipur #7: Wallpaper
  • SPONSORED ADS