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
  • DESAM Protest- remove MU VC : Gallery
  • Konung Kang Chingba #2 : Gallery
  • Unbiased Retake Manipur University Issues
  • BoSEM Imbroglio: Educational smuggling
  • Jobs available in NIELIT centers
  • Commanding Officer-i-c must be punished
  • Public official's escorts assault lawyer
  • Is Govt underestimating MU Community
  • MU impasses : Getting uglier
  • Art Exhibit @Imphal Art College #1 : Gallery
  • HSLC students @ Chalwa, KPI : Gallery
  • Arambam Modhu Kalabhusan-Lairik Haiba
  • Interferences in private school affairs
  • Diagnostic Testing Phases -complexities
  • The Kite Runner :: Poem
  • Call for joint mass protest at New Delhi
  • Naga Peace Process :: News Timeline
  • Manipur CM warns of extreme steps
  • Naga civil society playing key role
  • This will be an Acid test for N. Biren
  • Best option : A graceful exit ..for Pandey
  • Kang Khichri chaba @Kwakeithel : Gallery
  • Plastic Surgery Day @RIMS : Gallery
  • Kang Chingba @Keishampat : Gallery
  • Human rights of women in our society
  • AFSPA Gesture and Better Alternative
  • Leisure :: Poem
  • Restore Life After Burns : Plastic Surgery
  • IM accuses AR of 'cold-blooded murder'
  • Konung Kang Chingba #1 : Gallery
  • Dont waste searching for word/phrases
  • Hill People & Merger of Manipur
  • Manipur State Constitution Act 1947 #5
  • U-Mangra for biofuel for economic devpt
  • Painting competition on environment
  • Condemn Moreh terror attack
  • Climbing Shirui Hills, Ukhrul #3 : Gallery
  • Ichangthoubi, Thotmungchan :: eMing
  • Kang Chingba - Rath Yatra : Book
  • Why the impasse at Manipur University
  • Condolence Message for Tamenglong
  • Maharaj parleys Bizando
  • Opt for fruit/vegetable beauty product
  • DG Assam Rifles meets Governor
  • Recreation - a Serious Business
  • Tuilha Kolt waterfall @Kpi #1 : Gallery
  • Eyek Tamba :: Learn Manipuri script
  • Lamjing Meira Ningsing Numit #2 : Gallery
  • Who Created the Border Pillar Conflict ?
  • EEVFAM amidst Numbness and Noise
  • Special Olympics Unified Cup 2018
  • Path for youth's bright future
  • Addressing core issues
  • Students Vs Centre's man : MU
  • Thangjam Manorama Anniversary: Gallery
  • A reflection on POCSO Act, 2012
  • Fear :: Poem
  • War veterans laboured to clean compound
  • Free Career Counselling Program
  • NEFIS writes to University bodies
  • Sit-in-Protest Against House Search
  • 50th World Population Day celebrated
  • Something worrying
  • Congress : 2 days session too short
  • Jadugi Chei :: Funga Wari
  • Tribal protest for MU normalcy : Gallery
  • Framework Agreement: What is it ?
  • Some cairns from the way: Artist's retake #2
  • Cry of a Dying River # 36 :: Poem
  • Overview on Manipur University imbroglio
  • Tribal Students memo to HRD on MU
  • India-Vietnam Film Show 2018 at Delhi
  • Why the CM is helpless ?
  • No end in sight to MU crisis
  • Indo-Myanmar Pillar 81 @Kwatha #1: Gallery
  • Global Bamboo Congress @Beijing : Gallery
  • Manipur State Constitution Act 1947 #4
  • Kamesh Salam : Speaker at BARC, Beijing
  • Career in Cooperatives
  • Nagaland CM's speech at NEC
  • NPF Rejoinder to JD (U) of July 9
  • The Killing Fields - 2013-18 : News Timeline
  • Unfair Game
  • Expecting documentary proof from villagers
  • Lamjing Meira Ningsing Numit #1 : Gallery
  • Woken Youth Clubs in season of World Cup
  • Converting tourism potential into reality
  • Let me live in your heart :: Poem
  • D-Jent.... Djentleman... Anyone ?
  • Socialism or destruction of humanity ?
  • Inner Line Permit (ILP) Demand :: Timeline
  • Demand action against KSO activists
  • 3 Manipur girls in BCCI U-19 squad
  • Rights meet on bill outcome
  • Naga integration will be democratic..
  • Ichangi Laidhi #3 :: eRang
  • Modernizing Manipur University Library
  • In the grip of nothingness :: Poem
  • Password protection - I
  • Congenital Heart Defect operated
  • Hill area bandh relaxed temporarily
  • State & central govt must stop conflict
  • Cohesion is sports
  • Explain 'devious purpose'
  • Willong Khullen, Maram #2 : Gallery
  • Manipur merger agreement 1947
  • Wari Jalsa at New Delhi
  • Congress grass menace in North-East
  • M A Thomas National Human Rights Award
  • What does worry do to us ?
  • Is Manipur a part of India ?
  • Rumours of child lifters : Dangerous
  • List of MLA (Jan 2018) #3 : Gallery
  • Forest Rights Act 2006 -context of Manipur
  • Supreme Court Hearing on EEVFAM case
  • Cry of a Dying River - 35 :: Poem
  • Terirama Th. met South Korea's first lady
  • Securing security cameras: invisible eye
  • Rejoinder to Nagaland CM's statement
  • Meitei Mayek - are the scales tipped now
  • Patronising non-locals : Nail the insiders
  • UNC oppose indefinite Manipur bandh
  • Tribal University @ Senapati : Gallery
  • Rally to remove MU VC #2 : Gallery
  • Some cairns from the way: Artist's retake #1
  • Manipur State Constitution Act 1947 #3
  • UN experts on 'fake encounter' killings
  • Nagaland CM Rio statement on July 4
  • Condemns inhuman eviction by Govt
  • Trainees Certificate of RPL at Kamrup
  • Minor reunited with mother after 26 days
  • Non-Operative Closure of "hole in the heart"
  • We are for the people, for the society
  • Over 30 days : Centre sleeps, MU 'burns'
  • Thokchom Brindashabi Devi :: Profile
  • Kshetri-bengoon Eviction Protest : Gallery
  • Successive pay commissions: It's impact
  • Research Support @ R-Square Design
  • leingakki thouwong - state terrorism
  • Rebuttal: Interview of Ranju Singh
  • Different forces pulling Manipur : Lim
  • Pakhangba Cheng Hongba #3 : Gallery
  • Some ideas for prevention of flood
  • Satisfaction :: Poem
  • Supreme Court hearing on EEVFAM - 2 July
  • Dark lips .. causes and care
  • Training on Handloom Weaver at Hojai
  • CME on 'Congenital Heart Diseases'
  • Nagaland CM should make his stand clear
  • 2019 LS polls : BJP on the offensive
  • Great June Uprising @Kekrupat #4 : Gallery
  • Naga American conference in California
  • Life of an army officer's daughter
  • The Winter Blues :: Poem
  • 16th Mega Miss North East
  • NDPP on Naga integration
  • Allegations against VC holds no ground
  • Rally to remove MU VC #1 : Gallery
  • July Calendar for Year 2018 :: Tools
  • A Washed-Out Summer Vacation in MU
  • Manipur State Constitution Act 1947 #2
  • My short interaction with Penna Donna
  • 9th Men Mega Mister North East
  • Memo submitted to Kiren Rijiju
  • India- no interest to protect its boundary
  • Idea of who is a citizen of the land
  • Poumai Purul Hiimai Paoki #3 : Gallery
  • Dr Thingnam Kishan Memorial : Gallery
  • Black sheep in movement for ILPS #3
  • Our Common Crisis: What are We to Do #2
  • Jackichand Singh signs for FC Goa
  • No co-operation to MU VC
  • Nagaland CM contradicting himself : NPF
  • Career Guidance Workshop at Ukhrul
  • The tales of a forgotten University
  • Pulling at idea of Manipur : Lim, ATC
  • Climbing Shirui Hills, Ukhrul #2 : Gallery
  • Moirangthem Arup: 90 Km Marathon, Africa
  • Pitfalls on land acquisition for Mapithel Dam
  • Chinese dominance in 21st century
  • Caring for the elderly
  • IIT-G's Technothlon prelims at UAE
  • Mass Rally from Manipur University
  • Nagaland CM releases book by teenager
  • Why trying to dictate media time & again
  • MU, border pillar, Citizenship Bill
  • Oinam Dilip's Painting Exhibition
  • Intl Day Against Drug Abuse : Gallery
  • The Manipur Merger Agreement 1949
  • A road to Mandalay
  • Keeping up: medical diagnostics tech
  • The mother of all preventive strategies
  • Relief camps for Flood affected families
  • The dark side of Indian democracy
  • From three time CM to Oppn leader
  • Khumang Pokpa Haraoba #1 : Gallery
  • Enduring Theatre of Guerrilla War
  • Intl Day in Support of Victims of Torture
  • Impact of trade & floods on economy
  • Imparting training as profession #2
  • Najmaji's flood fixing formula
  • History of Yoga
  • Intl Day against Drug Abuse
  • Politicising MU issue: by whom ?
  • Effective ban on plastics needed
  • Thaunaphaba Marup :: Funga Wari
  • Naga Nationalism & Naga Integration
  • Manipur State Constitution Act 1947 #1
  • Great June Uprising @Kekrupat #3 : Gallery
  • Mova Cave, Hungpung, Ukhrul #1 : Gallery
  • Tribal Cultural Festival #2 : Gallery
  • General Thangal Eco Park : Gallery
  • Garlic Festival @Ukhrul #4 :: Gallery
  • Dzuko valley #4 :: 360 Panorama View
  • Manglandasu Nang - OST :: e-pao Radio
  • Laitonjam Rajnikanta : Profile
  • Kang Tournament @ Yaiskul : Gallery
  • HSLC 208 Exam Toppers : Gallery
  • Aerial view from Chingmeirong : Gallery
  • Front Page Photo 2018 #2: Gallery
  • Class XII Exam Toppers : Gallery
  • Temples of Manipur : Gallery
  • Recipients of Akademi Awards for 2014
  • Old Manipuri Movie #1 :: eRang Classic
  • SPONSORED ADS