Aim and Vision
The Winter School of Poumai Naga Culture (WSPNC) helps the participants to understand and learn the culture of Poumai Naga, with an intention to preserve and promote. Participants get an opportunity to learn and gain knowledge from the elders--the knowledge that is ignored in school textbooks. This is one of the best opportunities, particularly for younger generations, to interact and learn from learned elders--who acquired knowledge through lifelong experience living in their native villages, not necessarily through formal education.
The vision of WSPNC is to develop a scholarship in Poumai Naga culture:
Daó maisǜ daomaisǜ chabi thoutia mòshe
Translation: In the past, locks were not required [From Poula song]
The indigenous culture is marginalized. At a fast-paced haste, the younger generation are adopting the emerging modern trends, so called westernization. The value of culture diminishes both in discourse and practice. Basically, this is due to the lack of avenues to exercise, including the education system and socio-political environment. This has led to endangerment of the culture and language, our identity. The death of a culture (or a language) is not merely an extinction of a code, but it is the loss of a vital knowledge and information that it clasps, which is an irreparable loss to human civilization.
Cultural endangerment is serious. In India alone, with diverse cultures and traditions, there exist more than 780 languages. According to PLSI (The People's Linguistic Survey of India) report, the rate at which languages are dying in India is extremely high as over 220 languages estimated as death in the last 50 years. UNESCO has recorded that, in India, 197 languages are categorised as endangered. In the list, Oinam, Ngari and Khongdei languages of Poumai Naga tribe are not even listed; these languages are yet to be known to the rest of the world. If we consider the indigenous practices, most of the traditions are all in verge of extinction; only few elders could explicitly interpret the connotation of these unique practices.
This infers a call to the community members to start preserving and promoting through documentation and revitalization program--like this winter school. The knowledge clasped in our tradition must be promoted while the elders are still alive to teach us. Sadly, there is little that the central government is doing. One right way to begin is to start imparting the knowledge that our culture clasps to the younger generation. This will certainly enable the next generation to get the knowledge from the present generation.