According to the Kaini Anne Mao, the traditional heritage of Makhel holds a significant place in their socio-cultural life.
New Delhi: Folktales, folksongs, myths, and folk beliefs form an integral part of the oral tradition of the Nagas. Though not very popular such as the Harappan culture, different Naga tribes have been found to be closely related to the Makhel tradition and its antiquities. Through the Makhel tradition, many Naga tribes, with their vast cultural differences, have found a common ground and have claimed it as their common heritage.
The one-day seminar conducted by the Centre for North East Studies and Policy Research (CNESPR) at Jamia Millia Islamia University on Friday aimed to interrogate the Makhel heritage of the Nagas from the perspective of oral tradition as exists between different Naga tribes. Its purpose was to answer several questions, such as the association between the timeless folklore and oral tradition of the Nagas and the Makhel tradition and their identity, whether it refers to an individual or a group.
According to the DU assistant professor Kaini Anne Mao, the traditional heritage of Makhel holds a significant place in their socio-cultural life. “Of the many narratives of the Makhel oral tradition, the myth of origin — Okhe (Tiger), Ora (Spirit), and Omei (Man) is one of the most important myths of the Nagas. The heritage is a testament of the living tradition which reflects the perception and outlook of the people towards life,” she said.
While focusing on the oral and folk tradition, the assistant professor at JMI, Athikho Kaisii, said that the concrete evidence of megalithic relics and legends are the proof for the existence of the Makhelian tradition.
He believes that prior to the coming of print culture and Christianity, the Nagas did not have ordained priest, doctrinal institution, place of worship, or sacred text but simply worshipped god and spirits by means of “genna.” The word genna has a strong religious connotation rather than a mere social norm.
While addressing the seminar, English professor Veio Pou said that the age old storytelling tradition continues to find its expressions in the new forms, especially in English writings.
“This transition from the oral to the written immortalises the celebrated tales and allows the retelling to reach newer imaginations,” he said.