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Kuki identity at the heart of a music revival project in Manipur

Snippets from the vibrant Northeast that capture politics, culture, society and more in the eight states.

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New Delhi: A group of youths belonging to the Kuki tribe in Manipur have come together to preserve and protect endangered musical instruments, songs and dances of the ethnic group.

The team has started what they call the ‘Pengkhul project’ in which young enthusiasts are trained by mentors in ways to play the tribe’s traditional musical instruments. As part of the project, team members had visited different parts of the state in search of experts who still know the old songs and dances, and how to play the instruments, so that they may guide the new learners.

The name ‘Pengkhul’ comes from a traditional trumpet made of bamboo that is played by the Kuki tribe.

DJ Haokip, a member of the team, told Imphal Free Press, “The project is a message, a clarion call to the youth of today to safeguard our dying culture, traditions and rituals.”

Also read: Nagaland MLAs win hearts with a song seeking to heal world ‘sailing in stormy weather’

A matter of identity

Musical instruments such as Lhemlei, Gosem and Pengkul are associated with folktales of the Kuki tribe. “They are not just  instruments but constitute an identity for the Kuki tribe,” said Haokip.

“Our ancestors used to preserve the traditional dances, songs and musical instruments. But in the present situation, there is a possibility that all of these will be forgotten,” Jacob Touthang, a trainee, has been quoted as saying.

Naga youth develops app named ‘Bujulo’

Hiboka Sumi, 23, of Nagaland has developed a multi-messaging social media app named ‘Bujulo’ which is likely to be launched this month. ‘Bujulo’ means ‘touch it’ in the Sumi Naga dialect.

Bujulo is a ‘super app’ — a single portal developed by a company offering various services under one umbrella. Users can send and receive text and audio messages, photos and videos in the app. They can also post stories in the form of photographs, texts or videos.

“I have bootstrapped this from the beginning but no one has endorsed the app so far. The prototype phase and the rollout is in progress and I am fixing some bugs before the app reaches our users. Bujulo is expected to launch by the end of July,” Sumi, who graduated with a BA degree last year,  told EastMojo.

Sumi has always been interested in coding. He said he has also built other apps and designed websites for projects.

Also read: Nagaland’s beloved ‘Longleng’ creates ‘world record’, clocks 1,50,000 km in 4 years

Residents of Meghalaya villages revive a dead river 

Residents of five villages in Meghalaya, with the help of the state government, are slowly reviving a dead river named Lukha. Situated in the Jaintia Hills, Lukha had turned blue due to acid mine drainage and other industrial effluents being discharged into the river.

For over two years, a community-led body, the Hynriew Shnong Wah Lukha Association, has been working in association with the state forest department to give Lukha a fresh lease of life using algae.

Algae can revive toxic rivers, through a process called phycoremediation, as these organisms absorb acid mine drainage and restore the pH level of water.

“Algae treatment was conducted for a narrow stretch of the Lukha river and it has shown positive results so far. We will be scaling that up,” State Forest and Environment Minister James P.K. Sangma told The Northeast Today.

Depending on the success of the project at Lukha, the government also plans to revive other dead rivers in the state using algae.

What Stephen Colbert drinks on ‘The Late Show’ 

On Tuesday night’s episode of ‘The Late Show’, popular American host Stephen Colbert had pulled out a piece of paper which he read from and introduced the world to Sikkim’s favourite Temi tea brand.

“Today’s tea is Temi summer Muscatel black from Sikkim, India. This refreshing black tea is from one of the valued tea regions in India,” he said.

The Temi tea estate was established in 1969 by the then king of Sikkim, Chogyal Palden Thondup Namgyal. One of the most famous brands from the tiny northeastern state, Temi tea has, by now, a global presence.

Temi tea comes in varieties of plain, green tea, tea leaves and the famous first flush. It also sells four-season packages.

Also read: How Manipur churches are trying to curb vaccine hesitancy as ‘satanic’ rumours fly thick & fast


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