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World’s first ‘Chai-infused gin’ from Edinburgh has Assam connection

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

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New Delhi: In Manipur’s Senapati district, one woman has been silently trying to curb stubble burning and its contribution to air pollution by making innovative use of paddy straw. 

Paone, who runs a skills development society named Skill Traders, has initiated a project to make straw baskets out of farm waste. Under the project, called ‘Don’t burn straw, they are jewels’, Paone has been training a group of young people from across the state to make these baskets. 

“I want to contribute ideas and deliver the message of utilising the many resources we are blessed with through straw baskets. Our surroundings are a blessing in disguise, which we fail to recognise…,” she told the Ukhrul Times

Paone has received orders for her straw baskets from cities such as Mumbai, Delhi and Guwahati, as well as within the state. 

She has trained around 300 youths under various other skills development programmes. Skill Traders currently has 21 regular employees and over a 100 home-based artisans under it. 

Edinburgh’s ‘finest’ gin spiced with Assam’s Oolong tea 

Manufactured in Edinburgh, the world’s first ‘chai-infused gin’, Rutland Square, has a connection to Assam. This premium boutique craft gin uses Oolong tea from Assam’s Halmari estate. 

Oolong tea is a semi-fermented tea and there are various ways of making it. 

Nishant Sharma, the founder of this unique blend, traces his ancestry to Assam. The gin is a tribute to his great grandfather, Tej Ram Bawa, who was a spirit entrepreneur in Dibrugarh, in upper Assam. 

The company’s website states how “Tej would buy single malt whisky from British officers stationed in Assam and blend it with his local whisky, obsessively mixing and layering tastes and aromas.”

Sharma, who has lived in Scotland all his life, has been quoted as saying, “I’m so proud to be bringing this product to the market nationally and eventually, internationally. It’s a product close to my heart which honours my great grandfather Tej’s legacy.”


Sikkim celebrates 233-year-old Khamsel ceremony after eight years

The three-day traditional Khamsel ceremony was recently observed at Tholung Monastery in Sikkim after a gap of eight years. The ceremony involves a display of religious artefacts and belongings of Lhatsun Chenpo, considered the Himalayan state’s founder monk. The belongings have been under the care of the Tholung family for centuries. 

The ceremony was last held in 2013, before a series of natural calamities put a halt to it. The Khamsel ceremony has been carried out every three years since 1789. This year, around 6,000 devotees attended the event. 

Located at an altitude of 8,000 feet inside the Kanchenjunga National Park, one has to trek around 14 kilometres to reach the Tholung monastery.  


Meghalaya’s ‘whistling village’ gifts special tune to PM

The residents of Kongthong village in Meghalaya, also known as the ‘whistling village’, has developed a special tune for Prime Minister Narendra Modi. 

The village, located in the state’s East Khasi Hills district, is known for the way its residents call out to each other — through whistling. 

Every resident’s name has a melody composed by her or his mother at the time of their birth. The residents are addressed by their individual little tunes or whistles, with the conventional names being rarely used.

Kongthong village had remained cut off from the rest of Meghalaya for a long time and electricity reached it only in 2000

Chief Minister Conrad Sangma took to Twitter to announce the composition of this special tune. 

The PM later thanked the residents of Kongthong for their “kind gesture”. 

Also read: A quiet ‘Chipko movement’ brewing in Assam to stop 6,000 Sal trees from felling


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