ITANAGAR, 18 Dec: Chief Minister Pema Khandu has suggested that to preserve the unique cultural identity of Arunachal, indigenous people who convert to other religions should not altogether cut themselves off from their roots.
Reiterating that Arunachal is known for its indigenous people who have a distinct cultural identity, Khandu said this unique identity should not be lost at any cost.
“India is a secular country. As a born Buddhist, I have the freedom to accept and follow any other religion of my choice. Nobody can stop me. But then I will always remain a Monpa,” Khandu said addressing the golden jubilee celebration of the Nyishi Baptist Church Council (NBCC) at its Model Village headquarters on Saturday.
He asserted on preserving traditional costumes, festivals, traditions and indigenous dialects no matter what faith one follows.
“If you cannot speak in Nyishi, how can you claim to be a Nyishi?” he questioned and appealed to the Christian community leaders and elders to ponder on ways and means to preserve Nyishi culture for posterity so that it is not lost as many indigenous cultures across the world have.
“I admire you all. You have not left your culture as I can see you all donning with pride your traditional attires,” Khandu said, appreciating the Nyishi Christians for remaining attached to their culture.
Appreciating the NBCC’s drive against drugs and alcoholism, the chief minister termed it a noble venture and at the right time.
“Our government is committed in its fight against drug abuse but the government alone cannot win the battle. I welcome the commitment made by NBCC. Together we will get over the evils of alcoholism and drug abuse,” he said.
On another commitment of the NBCC to fight against money-culture in elections, Khandu said that he has been personally against money-culture since the beginning. He had earlier, especially on the eve of the elections in 2019, made fervent appeals to all CBOs and religious institutions to campaign against use of money for votes.
“The impact of religious institutions in influencing its followers is the hardest. Therefore, I again appeal to all religious institutions to create awareness against money culture in elections,” he appealed.
He expressed optimism that with the active role of CBOs and religious institutions, 2024 elections will be fought based on performance and not on money culture.
To mark the occasion, Khandu laid the foundation stone for a rehabilitation centre for the differently-abled persons and a convention center to be built by NBCC. He assured to contribute in the establishment of the center from his personal sources.
Present on the occasion, among others, were MLAs Techi Kaso, Tana Hali Tara, IMC Mayor Tame Phassang and Rev. Dr. J.M Ngulkhan Pau. (CM’s PR Cell)
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