Inauguration of Field Station

TThe IGNCA established a Field Station in the Department of Anthropology University of Gauhati, on 18 September 2000 at a simple but impressive function. The Station represents an attempt to enlarge the scope of research and related activities for promoting research and documentation in the overall area of cultural heritage of the peoples of North East India.

The north eastern region, covering seven states (Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Tripura), is widely known for its rich assembly of cultures and forms of social organisation. It was felt that the research vision of the IGNCA into the cultures and age-old traditions of the entire region could be more effectively fulfilled by operating from Guwahati, particularly from the University setting. Collaboration and involvement of the academic community of the entire region could be sought to achieve the objectives of relevant research and documentation. The Field Station will function as a unit of the Janapada Sampada programme of the IGNCA. Professor A.C. Bhagabati of the Department of Anthropology, Gauwati University (formerly Vice-Chancellor of Arunachal University) has been appointed as the Honorary Co-ordinator.

The function began with Saraswati Vandana beautifully rendered by the students of the department. Following felicitation of the distinguished guests. In his presidential address, the Member-Secretary, IGNCA, Prof. N.R. Shetty, hoped that the inauguration would pave the way for valuable contribution about the lifestyles and traditions of the tribal and other communities of the north eastern region. He expressed his happiness at being able to start this unit in the University for advancing the cause of research on cultural heritage. He also hoped that in future, the University would come forward to recognise research activities of Doctoral scholars of the centre, relating, to the region, as has recently been done by the University of Delhi.

Prof. B.N. Saraswati, addressed the gathering outlining the structure of the IGNCA and the aims and objectives for field station at Gauwati. He emphasized the need for comparative study of values, worldview and cosmology of different cultural communities of North East India. He suggested that the new Field Station could induce researchers to take up themes such as reconstruction of the indigenous worldview influencing people, lifestyle and cultural heritage. For instance, animal taxonomy, healing plants and practices, notion of space and time, cosmogenic myths and rituals and art and architecture could be some of the path-breaking types of research that the Field Station could initiate.

The Vice-Chancellor of the Gauwati University, Prof. H.L. Duorah, expressed his happiness and assured support for the functioning of the Field Station in the future. He Stressed the need for using scientific ideas and information technology in cultural research. Dr. Amalendu Guha, noted historian and Dr. Birendranath Datta, an eminent folklorist, complemented the IGNCA for giving focussed attention to the research and documentation needs of the cultures of the region, stressing due weightage to the study of tribal cultures.

The function was attended by a large number of scholars and researchers from different faculties of the University as well as from various research institutes of the city. A warm vote of thanks was moved by Prof. B. Chaudhary, Head of the Department of Anthropology.

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