Moving tributes were paid to Nido Tania, the young student from Arunachal Pradesh by the University community on the occasion of the biannual North East Students’ Forum (NESF) festival – Spackle 2014. King Pradyot Bikram Manikya Deb Barma held centre-stage on February 15, 2014 at DST Auditorium, speaking on the need for students from the region to come together in solidarity and preserve their culture and tradition. The young politician-cum-activist from the royal family of Tripura inaugurated the programme.
Though the cultural extravaganza is a moment of joyous celebration, speakers struck a sombre note in memory of the young man who came to Delhi with dreams in his eyes but fell victim to racial prejudice. A small poem was read out by a student from Arunachal Pradesh recalling Nido and his home state. The festival also provided speakers to celebrate icons from the Northeast – Irom Sharmila, Bhupen Hazarika, Indira Goswami, Mary Kom, and like.
Presided over by Debabrot Borgohain, the programme’s name, Spackle (a substance used to fill in the cracks created in plaster to produce a smooth finish) underlined the theme of unity that King Deb Barma had spoken of. Prof. Ramakrishna Ramaswamy, Vice Chancellor of the University made the same point, “It makes one very proud to have such students. Spackle 2014 is a suitable name. It hints at the need to cover up the cracks appearing in our society. There is a need to integrate the region with India. There should be no differences.”
The festival had a series of events lined up highlighting the heritage of the Seven Sisters – Assam (Bihu dance, Bodo war dance), Nagaland (song and dance performance of the Chakesang tribe), Meghalaya (a medley of Khasi songs), Manipur (Kuki dance and Meitiei musical performance), Tripura (Tripuri folk song) and Mizoram (Cheraw dance). The audience at DST were also treated to a fashion show – highlighting the dresses worn by various communities of the Northeast.
The day also saw a couple of important announcements being made by the University authorities. Vice Chancellor Ramakrishna Ramaswamy discussed the ongoing talks between UoH and Nagaland University through the National Knowledge Council (NKC). “We are in talks with the Pro Vice Chancellor of the University of Nagaland to share knowledge and lecture programmes over the NKC. This will be another step in fostering closer ties and unity should be more than just window-dressing,” he added. The second declaration was that of the old S.N. School Canteen being handed over to North East Students’ Forum for running their canteen.