Article published in Eastern Mirror, Nagaland
Chizami, March 8(EMN): 75% of the remaining biodiversity of this world is in the land and territories of indigenous peoples, said Phrang Roy, coordinator, Indigenous Partnership for Agrobiodiversity and Food Sovereignty, Italy and chairman for North East Slow Food & Agrobiodiversity Society, India while speaking at the programme
‘Biodiversity Festival: Celebrating biological diversity, bonding earth communities’ at NEN Resource Centre Chizama, Phek district on Wedneday. The programme was organized by North East Network (NEN).
Roy said that 95% of the cultural diversities of the world are in the languages and culture of indigenous people. The world are releasing that indigenous people are not primitive people but today they are the gene banks with lots of knowledge that are likely to die away and with the dead will be lost of their life.
‘Women are guardian and custodian of all this’ Roy said. He maintained that the discussion held for the role of women both at local and international level that they speak a lot about the rights, discrimination, marginalization that takes place for women, but often forget one aspect i.e. “nurturing role that women play”, and not just nurturing role in terms of children, but in term of food, fuel, water and genetic diversity.
He also said that we tend to ignore role the silent role the women had played and also lamented that the corporate sectors have tried to take advantage and have ignorance, and that the world is in danger of losing this aspect.
Roy spoke on the importance of women as the role of women as nurturer, the nurturer of the children, future generation. However he said there cannot be any nurturing and women cannot play the role unless and until we are willing to recognized the equality that has to be there.
Seeking on the tradition value of the indigenous communities that men and women have equal and responsibility, ‘its not them or us, it’s we working together. He urges the community to recognized women to have an equal role and not a subordinate role in the society. And also to work together not to exploit each other but to be supporting each other for the good of the nature and good of the future, he encouraged.
He stressed on creating a ‘group of believer’, saying that there is no movement that can take place unless and until there is a believer and he pointed out the baptish church, because you have a group of believer and to create a leadership so that all of the people could hold hand together and create that group of believer. He also called upon the young souls to participate in the leadership so that they can play the role and start the process. ‘Let us create a movement where we can work together ‘ he said.
In his speech, Roy said that there are 529 edible plants in Nagaland according to one of writing of Dr. Moa, Botanical Survey of India , but to when Roy interacted with him, he says there are much more but that ‘the scientists only count up to that much’.
Roy said that the rice varieties that we have started in east India, ‘we have around thirty to fifty thousand varieties of rice and today we have lost many of them’. He also said also said that Banana, sugarcane and pulses were also an origin from Northeast India.
Apart from the state, representative from Meghalaya, West Bengal and a member of millet network of India were also present during the programme.
Naga society an egalitarian society
Taking a stand at the Naga women right, Sano Tsuhah, board member of the NEN said Naga society is known as egalitarian society where values, hard work, respect and cooperation are there while addressing the gathering during the welcome note speech.
She, however lamented that the ULB election was a disturbing phase for the women community in Nagaland and said that the recent political turmoil which was followed with the ULB election is a very disturbing phase for advocate of women tribes and for both men and women who are defending the women right.
Seno however said that “we cannot afford to have conflict within our own community, when we have a greater struggle for sovereignty. “ And that Nagas cannot lose the journey of social justice by forgetting the gender justice.
Appealing to the society, Seno said that women need a peaceful place, to participate equally in social, economic and political aspect and called upon to start a constructive dialogue where the people need to relook, ‘the missing gap’.
“We need to build on the strength of Naga society toward social justice and toward progressive society that can happen only when women and hand go hand in hand as partner.” She maintained.
On a progressive society, she said that women need to be added again in the political process and the conversation that are happening.