Meghalaya's indigenous people observe Khasi movement day

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Shillong, Nov 23 (UNI) Indigenous Khasi men and women took to the streets of the city today, proclaiming the dignity and solemnity of the indigenous Khasi faith and culture on the occasion of the annual Seng Kut Snem festival.

The colourful procession projected the diverse and rich Khasi tradition through folk music and tableaux depicting various facets of the simple yet rich and colourful indigenous lifestyle. The procession culminated at the Weiking Ground, where traditional dances were held and special prayers offered.

The annual Seng Kut Snem festival is celebrated to commemorate the Seng Khasi movement to preserve, protect and uphold indigenous Khasi religion and culture. This year the festivities marked the 109th anniversary of the Seng Khasi movement.

It was on August 23, 1899 that 16 brave and nationalist Khasi youths formed the Seng Khasi to protect their indigenous religion, rich culture and unique language in the face of British onslaught.

''On April four, 1829, U Tirot Sing Syiem, the king of Nongkhlaw took on the might of the aliens by leading an attack on the British garrison at Nongkhlaw and inflicting major casualties,'' said Sumar Sing Sawain, an elderly member of the Seng Khasi.

''It was a day of renaissance and uprising to save the community from disappearing into oblivion,'' he told UNI here.

This marked the beginning of a bitter four-year long conflict between the uncompromising Khasi soldiers under the leadership of Tirot Sing and the British culminating in Tirot Sing's martyrdom at Dacca.

''The second uprising in Ri Hynniewtrep (Khasi nation) began from December 28, 1861 under the leadership of the legendary U Kiang Nongbah of the Jaintia Hills who waged a war with the British after the aliens desecrated an indigenous Khasi religious ceremony at Ialong.

The third historical movement of the people of Ri Hynniewtrep against the suppression of their age-old faith and culture begun from April 23, 1899 through the organisation of the Seng Khasi which is the torch bearer of the Khasi religion -'Niamtre' and the traditional culture.

Besides upholding the Khasi religion of Niamtre, the Seng Khasi has also been working towards strengthening the traditional indigenous administrative systems involving the Syiems, Lyngdohs and Dollois and upholding the Khasi customary usages.

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