Shillong: The John Roberts Theological College’s Two Days Bi-annual Seminar began today at the Rev. Kelvinel Memorial Chapel, Mawklot, Shillong. Former IAS Bah Toki Blah gave the keynote address. The Seminar is sponsored by the Government of Meghalaya under the Voluntary Action Fund (CM’s Fund) and the Meghalaya Institute of Governance.
Addressing the two hundred plus audience, Blah states that land is an integral part for the Hynniewtrep people who formed the only tribe of Astro-Asiatic origin. He reminds that land for them is controlled by customary laws of clan, village and Hima. In the period of change brought by colonisation and globalisation today there is a founded fear of losing or being alienated from their ancestral land. The pertinent question thus, “Can we safeguard our indigenous land?” He said that the two day seminar which begun today will address this issue. He wishes the audience and resource persons a productive time.
Today four papers are presented by resource persons on four different topics and perspectives: 1. An Assessment of Landholding System of Indigenous People, 2. Impact of Colonisation on Indigenous Land, 3. Impact of Political Development on Indigenous People, and, 4. A Study on the Emergence and Growth of Landlessness among the Indigenous People. The resource persons were: Mr. Nangsanbor Wahlang, Research Scholar, Asst Prophesor (Pol. Science) Sankardev College Manbor Warjri, Dr. Fabian Lyngdoh, Dept. of Cultural Studies and Community Initiative, MLCU, and Dr. Elungkiebe, Peace and Conflict Management, MLCU.
Four more papers will be presented tomorrow: 1. Impact of Globalisation on Indigenous Land: A Critique by Rev. Wanbok Shylla, 2. Land and Indigenous People: Ecofeminist perspective by Ms. Ladbasuk Lyngdoh, Asst. Prof. JRTC, 3. A Critical Study on Land Ethics of Indigenous people by Dr. Enolyne Lyngdoh, Asst. Prof. JRTC, and 4. Land and Indigenous People: Biblical Perspective by Rev. Davies Lyndem. It will be followed by a plenary session moderated by the principal, Rev. Dr. B. J. Syiemlieh.
At the closing of today’s sessions, organizer Rev. Dr. S. Hayong expressed overwhelming satisfaction over the engaging and productive deliberations achieved.