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Tales of history told afresh

- Exhibition highlights traditions of Tai community

Dec. 2: It was a small exhibition to reflect a long past.

Six stalls, put up by different Tai communities on the premises of Rabindra Bhawan today highlighted the customs and traditions of the Tai Ahoms and other Tai-speaking communities of the state.

The exhibition was organised by the state department of cultural affairs on Asom Divas.

Speaking on the occasion at Rabindra Bhawan this evening, chief minister Tarun Gogoi said Sukapha was a great leader and a brave warrior ruler under whose guidance a solid process of unification and assimilation of various ethnic groups in Assam had been set in motion. Gogoi hoped that the young generation would uphold his ideals to take the state along the path of progress and prosperity in the days ahead.

Minister for cultural affairs, Pranati Phukan, said Sukapha sowed the seed of the greater Assamese society many centuries ago.

Asom Divas or Sukapha Divas is observed to commemorate Chaolung Sukapha, the founder of the Ahom kingdom who reigned from 1228 to 1268 AD.

Sukapha set up the 600-year-old Ahom kingdom in Upper Assam.

Since December 2, 1996, Asom Divas has been celebrated in the state.

Kingkhap mekhela, sapkon (shirt) made of silk, seleng sador, history written by chroniclers of Ahom kings, riha made of muga silk and traditional food were some of the items displayed at the stall of the Tai Ahom community.

Wearing traditional dresses, a 17-member troupe of Man Tai-speaking community from Balipara in Karbi Anglong performed their traditional dance — Ka nang ying phan tai — on the occasion.

“It is a slow dance usually performed by the community to express joy,” said Ganeshingpho Lozom, leader of the troupe. It also displayed traditional cuisine and dresses.

With a population of around 2,000, Lozom said it is one of the smallest communities in the state.

The members of Tai Turung and Tai Khamyang communities from Sarupathar in Golaghat district and Tai Phake from Nam Phake village in Tinsukia district were the other Tai communities at the exhibition.

Except the Tai Ahoms, all Tai communities are small but have been successful in maintaining their tradition.

The Tai Phake community, with a population of around 5,000, is confined to two villages in Tinsukia district.

“Today, we also performed Kakong ke pan, a dance to greet people,” said Nak Thee Weingken, a member of the Tai Phake dance troupe.

Moran College principal Anil Saikia highlighted the contribution of Sukapha, who set up his kingdom in Assam after years of journey from Mong Mao in Myanmar.