The Sangtam community celebrated its premier Mongmong Festival recently with traditional pomp and gaiety here in Dimapur at the DDSC Stadium.
Chotisuh Sazo, the Speaker of the Nagaland Legislative Assembly (NLA) was the chief guest.
Sangtams are a minority community spread across in Kiphire and Tuensang districts of Nagaland.
Mongmong is one of the most important festivals of the Sangtams celebrated to worship God of the house and the three cooking stones in the fireplace concerned with food productions, blessings and prosperity.
The festival which extends for six days, is observed in the first week of September every year.
On successful completion of six days celebration of Mongmong, the Sangtam Nagas believe that their God is well pleased and hope for blessing from him by having rich harvest and good health in the family.
Addressing the gathering on the occasion, Sazo emphasized on fostering unity among all of Nagas in order to usher in a permanent and honourable peace to the land.
"Nagas require unity, be it overground or underground. Let us try to unite for the greater interest of the Nagas," the NLA speaker said while addressing a gathering of the Sangtam community at the Mongmong festival at DDSC, Dimapur on September 3.
Mongmong is the premier festival of the Sangtam community and is celebrated before harvest season by offering prayers for blessing and a bountiful harvest.
On the occasion, Sazo underscored that Nagas are at a crucial stage with the recent signing of the framework agreement between the NSCN (IM) and the Government of India.
However, with the details of the framework yet to emerge, Sazo maintained that the onus lies with the Nagas on whether it wanted permanent solution or temporary solution. Inorder to bring permanent solution, the speaker pointed out that Nagas must unite first.
"If we want a permanent and honorable solution, then Naga must unite together and form a common platform-in order to bring permanent peace to our land." The speaker also voiced out that it was well-nigh that Nagas kept aside individual interest and put common interest at the fore-front.
Sazo also raised concern over the fast disappearing culture of self-reliance and the rise of dependency and indolence gripped by materialism among the present Naga generation.
Lamenting that the self-reliant attitude of the Nagas was fast disappearing with the young generation not willing to work- either manually or mentally -with majority of Naga educated youths depending only on State government for job instead of competitive exams, Sazo cautioned that the dependency syndrome need to be curbed or it will lead to the total collapse of the State's economy one day.
"As long as we produce our own food, we are free people. As soon as we lose food, we lost our sovereignty to outsiders." he stated.
Sangtam Peoples' Forum Dimapur president, Athriba Sangtam in his welcome address exhorted the gathering that preservation of tradition and culture is not confined to celebrations alone.
The festival which was attended by many dignitaries, was marked with indigenous traditional display of song, dances and games of the Sangtam community.
The celebration was organized by Sangtam People's Dimapur District and sponsored by the North East Zone Cultural Centre (NEZCC).