GUWAHATI, Feb 1 � The Vivekananda Kendra Institute of Culture (VKIC) Sanman 2012 award was formally conferred on cultural activist Rupnath Basumatary, who is the director of Bathou Mission, Bengtal, on Tuesday.
The function also marked the foundation day celebration of the VKIC, Guwahati.
Som Kamei, director, North-East Zone Cultural Centre, Dimapur, Nagaland � the chief guest of the programme � formally conferred the award on Basumatary, director of Bathou Mission, Bengtal, Bodoland Territorial Administrative District (BTAD).
In his acceptance speech, Basumatary stressed the need for preserving and promoting the different cultures, traditions and life-styles of different communities, saying that it was essential from the point of promoting peace, bonhomie and prosperity of a nation.
Basumatary lauded the works undertaken by the VKIC on the front, and urged it to start centres throughout the North-east for preservation and propagation of ethnic cultures and heritage.
Kamei, in his speech, emphasized on public recognition of silent work by unsung heroes like Basumatary working tirelessly to sustain tribal traditions � in this case the Bathou tradition of the Bodos.
Kamei also appealed to all concerned to come forward in nurturing the different communities, particularly in North-east India. Dwelling on the work of the North East Zone Cultural Centre, he said the task was to take culture out of air-conditioned rooms in cities to where it belongs to the people.
�My experience indicates that while there are 400 communities in the North-east alone, a unifying thread runs through them. I am glad to note that the VKIC has been carrying on significant work through seminars and research with community participation for adapting this rich cultural heritage for development,� Kamei said.
Mentioning that there were many challenges on this front � especially with rapid changes taking place in society � Kamei said that due care had to be taken to support and promote varied local traditions.
Dipok Kumar Barthakur, chairman, VKIC, in his welcome speech, said that the VKIC had been organizing the programme since 1999 to honour a person from the North-east who had made significant contribution to society in the field of preservation, protection and advancement of traditional culture.
The award consists of a citation, a plaque and a cash award of Rs 25,000.
Barthakur also briefed the function about the preparation for the 150 birth anniversary celebrations of Swami Vivekananda.
The programme was attended by a capacity audience from all walks of life, and it concluded with a musical dance-drama presented by Chokhani Korang, a performing art group of the Tripuri community from Tripura led by Tarubala Debbarma.
The performance depicted community life in its entirety � from being in tune with nature, and from birth to death passing through the different stages in relation to society.