At Tsüremen village, located in the foothills of Mokokchung district bordering Assam, Moatsu, the premier festival of the Ao Nagas, has become synonymous to celebrate the bonds of friendship and unity between the borders.
Every year, come May 1, this small settlement surrounded by orchards, plantations and fisheries, will become a meeting ground for two indigenous communities coming together to toast their decades of peaceful coexistence.
In what has become a tradition of sorts, a community of its immediate neighbor- Mogroigaon village under Titabor subdivision of Jorhat, Assam led by its GB (goanbura) will lead a dance troupe to the village to participate in the festival and partake in the games and feast that follow.
‘It is like a ritual for me to come here every year to join my brothers and sisters of Tsüremen village to celebrate Moatsu,’ Bikash Gogoi, a youth from Mogroigaon village told The Morung Express. Gogoi along with a couple of villagers had walked up to Tsüremen village which is just bounded by bamboo fences with Mogroigaon, for the festival.
As usual, the Mogroigaon youth would be performing a Bihu dance at the ceremonial festival programme. GB of Mogroigaon village, Taisenmong Raj Kumar, a young face, said it was his bounded duty to maintain peace and harmony between the two communities.
Moatsu maintaining harmony
There have been instances of third party elements trying to disrupt the peaceful coexistence between the two communities on numerous occasions. ‘I will not let anyone disrupt the unity between the Nagas and Assam by any party or elements,’ Kumar vowed.
In the same way, Tsüremen village also reciprocates by going down to Mogroigaon during the Magh Bihu festival where Naga dances are performed and a feast held. This show of goodwill is besides the daily interaction they have ever day, being neighbors.
‘Tsüremen and Mogroigaon have co-existed like one big village. Besides the festivals, we also participate in games and sports organized by the villages in Assam on their invitation,’ K Bendang Imchen, Tsüremen Village Council chairman said.
One prominent sporting event where other Ao Naga villages like Lirmen, Akumen, Saring etc located at the border participate with enthusiasm is the Shahit Nobin Gogoi volleyball tourney which is held biennially.
‘They have been like true brothers to us. At times like a bandh or conflict situations arising in adjoining areas, the villagers of Mogroigaon would transport in our daily rations from the market,’ Yanger, who works in a plantation at Tsüremen said. This becomes necessary for every day provisions; because Tsüremen village depends on the Assam market.
‘If any differences occur between the villages, we do not get into confrontations. The Village Defence Party of Mogroigaon and Tsüremen Village Council will met and with all civility resolve the issue,’ Yanger added.
Source- Morung Express