PASIGHAT, 21 Aug: An ‘Adi Heritage Dere’ was inaugurated here in East Siang district on Sunday, in the premises of the Adi Cultural Literary Society (ACLS) and the Donyi Polo Yelam Kebang (DPYK), Lamrung Gangging.
The dere has been designed by the ACLS and the DPYK, and is aimed at promoting the rich cultural heritage of the Adi community through an innovative and artistic representation of traditional rituals.
Establishing the dere was conceptualised by ACLS secretary Delong Padung, who told this daily that, “with the changing times, the concept of dere was becoming extinct and there was a need for preserving it in its original form.”
“The unique part of this dere is that it has been constructed mostly using local materials, as per the original Adi mythology,” he said.
“Historically, the dere was an indigenous temple of learning, where youths congregated to learn essential life skills, including warfare and leadership abilities. In Adi mythology, the dere was the first dormitory built by revered figures like Gumin Babu, Doyi Bote, and Siking Nane with the purpose of nurturing and empowering individuals to combat evil spirits and establish supremacy on Earth,” said Padung.
He expressed concern over the trend of constructing modern cement-and-brick buildings, adorned with contemporary accessories, which he believes compromises the sanctity of the dere.
“For this dere, we have mostly used local bamboo and canes. As per our mythology, a dere should be constructed using traditional materials. Apart from roofing, which uses CGI sheets, we have used only traditional materials. Considering the threat of fire, we had to use CGI roofing,” he said.
Padung further pointed out that “certain materials used in ritual decorations, like taan taleng and tatkeng leaves, are regarded as holy, divine and meaningful in Adi mythology and philosophy.”
“In an era of rapid technological advancement, the challenge lies in preserving the traditional essence while fostering a connection with the roots,” he added.
A dere serves as a cultural hub where aspiring priest singers and emerging leaders undergo training and examination before being recognised as adept individuals who can contribute to the society. One of the notable ritual spaces within the dere is ‘banggo’, where the sacred mobyang stones are housed, and where household deities find their abode.
“The Adi Heritage Dere not only marks a significant milestone in celebrating cultural heritage but also serves as a reminder of the importance of maintaining traditions in an ever-changing world,” he added.
East Siang DC Tayi Taggu and ABK general secretary Okom Yosung also attended the programme.