LEH: As a member of the jury for the Samvaad Fellowship of the Tata Steel Foundation, Dr Sonam Wangchok, the founder of Himalayan Cultural Heritage Foundation (HCHF) has been contributing to the tribal communities across the country by selecting and mentoring deserving candidates for the fellowship with the aim of reviving, preserving and promoting tribal culture, language, and legacy.
The Samvaad Fellowship, launched by the Tata Steel Foundation in 2017, aims to fulfil one of the main goals of the ecosystem, which is “to document and hence preserve a body of knowledge and a world view that runs the risk of being obliterated.”
The Fellowship hopes to encourage projects and concepts that contribute to the preservation of any lesser-known native practices from tribal cultures that are at risk of extinction because they are vulnerable, are not included in major conservation efforts, or both.
This will result in the loss of that community’s distinct identity and the beautiful diversity of our nation’s rich cultures. The fellowship offers financial support cultural enthusiast youth as well as guidance and mentoring in achieving the goals.
“I have been a jury member of the Samvaad Fellowship for four consecutive years now. The journey has been exciting as we have to judge fellows from different tribes who come with the proposal on diversity of cultural ideas and initiatives in preserving tribal culture in their respective communities”, said Dr Sonam Wangchok.
Today, there are 48 fellows receiving fellowship from the Tata Steel Foundation, including two fellows from Ladakh. The fellows are doing great jobs documenting, reviving and preserving their culture, language and heritage through different initiatives. “Samvaad is growing year by year and becoming one of the most important stages in India not only for the fellows but also for the exchange of culture, ideas and dialogues among different tribal communities across the country”, said Dr. Wangchok.
Besides, the five days of Samvaad 2023 from 15_19 November, witnessed the amalgamation of dance and song performances by different tribal groups from 11 states, including Ladakh. Cultural groups from Zanskar, Changthang, Lahaul and Spiti presented cultural performances.
170 tribal healers from 22 states came together to offer treatments and medicines during the event. From Ladakh, 6 Amchis from Amchi Sabha participated and offered medicines and treatment at the Samvaad 2023.
The highlight for Ladakh was the participation of Rashida Kausar in ‘ Change makers’ walk’ on the last day. Rashida Kausar is documenting the traditional Ladakhi kitchen and ethnic cuisines under the mentorship of Dr. Sonam Wangchok.
Similarly, 140 home chefs from 37 tribes across 17 states of India offered unique tribal cuisines. The performance not only connects the story of the struggles, aspirations, and dreams of the tribal communities gathered at Samvaad but also celebrates tribal identity, culture, history, and heritage.
- December 7, 2023