The annual Seng Kut Snem Festival, commemorating the 122nd anniversary
of the Seng Khasi Movement to preserve, protect and uphold indigenous Khasi Religion, faith,culture and way of life, which began in 1899 was celebrated at the Lympung Weiking Grounds at Jaiaw in the city in a subdued yet solemn manner in keeping with the COVID-19 safety protocols on Tuesday.
Hundreds of people dressed in their finest traditional outfits took part in celebrating the Seng Kut Snem – a festival of the indigenous Khasi faith and culture.
Earlier, a cultural procession known as ‘Iaid Pyni Riti’ showcasing the various facets of Khasi Life was taken out in the city with Tableaux, depicting the rich heritage and culture of the indigenous Khasi community went through the main thoroughfares of the city, although no foot procession was taken out due to the prevailing pandemic situation.
The procession culminated at the Weiking Ground, Jaiaw where special prayers were offered by the Seng Khasi priests.
The Seng Kut Snem is a festival that is observed to mark the Seng Khasi Movement.
Sixteen young men formed an organisation called the Khasi Young Men’s Association on November 23, 1899, to preserve and safeguard the indigenous way of life also known as Niam Trai Niam Tre after continued assault on the indigenous faith during British rule.
The occasion was celebrated every year to commemorate the movement. It was only in 1901, the association was renamed Seng Khasi.
During the celebration, elders impart oral teachings, publish books and writings and conduct many programs about the traditional faith, beliefs, customs, behaviour etiquette and the Khasi culture as bestowed by the ancient Khasi predecessors.
One of the leaders of the Seng Khasi said, “Seng Kut Snem is the celebration to commemorate the renaissance and awakening of the Khasi community as a whole.”
He recalled 120 years ago, the 16 magnanimous young men had stood up against British imperialism in their fight to preserve traditional beliefs and culture of the Khasis.
Addressing the occasion as the chief guest, Rajya Sabha MP Prof Rakesh Sinha said one does not need to read much scripture as the three cardinal principles of the Seng Khasi is enough for anybody to understand the philosophy of India.
Singha said that the philosophy of Seng Khasi is stronger than any philosophy of other countries as the three cardinal philosophy speaks about the earth and ways to preserve the earth by community participation.
He added that when all the heads of the nations are deliberating in trying to save the earth or climate, this over 120 years-old Khasi organization is already sending a message to the world community on how to save the earth and nature by involving various participation of different communities in the state.
Singha said that ‘kamai iaka hok’ or ‘earn righteously’ is not only confined to Sohra or Kongthong alone as this philosophy must be practised by all human beings so that one lead a successful and peaceful life. He added that ‘tip briew tip Blei’ or know people, know God is a message to the world that family is not only between within a household but it includes all human beings and it is a message that all should live in peace and harmony.