Workshop on Lepcha Clan Stories

Students of the Department of English, Nar Bahadur Bhandari Government College –under the charge of Assistant Professor Dr. Reep Pandi Lepcha travelled to Hee-Gyathang, Dzongu, North Sikkim as volunteers for the ‘Workshop on Clan Stories’. It was organized by Anugyalaya Sikkim in collaboration with SILTA (Sikkim Indigenous Lepcha Tribal Association) and Grassroots Comics from 16-18th January 2023.  The students primarily helped in the documentation process of the proceedings of the workshop. The recordings will be housed at  Nar Bahadur Bhandari Government College as part of a partnership programme with Northeast India Audio Visual Archives which is based in Shillong at St. Anthony’s College and funded by Sasakawa Peace Foundation, Japan.
The workshop marked the beginning of an endeavor to rediscover, revive and document the age-old narratives (clan stories) and customs of the indigenous Lepchas. The primary participants of the workshop—Lepcha residents of Dzongu, arriving in pairs (representing two generations) with each pair belonging to a different Pucho (Clan).
Dr. Reep Pandi Lepcha facilitated the academic leg of the journey and Ms. Minket Lepcha, a Storyteller, and Filmmaker representing Anugyalaya Darjeeling, oversaw the spiritual and emotional aspects of the journey. Mr. Amrith Basumatary, a Freelancer Cartoonist and Comics Artist representing Grassroots Comics played a pioneering role in personal and cultural expression by imparting skills to the participants in a niche medium of expression called grassroots comics.
The workshop was also graced by luminaries Ren Namgyal Lepcha and Renyu Jayjay Rongmit—reliquaries of expansive indigenous knowledge and resource persons to a great many researchers and scholars. The logistics and supervisory role were undertaken by Ms. Mayalmit Lepcha—President of SILTA (Sikkim Indigenous Lepcha Tribal Association) for which she was assisted by volunteers Ms. Winona Lepcha and Mrs. Maria G Sitling; and by the students of NBBGC.
Assisting in and observing the proceedings of the workshop formed the secondary responsibility of the students, while their primary responsibility was the recording and documentation of the clan stories that were narrated in due course of the workshop. The documented materials consist of audio-visual materials collected during the three-day workshop. The students are currently building a meta-data on the materials, which will be followed by the translation of relevant audio files.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *