|Source :NewsBharati Date :22-May-2018|
I met Shri Vijay Swami in 2003 in Keshav Srushti during the first International Conference of Ancient Traditions and Cultures. I was in-charge of the arrangements as the secretary of hosting organisation, Vishwa Adhyayan Kendra, who had co-hosted it in collaboration with ICCS (International Centre of Cultural Studies). Vijay had come with his team of Idu Mishmi friends from Arunachal Pradesh, representing the tribes from North Eastern part of India. He gave an open invitation to me to visit his centre in Roing, Arunachal Pradesh. I could utilize this invitation only this year.
An unassuming man, he had left his comfortable job and life after hearing a lecture by a Vivekanand Kendra missionary in Pune about work he was doing in Arunachal in education field. It lit a spark in Vijay and he realized, “Yes, this is life, not what I am leading.” He joined Vivekananda Kendra, then for many years worked with Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram.
RIWATCH museum was a revelation! I had never expected a museum of such international standards, in design as well as in presentation. The rarely seen displays are fascinating. People from local areas, visitors from surrounding regions and Dalai Lama himself had gifted some rare artefacts to the museum. Famous local artists have created fascinating back drops to the fibreglass sculptures of Naga warriors and local farming community.
You can see a small family handloom too. It is fascinating to understand how the fabric is woven, the significance of designs on the fabric for different ranks of leaders, men and women. There is a rare bejewelled copy of Geeta of which there are only 50 copies in the world. There is a rare rock carrying Buddhist edicts etched onto it, found in North East.
People of North East are nature loving, peaceful, happy people. The museum brings out their rich traditions and cultures in a world class setting. The next expansion envisaged is not just more space and more display but also an audio that will give running commentary about each display.
I am sure, we will see RIWATCH evolve into a world renowned autonomous institute in years to come. With a chancellor like Vijay Swami, nothing is impossible.