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‘Tokhu Emong Fest: One Heart…One Spirit’

On November 7, 2011 Kyong Welfare Forum Delhi celebrated Tokhu Emong festival under the theme “One Heart…One Spirit”.  The venue Constitution Club (near India gate), being centrally located had attracted a full packed audience.  It was one of the most colourful extravaganzas of the North East community in Delhi which had attracted thousands of people cutting across caste, creed, colour, culture and nationalities to witness the most colourful unforgettable and enriching ‘Tokhu Emong’ event.
The festival exhibited and showcased the most representative and vibrant flavours of North East region and Nagaland in particular.  Several renowned personalities like Rahul Ram from the famous Indian Ocean Rock band, Tara Douglas Secretary, Adivasi Arts Trust (UK), Thu Lee (Asian Best Classical Guitarist), Dr.Sushmita Dasgupta, eminent economist, Subir Ghosh a renowned journalist and writer, Shiv Kumar (Mr. India 2011), and many more are a witness to the event.  
The chief guest of the evening was L. Kievom, a retired Indian Foreign Service who had spent more than 30 years as Indian ambassador in several countries. His popularity as a person of strong character is not only well known in the country but also in many parts of world where he had been posted as Indian Ambassador. He is also a well known writer and a historian.
Another special attraction of the event was the release of the book “Response to Climate Change” by Fr. Abraham Lotha & Dr. Zuchamo Yanthan. The book was released by the chief guest after giving a brief introduction of the book. Adapting to climate change is one way of responding to the inevitable. Yet in order for one to respond meaningfully and intelligently, one has to first understand the problem. By critically examining the issues and debates on global climate change, this book brings together scholarship in India on the subject which helps to inform responses for a collaborative effort to combat climate change. Responding to the challenge of global climate change is a collective responsibility according to one’s capabilities.
The hosts of the colourful extravaganza evening were Abeni Ezung, Elans Ngullie and Zubemo Humtsoe. The event started with a prayer by Yanpolumi Yanthan Pariyar, faculty of western music at St.Thomas School followed by a melodious Lotha Naga folk song titled ‘Longtsua’ by the members of Delhi Lotha Christian Fellowship (DLCF).
The gathering was welcomed by the convener of the committee, who also spelt out the significance of ‘Tokhu Emong Festival’. He started by saying Nagaland state as a land of festivals and had encouraged the gatherings who are mostly of foreign nationals and from other parts of the country to visit Nagaland to experience the most colourful ‘Hornbill festival’ starting from December 1 to 7. Elaborating further he adds: Lotha Naga tribe celebrate ‘Tokhu Emong’ for so many reasons but the most impressive aspect of this festival is that past mistakes and heart feelings are forgiven and new ties and bonds of closer intimacy are build again. During these amazing nine days of the festival, delicious food and drinks are prepared to share with all friends and relatives.
The speaker further mentioned that one very interesting custom that Lotha Naga follows during this festival time is that they exchange cooked meat. It is believed, the number of pieces of meat given, denotes the depth of friendship and ties. Besides, Lotha Naga community altogether enjoys traditional songs and dances during ‘Tokhu Emong’. He had provoked himself by asking how relevant is ‘Tokhu Emong’ in today’s fast changing world? He gave his personal reflection by saying the relevancy of ‘Tokhu Emong’ lies in understanding and reflecting on the connections we have with our land, labour and how we can connect our thoughts about respecting nature, resources and our gratitude responsibility to nurture the land that gives us life. He further says that the significance of the harvest festival is not only about celebrating and eating. For our ancestors they worked very hard and invested their time and energy in helping one another to arrive at the tokhu celebration. That is why forgiveness and reconciliation is a central theme for ‘Tokhu Emong festival’.
Folk dances are indispensable to the Nagas’ cultural life so the crowd were entertained by a war dance performed by the Lotha students union Delhi. One of the main attractions of the fest was the fashion show. Some of the models are of national level super model. They had displayed the rich collection of Lotha Naga costumes which has been gathering national and international attention within the fashion industry. Esther Jamir, a national level super model had captured the attention of the crowd with her Lotha traditional costumes styled by Stephen Lotha, a national level stylist. The entire choreography was managed by Stephen Lotha and the stage was designed by Rembomo Odyuo, a research scholar at IGNOU.
Thu Lee who is considered to be the best classical guitarist in Asia had presented few classical pieces capturing the attention of the crowd and they kept asking for more. Another main attraction was the presence of Mr. India 2011 with Junior Mr. India 2011 Pawan who had displayed fitness awareness campaign. One most awaited item was the traditional couple show competition. The competition was won by Lotha Naga tribe represented by Angelina Yanthan and Renthungo Tsanglao, followed by Sumi Naga tribe and Angami Naga tribe.
‘Divine Connection’, the most awaited performance…It was intentionally left at the end in order to let every individual enjoy their performance. Without any doubt they had stole the attention of the crowd with their magnificent performance. No wonder Divine Connection had won the MTV Rock on contest 2010.
The colourful extravaganza ‘Tokhu Emong’ event concluded with a vote of thank pronounced by Mr. Stephen Yanthan, Chairman of Kyong Welfare Forum Delhi and closing prayer by Pastor Chenithung Ezung. The event was sponsored by Chief Minister of Nagaland, NEC Group of companies, Naga International Vaganza (NIV), ALS-Alternative Learning Systems, Likyaro Weaving & Handloom Nagaland, Delhi Lotha Christian Fellowship, GraceH Boutique, Dream TeamHearts, and Fountain Flow Society.