Nagaland, a state in Northeast India, embodies diversity at its best. The sixteen tribes inhabiting eleven districts that are ecologically rich and diverse exhibit rich cultural heritage and tradition. Amid the prodigious cultural diversity, food habits, culinary knowledge and traditional recipes form an important aspect of indigenous knowledge, but rarely explored area of the Naga cultural heritage.
Naga cuisine, an important aspect of indigenous knowledge is intricately related with other aspects of culture including the idea of sustainability, food security, nutrition, healthy living, agricultural practices and adaptive response to climate change.The culinary knowledge and practices are embedded in taboos and rules revealing a deeper cultural meaning.
Globalization and increasing cultural contact has also led to homogenization of diet and food habits, which is not a positive trend since this can have far-reaching ecological and cultural implications. The need of the hour is to preserve and promote culinary knowledge and food practices among indigenous communities, which are hotspots of culture-specific cuisines, and which can be a response to climate change and achieve sustainable development goals.
The fourteen Indigenous Naga tribes, viz. Ao, Angami, Chakhesang, Chang, Khiamniungan, Konyak, Lotha, Phom, Pochury, Rengma, Sangtam, Sumi, Yimchunger and Zeliang all have their own traditional cuisines that are part of the rich cultural knowledge. The traditional recipes,knowledge of preservation and methods of preparation are important aspects of culinary knowledge.The traditional cuisines of the Naga tribes show variations according to both ecological adaptation and cultural knowledge.
The aim of the national seminar is to promote more research and enquiry into this less unexplored frontier keeping in view the policy development, preservation of cultural heritage, empowerment of local people and meeting global issues like climate change, food security and sustainability through active participation at the local level.
The National seminar will be a 2-days event that includes an academic session, live demonstration on Naga traditional cuisines, food fest (public event) and interaction among scholars, native experts and other stakeholders.