The world witnessed something spectacular a few days ago when around five thousand Konyak women congregated in Mon town during the Aoleang Monyu festival in an attempt to set a Guinness World Record for the “Largest Traditional Konyak Dance.” It brought back memories of Nagaland scripting its name in the Guinness Book of World Record in 2013 for largest electric guitar ensemble when 368 guitarists from the state converged in Dimapur to perform Guns N’ Roses’ famous cover of Bob Dylan’s Knocking on Heaven’s Door. But what happened in Mon on April 5 was more than just achieving a feat. The performers, all women, danced to the beats of traditional instruments in unison while singing a ceremonial song for more than five minutes. While the piece was impeccable, many must be wondering how so many women from a relatively small tribe and from different walks of life were able to find time to practice for the performance. Well, it was a celebration of life; a manifestation of human spirit that comes to life in the form of artistic performance; a sign of unity; and a display of women’s strength and resilience. Time is not a factor for those who have the will.
Naga women are known for their hard work, and they shoulder most of the responsibilities in the family, including taking care of household chores, raising children and working in the paddy fields and farms. Nagas being a patriarchal society, they go through a lot. But these five thousand odd Konyak women found time to converge at a single venue and practice the dance moves and learn the song for several weeks together because they have the will.
It is easy to be defeated by trials and tribulations that we experience in life; lost in grief when misfortune hits your family; and disappointed when basic necessities are hard to come by while those in the neighbourhood have more than what they need. But strong people find the strength to overcome all the hardships that life throws at them and come out even stronger. The sea of humanity that the world recently witnessed in Mon town was quite a spectacle and breath-taking. It was not just a performance by Konyak women to enter the Guinness Book of World Record but a manifestation of resilience spirit and strength of women across the world. It was a celebration of life.