Guwahati: Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Thursday said that three existing directorates – archaeology, museum, and historical and antiquarian studies – will be brought under the proposed Department of Indigenous Faith and Culture.

Replying to a Zero Hour discussion on the creation of the new department initiated by AGP MLA Ramendra Narayan Kalita and BJP MLA Bhubon Pegu in the Assembly, Sarma said that he has already prepared a roadmap for the proposed wing.

“We have made a proposal that the Directorate of Archaeology, Directorate of Museum and the Directorate of Historical and Antiquarian Studies will be brought under the new department,” the chief minister said.

On July 10, the Assam Cabinet had approved a proposal to create the ‘Department of Indigenous Faith and Culture’ to protect the faith and cultural practices of people belonging to tribal and other indigenous communities.

The Assam government wants to give life to the expectation, culture and customs of the indigenous tribes that cannot compete in terms of strength and financial capacity with others, he added.

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“We are thinking of allocating Rs 100 crore for this new department in this year’s budget. I will be happy if I can give Rs 500 crore to it in the fifth year,” Sarma said.

He informed the House that a roadmap has been prepared and it will be discussed with the tribal people and tribal MLAs.

“I believe all our MLAs will give their suggestions. We want to start a tradition that we preserve our history at the place where it originated, not in the books,” he added.

The chief minister said that the faith and tradition of the indigenous communities are related to nature and they taught the modern people how much nature is important to mankind and how it is protected.

However, with the advent of modernisation of society, their beliefs, traditions and religions started to become extinct, Sarma said adding: Even many communities lost their languages also.

“If we had not considered ourselves as superior, probably questions on nature such as carbon emission or ozone layer would have never come,” he added.

It is the duty of the society and the government to preserve the language, art and culture and literature of the indigenous tribal people, Sarma said.

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