A screen-grab of 29 year-old Nusakholu Dawhuo from Phek district narrating the winning folklore.

Kohima: ‘Naga Manu Production’, a Nagaland-based visual production house, conducted the first online folktale storytelling competition to revive the age-old tradition of story-telling.

Twenty-nine-year-old Nusakholu Dawhuo from Phek district was adjudged the winner of the competition, which was held under the theme “Spreading wings to the untold Naga folklores”. The organisers of the event, through a release, informed that the event which is “a first of its kind in the whole state of Nagaland” was held from July 5-August 9.

Dawhuo won the competition for the folklore titled “Love story of Dari & Rakhrülü ” which revolves around the love and friendship between two neighbouring villages –Chedema under Kohima district, and Thenyizu under Phek district.

“The story summarized the conclusion that the physical body will die away and decay but true love and real friendship will last forever.,” the organizers informed. The winner receives a cash prize of Rs 6,000 along with an e-certificate.

Imnichetla Jamir, who shared an Ao Naga folklore “The Quest of Sarilungle”, bagged the runner-up position for the story. The story talks about a husband who left his wife and home in search of a place where a man can get daily food without having to work.

After long years of searching, the husband, who has become old, returns home with the realization that “there is no place in the world to entertain lazy people”, having wasted his youthful life. The story shared a moral which says “Only way to a prosperous life is through hard work and contentment”.

The runner-up of the competition receives a cash prize of Rs 4,000. The organisers informed that the prize money was sponsored by Kuvelu Tetseo of the famed Tetseo sisters.

Other winners included 4-year-old Menlei Phom for the tale of ‘an Owl and shrew’ was declared the youngest contestant and sponsored by Naroh Decor Kohima; People’s choice award and best narrator (U-15) was awarded to Imsupongla Longchar (A tale of a mouse and a man) and Aboli Wotsa (The Angel’s wife) received the judges choice award category.

The winners were chosen out of 47 entries from different districts of Nagaland. 85-year-old Thanso Yimchunger was the oldest participant in the competition.

The organisers informed that the entries were thoroughly scrutinised by the judges based on presentation skills, relevance/significance, creativity; factual and authenticity and the moral of the story.

The judges of the competition were Rita Krocha, journalist and publisher of PenThrill publication; Alice Yhoshü, president of the Kohima Press Club (KPC), and Asonuo, the News Editor of All India Radio (AIR), Kohima.

According to the release, the competition was aimed to conserve and spread the message of preserving the traditional folktales being passed down from generation to generation.

“With this tradition slowly fading, we are losing the good old stories of our forefathers. This competition is being organised with the view to preserve and present the folklores as oral documents for the future generations,” it said.

Krocha, who announced the results, said that the judges were “excited” to witness many young storytellers. Saying that she was reminded of how her grandparents shared stories orally, she hoped that the competition would “pave the way to still preserve the culture and tradition” of the Nagas.

Further, she pointed out that the entries were all “well presented” and with a good quality of storytelling. As the competition was organized with the hope to revive the age-old tradition of storytelling, she expressed hope that the initiative is a “first step” towards reviving the oral tradition of Nagaland.

The Nagaland-based visual production house ‘Naga Manu Production’ is owned by Zhovezo Resu, entrepreneur and journalist. Video of the online competition has also been posted on its YouTube channel which has over 98.7K subscribers.

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