Shillong, April 10: As experts from various fields in the world try to understand the vast history and many unexplained details of the human race and its journey from caveman to modern man, stone structures have always been the center of many of these exploration and research. As the experts try to understand the meanings and significance of the stone structures across the globe, Principal Research Officer, Department of Heritage and Humanities, tiol Institute of Advanced Studies (NIAS) Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, Srikumar Menon opined that the living megalithic culture of the Khasi-Jaintia in Meghalaya might hold the key to understanding megaliths all over the world.
Menon was speaking during his address as the keynote speaker at the ‘Khasi History in Stone: The Robin Laloo Memorial Semir on Heritage and Legacy’ organised by the Department of Environment and Traditiol Ecosystems, MLCU Shillong in collaboration with the Informed Conscious and Responsible Existence (ICARE), Shillong , today at the MLCU campus.
This Semir was held in memory of Late Robin Laloo who was devoted towards the preservation of the Khasi and Jaintia culture especially in spreading awareness about the importance of the stone structures.
Menon informed that the megaliths, being prehistoric monuments, researchers, historians and archaeologists can only examine the material culture of the people who built them, in order to understand what meaning they held for the builders. “Megaliths thus represent a rich body of our heritage, left by unknown ancestors, whose efforts pioneered the development of monumental architecture in stone, which was to rise to dizzying heights in later times”.
After visiting the various sites of the traditiol stone structures in the Khasi and Jaintia Hills Dr. Menon concluded that because the Khasi-Jaintia have a living tradition which is still being practiced till date, it might help experts to understand the pre-historic culture better, since the Khasi and the Jaintia tribes know the circumstances in which they were put up, how they were put up and the different purposes they serve.
The Semir also hosted a painting exhibition titled ‘Stone culture among the Khasi-Jaintia communities’ by the city’s renowned artists, Careen J Langstieh, Raphaphang Sohliya, Treibor Mawlong and Casper Syiem.