Starting from the time of Indus Valley Civilization, India has been rich in knowledge and wisdom. India contributed a lot to mathematics, astronomy and metallurgy until the beginning of Mughal period. Because of the foreign invasions, Indian traditions faded to some extent but could never be wiped. During Mughal and British period, required encouragement was not provided for flourishing the ancient Indian traditions and culture. The traditions could survive to some extent in the places where the aforesaid foreign rulers had less effect. This is evident from the preservation of classical music, Vedic education and temple-architecture in South India in comparison to that in North India. Similarly, Northeast India could preserve the old traditions till the middle of British period.
Northeast India is a land of ancient Indian tribes; some of them originated in neighboring countries like Thailand and Myanmar. Unlike Mughals and British, tribes coming from these neighboring countries did not destroy the Indian culture, rather they enriched it. Also, these civilizations merged in the ocean of Indian civilization. Talking about Northeast India in particular, there are still some Indian practices that are surviving but need the support of society at large and government. Some of these are as follows:
1. Traditional Medicines: Several tribes are practicing herbal medicines in this region. There are a large variety of plants and herbs, which are not available in other parts of the country. Enough documentation is available for traditional healing practices of the tribes. There is a need to showcase and preserve those practices.
2. Tantric practices of Assam: Assam has been known as a land of tantra. A village in Morigaon district known as Mayong is believed to be ancient capital of king Ghatotkacha, the son of Bhima. The village used to practice tantras. There is a famous museum called “Mayong Central Museum and Emporium”, which was opened in 2002; it houses some texts on Ayurveda and tantra. In public domain, little is known about the mystic tradition of tantra. There is a lot of scope for scientists and psychologists to research on it.
3. Vedic schools: There were a number of Gurukuls in Assam to impart Vedic education. Some of them are still continuing, particularly in lower Assam.
These are just a few examples. There is a strong need to preserve the ancient texts and sculptures related to these Indian traditions as well as to disseminate this knowledge to masses. The sensitization of public about ancient knowledge will help in further research in some of the good practices.
Indian Institute of Technology Guwahati is a premier educational institute in Guwahati. The campus is having a land of about 285 hectares and is a scenic place. It is about 22 km from the airport and 18 km from railway station. A number of academicians and students visit it for short as well as long durations. If a Museum on Indian Knowledge and Traditions is set up at IIT Campus, it will encourage academic tourism. IIT Guwahati being a technical institute, in a position to apply scientific technology to museum.