The museum closed for about 15 years after Rendikala’s demise, but it was revived again by her family members under the initiative of her daughter Atola Subong in order to continue the legacy Rendikala left behind.
By Imna Longchar, TFM Nagaland Correspondent
Mokokchung, one of the major districts of Nagaland, and also known as the “land of pioneers” and considered as the cultural and intellectual capital of Nagaland has witnessed another “revival” recently with the reopening of a more than four decades old mini-museum which gives a peek into some of the rare Naga artefacts.
Nestled at Old Town Hall Road, H No. 123 Dilong Ward, in the picturesque hills of Mokokchung district, the mini-museum was closed since the year 2006 after the demise of the very creative and innovative lady behind the mini-museum, Rendikala Supong, before her 81st birthday on October 2.
However, with a conscious the need to educate young generation and also to help them identify their roots and culture, the family of late Rendikala Supong felt the need to revive the museum for the public after giving a touch of renovation works and it was finally opened to public on February 17 after a gap of more than 15 years with a dedicatory prayer by Mokokchung Town Baptist Arogo (MTBA) women pastor, Shilula Imchen.
The museum is open two days a week, Wednesday and Saturdays, from 12 noon to 3pm and there is a small entrance fee.
Sharing her thought on reopening of the mini-museum, Atola Subong, daughter of late Rendikala Subong told this correspondent that the museum was first run by her mother where various traditional artefacts and collectibles of cultural value, which she collected since she got married at the age of 17, are showcased.
She said her mother began collecting Naga artefacts and started the mini-museum since the early 1970’s.
“My mother was a gifted lady, an innovative entrepreneur and many remarked that my mother was a woman born before her time,” Atola Subong said and added that the family is really proud of their mother for all that she has done and want her legacy to continue and keep its tradition alive.
Born on December 21, 1925, at Changtongya Yimsen village under Mokokchung district, late Rendikala Subong, studied in Impur Mission School, Mokokchung, upto class 6 and for high school moved to Mokokchung town.
While studying there, her father arranged for her to marry Subongnuklu Ao, of Mongsenyimti village, Mokokchung, a widower with four children, and was a civil servant in the PWD at an early age (17) and as a young wife she was suddenly entrusted with four children.
Her mom had passed away some years ago but her father also passed away leaving her to care for her younger siblings as well.
Late Rendikala was a creative and innovative person and took everything in her stride.
Besides taking care of the large extended family, suddenly entrusted to her, she was actively involved in many social and political groups including Baptist women’s department, several women’s societies some she helped to initiate.
She also began a weaving unit in her home helping many women to get employment.
She began to collect Naga artefacts and started a small museum around early 70’s which began to grow to bigger with collection of artefacts from other tribes as well.
The museum closed for about 15 years after Rendikala’s demise, but it was revived again by her family members under the initiative of her daughter Atola Subong in order to continue the legacy she left behind.
Her dream and vision was to preserve the artefacts so that the future generation would be able to understand their roots, especially the art, culture and tradition of their forefathers.
Even today not too far into the future many commented they saw the currency of our forefathers for the first time.
Late Rendikala Subong is remembered as a very creative and innovative women who was actively involved in many social and political organizations including the Watsü Mungdang, Women Department, Social Welfare and Congress Mahila to name a few.
She ran a small weaving unit at her home and she is known to have designed the uniform for Mayangnokcha Government Higher Secondary School and also for creating a uniform shawl for all Ao women.