Speak Your Roots, is a keen effort to reignite the interest in and the learning of indigenous heritage and knowledge systems, through the revival of our love and reverence for indigenous languages. Based in Shillong, the emphasis of the work lies in the effort to revive the Khasi and Jaintia languages, and their numerous dialects. Language is an intrinsic and most crucial aspect of culture and identity, and the reinstatement of the same fosters the development, practice, and even the preservation of the culture that it is a part of, and in turn elevates its unique epistemology which has numerous benefits to offer to the world.
The creator of the initiative, Dr Daiarisa Rumnong says that Speak Your Roots was conceived as an idea to promote more meaningful content on social media. Little did she know then, when she started a page for her idea on Instagram in August 2020, that her idea would take this fortunate turn. Her page gradually turned into a quick and friendly reference for scholars, educators and students to look up less known Khasi and Jaintia phrases and terminologies, to employ in their writings, research or teaching materials.
The social media venture finally crystallised into a full-fledged website, which was launched on 12th August, 2023, and inaugurated by the chief guest of the occasion, Dr Esther Syiem. Other personalities present include the Principal, the staff and members of the Department of Mass Media, St Anthony’s College Shillong, and family and well wishers. The students of the Department of Mass Media, St Anthony’s College presented a number of Khasi songs, and the renowned singer from the state, Lamphang Syiemlieh performed one of his songs on the occasion.
Today, the Speak Your Roots website is a storehouse of poetry, unique phrases and folktales in the Khasi and Jaintia languages. The poems are original contributions by aspiring poets in the state. The website also houses information on culture, architecture, food, festivals, games, et cetera practised across the Khasi and Jaintia Hills. The Speak Your Roots website is a profound initiative in the wider effort to revive the Khasi and Jaintia languages, their orature and rich knowledge systems. The website was created and is being maintained by The Northeast India AV Archive.
The website url is www.speakyourroots.com