Barak (spring) Festival Function at Senapati district on 22 – 23 May, 2017 :: Pix – Lamdamba Oinam
As a way of Introduction: Our festivals are becoming very expensive with very less benefit. Time has come to learn to celebrate festivals with less expense and more benefit.
Festivals should not be confined to merry making and of eating and drinking alone, but of building relationship with fellow beings and with God and in harmony with nature. Festival should be a time to retrospect the past events and reconstruct for future event.
Hence, every festival must have a specific focus. It should be creative, innovative and eventful. I would like to suggest the followings main festivals of Manipur to be fully recognized, adopted, and sponsored by the State.
1. Sangai Festival of Imphal as Communal Harmony Festival: Manipur is blessed with different ethnic groups. It is a mini-India. We have Meiteis, Meiteis Pangan, tamils, Punjabis, marwaris, Nagas, Nepalese, Chin-Mizo-Kuki, and others. Sangai Festival will be a celebration of oneness in diversity.
This festival will give emphasis to the importance of communal harmony. Exchange of gifts among various ethnic groups and traditional techniques and methods of making friendship and peace can be part of the programme.
Various artist groups (singers, dancers, actors, etc) from the hill and valley can perform together dance or songs or dramas. Members of religious faiths and religious affiliations can exhibit their rich culture of peace, of love and communal harmony. The adverse effect of ethnic conflict can make known through speech, writings, dramas, or songs. The benefit of communal harmony should be the main emphasis of Sangai festival.
2. Orange Festival of Tamenglong as Agriculture Festival: This will be a festival of farmers of the state. Farmers are the backbone of our state’s economy. We need to recognise their contribution. This will be a yearly Agri Expo event showcasing the different produces of the farmers such as varieties of rice species, vegetables, fruits, tubers, etc.
As part of festivity, different food dishes can be prepared with local produce. This will be also a food festival where cooking competition with local produce can be part of it. Exchange of seeds among the farmers will be an interesting event. The state can encourage the farmers by giving prize to the best farmers.
Exhibition of handloom products and handicrafts should be part of this festival. Availability of loan and subsidy for the farmers can be properly made known to the farmers during this time. The importance of fishery, bee keeping, piggery and others such income generating activities that will enhance their income needs to be properly communicated. Creating awareness on the importance of food security and sustainable agriculture should be part of this festival.
3. Shirui Festival of Ukhrul as Youth Festival: Let this festival be a festival of youth of the state. We need vibrant youth to have vibrant state. During this festival, mountain trekking can be organised.
Other events such as youth talent contest, music concert and entertainment programs that are connected with youth’s life can be included. There can competition in Games and sports especially volley ball and football. Shirui Miss Contest and fashion show will be interesting events.
4. Kut Festival of Chin-Kuki as Cultural Festival: This festival will be a festival of culture displaying the varied and rich cultural heritages of the people of Manipur. It will be a very colourful festival with display of cultural attires, dance and songs.
All the ethnic groups and communities will come and participate in their traditional dress. It will be a festival of reviving cultures which is under the constant threat of globalization and modernization where homogenization is actively pursued. Exhibition program cum competition of various traditional games, dance and song will make the festival a memorable event.
5. Barak Festival of Senapati as Environment Festival: This festival will be a festival of remembrance of our oneness with nature. It will be a Thanksgiving Day to the Creator and a day of showing respect to the Mother Earth. Discourses on the importance of rivers, forests and land will be part of this celebration.
Creating awareness on the reckless activities of hunting of birds and animals, poisoning the long stretch of river for catching fish and destruction of forests should be part of the celebration. Documentary films on the extinction of birds and animals, destruction of nature by mega-developmental projects, the danger of deforestation and global warming can be screened.
Traditional knowledge and methods of preserving nature can be shared, revived and adopted to maintain nature’s health. We need to learn many things from each other. If we keep nature alive, nature will keep us alive. Without water, land and forest, life is not possible. The different eco-system of Manipur can be made known. Therefore, Barak Festival will be a very important festival of Manipur.
Conclusion: I have given the gist of how to celebrate each festival meaningfully. I hope the state government will give a serious thought on it and bring together the whole people of Manipur into one family through festivals. The duration of each festival should not exceed more than three days.
No minister should be allowed to attend any other festivals or any special programme of any ethnic group, tribe or village except the ones officially recognised by the State.
This will save huge amount of state’s coffer. However, ministers should be allowed to attend any new developmental project taken up. Let us make Manipur a unique, vibrant and developed state.
Credit: ZK Pahrii Pou The Sangai Express