Open letter to Kanngam Alfred, Hon’ble MLA, Ukhrul
I write this open letter to appeal to you to help change course of festivals and celebrations in our land to events that promotes and deepens our sensibility and greater responsibility; fosters solidarity and friendship; celebrates our stories and history and direct us towards projects that strengthens community relations and encourages every individual to be kind and hospitable.
I would like to place a concern regarding Miss Shirui Lily contest as a state level event which is widely circulating in the social media. Perhaps, it would have been an appropriate event had our economy and living standards achieved basic minimum level but, as a struggling people, our men and women continue to toil day in and out in many homes and villages. It will be more empowering, instead, to invest the resources and finances of the Miss Contest to events that will benefit more than a single winner and make winning shared and collective!
More importantly, the idea of beauty of a woman to be put up for spectators to see and judge in an indigenous society like ours is to move away from basic human values that beauty and dignity is inherent to every individual. It cannot be determined by a panel of judges who will decide on the basis of their personal taste and understanding. Beauty and dignity cannot be contested on stage and ramps. It is how we live everyday of our lives.
The advertisement in the social media on Miss beautiful legs and arms cannot be more hurtful and if at all this is what we aspire for, then miss beautiful legs should go to women who walk the paths of forests and fields everyday to feed and fend families. Miss beautiful arms should go to the mothers and sisters who never let their hands rests so that the hearth may keep burning and our stories will stay and sustain for generations to come.
Shirui Lily gives us pride and honour and we must reciprocate with the same honour and dignity by helping build lives and livelihood of women and families of Shirui and the villages at the foothills of the Kashong who not only depend on the forest but also protect and manages the same. That, they will help in the conservation of the kashong Lily and its wild in whose name we commemorate Shirui Lily Festival.
As the elected representative of Ukhrul who has helped change power and people relation, as someone whom elders seek and bless and as a youth icon, your right approach towards the festival will be decisive in making the festival meaningful and strengthening our imagination of beauty which is as large as the expanse of the sky and as deep as our thoughts.
Hope you will consider the unease of a mother.
Every good wishes
Ps: Thank you for Shirock-the much needed space and voice of our youth and talents. Please continue to help and support the local artists and crafts too!
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