Manipur Chief Minister Nongthombam Biren Singh on Saturday stated that it is the responsibility of all the indigenous community living in Manipur to safeguard and preserve the diverse traditions and cultures of the land.
He was speaking at the state level Mera Hou Chongba celebration at Kangla Uttra Shanglen, Imphal
“No one will protect our identity for us. We are responsible for its safekeeping and ensuring that it is passed down to the coming generations,” he said.
He continued that it was time for people to claim this responsibility and strive collectively to put an end to events taking place in the state.
It is important to strengthen the cordial ties among different communities. If people do not cooperate for betterment and development, then the future for Manipur will be treacherous and difficult, he said.
He stated that Manipur was brimming with numerous issues which had created rifts between different communities.
“There have been chapters in our state's history which no one is proud of but we must put the past behind us and move forward. That is what the BJP-led state government has been striving for,” he added.
He maintained that as part of its measures to cleanse and rectify the history and culture of Manipur, the state government initiated various projects starting with the holy site of Kangla.
“The state government removed the rods from the gaping mouth of the Kanglasha statues after consulting with experts and also built the eastern gate of Kangla which had been destroyed long back. The government will continue to do the same in other parts of the state,” he said.
He mentioned that Go to Hills and Go to Village were all part of the state government's policies to strengthen the brotherly blood bond between the hills and the valley.
“To rectify the stereotypical notion of the state government not sanctioning funds for development in the hills, the BJP government had also produced a white paper which outlined the amount of funds sanctioned,” he said.
He mentioned that nearly 45 per cent of the state's total budget was sanctioned in the hills.
On the occasion, the chief minister pointed out that Mera Hou Chongba was celebrated dispersedly in isolated pockets of the state.
Recognising the importance of such an event, the BJP state government upgraded it into a state level festival, he added.
He further extended gratitude to the organising committee and all people involved in making the celebration a grand success.
Cultural dances and songs from troops of various communities were also performed during the state level celebration.
Before the state level celebration, Mera Hou Chongba celebration kicked off with primary rituals and processions which began from early hours on Saturday.
The procession started from Sana Konung and continued til Kangla Uttra Shanglen where rituals including Men Tongba and YenkhongbTamba among others were performed.
Speaking to media on the sidelines of the programme, Eningthou Sanajaoba Leishemba stated that it was the utmost priority of the Meitei community to strengthen cordial bonds with the hilly brethren.
“Our relationship is marked by blood since time immemorial and cannot be changed overnight,” he said.
He maintained that the history of Manipur is entwined among all indigenous communities.
There is no isolated history in Manipur. All communities share a common origin and link, he added.
He exhorted all the communities to strive collectively in preserving the state's unique tradition and cultures and ward off outsiders from distorting its history.
Several cabinet ministers, village chief and people from various institutions were present at the state level celebration.