Imphal: If we don’t protect our land, preserve our own culture and traditions, no one will come to protect and preserve them, said Manipur chief minister N. Biren Singh, on the significance of observing cultural events like Mera Houchongba.
The present situation is very unfortunate. The government is obliged to protect and guard the indigenous communities residing together in the state, Biren said.
He was speaking at the state level Mera Houchongba 2023 observation at Kangla (Manipur cultural heritage site), here on Saturday.
Highlighting the uniqueness and importance of Mera Houchongba, Biren said recognising that there is no other event that celebrates the inextricable and strong bond between the people of the hills and the valley and that could unify the people more, the event was turned into a state-level celebration in 2017.
He stressed on the various steps taken up to bring unity in the state and the discussions with historians and cultural experts from different communities. He highlighted that the government, after proper consultation with cultural experts and elders, had removed the Kaabak from the Kangla Shas, closed the Western Gate and opened the Eastern Gate of Kangla.
He said, “People has largely realised that we cannot live separately.”
The chief minister also explained the ecological imbalance which is affecting the environment and stressed that the government wants to only preserve and protect the Reserved Forest areas. He said the government is not trying to evict the people from their villages.
Biren concluded with a prayer for the Mera Houchongba to bring peace in the state and for all communities to live together in peace.
The Mera Houchongba was attended by ministers Y. Khemchand, Konthoujam Govindas, Dr Sapam Ranjan Singh, H. Dingo Singh, Th. Basantakumar Singh, Khashim Vashum, Rajya Sabha MP Leishemba Sanajaoba, MLAs Irengbam Nalini Devi, Leishiyo Keishing, Sapam Kunjakeswor Singh, Lourembam Rameshwor Meetei, Th. Shanti, chief secretary Dr. Vineet Joshi, village chiefs, village authorities, cultural experts and others.
Biren released a souvenir. Performances by various cultural and traditional troupes from different communities were the highlights of the festival.
Gifts were also exchanged, signifying the bond of brotherhood between the different communities of the state.
Biren Singh exchanged gifts with K. Gongrisim, Ningthou Thangal Surung.
DK Mothilphun Maring, chief of Konaltong village, Tengnoupal district received the Khongleihanba AS Wungnaioyo Zimik Mera Houchongba Award, 2023.