The annual social gathering of the European Manipuri Association (EMA) 2010 was held recently from 27th to 29th August 2010. The gathering took place at the famous Debden house camping site, on the edge of the Epping Forest, Essex, United Kingdom, A site renowned for its scenic open space, wildlife habitat and recreational opportunities.
The gathering commenced on the evening of 27th August with the arrival of EMA members and introduction of new members. As part of an effort of nurturing traditional values through entertainment activities , a documentary film on Thang- Ta , the Martial arts of Manipur was screened . It was then followed by a delicious authentic Manipuri dinner .
The General body meeting commenced on the 28th morning with floral tributes to the late noted author Saroj Nalini Arambam Parratt with poignant recollections of her contributions towards EMA and Manipur as a whole. Members observed a minute’s silence as a mark of respect to the departed leader… She will continue to act as beacon for all of us whenever we are in need of direction and Guidance. May her soul rest in peace.
Following the tribute, Dr Amor Sinha, founder Chairperson of EMA was felicitated as an appreciation for his enormous contributions to EMA. He was presented with one of the Rare original 1st edition copy of “the Meiteis” by T.C Hodson.
The meeting officially opened with the Chairperson welcoming everyone especially the new members .The General secretary then shared the activities of the previous years along with the planned upcoming programmes for the year ahead with additional inputs from the Information secretary.
The meeting progressed with discussions on various topics with enormous and constructive inputs from the members leading to productive outcomes.
A heart warming farewell was given to Yaiphabi Chanu Thoudam as the outgoing treasurer, which was followed by the unanimous nomination of Mayanglambam Guneshwar as the new Treasurer of EMA.
Following the tradition of previous EMA gatherings this year’s gathering too was a memorable one. Special emphasis was given on encouraging traditional values with nostalgic outdoor activities creating a camaraderie among the members.
After a sumptuous lunch consisting of authentic and mouth watering Manipuri dishes, members had a group photograph which was followed by the days main outdoor activities.
The members got invigorated by the beats and delights of Thabal Chongba , which was followed by nostalgic events of Chaphu thugaibi and Thouri Chingnabi .The football tournament added
the extra zing to the days events. The members were then treated with more delicacies of authentic cha and Kelichana .
As the day progressed, the place was filled with joy and laughter as everyone enjoyed the nostalgic game of ‘Housie’ till the early hours of the night.
In continuation of the concept of promoting “Be Manipuri Grow Manipuri” , EMA members shared rare indigenous herbs and plants (toningkhok, Umorok ,Maroi napakpi, and many other indigenous vegetables and herbs). Members had brought the authentic herbs and plants from their own gardens in Europe, keeping the spirit of creating “A Home away from Home”
Another motivating aspect of the gathering was an audio visual presentation on “the glimpses of 19th century Manipur through the eyes of the British” by Dr Bishwajeet Elangbam. The presentation of around 20 images from the original 1891 edition of Illustrated London News Daily gave the members an interesting historical aspects of life in Manipur in the 19th century hitherto unknown to many of the EMA members.
The amusement continued throughout the night as members reveled in the warmth of the bonfire complemented perfectly with hilarious and exquisite Fagi- Jogai from Bishwajit Okram, who enthralled the members present with his stand up comedy. The gathering culminated on the 29th morning with members bidding a warm farewell with promises for even bigger gatherings in the future.
EMA committee would like to thank everyone who attended and contributed to the memorable gathering. We also hope that the homely atmosphere being nurtured in EMA, would encourage more people from Manipur who are currently settled in Europe to come together and make the beautiful family of EMA even bigger.
European Manipuri Association