IMPHAL, Oct 23: Only some selfish people instigated by antisocial elements are trying to disintegrate the hill-valley unity of the state which has a long standing history of more than two thousand years of peaceful coexistence amongst fraternal communities, said works minister K Ranjit at the Mera Hou-Chongba festival organized by Youth Development Organization (YDO) today at Chingei Lampak, Moirang. This is the 13th straight year that the YDO has been celebrating the unique festival.
The works minister further stated that misunderstandings that often occur amongst different communities should be settled through mutual understanding and compromise rather than create communal tensions over minor issues.
Mera Houchongba symbolizes the unity and integrity of the hills and valley people and hence people should not forget the importance of such festivals of peace and harmony even if it is celebrated for only one day. The unity should be shown in work and not in words, Ranjit asserted.
He further stated that people should try to create a common platform of all communities where one can share happiness or sorrow with one another regardless of caste or community.
The hill and valley people have been safeguarding the territorial boundary of the state together with utmost dedication and sacrifice from both sides. The Congress Party in the state has been maintaining peace and harmony amongst different communities of the state, he noted.
Speaking at the function, TD minister DD Thaisii stated that those people who want to disintegrate the state are either dacoits or antisocial people. There has been unity between hill and valley people since time immemorial but certain misunderstandings often threaten the peaceful co-existence of the people, he said.
The function was also attended by MLAs Prithiviraj, T Mangibabu, Ningthou Konjeng Ibohal, Khadrakpa Moirangthem Iboton, community leaders and people from different communities of the state.
Various cultural items including Hiyang Taannaba (traditional boat race) were also held during the celebration of Mera
Peace and fraternity celebrated on Mera Houchongba day in the state since time immemorial to mark the peaceful co-existence of hill and valley people, was celebrated today in grand Manipuri tradition with huge participation of people belonging to different communities of the state.
The state level celebration organized by Mera Houchongba Thousil Lup comprising of Sana Konung, HERICOUN and UPF was held at Hapta Kangjeibung, Palace Compound, Imphal.
The festival began with a cultural procession led by titular King Leishemba Sanajaoba from his royal palace Sana Konung to the Kangla Fort. People then assembled at Hapta Kangjeibung after the procession where various traditional rituals were performed by the people belonging to different communities as prayers for maintaining peace and harmony in the state.
Addressing the gathering at the celebration, Leishemba Sanajaoba stated that Mera Houchongba is the festival that symbolizes the unity of hill and valley people who have been living together since time immemorial. The feelings of oneness and brotherhood are exhibited by Mera Houchongba festival, he said.
The enmity and misunderstandings amongst different communities of the state should be removed and people should be prepared to move forward for a progressive society based on peace and unity, the titular king asserted.
Sanajaoba also called for greater cooperation and unity amongst the people of the state and appealed to all to shed off communal feelings for promoting peace and harmony in the state.
The people belonging to different communities exchange gifts with one another. Another highlight of the festival was exhibition of cultural dances and music by different communities of the state.