IMPHAL, Feb 20: The 64th Zomi National Day (Zomi Nam Ni) was celebrated today under the theme “Cultural Conformity” with much cultural fanfare and musical extravaganza at Bheigyachandra Open Air Theatre (BOAT), Imphal.
Chief minster Okram Ibobi Singh, Manipur Pradesh Congress Committee president Gaikhangam, tribal minister, MLAs, ADC chairmen and members and power/ horticulture and science and technology minister, Phungzathang Tonsing attended the celebration as chief guest, function president, guests of honour and chief host respectively.
Addressing the gathering, Chief Minister Okram Ibobi appealed to all people to maintain peace and harmony amongst different communities and bring utmost development to the state.
Ibobi also lauded the Zomi people for being able to keep their culture and heritage intact for a long time and even during the British rule.
“The 2012 edition of the State level Zomi Nam Ni is also being celebrated in different towns and cities of the world like Singapore, Kualalumpur, Tokyo, Wangshiton DC, London, Vancouver (Canada), Chiangmai, Kalemyui, Mandalay, Tedim, Rangoon, Delhi, Shillong, Chennai, Bangolore, etc.,” L.B. Sona, chairman, Zomi Council said in his keynote address.
He said the Zomi, like many other communities want peace and development and added, “We aspire to develop according to our genius and the Zomi of this State dream of a “glowing Manipur” and that such dream can only be realized once the different communities of the 38 recognized tribes living in the State learn to understand and appreciate each other’s unique culture, custom, tradition, past history and aspiration.
The Zomi Youth Association submitted a memorandum to Chief Minister Okram Ibobi to impress upon the state government to February 20 as one of the state’s official holidays, Sona reminded the gathering.
Noted folk singer, Guru Rewben Mashangva, Zomi Artistes’ Association and many famous singers from Mizoram presented different melodious songs at the event as guest artistes and in the meantime Hmar cultural dance, Kabui cultural dance, Mizo cultural dance, Thadou cultural dance, Tangkhul cultural dance and other Zomi tribe’s cultural dance were also performed.
The Zomi National Day is to commemorate the day when Zomi tribe attained freedom from the colonial rule of the British in 1948 thereby ending the suffering of colonial injustice. Zomi is a nomenclature comprising of nine sub-tribes having rich culture, traditions, scattered in different parts of Manipur as well as Myanmar, Bangladesh. According to Zomi scholars, thousands of Zomis gathered for a historic convention at Falam, Myanmar on February 20, 1948 wherein the leaders unanimously resolved to reject autocratic rule and embraced a democratic system of governance. Since then, February 20 is celebrated as the National Day for the Zomis, a day of joy, cultural events and cheerful merry making.