Making Sense with Yaoshang

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The festival of colour, Yaoshang will arrive in two days.  Markets in Imphal have witness more shoppers during the last few days. It is one among the many that the Meitei community has in their yearly calendar of festivals. The festival has drawn flaks from critical observers that five days are too long a time to be celebrated. This is indeed true keeping in view of the frequent disturbance that the state witness on account of general strikes, boycotts and other forms of agitations. The argument is that valuable working days are wasted due to these disturbances. Five day long festival would add to the loss. The argument seems to hold ground if one looks it at the superficial level. But there are rough edges if one scratch below the surface. The value of time is like a ghost story. Nobody has perhaps seen a ghost yet everybody talks about it. How many government employees reach their offices in time? Has any public function or ceremony ever started on time? These questions are not to belittle the issue that has been raised as far as time management is concern. It is a genuine anxiety demanding serious introspection from everyone. As of now, the Yaoshang sports have given a different look to the festival. The entire valley in unison carries out sports competitions during the five days. Romantic claims are made that Yaoshang sports could be the bedrock to Olympics, which is nonsensicality at its best. One cannot feed oneself with optimism alone. The road to Olympics is not that short. A five day event might help in spotting some hidden talents among the children. The remaining days of the year are spent in schools without playgrounds thereby bludgeoning the talents, regimenting them into textual gratification of marks in examinations. We do not deny that some schools make it a point to organise annual sports competitions. That is no doubt an encouraging practice. Two decades back the then Sagolband Apunba Naharol (SAN), a conglomerate of all the clubs of Sagolband, that is from Wahengbam Leikai to Konthoujam, that stretches along the New Cachar road had the biggest sports competitions during Yaoshang. It was known as SAN Sports. Stiff competitions used to take place in different fields. To be the overall champion of the event was a prestigious achievement. We are little aware of how a sporting event of that scale could die a sudden death. Had SAN Sports carried on till today, we believe, the event could become a state level sports festival. Let us admit it. Yaoshang Sports today is a once in a year gathering of the leikai, filled with fun and frolic. The fast change in the growing urban life style has curtailed socialisation among the leikai. For elders they have an avenue for gathering during the Yaoshang at Holi Pala, singing – praising the romance of Radha and Krishna. Let Yaoshang sports be the ground where community children get intermingled, take out time to make friends with each other – away from the daily grind of classwork and homework. Let it also be the time to welcome new brides who have arrived in the leikai. Let them share a moment of laughter with the rest of the women who have toiled to run homes. We wish everyone a safe and a happy Yaoshang.

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