IMPHAL, January 3: Gaan-Ngai is a part of the State`™s cultural heritage though it is small in size and our richness in culture is like a modern day version of the ancient Greek State, stated Deputy Chief minister Gaikhangam while speaking at the inaugural function of the State level Gaan-Ngai festival at the Mahakabui Namching village under Senapati district today.
He further stated that Manipur has a unique identity and is rich in art and culture. Manipur has represented India in the field of games and culture all across the globe, he added.
`Ancient Greece was well known for its rich culture and civilization in the past. Likewise, Manipur also has a unique identity in arts and culture like a modern day version of the ancient Greek civilization today. From the beginning, Manipur has so many festivals in a year which shows that its people are hard-working. Due to the hard-work of its people, Manipur is prosperous and has become a festive state`, the Deputy CM said.
There are 40 tribes in the hills and valley of Manipur among which 35 tribes are now recognised by the State government. Their culture activities and identity is included in the rich cultural heritage of Manipur, he informed.
Stressing that Manipur is incomplete without Kukis, Meiteis, Nagas or Muslims, he stated that people should not forget their motherland `Manipur` while adding that the sense of unity among the people of Manipur can`t be undermined by external forces.
Till today, external forces have always suffered defeat while attempting to break our cultural integrity and unity. Kuki, Naga, Meitei, Muslim etc are inter-dependent on one another and have co-existed since time immemorial in our state, he said.
This is the right time to show the maturity of Manipuri people and their unity and strength to outside states or country, the Deputy CM said, instructing people to learn from the past, feel and do today and hope for the future.
Speaking on the occasion, Commerce and Industry minister Govindas Konthoujam said Gaan-Ngai is a festival of unity among the various communities of Manipur.
`The festival is promoting the rich culture of the ancestors of the Zeliangrong tribes in Manipur and is a gift of cultural wealth from our forefathers which need to preserve and maintain for the next generations. The Gaan-Ngai festival shows that our rich culture is still alive`, the Commerce and Industry minister said.
He further stated that the unique nature of the festival was that leaders of all communities in the state participate and enjoy the cultural festival by exchanging the traditional culture of unity.
In his key note address, President of the Zeliangrong Union (Assam, Manipur, and Nagaland), Amu Kamei said that the government after India become independent has given importance to the traditional customs and culture of the various communities including the tribes of India. The protection and preservation of the customs and culture of tribals have been guaranteed under Article 371 of Indian Constitution, he added.
He further stated that the Zeliangrong Union appreciated the State government of Manipur for giving attention to the traditions, culture and customs of the tribals. The Gaan-Ngai festival is the only tribal festival which is still celebrated in its original and traditional form after thousands of years. Manipur can take pride for its richness in culture and dance, he added.
Today`™s festival began with the lighting-up of holy fire after which various rites were performed and also feature colourful Kabui traditional dances meant to give farewells to departed souls.