Aesthetic value and significance of Lai Haraoba observance underlined

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IMPHAL June 11: Lai Haraoba committees should be mindful of deviating trends and missing the core intent and aesthetics, said Dr Kh Ratankumar, Works & Transport Minister during the inauguration of the 4th Festival of Lai Haraoba of Manipur at Ibudhou Marongkhong Chingdrensana Pakhangba, Laibung inside the college campus at Palace Gate today.

The festival is held as part of the Diamond Jubilee Celebration of the Shree Shree Govindaji Nartanalaya Government Dance College Department of Art & Culture, Manipur today.

Speaking as chief guest, Minister Ratankumar observed that the uniqueness and the significance of Lai Haraoba of Manipur have able to awe outsiders.

“Though my research was tracing the historical perspective through the narratives of this festival, there is huge academic potential for further research on this unique living tradition of Lai Haraoba, which is the epitome of Meitei culture`™`™, he said.

`The traditional wrestling Mukna has resurfaced in the Lai Haraoba celebrations, however this institute should continue to disseminate the awareness towards preserving and promoting our authentic heritage` he asserted, adding that new trend of disassociating the aesthetic values and core framework in the celebrations is a matter of concern.

The college principal in his welcome speech explained that the Laiharaoba is the origin of the other arts and the main intent of such a festival is to educate the younger generation about the rich art, culture and religious resources.

For instance Lai Laoukhatpa ritual is done differently in Andro and Kakching showcasing an intrinsic part of this festival. Such visual performances will help in transferring knowledge and the unique identity of the festival to the young people, he noted.

He also said that the Maibi dance should be performed in sync with the aesthetic values of the festival else it will be reduced as a mere moves/dance.

Radhakumar Singh, IAS, Secretary, Arts & Culture, who was the president of the function emphasized that Laiharaoba observance is a rich narrative of the eternal value of the Meitei philosophy but it needs to be retained in documentation beyond Manipuri language.

`The basic essence and philosophy of creation narratives through songs and dance of Lai Haraoba remains similar except the manifestations and attires`™ he observed.

Manipur is indeed a land of Gods and Goddesses with as much as 364 deities from this state, he maintained.

Attending as guest of honour, Dr R K Nimai Singh, retired IAS, Consultant to Government of India expressed his appreciation over the initiatives of the college towards preserving the Lai haraoba festival.

`Varieties and differences of our heritage are displayed through the present dance moves which have evolved over the ages. It is amazing that such value addition of innovative creative fusions has not distorted the basic framework of our dances`, he said.

Performance of Maibi Jagoi Khuthek Katpa, Thang Leiteng Thougal, Ta Khoushaba Thougal, Lai Haraoba Thougal Jagoi and Kanglei Haraoba Naoshum Eshei were showcased during the function.

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