IMPHAL, September 30: While the world over, people are focussing on development, here in Manipur, we are going backward by confining our vision on communal, clan, village and religious lines, observed Works minister Dr Kh Ratankumar today.
`We (Manipur) are going backward when the world over the trend is to move forward,` he said.
He was speaking as the chief guest of Lamyanba Hijam Irabot`™s 119th birth anniversary observation at the leader`™s birth place Pishumthong Oinam Leikai in Imphal West today.
The leader`™s birth anniversary was widely observed in the State and elsewhere.
The observation at Pishumthong was organised by the Lamyanba Hijam Irabot Birth Anniversary Celebration Committee.
Addressing the observation, the minister talked on development and said with the advancement in technology, the world is now considered a global village.
Geographically smaller nations in Europe like the UK, France, Germany, Portugal, Spain and others are now discussing ways to unite and introduce a single currency to strengthen their unity, he said.
At the same time in Asia, a highway originating from Turkey will cross several countries like Pakistan, India (passing through Manipur) and Bangladesh and culminate in Japan, he said.
He said when the world over, the people are trying to spread their wings we are trying to confine ourselves in narrower spaces.
With this kind of narrow political outlook, we can never move forward, he said.
He said there is a lot of trust deficit issue in our society.
The minister also responded positively to a call from the celebration committee to provide some government assistance to preserve the site where Irabot`™s statue stands, and said he will consult officials of the PWD in this regard.
At the same time, the Irabot Road popularly known as the Mayai Lambi has been upgraded to National Highway 137 (A), he said.
The highway starts from Waheng Leikai, he said. After passing through Sekmaijing, Wabagai Lamkhai, Hiyanglam Lamkhai, Kakching the road meets NH 39 or AH 1 at Kakching Lamkhai, he added.
This road will be an important route of the State and as such, for its upgradation the department has drafted a DPR of a total amount of Rs 340 crores approximately, the minister said.
We have also placed the amount before the concerned Central Ministry and we expect Central approval by December, he added.
Central ministry officials have already inspected the road along with State officials, he continued.
He continued that the expected width of the road is to be 100 feet.
`We will try to include the demands of the Celebration Committee in this said plan of PWD,` the minister assured.
The minister also lauded Lamyanba Irabot`™s role in the field of literature, sports, culture and journalism.
He said Irabot achieved so much in his short life time that talking about his contribution to the society would be a never ending exercise.
Lamyanba Irabot`™s vision to build a united and dynamic modern Manipur is very much reflected in his literature, poetries, songs and articles, he added.
Floral tributes were also offered to the statue of the leader.
The day was also attended by Celebration Committee chairman Dr M Nara, Keishamthong AC MLA L Ibomcha and IPAK chairman Sapamcha Jadumani, who is also the vice president of Celebration Committee.
On the other hand, the Irawat Celebration Committee, Manipur also observed the day at Iboyaima Shumang Leela Shanglen, Palace Compound.
Veteran CPI leader M Ibohal Singh, a close associate of Jana Neta Irawat, and other CPI leaders attended the function.
The function was also attended by former minster RV Mingthing, Kuki Women Union Manipur president Prof Rose Mangshi and All India Tanzeem-E-Insaf, Manipur vice president Md Idris Ali as special guests.
Floral tributes were also offered to a portrait of Jana Neta Irawat during the observation.
A march past competition was also held during the celebration.
The Hijam Irawat Award was presented to former Minister RU Mingthing, Unity Award instituted by ICC Manipur was presented to Prof Rose Mangshi Haokip, Thiyam Meghachandra Journalist Award was presented to Echel Express Editor Irengbam Arun, Hijam Achou Shinmee Award was presented to Chingtham Kulachandra, a construction worker, and Thokchom Achouba Award was presented to political and social activist Oinam Munal.
The Jananeta Hijam Irawat Birthday Celebration Committee also observed the day at Manipur Dramatic Union Hall, Yaiskul.
Deputy Chief Minister Gaikhangam and MLA Y Surchandra Singh attended the function as the chief guest and the guest of honour respectively.
Delivering the keynote address, JHIBCC convenor Kshetrimayum Santa detailed the contribution of the charismatic leader to the society.
Meitram Shamu, chairman JHIBCC presided the function along with several presidium members namely Manihar Goswami, working president, JD(S), Manipur; Kshetrimayum Ibohal Singh, president, Manipur Dramatic Union, Imphal; Khomdram gyaneswor, secretary AIFB, Manipur; Ningthoujam Ratan, secretary, RSP, Manipur; Sarat Salam, secretary, CPI(M), Manipur; Yumnam Ratan, All India Kissan Council Member, AIKS; Maibam Randhoni, president, All Manipur Democratic Women Association and Yumnam Ibopishak, president, I Foundation, Manipur.
Rich floral tribute was offered to the portrait of Jananeta Hijam Irawat.
Ema Thounaojam Malodi sang a beautiful old song as the opening song.
A book titled `Lamyanba Irawat`™ by Telen Upendra Singh was also released on the occasion.
The function was followed by a drama, Lamyanba Irawat which is a production of the Manipur Dramatic Union, Imphal.
Sarat Salam described the late reformer as a secular leader whose world view was above religion and political parties.
In his words, `Irabot was a secular person who did not confine his worldview to a single community identity or to a single party inclination`.
He also proposed to have the leader`™s statue at the vicinity of the new assembly.
The deputy Chief Minister also acknowledged his supreme sacrifice for the people of the State.
People all over the State fondly remembered the legend in various ways and respect and floral tributes were offered by several organisations.
In the evening candlelight offerings were seen in several places across the town.
Meanwhile, a statement of the North-East Forum for International Solidarity (NEFIS) said students and working people from the Northeastern States residing in Delhi today celebrated the 119th birth anniversary of great revolutionary leader Hijam Irabot in Aryabhatta College, South Campus, Delhi University.
It said the programme saw huge participation of students from various colleges of Delhi University.
The programme saw rendition of revolutionary songs remembering Hijam Irabot, poetry recitation, painting exhibition and other cultural activities, it said.
NEFIS also said that after the cultural programme a seminar was organized on the topic `Revolutionary legacy of Hijam Irabot and its relevance in our time`™ which saw active participation of students, activists and independent researchers.
Chinglen Khumukcham, Convenor, NEFIS said during the seminar ` It is essential to note the truth about Irabot`™s intensive work towards building a truly democratic, progressive people`™s movement in the region, and his revolutionary views on the question of creating a just society where different communities coexist with mutual respect for each other.`
The programme highlighted the necessity of Irabot`™s ideas amid the present state of discord between different communities, it said.
Irabot stood for unity among different oppressed communities as a necessary step for people to liberate themselves, it said.
The NEFIS also said that at this crucial juncture, NEFIS took it as a duty to highlight Irabot`™s vision to build democratic people`™s movements that goes beyond the faÃ§ade of representative democracy apparatus by exposing all forms of exploitation, oppression and subjugation faced by the toiling masses of the North-East.
Rice distributed at subsidised rate
Commemorating the 119th Birth Anniversary celebration of Lamyanba Hijam Irabot today, the Chaokhat Khongthang Lup, Chingamakha distributed rice to all households residing in and around Chingamakha at subsidised rate said a press release signed by its secretary Kh Suresh Singh.
It also said that the around 1000 families benefited from the programme.
Our Bishnupur correspondent adds: The day was also observed in several parts of the district. The Lamyanba Irawat Celebration Committee Irengbam observed the day at Irengbam by offering floral tributes to a statue of the leader.
A song, poetry recital and dance competition was also held during the observation.
The observation was attended by village elder Irengbam Babu as president, retd head mistress irengbam High School, Nganom Rashini, Irengbam Modhumati High School asst teacher Irengbam Tomba as guests of honour.
DESAM also organised a quiz competition as part of the day at the Bishnupur Higher Secondary School.
The inaugural function of the quiz was attended by Sadar patel School, Ningthoukhong O Nabakumar as chief guest and Ningthoukhong Municipal Council councillor M Rajen as guest of honour.
The Rural Development Association Ishok Maning Chingya also observed the day by conducting a two residential social service camp at its campus which concluded today.
The Progressive Youth Association Oinam also organised the 1st district level spot painting competition at the Oinam Keithel.
The United Library & Sports Organisation Ngaikhong Siphai also observed the day at Ngaikhong Siphai.