Myanmar Meitei diaspora yearning for Manipuri cultural revival in adopted country

A Meitei girl from Myanmar recieving a gift during the reception programme. IFP Photo.
A Meitei girl from Myanmar recieving a gift during the reception programme. IFP Photo.

IMPHAL, December 4: Lack of proper facilities to learn the Manipuri language and Manipuri art forms are the most challenging factors of the Meiteis residing in Myanmar in their effort to promote and preserve their own culture in their adopted country, lamented the Myanmar Meitei Diaspora group.

The group shared this during an interaction with media persons at a reception ceremony held today for the Myanmar Meitei delegates of the recently concluded Manipur Sangai Festival 2015 at the Youth Hostel, Khuman Lampak.

The function was organised by the All Manipur United Clubs’ Organisation.

One of the delegates, Uthui Suiye whose Manipuri name is Sundergopal said such visit to Manipur is rare for a Myanmar Meitei.

He said that it is nearly impossible for them to come and visit Manipur very often by road.

The Manipur Sangai Festival has, however, opened a window of opportunities for them to visit their native land, although the due process to get the permission for the visit even during the festival was painstaking as the Sagaing Region government doesn’t give permissions easily, he observed.

It took a long process of changing documentations between the Indian Embassy and the Myanmar government before the permission for the by-road visit to Manipur was granted, he said.

“Now the festival is the ticket for us to see Manipur. The Myanmar High Command hardly grants permission on normal days,” he observed.

Elaborating on the grievances of the Meitei population in Myanmar, he said one of the most challenging issues before them is the lack of proper facilities to learn the Manipur language and Art forms so that they could preserve the Meitei culture and language.

The military junta administration of Myanmar had several restrictions on religious and cultural activities in the past, however, with the relationship between the two countries improving in recent times it has somewhat been relaxed, he added.

The visiting delegate also recalled that on the request of the Indian Embassy there, a cultural dance teacher from Assam was brought to Myanmar and assigned to teach Manipuri Cultural dance forms including Ras Lila for six months.

He observed that Manipuri dances are gaining popularity in Myanmar while calculating the potential to grow further more.

Lauding the lady dancer, he said she danced excellently as she had learnt the dance forms from a dance academy in Manipur in 2008.

Seeking help from the State government and all concerned, he drew the attention of the authorities concerned to make arrangement to provide with a Meitei cultural dance and language teacher to ensure that the Myanmar Meitei can preserve the Manipuri heritage in Myanmar.

During the reception ceremony representative of AMUCO also presented the delegates with Meitei traditional attires.

Dr Y Mani Khuman AMUCO’s president said that such event would mark the beginning of a process to bring closure the diaspora groups with the people here in Manipur.

The revelation of grievances being faced by the Myanmar Meitei is an eye opener that similar and frequent interaction in the future could help the people yield the solutions to their problem, he continued.

A reception ceremony for the Meitei Myanmar delegates was also conducted today at Panthou Esaikon, Wangkhei Hijam Leirak.


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