The opening ceremony marked the appearance of renowned fold singer Mangka mesmerising the gathering with her popular numbers. The chief or khullakpa of Andro village, Chingakham Gandhar Meetei reiterated that the Andro community has been preserving the ancient traditions of the Meetei society till date and, in no circumstances, should it be compromised. The tradition of maintaining ‘Mei Houba’ (Fire Making), and Pana Loishang with its two main branches namely, Ahallup Pana and Naharup Panna have been maintained till date.
The selection of Purel and Ningollakpa every three years along with their subsidiary sections of Pujaris and Arangphams has been handed-down from generation to generation. Such occasions are marked with reception ceremonies like ‘Pujari Chaanaba’ and ‘Arangpham Chaanaba’, where the villagers eat and drink together, old and young alike.
The khullakpa also took the opportunity to appeal to the Arangphams and Pujaris to replace words such as ‘Ashan’, ‘Mandap’, ‘Shattra’ and ‘Shradha’ with ‘Phambal’, ‘Sonnabung’ ‘Sekpil’ and ‘Laanna Thouram’ so as to preserve the indigenous identity and protect it from outside influence. The ‘Arangpham Chaanaba’ was marked by entertainment programmes of presenting a song were the singer should begin a song with the word ‘Ha’ and conclude with the word ‘Te’.
All singers should adhere to this prescribed rule lest he be traditionally punished in a befitting manner by the organisers. Later the people enjoy ‘Wai-Yu’ (local brewed wine) and ‘Singju’ (locally made salad) together with the newly appointed ‘Arangphams’ and wished them the best for the years to come.
Source: Imphal Free Press