IMPHAL, January 23: The 2nd State Level Tribal Cultural Festival was declared open with the beating of a gong by Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh. The festival will take place for three days from 23rd to 25th January 2013 and is organised by the Tribal Research Institute (TRI) , Manipur jointly with the Government of Manipur and Ministry of tribal Affairs, Government of India. The festival is to showcase the customs, tradition and culture melange co existing with one another under one roof. The festival is organised under the theme of “Our Culture, Our Identity” with aim to revive and to protect the rich culture of Manipur tribe.
Ngamthang Haokip, Minister IFCD, speaking at the event said that the culture, tradition shows the identity of a community. “Instead of killing each other, it is better to have such cultural platforms which include singing, dancing etc to share about one`s own culture and tradition to other communities,” he said.
Gaikhangam, Deputy Chief Minister delivering his speech said that the occasion was not only to showcase the beauty of traditional styles but that it will give a great impact to save the integrity in face of the present situation in the state.
“Earlier, there were 36 tribes but 2 more tribe were recognized and altogether there are 38 tribes in the state. The hill people should not forget their rich heritage which is a legacy for Manipur state, he said.
While comparing to the valley whose culture has transformed into a classical form but that of the hill are lagging behind.
Speaking at the function Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh said that all the people of the state, despite belonging to various communities eventually belong to Manipur. Lauding the steps taken up by TRI in the field of preserving artefacts and costumes of different tribes of Manipur of tradition in its museum, he said that the bigger community whether in the hill or valley should not disturb or force the minority communities to join in their communities.
Speaking to the media at the sideline of the function, the CM when asked about the issue of Kuki State Demanding Committee movement regarding its “Quit Kuki Land” 24th January onwards and their intention to burn the Indian flag on 26th Jan as a mark of severance of ties between the Kuki nation and the Indian state which had failed to recognize the Kuki political right even after 65 years of Indian Independent and 65 years of Kuki tolerance, Okram Ibobi said that bandhs and blockade are not good and it will be more effective to have talks with the Government and to take up alternative agitations.
Addressing the issue, Gaikhangam said that everything can be solved through talks. “Instead of demanding a separate homeland, it is better to have unity, peace and harmony. If the agitations continue then under the law, the Government will take up certain steps to control and handle the situation because they are under SoO and are still continuing its talks with the Government,” he said.