Calls for unity reverberates `Zogal Day` observation

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LAMKA, March 17: The United Zou Organisation (UZO) today held its 94th Zogal Day cum Zouton 2013 at its headquarter at Zoveng, Zenhang in Lamka

The day was attended by a state ministerial team led by Deputy Chief Minister Gaikhangnam as the Chief guest with Ak Mirabai  Minister, Social Welfare and co-operative; Vungzagin Valte, Parliament Secy; Yamthong Haokip  MLA of 46 Saikul as Guests of honour.

GS Haopu, MLA Singhat was the functional president while John Manglianthang Zou, President of UZO  was the chief host.

Speaking on the occasion, the chief guest dwelt on the supreme importance of living in toleration and unison. Amidst much cheering from the crowd and the presentation of various memorandums, the Chief guest stressed on the importance of “one country, one people“ and said it need to be upheld and kept in high esteem.

He said, “We are all Manipuris and thus are inseparable and our number one priority should be to maintain peace and harmony as discontentment and violence have no meaning, nor are solution to any problems.” He continued that the people must work in such a way that they become instrumental in national integration. 

“We must have forgiveness of one another and this should not have a boundary”, he expressed and added expressed his hope and belief that the UZO program will be an agent in spreading communal harmony.

The state Dy CM further expressed the hope that the people will all take their fellow brethren on board in their endeavor for peace and peaceful co-existence.

The Dy CM said that he will minutely study the memorandums being submitted to him.

A K Mirabai speaking at the function echoed the same sentiment as the state Dy CM and said, “We all are born out of one mother and so are one”.

Vungzagin Valte  Parliament Secretary (HSC& CADA) while  admiring the multitude of individuals present in their traditional attires, said that the Zou, a constituent of the approx 37  ZO tribes truely value their culture and traditional dresses.

The functional president , also a former President of the UZO prior to becoming the Singhat MLA told the gathering  that the priorities of the UZO are many and one such  is the Zogal Memorial War Cemetry, in line with the existing war memorial cemetery in the State, to be constructed at  Behiang situated  near the border to Myanmar which  someday, he said, will be an important trade and cultural center of the state.

He continued that for the success of the project, all the Zou people should contribute their  good will  and added that it is really unfortunate that the celebration today fell on a Sunday which is the most important day for Christians but also added that it could not be helped.

The chief host  said that education is important but one must not neglect other aspects like sports that will take people places as it will bring  fame as well a high morale standard and physical fitness to the youth.

He added that studies and analysis of facts and documents show that the Zougal day was to be celebrated on April 23 instead of March 17 from the next calendar year.

Meanwhile, a two minute silence was observed to remember the departed soldiers of Zou who laid their life for the causes of the Zou tribe.

It may be mentioned that Zougal day is being celebrated and observed since 1996 every year.  It is observed  to remember the people who gave their lives for the cause of the Zou people who opposed the British who tried to recruit them for forced labour during the first World War.

The Zou tribe are indigenous population inhabiting the south of Manipur and part of Chandel district, Manipur.  They fought the British with all their might in the period between 1917  to 1919 which cost them the lives of many of their men and all the sacrifices are commemorated as Zougal day.

It is believed that as the 1st World War worsened, the British tried to forcefully recruit people from the Zou inhabited areas which led to the adoption of guerrilla warfare by the Zou community which led to the shedding of many blood. By the end of 1918, they realized that they were no match to the might of the British fire power and by 1919, the Zou resistance came to an end. 

The `Zougal` is also recorded as Kuki Rebellion in the British record as the Zou  records are wanting but they conceded that the event as an inseparable part of their history. 

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