MANDALAY, May 30 (MIC): In a historic moment for the Manipuri communities settled in Myanmar, a meeting of the Manipur delegation led by the Manipur Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh with Manipuri communities settled in Mandalay was organised by the Embassy of India, Yangon and the Government of Manipur at Amrapura Ballroom, Hotel Sedona here today.
In his welcome address, U Htun Shwe alias Sunder Sharma on behalf of the Manipuri Community of Mandalay said , ” In my life time of 75 years, this is the first visit of a Manipur leader in Myanmar after 1938 visit of Manipur leader Hijam Irabot of Nikhil Maniipuri Mahasabha under the patronage of Manipur King Churachand.
He reported that there are about 20,000 Manipur Meitieis in Mandalay and its nearby areas.
They organize all Manipuri festivals like Cheiraoba, Kang, Jhulon, Krishnajanma, Radhastami, Deepavali, Maharas, Goverdhon Puja, Basanta Panchami, Durga Puja, Shiva Ratri and Holi along with Yaosang, he said.
Traditional and ritual ceremonies like Swasti Puja, Yum Shengba, Luhongba, Poiloiba, Phiroi, etc are also observed by the Manipuri communities in Myanmar.
In regard to occupation, he said, “Manipuris occupy from lower clerk level to Director level. Some are Doctors, Engineers, Army Captains and Majors. Some are employed in foreign countries like Singapore, Malaysia, England and USA”.
He further stated, “Although our community people are prospering, we are lacking in cultural activities like our language and literature. Most of the younger generation cannot read , write and speak Meitei language. Our identity is absorbed in that of other communities due to the policy of our country.”
He further said, “We are happy that a new change has happened in Myanmar and it is our faith that there will be more avenues for developing business and other interest in the new set up. It is heartening to note that the profile of the Consulate has changed in the last two years. With active support of the Mission, the Consulate has been able to do a lot of activities relating to education, health, commerce, social welfare and other sectors. We are also committed to help the Indian people to do their business in Myanmar”. He expressed his happiness to meet the Manipur Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh and his delegation.
Manipur Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh stated that he was very happy to meet Manipuri communities settled in Myanmar.
He appealed to them to preserve Manipuri culture, courage and rights so that they could live as Manipuris.
He said that Manipur Government with the approval from the Indian Government will send a Manipuri cultural troupe to Mandalay to promote Manipuri culture.
He said, that Manipur University is a Central University. It has a department called the Centre of Myanmar Studies, which would be the only centre in Indian Universities.
He invited the Manipuris in Myanmar to study in Manipur University and expressed his hope that the Mandalay- Imphal Bus service would materialise in 2016 and Visa on arrival facility at Moreh would be in operation in the near future.
In due course, there would be a close tie between Manipuris in Manipur and Manipuris in Myanmar, he said.
The function was followed by the screening of award winning Manipuri film- ISHANOU directed by Aribam Syam Sharma.