22nd NAMA Convention Cincinnati, Ohio – A Detail Report:
4th July: Reception at Amom Ruhikant Meetei’s residence.
It was a rainy afternoon in the neighborhood of Symmes Township, Cincinnati. There were warnings of flash floods. But that didn’t deter NAMA members and families driving all the way from Virginia, New Jersey and North Carolina to reach Cincinnati on time for the evening get together. Amom family’s residence was jam-packed and was filled with the chatter and laughter of members and their children. The team in charge of grilled food went ahead on the wet patio, while another group was in the garage where an impromptu band was churning out an eclectic music mix. Though many were meeting one another for the first time, people got into the celebration mood and there was no stopping the merry making well into the wee hours of the morning. The sumptuous food of the evening cooked by many Ningols included – Chagem Pomba with fresh Hawaizar, fermented right here, Ooti with ushoi, Yen-Thongba, Shingju, Paknam, Channa Kanghou, King Pao, nga Thongba, Yongchak Iromba, Shoibhum Iromba, Cholay. Post dinner another impromptu music session kicked off in the basement and the gathering enjoyed a hearty game of Housie.
5th July: Main Event: Receptions, Loveland
Morning Session: The grand hall at Loveland was all set up for the Convention. Members started arriving at 9:30 AM EST. The reception at the entrance was busy with members registering for the event. The anchor of the day, Prativa Amom and Premjeet Sougrakpam opened the event by requesting the Founding Member, President, Chief Guest – Angom Ibocha Singh, General Secretary, and Executive Member to take their seats on the dais. To open the event of the day, a patriotic song ‘Ho Ima Poknapham Ima’ was presented by Amom Ruhikant accompanied by his two daughters. The series of speeches started with a welcome speech by NAMA President Rajeshwar Laishram mentioning how grateful he is for so many NAMA members to be present at the event. Sapam Shyamaanda, Gen Secy NAMA delivered his speech touching various projects completed during 2011-13 and highlighted the importance of engaging members across North America. Sonia Sarangthem delivered the NAMA Finance report for 2012-13 and proudly mentioned that NAMA funds have grown during the past two years. She thanked all members for their financial contribution in various fund raising campaigns. NAMA Founding Member Lalit Pukhrambam delivered a speech on ‘the History of Manipur and the origin of its people’. He ended his speech with a question mark if Khamba were a Khampa boy from Tibet Kham (a descendant). Sagar Sharma Asst Gen Secy gave a report on his experience of the two projects he executed during his trip to Imphal – Career Fair and the speech at the INSPIRE program. The Chief Guest of the event Angom Ibocha Singh delivered a profound speech touching several avenues including the prevailing socio-political-economic condition of Manipur. He questioned if we are into a ‘Waiting for Godot’ situation. He mentioned that he was excited to see the community getting together under NAMA staying so far away from our homeland. He urged NAMA to contribute to the betterment of the society most importantly in the field of education. As the event moved into the lunch break, messages from Bishwajit Okram, Chairperson, European Manipuri Association (EMA), Korean Manipuri Association and Ngangbam Shantikumar Meetei from Taiwan (while he was in Europe).
Afternoon Session: Right after lunch, a round of introduction of NAMA members and families was done so that members get to know one another. The session that followed was the most important of this year’s convention. NAMA Executive Election process was handled by the Advisory Committee – Lalit Pukhrambam, Lukhoi Sougaijam and Sushil Laishram. There have been several deliberations prior to the convention and the team unanimously decided on the new executive committee listed below.
President – Dr. Amom Ruhikant Meetei (Cincinnati)
Vice President – Sapam Shyamananda (Cincinnati)
General Secretary – Irombham Hori Singha (Chicago)
Asst General Secretary – Lamyanba Sapam (Nashville, Tenesse)
Treasurer – Lily Sharma (Rockville, Maryland)
IT Lead – Kunjakishor Maimom (Columbus, Ohio)
IT Support – Sagar Sharma (Springfield, Ohio)
IT Support – Omnath Khundongbam (Detroit, Michigan)
The Advisory Committee remains intact. It was also decided to fromulate Area Representatives in different zones across North America for better networking with the NAMA members.
The much awaited cultural program started right after the tea break. Ridhi Chingakham & Lilian Pukhrambam performed a brilliant individual flute and violin recital. It was immediately followed by a thrilling Sitar & Tabla recitals by Guru Naba Ghana and his students from his school of music and dance, Nritya Rangam, Maryland. Amy Sougaijam presented a song and Lavani Laishram presented a dance. Baby Langlen Heisnam presented three beautiful Manipuri songs. The most awaited Mou Jagoi was presented by fourteen beautiful ningols. The dance was quite enthralling to the crowd. Kiran Aheibam from Canada presented a thrilling Thang-Ta performance and demonstrations. After that Thabal Chongba kicked off and every NAMA member was seen enjoying the dance. Live music was presented by few members who knew how to beat the drums. The dance continued for so long that all members almost was exhausted at the end of it. Few more ‘Matamgi Ishei’ songs were presented by Ruhikant, Lukhoi, Kiran and Tiken. A short Ipom was presented by Shyamananda and Premjeet which brought a lot of laughter to the packed audience. The vote of thanks for the event was given by Lamyanba Sapam.
Families & Individuals Cities or States Members visited from: Raleigh (North Carolina), New Orleans (Louisiana), New York, New Jersey, Virginia, Baltimore, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Detroit, Sterling Heights (Michigan), Chicago (Illinois), Columbus, Springfield, (Ohio), Nashville (Tenesse), Houston (Texas).
Fliers Distributed/Displayed: Overseas Indian Felicitation Centre (OIFC); Knowledge Exchange Network (KEN); Moreh Township; Manipuri Sagol Kangjei (Polo stick) – two types; Arambai; An English translation – Crimson Rainclouds – Asangba Nongjabi by MK Binodini (courtesy Thema Books) was on sale.
This year’s convention was one of the largest gatherings with more than 28 families attending the event. The live streaming of the event had nearly 200 hits. The efforts of the host and families in Ohio made the event flawless. Once again, we would like to thank all the NAMA members who attended the event this year to make it a grand success.
NAMA Executive Team