Too many festivals in a year observationDefining character of a people
Food for thought-Too many festivals in a year. MLA of Keirao Assembly Constituency Lourembam Rameshwor has just touched on a topic which has hitherto been thought to be of no consequence, but still has a defining impact on the people as a whole. Land of festival, this sounds impressive and can be an effective slogan to sell Manipur to the outside world, but when this term literally becomes true, then it is time for some serious introspection. This is what the MLA sought to do when he remarked that the number of festivals in Manipur borders more on the absurd. Each month is more or less marked by a festival or two and in a month or two, Manipur will again see a five day festival in the form of Yaoshang or Holi. This is after the Christmas celebration followed by the New Year do. And in many villages in the hill districts, Christmas is not a one day festival and in many cases it stretches on till January 1 or the New Year. So literally many places in the hill districts remain in a festive mood from December 24 till January 1 and this happens every year. Nothing wrong in celebrating the birth of Lord Jesus Christ, but celebration should not necessarily mean taking a break from one’s work. On the other hand, the teachings of Lord Jesus Christ will be all that more meaningful if work becomes the mantra of everyone. So a break from say December 24 to January 1 and this happens every year, particularly in the hill districts where majority of the people are Christians. And if the Christmas season is all about celebration in the hill districts for days, then can the valley area be left behind, for come Yaoshang or Holi and Imphal and the valley districts will be practically paralysed for five full days.
Festivals and apart from the annual festival such as Yaoshang, Durga Puja, Christmas and New Year there are other festivals which have recently been coined by the enterprising people of the State. If there is a State level Sangai Festival every year, then now there are other festivals such as the Singju Festival, Bora Festival and so many other festivals. Nothing wrong with these festivals as such, but the point that there are just too many festivals in a year should not be forgotten. And do all the festivals ring out any message that could be socially beneficial to the people ? This is a question worth pondering. It also stands that in as much as the number of festivals showcase the vibrant culture of the land, it also demonstrates the love for festivities which may not exactly go well with the myriad of issues besieging the State. The uproar over the Citizenship Amendment Act is now quiet thanks to the extension of the Inner Line Permit System, which has ensured that Manipur is exempted from the purview of CAA, but a look at the number of visitors coming to Manipur, should open one’s eye to the grim reality. Not all the visitors are tourists and many of them must have come to search for greener pastures, meaning they have arrived here to fill up the vacuum created by a people who are not ready to work ! This is the grim reality and this is but just one issue which need to be addressed and not get lost under the avalanche of festivals seen throughout the year.