Presenting Manipur to the world Ahead of Sangai Fest
How to present Manipur as a place worth visiting with family, friends and even alone. This should be the tagline of the Sangai Festival after all its earlier avatar was the Manipur Tourism Festival and the change in name should not dilute the core purpose of holding the festival every year. If the Hornbill Festival has gone some way in putting Nagaland on the page of the tourists itinerary or the Bihu Festival has highlighted Assam in some way, there is every reason to put in the best effort and make Manipur ride on the Sangai Festival to register in the minds of every traveller. Rock music may not exactly define the understanding of Manipur to the outside world, but why not give it some thought to attract the music lovers of not only the North East region but across the country too. Get some internationally well known band to come and display their skills and performance here and this could be one way of attracting more people to the Sangai Festival. There is a reason why Shirock has come to underline the Shirui Lily Festival, a festival which came at the State level much later than the Sangai Festival and this rock feature has gone a long way in adding that much more pull factor to the Shirui Lily Festival. An idea which the Government may sincerely study. Much talk has also been doing the round of packaging Manipur to the outside world, particularly South East Asia and while dignitaries from across the international border have come and attended the festival, it would help that much more if the festival is packaged in such a way that it attracts the regular tourists, the people who can go one up better than what the strictly officialdom can hope to achieve. It would be so much more nice if one can truly see a handsome leap in the number of tourists visiting the State for the Sangai Festival. This is where it would help for the organiser of the festival to spell out the number of footfalls of outstation visitors during the festival. This will certainly give a fair idea on how the festival has been received and is attracting visitors from beyond the boundary of Manipur. Wouldn’t make sense to keep on running into the same old faces at a festival which is primarily aimed at attracting tourists to visit Manipur. This is a point which has already been touched on earlier, but a point worth repeating.
Showcase Manipur in the best way possible and this is where the Government would need to go beyond the ‘window painting’ exercise and make Imphal as clean and neat as possible. Obviously this is where the role of the public becomes crucial. The Government can only do so much while the rest is up to the people to present Manipur dressed in all its finery and for this to happen, all would need to start from something as basic as not dirtying the roads and the public spaces. For starters the Government may seriously think of imposing heavy fines on those who litter public places without a thought. The roadside is certainly not a dumping place for anyone and the khongbans and nullahs are not sites to dump plastics and other waste materials. The motorists too need to come to their senses that the road is there for everyone to use and the roadsides are certainly not places for anyone to park their vehicles at their fancy and whims. Civic sense, this is a point which everyone need to develop, if Manipur is to be presented to the outside world. For over 10 long years, save for the last two years, Manipur has been hosting the Sangai Festival and it is only right that the Government spell out how many visitors Manipur has received in the festival since 2010 to the present. Spell this out, for this is one way for the Government to demonstrate that it means business. The festival should be about showcasing Manipur to the world and the country and it is according to this line that preparations for the festival should be taken up. Time to make the Sangai Festival an Ambassador of Manipur.