TODAY -

Sangai Festival: Some ideas for a change

Gurumayum Bidyasagar Sharma *

Day 10 : Closing Ceremony of annual Sangai Festival of Manipur at BOAT, Imphal :: November 30 2016
Closing Ceremony of annual Sangai Festival of Manipur at BOAT, Imphal on November 30 2016 :: Pix - Lamdamba Oinam



Manipur, a place we call Home, a place with very limited resource, marred by problems since a long time, surrounded by hills in all side, approach roads pathetic, security conditions a little okay (compared to the late 90s), has a long way to go in every direction.

But let's face it; we have very limited natural resources that can be very much helpful to the land, economically. However, one thing that Manipur has no shortage of is Natural Beauty, a rich Culture and a Beautiful Tradition and not to forget the varieties of Food and Cuisines of different communities. And that's an area where we can develop and explored more and more.

Perhaps some of our leaders had seen this potential back in the early parts of the last decade that led to the first edition of the earlier version of Sangai Festival which was called as Tourism Festival back then at Bir Tikendrajit Park. And it was later move out to the present location of Palace Compound/Hapta Kangjeibung because the park was too small to handle the mass of crowds in its peak time. And the traffic cops had a very hard time dealing with the heavy volume of traffic too.

Back then it was really excited to see the Thai Stall selling Jewellery items. It perhaps was the main attraction of the festival. But then with time the lay out of the festival changed, the main attraction changed, in fact everything changed. Now the festival is its purely new avatar.

However, the festival has become a little boring to be honest. Not that it lack any of the entertainment factor that it needs, but the real kick is not being push forward the way it should have been. We are fed what we had seen last year again and again and again, and yet again.

I would like to suggest some changes that can, in my humble opinion, make it all the more interesting, not just for the people of Manipur but from other states too (and of course from other nations).

o ADVENTURE CENTRIC PROGRAMS:

Not that there is no adventure programs in Sangai Festival, but it's very limited. MMTA offers some adventure package indeed. Manipur, a state that has no lack of natural beauty and we are stuck only with some of the programs?

Why don't we have more of Dzuko Valley expedition (from Manipur's sides), Siroy Hills, Camping and white water rafting in Barak river, adventure activities in Loktak lake, trekking to different places that are less explored? When people from other states think about North-East they see plenty of Adventure and Nature awaiting them. And we are not giving them it.

That's where we need to focus on to make it all the more interesting and attract more people to it.

o SHIFTING THE VENUE:

Some wise man had said that for tourism in Manipur to bloom, the Manipuris first need to tour Manipur itself. And I think he is absolutely right. How many percentages of Manipuri people have visited most of the districts? Doesn't take a genius to guess it would very pretty low.

Shifting the main venue of the Sangai Festival every year would increase interaction between people from different communities and clear the cloud of suspicion that exist between the communities.

And in the pretext of Sangai Festival we would also get the chance to explore a new place every year (How cool is that?)

o AGGRESSIVE ADVERTISEMENT:

We all agree we live in a very tech savvy and social media oriented society (or should I say world?)

The government need to focus on getting a footprint, a very firm one, in the trending social media like Facebook, twitter, Instagram, YouTube etc. they should have a very active and dedicated team working day and night on those platforms so that it reach out to the maximum viewer as possible.

Advertisement is not just about poster on metros and on billboards. Why don't I get to see Sangai Festival ads on YouTube or NDTV GoodTimes or say any other TV channels for instance? Advertisement on local channels is important no doubt, but that's not the most important thing to do when you want to draw tourist.

And we should also invite some of India's best reality travel show host, the like of Rocky & Mayur (I am great fan so that's a name I know of) and many others whose one word does make people want to visit places. Exposure of our culture and food to them will really be helpful.

And Manipur has lots of Photographer and Film Makers, very talented in their line of work. So I hope you will make some very good short videos (like 3-8mins) showing off the beauty of Manipur through your lens. I know you people are great and trust you will do some more good work.

I think that's it for now. Some small ideas and I know people out there have much more ideas than I can even imagine. I hope more and more changes to make Sangai Festival a better one will be made in times to come by.


* Gurumayum Bidyasagar Sharma wrote this article for e-pao.net
The writer can be contacted at gbidya(DOT)unipune(AT)gmail(DOT)com
This article was posted on November 14, 2017.


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