Mera Houchongba celebrated
Source: The Sangai Express

Imphal, October 10: Mera Houchongba festival was celebrated today all over the State re-affirming the inalienable bond of kinship among the hill and valley people.

The main observance function of Mera Houchongba was held at Sanakonung (Royal Palace) here under the joint auspices of Mera Houchongba Celebration Committee, Sanakonung and Ethno Heritage Council (Hericoun).

A large number of people belonging to various communities gathered at the Royal Palace since early morning from where they took out a procession to the sacred Kangla where religious rituals like Mera Mentongba, Yenkhongtongba and Mingkheisonba were performed by Maibas and Maibis.

After the religious rituals, the people converged once more at the Royal Palace where many resource persons and invitees spoke on the importance of the festival before partaking in a common feasting.

Mera Houchongba at Hapta Kangjeibung on 10 October 2003The Royal Palace came alive to the sound and sight of scintillating cultural dances and music of various ethnic groups living in Manipur during the evening session of the celebration attended by Governor Arvind Dave and Manipur Maharaja Leishemba Sanajaoba as chief guest and president respectively.

Speaking on the occasion, Dave said that the concept of organizing Mera Houchongba with the aim of fostering friendship and brotherhood amongst various communities in Manipur is laudable and deserves all round support.

He observed that various communities have been living together peacefully since time immemorial and this peaceful co-existence has been an ideal tradition of the people of Manipur.

However, this tradition seems to have eroded during the past few years and the people should arrest this harmful trend.

Manipur is today passing through a very difficult phase and peace and harmony are what the society needs now, he said, exhorting the people not to allow themselves to be guided by narrow sense of communalism.

He also pointed out that Manipur is lagging behind other States of the country as far as development is concerned and the shortcomings of so many years have to be made up by ensuring peace in the society so that the wheels of development could move faster.

As done across the State, All Clubs, Organizations, Associations and Meirapaibi Lup (ACOAM-Lup) also observed the festival at Haipao Tingkao Ragwang Kalumlai, Chingmeirong.

Exchange of gifts in the form of traditional shawls between the hill and valley people and presentation of colorful dances marked the occasion.

Mera Houchongba at Hapta Kangjeibung on 10 October 2002Minister of Higher and Technical Education Dr T Meinya who attended the function as chief guest while expounding the significance of the festival said that nobody can deny the fact that the hill and valley people are brothers.

On the arrest and subsequent release of NSCN(I-M) leaders by the State Government, the Minister asserted that they were not release ´┐Żbut handed over to the authorities of the Cease-fire Monitoring Group for their illegal entry within the State's territory.

While admitting that public are suffering a lot of hardship during curfew, the Minister clarified that it had been clamped in order to pre-empt possible outbreak of unwanted incidents in the capital where different communities are staying peacefully.