Manipur: Union Minister of Defence Nirmala Sitharaman inaugurated the much-hyped tourism festival of the State, Manipur Sangai Festival - 2018 at Hapta Kangjeibung, Imphal East district on Wednesday.
Speaking as Chief Guest of the inaugural function held at Bhagyachandra Open Air Theatre, Sitharaman said that Manipur is the 'gem' among the states of the country.
She further said that Manipur is such a beautifully endowed state where one can find the unique freshwater Loktak Lake, natural beauty and wildlife, age-old culture and traditions, varieties of exotic foods etc.
Appreciating the culture and tradition of Manipur, the Defence Minister stated that Manipuri people have not forgotten their age-old tradition and have kept it alive till now. "Manipuri dance and music is unbelievably soul comforting," she added.
She highlighted that Manipuri women have been taking a constructive role in building a better society. "The Manipuri Women's market is undoubtedly showcasing the Manipuri women's power to the world," she stated.
Recalling Nupilal (Women's War), Sitharaman mentioned that the war against the imperial British Rule has shown the power and fighting spirit of Manipuri women to the world. She also mentioned that Manipur has huge talents with regard to innovation by using sustainable methods.
Governor of Manipur Najma Heptulla, who was also present at the event, said that Manipur Sangai Festival is now recognised as a national event and has brought the cultural flavour of Manipur to center stage.
She added that the Sangai Festival provides an opportunity to showcase various aspects of India's rich traditions and culture, besides promoting the handloom and handicraft products which are of high utilitarian and artistic values.
Mentioning the uniqueness of Manipur, the Governor said that around 500 varieties of medicinal plants and around 600 varieties of orchids are available in the state. "Ima market is the world's only all-women run marketplace," she added.
Speaking on the occasion, Chief Minister N. Biren Singh said that Manipur Sangai Festival has evolved into people's festival.
Mentioning that Sangai Festival has become the biggest socio-cultural event for the State, the Chief Minister stated that Sumo Wrestling, Go-Karting, Muay Thai and indigenous games of Manipur will be the major attractions of this year edition. He also revealed that a 60-member team including media and cultural troupes from Myanmar has arrived here in Imphal to participate in the Sangai Festival.
Singh also mentioned that the present government has been at the forefront to promote tourism through festivals and fairs besides developing tourist infrastructures.
Prior to the inaugural function, the Defence Minister inspected various stalls being opened at Hapta Kangjeibung. A 60-minute choreography presentation "Eikhoi Amatani - Punna Chatminnasi Chaokhat Maikei Pangna" and a folk and tribal fusion song were also showcased before the distinguished dignitaries, foreign delegates and tourists.
Several dignitaries including Deputy Chief Minister Y. Joykumar Singh, Cabinet Ministers, Rajya Sabha MP, MLAs, Chief Secretary, DGP, top-ranking officers of Civil, Police, Paramilitary, Army and Assam Rifle were also among those attending the event.