TODAY -

Manipuri Kokyet finds space in Indian Parliament
Source: Chronicle News Service / Waari Singbul Network

Imphal, September 14 2023: For a change, trouble-torn Manipur erupted in joy on Thursday as its 'Kokyet' or turban was chosen as part of the dress code for the Marshals of the Indian parliament.

The Indian government is introducing new uniform codes for both houses of the parliament - Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha for the upcoming 5-day special parliamentary session scheduled to begin on Monday.

Besides Kokyet, other new uniform items being introduced include Nehru jackets of magenta or deep pink shade for secretariat staff, camouflage for security officers, officials said.

Manipuri culture exponent and Art & Culture Department former director K Sobita Devi, while expressing happiness over the new development, said that the government has recognised the rich culture of the state.

"It is very interesting and hopeful that it will highlight the culture of Manipur to the rest of the world.

But the problem is that we just want to know what kind of turban has been chosen for the purpose," she said.

According to Sobita who has authored a book entitled, 'The Traditional Dress of the Meiteis', there are 12 different varieties of Meitei Kokyets and the same are used by different strata of the society from commoners to that of the royals on different occasions.

"Kokyet is the symbol of divine protective from time immemorial because it has been derived from the two horns of the Lord Pakhangba who has many facets from the Atiya Guru Sidaba.

So, these two horns symbolise the whole of Atiya Guru sidaba as the protective symbol of the Meitei culture," she said.

The history of Kokyet dates back to the reign of Meitei mythical God-king Nongda Lairen Pakhangba in 33 AD as he used Kokyet Pheiyet (one of the varieties) and in later times, princes used it occasionally.

In her book, Sobita said that "Kokyet" culture developed remarkably among the Meiteis.

The use of turbans differed significantly in style and according to the purpose of use and occasion.

Yumnam Bhubaneshor Singh, a Manipuri cultural artiste, has supervised the new design of the Kokyet to be sported by the marshals.

According to him, the new turban has brand new colour patterns and design inspired by the Salai Taret Kokyet with Lamthang Khuthak.

Sharing his joy, celebrated theatre director Kshetri Jugindro said it is a matter of pride and honour for the state.

Jugundro, who is also the former secretary of Manipur State Kala Akademi, admitted that there are certain varieties of Kokyets which are meant for specific occasions and echelons of the society.

He hoped that the ones which are to be donned by the Parliament marshals do not breach the cultural ethnos of the state.

Manipur state film development society (MSFDS) secretary Sunzu Bachaspatimaym has a different version, but hailed the government for the move.

"I must say I've mixed emotions at the news.

While I'm thrilled to know that our cultural heritage is being recognised and duly find a space in the Indian parliament, I'm also sceptical as Meitei fabric heritage is steeped in hierarchy and symbolism that must be observed" .


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