TODAY -

Manipur Sangai Festival, 2014

Kh Shamungou *

A 'Dancing' Sangai at the opening of Manipur Sangai Tourism Festival 2013
A 'Dancing' Sangai at the opening of Manipur Sangai Tourism Festival 2013 :: Pix - Deepak Oinam



The Manipur Sangai Festival, 2014 at the palace compound popularly called Hapta Kangjeibung! Yes, it's knocking on the door. Hope, it would be a grand weeklong (November 21-30) colourful event. Under overall supervisions of chief minister, preparations have begun long days ago.

People would like to ask, why is such type of grand festival organized by a poor state with a huge expense? What are the main aims and objectives of the festival? Why is the festival listed in the calendar of the state's annual functions? Two important probable answers are, firstly, it is a platform to popularize the world classed vanishing Manipur Sangai and to raise the needs of its conservation as global issues.

Secondly, it paves a way to convert the tourism potentials in Manipur into an industry. But confusions arose as to whether these objectives were achieved equally. To me a big 'No' is the only answer. There were no specific arrangements/items/programmes that will provide benefits to the first. There were no provisions that people would feel sympathy and think seriously about the Sangai's destiny and its habitat, the Keibul Lamjao National Park (KLNP).

The 40 sq km KLNP is also famous as the only floating national park in the world. It is the sea of grass and Sangai is the pride of this unique habitat. It is situated near Moirang (a cultural capital of Manipur) in Bishnupur district, 45 km south of the Imphal, Manipur.

Sangai story : The Sangai (a deer awaiting and looking at you) is popularly known as Manipur Brow-antlered Deer or Dancing Deer of Manipur. Scientifically it is Rucervus eldii eldii. Sangai and its allies is also commonly named Eld's Deer in memory of a British officer, Percy Eld. He saw Manipur Sangai during 1836-38 for the first time at the fringe of Loktak Lake (now, a Ramsar Site, 1990). He was amazed to have a glimpse of this spectacular deer with impressive pair of 'arc' shaped crown of antlers.

According to a legend, prince of Luwang clan of Manipur had transformed himself into a majestic deer to be known as Sangai. The ancient royal boat (Hiyang Hirel) had the decoration of Sangai antlers on its head part. Again, according to Moirang Kangleirol (Folklore of Moirang), a legendary hero called Kadeng Thanjahanba, once brought a gravid female as a loving gift for his beloved Tonu Laijingrembi and with a pang of frustration he released the deer free in the wild of Keibul Lamjao, thence-forth the place became the only abode of the Sangai.

The Eld's group of deer was once distributed throughout much of the Asia but of late due to continued hunting and poaching, habited destruction and fragmentation, they have been extirpated from much of their historical range and now persist only as small and fragmented population in Manipur (India), Myanmar, Thailand and Hainan Island. The sister subspecies in Myanmar is called Thamin (Rucervus eldii thamin) and those in Thailand and Hainan is called Lamang (Rucervus eldii siamensis/ Rucervus eldii hainanus). Today, all Eld's Deer are threatened for survival.

Current Sangai Population : Today, Manipur Sangai is looking for its last refuge in KLNP. The deer has so far thrown into a gloomy population of around 200 heads in the wild (similar examples in the 15 Indian zoos). Their existence is vulnerable ecologically, and in the event of a political expediency or a natural calamity their last abode along with the remnant and isolated population could be destroyed or reduced it to such a miserable size beyond revival.

During 1951, Sangai was considered extinct from Manipur, means from earth. However, under IUCN's supervision E.P.Gee (1993) conducted a survey and found certain heads in the thickets of Keibul Lamjao area. Thus began Sangai conservation actions. Certain memorable conservation actions so far taken in and outside Manipur are :

1836-38 : Percy Eld found Sangai near Loktak Lake
1842 : McClelland described the species
1916/1931 : Manipur State Game Rules protected the species
1950 : Sangai considered extinct.
1953 : About 100 survivors discovered by E.P.Gee in Keibul Lamjao area.
1954 : Keibul Lamjao Wildlife Sanctuary born.
1977 : Keibul Lamjao National Park gazetted.
1989 : Declared as 'Manipur State Animal'.
1989 : Recognized as 'Species of the Year' by Nandankanan Zoo, Orissa.
1990 : Honoured as 'Our Sangai', by Mysore Zoo.
1992 : Launched a year long programme 'Conservation of Your Sangai is Now Our Business Also' by British Airways.
1999 : Named, 'Ningthem' (Mascot), by 5th National Game, Manipur.

The people of Manipur have also shown love and regards towards Sangai in several ways. Several establishments-like Sangai Tours and Travels, Sangai Industry, Sangai Restaurants, Sangai Artists Association, Sangai Express (local daily), Sangai Channel of All India Radio and amongst them Sangai Festival have named after Sangai deer. Besides, many places in Manipur were named after Sangai. Sangaithel, Sangaitabi, Sangaiprou, Sangailou, Sangaikot, etc are certain examples.

Today, Sangai is listed as critically endangered deer by the International Union for Conservation of Nature or World Conservation Union (IUCN), recorded it as highly endangered species in Appendix I of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) and a Schedule I species of the Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 (IWPA). However, it is unfortunate that the authority of 'Sangai Festival' fails to realize these importances in the country and abroad.

The 'Sangai Festival' would be the pride of the nation because the deer is found only in Manipur, India. During the festival peoples from the Eld's Deer range e.g from Myanmar and Thailand, are coming and they will be happy in seeing our dancing deer on the floating phumdi. When returned, they will convey the messages of our Sangai to their sisters Thamin or Lamang.

But what kind of message they will carry? They do not have any chance seeing the deer. Being a lover of Sangai, our pride species, I sincerely place this appeal to the authority of the Manipur 'Sangai Festival' to include certain arousing programmnes/activities that may attract the attentions of the people towards the deer so that they can extend their helping hands to the conservation of this vanishing species, which is, I feel very much need of this grand festival.

Certain Sangai popularizing items/episodes like lively diorama of Sangai and Keibul Lamjao; entertainment films, videos, dances, drama, ballets; paintings, quiz, slogans; popular talks, face to face interactions, etc are suggested.

It would be a terrible mistake for the generation to make the species extinct. Let's save Sangai for our future. Let our generations to come be happy to see this dancing deer on the floating habitat in Manipur.


* Kh Shamungou wrote this article for The Sangai Express
The writer can be reached at drshamungou@gmail.com
This article was posted on November 19, 2014.


* Comments posted by users in this discussion thread and other parts of this site are opinions of the individuals posting them (whose user ID is displayed alongside) and not the views of e-pao.net. We strongly recommend that users exercise responsibility, sensitivity and caution over language while writing your opinions which will be seen and read by other users. Please read a complete Guideline on using comments on this website.


LATEST IN E-PAO.NET
  • Great June Uprising @Kekrupat #2 : Gallery
  • Yoga Day: Celebrating Your Health
  • Chak-hao - black gold of Manipur
  • In response to the culture of shaming
  • 3rd Documentor Imphal
  • 4th International Day of Yoga by AR
  • Appeals for Resolution of MU Crisis
  • Recommendation to control Flood damages
  • International Yoga Day at Loktak PS
  • After Flood : Introspection about the future
  • MUSU & JAC : Hot issues before the Govt
  • Zeliangrong orphaned by Nationalism #2
  • General Thangal Eco Park : Gallery
  • Letter to President on Crisis at MU
  • Precision medicine & life sciences
  • Black topping-can ground leveling be behind
  • Condemns security force intrusion in MU
  • Developer wanted at LMP, Konjeng Leikai
  • AR gears up for International Yoga Day
  • NPF rejoinder to NDPP : 20 June
  • Rejoinder by Dr. Shurhozelie : 20 June
  • For a little bit more
  • Deadline of 5 days time set : MU crisis
  • Garlic Festival @Ukhrul #4 :: Gallery
  • Flood in Imphal [14 June] #3 : Gallery
  • Inungshi, Gaichanglungliu :: eMing
  • Taking 'Hau' Music to Rest of World
  • Kakching bags cleanest city in NE Award
  • JRF (Junior Research Fellow) at IBSD
  • Oxfam India launches emergency response
  • VC, MU - Resign immediately :: MUTA
  • Inner Line Permit (ILP) Demand :: Timeline
  • Translation of ancient Manipur texts begin
  • Pre Yoga Capsule organized
  • NDPP Rejoinder on 19 June
  • NPF Youth Wing Rejoinder on 19 June
  • Favouring digital govt : still a Virtual dream
  • June 18 Anniv : Consult all stakeholders
  • Great June Uprising @Kekrupat #1 : Gallery
  • Binota Thokchom at BRICS Young Scientist
  • The Merger of Manipur
  • Improving school management in Manipur
  • Pros & cons of screening tests
  • NPF Rejoinder on 18th June
  • Nagaland CM statement on Aboi ambush
  • June 18 significance: Still living on prayer
  • Need to identify one's strength
  • 18 Immortal Souls Remembered : Flash
  • The Great June Uprising : Read all about it
  • The Pitfalls of Identity Politics
  • Naga Peace Process :: News Timeline
  • All his sons :: Poem
  • Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016
  • Eid bring cheer in flood hit areas
  • Willong Khullen, Maram #1 : Gallery
  • Eyek Tamba :: Learn Manipuri script
  • Defending the environmental defenders
  • Delusion in self - cause of worry
  • Road to Russia: FIFA World Cup
  • It must be love :: Poem
  • 'Future of Naga people is bleak'
  • Give a miss call to Amnesty
  • 'Naga area' bandh on June 18
  • Dzuko valley #4 :: 360 Panorama View
  • Flood in Imphal [14 June] #2 : Gallery
  • Id-Ul-Fitr Festival
  • Letter to PM Modi on Naga Talks
  • Greetings on Eid-Ul-Fitr
  • Rejoinder to NPF statement
  • Rejoinder to Nagaland Chief Minister
  • Flood relief continue on 3rd day
  • India-Vietnam Youth Dialogue 2018
  • MU debacle: Why would it be left unnoticed
  • Spirit of World Cup : Brazil to Russia
  • NEC to come under Home Ministry
  • Manipur NGO hosts summit on LGBTQ
  • Flood in Imphal [14 June] #1 : Gallery
  • Women Struggle in Self-Determination
  • 14 June- World Blood Donor Day
  • Naga Integration not possible- NPF react
  • Naga Integration is not possible- CM Rio
  • Relief work in flood affected areas
  • A day which keeps our spirit alive
  • Ranked 320 in the country : MU
  • Flood in Imphal [13 June] #2 : Gallery
  • Sovereignty Struggles in Northeast #5
  • Be alert: It's admission time
  • Yin and Yang
  • Watermelon beauty benefits
  • Temp accommodation for Aligarh students
  • Wrath of Mother Nature: Why challenge..
  • 60 pc is no longer first class : 95 pc
  • Flood in Imphal [13 June] #1 : Gallery
  • Sanamahi Laihui & Sanamahi Laining
  • Kuhi- Essential plant for Nungbi pottery
  • Climate justice is integral to development
  • The bridge :: Poem
  • Lt S Vijaya Devi felicitated
  • Then : Indifferent :: Now : Hyper sensitive
  • Phumdigi Tantha : Dance Drama : Gallery
  • Grief at Xavier Rutsa's demise
  • Modi's India: A descend into Ochlocracy
  • The Philippine Experience
  • Cry of a Dying River #33 :: Poem
  • Community Iftar at Moijing, Cachar
  • Candle Light at DU over Assam lynching
  • Demand replacement of Manipur Univ VC
  • The Tragedy of Higher education
  • Unacceptable points spelt out
  • Teinem Luira Phanit @Ukhrul #3: Gallery
  • RPL-PMKVY trainees @Hojai : Gallery
  • Manipur Sports University in UP ?
  • Coloniality of the Postcolonial
  • Yellow leaves in the autumn :: Poem
  • Prof N Irabanta-distinguished academician
  • Leadership matters
  • Artificial turf for budding talents
  • 2 municipal bodies in NE awarded
  • Who is Arambam Somorendra ?
  • Manglandasu Nang - OST :: e-pao Radio
  • Shirock 2018 - Shirui Lily Fest #3 : Gallery
  • Linthoi's "The Tales of Kanglei Throne" #2
  • Grass root challenge- Education in hills
  • Earth does not belong to us...
  • Sita Mata as test-tube baby
  • What happen to VIP Culture Mr. CM
  • Merchants of education
  • Laitonjam Rajnikanta : Profile
  • A blessing to see :: Poem
  • Sovereignty Struggles in Northeast #4
  • Difference between Hinduism & Hindutva
  • How to choose the perfect fragrance
  • Iftaar party at Lilong
  • Bitter truth of Manipuri society
  • MU, NSU, IGNTU : Students at the centre
  • Amuktang-Ga Haikho #1 : eRang
  • Sangai Veterans' Football #2 : Gallery
  • Pony : A Cavalry Horse Par Excellence #2
  • Issues that keep Manipur burning
  • Cry of a Dying River - 32 :: Poem
  • CM & AR interaction with villagers
  • Certification of PMKVY trainees of Hojai
  • Christian appeals for Peace in Shillong
  • How safe are our women?
  • Riders put up by JAC for talk
  • Khangkhui Cave in Ukhrul #3 : Gallery
  • Pluralism, Democracy & Ethnic Relation #2
  • Irom Sharmila meets with Mehbooba Mufti
  • JRF @ Mizoram University (Biotechnology)
  • Tobacco and heart disease
  • Understanding SOWA - RIGPA #2
  • Campaign "to End Child Sexual Abuse"
  • Implementation of 7th Pay
  • Indigenous street vendor sing gi wafam
  • The crumbling Manipur University
  • Kang Tournament @ Yaiskul : Gallery
  • Zeliangrong orphaned by Nationalism #1
  • A rainy night :: Poem
  • HSLC Exam is the start! What next?
  • 1528 cases of fake encounter
  • Linthoi's "The Tales of Kanglei Throne" #1
  • Handloom Weaver @Bishnupur : Gallery
  • Shirock 2018 - Shirui Lily Fest #2 : Gallery
  • Hinduism in Manipur : Political Perspective
  • All the World and his Wife :: Poem
  • Tribal Cultural Festival #1 : Gallery
  • Women in CCpur turn to self-help groups
  • Purul Paoki Wrestling : Gallery
  • Sangai Veterans' Football #1 : Gallery
  • Khangminashi IV (Lecture) : Report
  • Seminar at MU - Hinduism in Manipur'
  • Evolution of The Meetei State
  • Heartbreak at Ukhrul: Unfolding Shirock
  • State Level Khurpui-Lam Festival: Gallery
  • June Calendar for Year 2018 :: Tools
  • School Girls Basketball #2 : Gallery
  • Where is Manipur....???
  • 'Manipur' in Google maps : Gallery
  • The Killing Fields - 2013-18 : News Timeline
  • Mama Poktabi :: Funga Wari
  • Veterans Football Tournament #2 : Gallery
  • Shirock 2018 - Shirui Lily Fest #1 : Gallery
  • Sougrakpam Vijaya makes history sailing...
  • Arunachali unfurled Salai Taret at Mt Everest
  • Panthoiba: 2nd Rank- class XII, Uttarkhand
  • Ras Leela @JNMDA Day : Gallery
  • HSLC 208 Exam Toppers : Gallery
  • HSLC 2018 :: Toppers Listing
  • HSLC 2018 :: Check Result
  • HSLC :: Statistical/Subject Topper
  • HSLC 2018 :: External
  • Poumai Purul Hiimai Paoki #2 : Gallery
  • Kakching Garden :: 360 Panorama View
  • Folk Dance Festival #5 : Gallery
  • Aerial view from Chingmeirong : Gallery
  • Curtain Raising- Sangai Fest 2017: Gallery
  • Lainingthou Lai Lam thopka #2 : Gallery
  • Re-visiting Khangkhui caves in Ukhrul
  • Gardening @Ema Keithel #2: Gallery
  • Front Page Photo 2018 #2: Gallery
  • Pakhangba Cheng Hongba #2 : Gallery
  • Steelheart @ Shirock , Ukhrul #3 : Gallery
  • A. Halim Chowdhury: A Profile
  • Class XII Exam Toppers : Gallery
  • Class XII Result : Science Toppers
  • Class XII Result : Arts Toppers
  • Class XII Result : Commerce Toppers
  • HSE Result 2018 : District Wise
  • HSE Result 2018 : Highest Marks
  • HSE Result 2018 : Science Stream
  • HSE Result 2018 : Arts Stream
  • HSE Result 2018 : Commerce Stream
  • Temples of Manipur : Gallery
  • Recipients of Akademi Awards for 2014
  • Old Manipuri Movie #1 :: eRang Classic
  • SPONSORED ADS