TODAY -

From village to district to State level : Shirui Lily Festival
- The Sangai Express Editorial :: October 10 2019 -



Come October 16 and all roads will lead to Shirui village in Ukhrul district.

Maybe not all roads, but many must have started charting out their schedule to take part in the festival which is set to go on till October 19.

The journey of the State level Shirui Lily festival is interesting, interesting in the sense that it was not born as a State level festival overnight and this is where due acknowledgement need to be given to those who worked to bring it to the level that one sees today. Shirui village, a small hamlet about 13.6 kilometres away from Ukhrul district headquarters has been synonymous with the Lily and if Keibul Lamjao is known to the world as the natural habitat of the Sangai then Shirui village or Shirui Kashong (Shirui hills) is known as the only place where the Lily blooms.

It stands that Shirui Lily blooms only at the Kashong and not even at Shirui village, making it all that more rare and adding to its beauty and mystique, if one may add.

The present State level Shirui Lily festival can be understood in the context of the humble beginning that the festival had. Stories culled from the village says that the seed of the present Shirui Lily festival was sown way back in the year 2000 when Lily Day was observed at the village level on May 21 to commemorate fifty years of the Lily being crowned the best at the Chelsea Flower Show back in 1950.

This went on for some years, before some enterprising young people of Shirui village took it upon themselves to elevate the festival to the district level in 2012 and so was born Lily Week from May 16 to May 21, of the said year, with the then Chief Secretary DS Poonia extending the needed support and co-operation.

At the district level, the festival focusing on the Lily went on till 2016 and The Sangai Express had even suggested back then to upgrade the festival to the State level in line with the State level Orange Festival and Sangai Festival.

That nothing of this sort happened is there for all to see and it was only in 2017 that the present BJP led Government deemed it fit to elevate the Shirui Lily festival to the State level.

Since 2017 it has been held at the State level and now in its third edition, it is interesting to see the interest the festival has been able to kick up amongst the public.

It is here that the active role taken by the MLA of Ukhrul Assembly Constituency Alfred Kangam need to be acknowledged.

So from a village level festival to the district level and now to the State level, the progress that the Shirui Lily festival has made is remarkable and this is something which must be noted.

A State level festival with an international touch, if one takes into consideration the fact that Shirock, the rock festival held along with the Shirui Lily festival is set be graced by internationally known rock group Nazareth on the opening day on October 16 and Extreme on the closing day on October 19.

So from a village level to district level to State level with international bands performing now and surely Shirui Lily Festival has come a long way.

To make the festival all that more meaningful, it would do good for the organisers to focus on environment for remember it is in only in the environment of Shirui Kashong that Shirui Lily can bloom and nowhere else.



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