TODAY -

Tourism promotional festival litmus test for state
- The People's Chronicle Editorial :: November 22, 2022 -



THERE is no doubt that this year's Manipur Sangai Festival spread across 13 venues in different districts will be among the best-attended calendar event in recent times after outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic affected the past two editions and the earlier ones diluted due to boycott call and volatile law and order situation.

Prior to the pandemic-induced cancellation, people of Manipur stayed away from the festival in 2019 after the boycott call given by the COCOMI over the dual issues of Naga peace talks and the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill was endorsed by organisations in and around the main festival venue - Hapta Kangjeibung, in the form of disrupting movement of visitors and prohibiting parking of vehicles in their respective localities.

Regardless of the festival generally marked by ceaseless number of visitors thronging different venues, the last three editions of the government-funded festival either missed the festive mood owing to socio-political instability or had to be shelved totally to protect the people from the virulent viral disease.

Notwithstanding persistent efforts of successive governments to maintain socio-political stability, the state had encountered sensitive issues which triggered public agitations and threw normal life out of gear.

As agitating groups made it a point to demand complete cessation of entertainment events, the public were compelled to forego any idea of associating with recreational programmes.

As prevalence of an amicable environment is the most essential factor for successful conduct of a grand event like the tourism promotional event, this year provides the greatest opportunity for the government to showcase the state's potential as a tourist destination.

Thus, resumption of the festival with no pandemic-induced restrictions in place and the semblance of peace returning to the state would definitely encourage local, domestic and international tourists to explore what Manipur has to offer.

It is also worth noting that in-spite of Manipur frequently besieged with distressful situation, the Sangai Festival since its inception in 2010 has been of one the most eagerly awaited events for the state's masses to revel in.

Regardless of the fact that edibles and souvenir items sold are exorbitantly priced and redundancy of many of the cultural programmes, local visitors in particular throng the festival venues as they provide the rare opportunity for family outings.

Due to the restive state, people have the tendency to rejoice the most as if there will be no tomorrow.

Thus, it is understandable that the people would be looking forward to this year's multi-venue festival to refresh their minds and relish the festive mood.

As the largest festival of the state is poised to witness the largest ever turn-out of visitors, successful conduct of the same will not only help showcase positive aspect of Manipur's ethnic, cultural and linguistic diversities but also testify that the incumbent government is reaping fruit of its endeavour to bring positive changes to the state through emphasis on promoting the tourism sector.

Healthy public response to the festival will also be decisive in nipping the fiendish mind-set of those elements which are consistently plotting to exploit racial, lingual and ethnic sentiments with the purpose of creating ethnic tension and conflict situation.



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