Milking Sangai in jamboree

Free Thinker *

 Manipur Sangai Festival at Hapta Kangjeibung :: November 24 2017
Manipur Sangai Festival at Hapta Kangjeibung on November 24 2017 :: Pix - Kriti RK

Sometimes I feel we have milked 'Sangai' (brow antlered deer) in all possible ways. The government, private parties, private companies and even private individuals use and reuse the name of this beautiful exotic deer for promoting their purposes and achieving their cherished goals. There is nothing wrong in doing so, as long as Sangai gets something in return. But there is a big but.

Right now the Government of Manipur is hosting and celebrating the 'Sangai Festival' for reasons best known to all and sundry. I believe the basic purpose of this festival is to showcase Manipur, highlighting the hidden potentials of the land in terms tourism (more focus on tourism), culture, sports, myriad fauna & flora and of course portraying a roadmap for promoting and expanding our economic activities. This time the show is much bigger with the blessings of Govindaji & Kovindji.

I agree(not always) with Prof MC Arun when he says (in a talk show on Sangai Festival) that if we are to promote tourism we must chalk out a yearlong package or program so that the visitors or the watchers must know what is there in our plate. Prof has been an unconventional debater since student days and he always remains our affable but argumentative senior throughout; he still ignites minds, "tourism, tourism and tourism". That must be the focus, he added.

But a common man/ woman feels this festival is about meeting, seeing, eating, dancing, enjoying, spending, etc. and nothing more. It is a ten day jamboree with a lot of pomp and vanity. Some clever people might have minted money during this festival. Anyway we don't mind, because the earning is made by our brothers and sisters.

But I insist that they may spend their earnings inside the State; build buildings, buy cars, acquire property, construct shops, open factories and prepare for the next mela. I dislike drain of wealth. However remittances from outside is most welcome.

In the name of ' Sangai' or 'Polo' or 'Loktak' or 'Siroi lily'or 'INA' etc., if we are doing business or pursuing different pursuits (as no trade mark or patent issues involved) we are morally bound to do something good for these things. Suppose your company is run in the name of Loktak, your are supposed to do something for it even though legally not bound.

Likewise if you are producing something in the name of 'Sekmai', it is ethical to do something for the place. Simply exploiting these names and doing nothing for them amounts to showing ungratefulness.

What are we doing for the poor creature? I strongly feel that what we do for Sangai is certainly not commensurate with what we extract from her (the hapless being). Those who are exploiting Sangai must pay back something to her.

At least protect her habitat by fencing (may be a floating fencing); the en-croachers if any, on the habitat must be pushed out or "rehabilitated; vegetation of the Sangai home must be protected and raised; human intervention (including the officials) must be made minimal; even the counting must be done with little interference; the tiny water way inside the habitat may be closed.

Nearby hillocks may be developed extensively for better viewing of the beauty (with more binoculars) and tourist attraction must be augmented with proper parking, fooding, lodging and better facilities plus toilets.

My ultimate point is that if we are using a name which is a common property (State) we are duty bound to do something for that. Sangai brand is used hundred times by many including the government.

Here the pertinent question is whether we have done enough for Sangai except exploiting its name umpteen times and also whether we have done enough for its natural habitat Keibul Lamjao (the floating grassland) except for drying-up or swallowing the water body?

Recently I along with my kids & kins made a visit to Keibul Lamjao, the only floating park in the world, to see the dancing deer (Sangai). The road towards the park is still narrow as it was some 10/15 years ago; but the road condition is slightly better this time; credit goes to the local leaders.

I was told that two young leaders of the constituency are competing against one another to do development works in the area. That is really a blessing in disguise. Both the young leaders are equally capable and dynamic.

I strongly believe that under their competitive politics Thanga (Keibul Lamjao) will become a centre of great tourist attraction in the days to come. At least we expect two 'Sendras' (from both the leaders) in and around Keibul Lamjao with better connectivity and amenities. So be it.

* Free Thinker wrote this article for The Sangai Express
This article was webcasted on November 27, 2017.

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