Hunphun Luira Phanit showcases cultural heritage
Source: Chronicle News Service / R Lester Makang

Ukhrul, February 16 2024: The second day of the Hunphun Luira Phanit 2024, the annual seed sowing festival, on Friday was marked by a series of competitions showcasing the rich cultural heritage and indigenous practices of the Tangkhul community.

The Luira Phanit which celebrates the beginning of seed sowing season and agricultural traditions is being held under the theme 'Ngashan Hi Pangshapna' (Culture Is Strength) at the Mission Compound, Alungtang in Ukhrul town.

The second day of the festival was attended by Ukhrul former MLA Alfred Khanngam Arthur as chief guest while Kamjong CMO Dr Lucy Shaiza and Hunphun Shanao Long (HSL) president Timwon L Shimray were guest of honour and special guest respectively.

Speaking on the occasion, Alfred emphasised that the Tangkhul dialect, known as Hunphun dialect, is the official language of the Tangkhul community.

"This language holds great significance as the Tangkhul community has consented to use it as their mode of communication.

It is as such, a symbol of our unity, identity and heritage".

Alfred appreciated the efforts of Rev William Pettigrew in choosing Hunphun as the headquarters of Tangkhul community, highlighting the village's crucial role in shaping the destiny of the community.

However, Alfred also raised some thought-provoking questions for the Hunphun populace to ponder upon.

He asked whether Hunphun is truly leading the way forward for the entire Tangkhul community or if it is taking them backward.

He questioned if the village is fulfilling its duties and responsibilities as the headquarters of the Tangkhul community.

"We all want a better Hunphun and, Hunphun needs to introspect and take corrective measures if it is not living up to its role and responsibilities," he exhorted.

Alfred acknowledged the significant contributions of Hunphun people in the growth and development of the Tangkhul community in the past.

However, he stressed the need to evaluate where Hunphun stands today.

"Is Hunphun keeping up with the changing times and leading the Tangkhul community towards progress, or is it falling behind?," he asked.

Alfred urged the Hunphun populace to unite and work towards a common goal of bringing prosperity and growth to the entire Tangkhul community.

He reminded them of their responsibility as the leaders and role models for the rest of the Tangkhul villages.

In her speech, Dr Lucy emphasised the importance of preserving age-old customs, traditions, and cultural ornaments.

She urged the gathering to hold on to their cultural roots and discourage adoption of alien culture and lifestyles.

In the present context, the younger generation is increasingly drawn towards western culture, often at the expense of their own traditions.

"This shift towards liberalism and the acceptance of foreign practices has led to the neglect of one's cultural identity and disrespect towards their elders," she noted.

One of the main concerns highlighted by Dr Lucy was the prevalent issue of drug abuse.

She said that the adoption of western lifestyle has led to the glamorization of drug use, especially among the youth and the same has caused destabilizing effect on the society.

Dr Lucy rued that the increase in cross-cultural influences without clearly defined boundaries has resulted in a confused mind set among the younger generation.

The blurring of cultural lines can lead to a loss of identity and can cause disintegration and disunity among people, she said.

Dr Lucy reiterated the significance of cultural practices, such as wearing traditional headgear and ornaments, as a means to keep the traditions alive.

She urged the audience to look to their heritage as a guiding force in their lives and to resist the growing trend of imitation and emulation of foreign customs.

The highlight of the day was the cultural display competitions, which showcased the traditional practices and customs of the community.

These competitions included Khamahon, Thingreira Khangakhun, Khangatuk and Rai Khangath-at.

These displays were a visual treat for the audience as they witnessed the vibrant colours, intricate designs and traditional attire of the performers.

The indigenous seed Competition was also a major event of the day.

The competition aimed to promote the use of indigenous seed varieties and to highlight their importance in sustaining the agricultural practices of the community.

Participants were judged based on the quality, diversity and volume of the seeds they presented.

Pamaso Zingkhai emerged as the winner, taking home the first prize of Rs 5000, Marium Ragui and Chanyangla Kashung secured the second and third position, respectively, and were awarded Rs 3000 and Rs 2000 .

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