The Indian Consul General, Mr. Nandan Singh Bhaisora, recently hosted an event for the Manipur Film Stars & Singers Night in Mandalay, the following is his speech.
‘It gives me great pleasure to extend a warm welcome to you all on behalf of the Indian Consulate; particularly our visiting delegation of Mami Thawan, comprising of top film stars and singers of Manipur who have come to give us a live musical performance in this beautiful and historical city of Mandalay which is also called the cultural capital of Myanmar. As I am given to understand that this Organization has ventured for the first time out of the country for the great cause of spreading the message of love, peace, brotherhood, unity, sportsman spirit, harmony with the people of Myanmar, to promote cultural exchanges between India and Myanmar and to be with them in their journey for economic transformation as well as transition to democracy. As the group’s name itself suggests that they are here for strengthening cultural bonds through their drama, art, music, songs, sport etc. between people of India and Myanmar.
It is all the more important and a great privilege and honour for me to witness this great cultural evening and welcome the delegation on the occasion of 150th Birth Anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi who has always been an ardent lover of peace, harmony and unity among the each section of the society and taught us how to win the hearts with love, non-violence and truth.
India is a land of diversities. It has a amazing cultural diversity throughout the country. The South, North, North East have their own distinguished culture and every State has carved out its own cultural niche. It has so many languages, religions, food, art, architecture, ethnic wear, festivals, customs, languages, cuisine, music, dance forms etc. A combination of all these factors has resulted into an exclusive culture- Indian culture. It is a composite mixture of varying styles and influences. Manipur is no exception. It has a rich cultural heritage; Nata Sankirtana, Maha Raaslila, Lai Harabo, Nupi Pala, Manipuri Classical Dance, folk songs are various forms of art, dance, festivals etc. there. In August 2019, we had a Manipuri Dance Performance by a 10-member ICCR Delegation led by Ms. Sobita Devi Sougaijam. Also, in December 2018, we had a 65-member Manipuri Delegation for Sankirtan Day with MP, Deputy Speaker and various MLAs accompanying. Again, in June 2019, we had two large Manipuri Cultural groups to celebrate La Haraoba ritual Festival (40 members) and a 3-days cultural event- Festival of Shrine of Kate (Meitei) (18 member delegation). During the last two years, I have visited Manipur thrice and always I have noted so much of diversity of culture. Also, there is influence of Buddhism in Manipur during Medieval period. In fact, during recent excavations much artifacts discovered were clearly Buddhist in character and texture. This makes us believe that Buddhism has found an inroad in Manipur. I have also read that in each house there are very good singers, dancers, weavers and artists in Manipur.
Certainly, today’s programme we are going to get a glimpse of the dance and singing performances by these great artists from the Manipur Film Industry. I would like to mention here that really it’s a great opportunity for the people of Myanmar, persons of Indian Origin, particularly, the Manipuri Community living in Mandalay and Sagaing Regions to witness these live performances. We hardly get to see such live performances in India except on the film screens. It also includes Ms. Mangka. She is a prominent folk singer; it is believed that the folk songs had already disappeared from Manipur, however, this singer has made a lot of efforts to bring the Manipuri folk songs on the fore reviving it by introducing to the new generation and she also runs free classes every Sunday for more than 300 students. Congratulations to her.
Indian cinema has always been on the global scene and it is a medium that can cut across linguistic and cultural borders and can communicate to the people. Indians settled in different parts of the world have been watching these Indian films whose themes are based on culture, education, entertainment, social, fashion, religion, and so on. Movies have a long-term effect on people in comparison with any other form. In Myanmar too, the Indian movies are being shown in various channels with sub-titles and these are very popular among the Indian Diaspora, the Buddhist and other community, I have noted that many of the students who have no formal education in Hindi, speak so well in Hindi that it is amazing and they convey the message about Indian culture, not only that they also help them in learning Indian languages, be it Hindi, Tamil or other languages.
I am sure that Mami Thawan group’s visit to Myanmar is going to be a great success as far as our Act East Policy is concerned; there are 3 C’s- commerce, connectivity and culture. The group is going to achieve success in all these three areas as they will be visiting various unexplored beautiful places in Myanmar thereby promoting tourism and increasing business, connectivity- with their performances on the stage here as well football matches they are going to have more people-to-people contacts in Myanmar, and also, cultural exchanges which you are going to witness a bit later today. And also, in Monywa on 15th September 2019. Tomorrow there will be football match in Mandalay and again another football match on 15th September 2019 in Monywa too, giving the message of Health is Wealth, although they are not professional players but only amateurs. There is large number of youths in Myanmar and a healthy body is a healthy mind- that would lead them to contribute in the nation building.
I also take this opportunity to thank Mr. R K Shivachandra, Coordinator, Act East Policy, Govt of Manipur for taking this initiative to mobilize the Group to promote the Indian culture and sports in Myanmar, as he has been doing in the past. Also, our sincere thanks to Mr. Soe Thein, Manager, Mangiri Tours and Travels for supporting us for the event as well as the management of Ambica Temple for providing us the hall.
Our artists are here to promote the message of love, brotherhood, peace, unity and communal harmony among people of both the countries as well as globally. I wish them all the best. Please enjoy the evening.’