| Sisters bless their brothers on Ningol Chakkouba in Imphal on Thursday. Telegraph picture |
Imphal, Nov. 15: London Olympics boxing bronze medalist Mary Kom today received a Bolero car as a Ningol Chakkouba gift from the automobile company Mahindra and Mahindra, on the day of the festival today.
Manipur celebrated Ningol Chakkouba today, a festival of togetherness, which highlights sumptuous meals, merry-making, exchanging gifts and sharing. The festival marks the inseparable bond of love between married daughters and their parents and brothers.
Bolero authorised dealer in Imphal, K. Nilo and Sons Pvt Ltd, handed over the vehicle to the boxer today. An official said the vehicle was given to Mary Kom as a Ningol Chakkouba gift on her securing an Olympic medal.
After receiving the key, she thanked the automobile company and said it should also encourage the other medal-winning sports personalities of the state.
Ningol Chakkouba is one of the biggest festivals of Manipur. On this day, parents and brothers invite their married daughters and sisters and entertain them with sumptuous feasts and gifts. Later, they are sent back to their husbandís home in the afternoon. This is a festival of family reunion and provides an opportunity to all the members to have lunch together, once in a year.
In the evening, families enjoy concerts and Shumang Leela (traditional courtyard theatre) held in their respective areas.
However, this year, the festivities are taking place at a time when Manipur is having an uneasy time, as the Naga organisations and Kuki bodies are pushing forward their demands for a separate administration.
The Kuki State Demand Committee will begin an indefinite blockade along all national and state highways of Manipur from 5pm on November 17, demanding a separate state for the Kukis.
On the other hand, the Untied Naga Council (UNC), apex body of the Nagas in Manipur, asked Naga individuals and organisations to stay away from the 10-day Manipur Sangai Festival, an annual tourism festival organised by the state tourism department, which will begin on November 21. The UNC is campaigning for a separate administration for the Nagas living in Manipur, outside the purview of the state government.
However, deputy chief minister Gaikhangam, also a Naga, dismissed the UNC diktat as unacceptable and said participation of Nagas in the festival would be ensured.
As the political differences among the communities are widening, National Identity Protection Committee, an NGO, organised feasts at various places like Senapati, Imphal East, Imphal West, Bishnupur and Moreh, where women from different communities were invited .
At one such programme held at Moreh, nearly 400 women, including 17 from neighbouring Myanmar, attended the event. The programme was organised by All Community Development Organisation, Moreh, at Ima Kondong Lairembi Haraobung.
The ningols (married women) who attended the programme were presented with a shawl each. Chandel Autonomous District Council member Lalboy Gante attended the programme.