Naga tribes stress unity at harvest fest

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  • Published 15.02.05

Senapati, Feb. 15: Fellowship mingled with festivity as delegates of different Naga tribes gathered at the district headquarters of Senapati in Manipur today to celebrate Lui-ngai-ni, the biggest festival of the Nagas.

The spirit of the seed-sowing festival was in keeping with this year?s theme, towards a common destination. The Naga tribes, dressed in colourful traditional dresses, prayed together for a bumper harvest in the coming year.

The festival came alive with cultural programmes and the Miss Lui-ngai-ni beauty pageant. All through, the underlying tone of the festival was the unity of Naga tribes.

The tone was set by a Naga band led by Rewben Mashangva, who is known as the Bob Dylan of the Nagas. The song, Luin-ngai-ni Brings us all Together, drummed up the feeling of oneness among the Naga delegates, who came from different parts of the state. The four girls who compared the programmes were drawn from different Naga tribes as a symbol of their unity.

Stressing this oneness, general secretary of the United Naga Council (UNC), Azang Longmei, said, ?We come together to celebrate the seed-sowing festival. But it is also a day for the Nagas to show the world that we are one.?

Touching upon the complexity of the problems in the Northeast, president of the Manipur unit of the UNC, Puni Modoli, said the people of the region have a common destiny. ?We cannot be enemies as we all are struggling for a common goal,? he added.

He called on friends and neighbours of the Nagas to begin a new chapter in friendship, co-operation and respect for each other?s aspirations. ?Only then can we achieve our personal goals.?

Manipur governor Shivinder Singh Sidhu, who was the chief guest, said the festival is significant not only for the Nagas but also for all the ethnic communities living in Manipur.

?The festival promotes peace, harmony and progress among all communities. Despite the plethora of problems in the state, I see a bright future for it. We should not allow violence and insurgency to hold development and progress hostage,? he said.