Home » Lai Haraoba ritual celebrated with Pomp and gaiety at Yechipao of Mandalay

Lai Haraoba ritual celebrated with Pomp and gaiety at Yechipao of Mandalay

by IT Web Admin
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Shivachandra Rajkumar

The 27th May 2015 Mandalay Yangon 28th May 2015: Pona Gong It was felt as if a massive and heated wind blows out through a monstrous pipe that spread across the Irrawaddy plains in Mandalay. The mercury had touched 40 degree centigrade in this land of Buddha with his numerous houses of worship glittering in gold. yet the heat and humidity could not resist the spirit of Meetei settlers of Mandalay from participating the one and most auspicious occasion LAI HARAOBA that falls on 27th May 2015 this year at Yechipao of Mandalay. Some years back the existence of this sacred shrine of Meetei deity was known to very few and perhaps it was a religious ritual known to the villagers of the particular area only. Yechipao otherwise Gaave which is about 25 Kms from Mandalay stood aghast by the Trans Asian Highway corridor as a forgotten Meetei village, on the stretch to Yangon from Mandalay. Nobody cares what lies beneath the village. There is no written document on Yechipao but the three sacred shrines of Meetei deities that clustered in the big Meetei village does hold a living testimony about the people and the Meetei civilization of those bygone days. Some eyewitnesses account reveals that Yechipao had been one of the biggest Manipuri villages of all times in and around Mandalay. The infamous seven years devastation (1819-1826) had been a holocaust to the Meetei History throughout and what is more devastating than the historic ‘ seven years’ of dark ages of Manipur, is the political boundary that segregated the two cousins at two different countries for centuries depriving the right to meet one another. Yechipao is very much an erstwhile Meetei villages in Mandalay. The finest Manipuri weavers use to settle in this forgotten land from long time before. They yarn out tons of Achek attire from their classic looms. Achiek is an attire worn by Myanmar noblemen and such skill of weaving of the finest attire was treasured to the Manipuri community alone till this day. God alone knows what he did store for the down trodden Meetei villages in the suburban of Mandalay. There are three important Meetei shrines including Eboudhou Marjing at Yechipao. Unfortunately not a single Manipuri stood up in the village who can give a proper account of the village and relevant to the shrine of Goddess Ema Leimarenbi that villagers dearly worship uttering ‘MEDOJE’. It would be wrong to give exact and literal meaning of MEDOJE but it is nearer to the interpretation ‘mother of the mankind’ and villagers in their corrupted Manipuri accent called her ‘Emma lei Maren’. Not a single soul speak Manipuri/Meitei Lon now a days in Yechipao. If you ask them whether they are of Manipuri bloodline than they have to go down to the memory lane for a ‘total recall’ which has become a kind of faded dream that is hard to recompose. The few hundred years that kept them aloof from the rest of the Meeteis of the globe made their memory blurred beyond redemption when it comes to the nomenclature MEETEI. But they stick to the stand that the lai Haraoba belonged to them as a part of their culture. This is handed down to them by the previous Meetei forefathers so called previous generation. This is where the story begins all afresh. The odd 2000 and above population in Yechipao are no longer Manipuris. Shall we still assume that it is none of our business? The Meetei villages in Mandalay keeps drifted from one another for so long time. There had been many reasons behind and one reason being the classification of caste and creed in the small community, which had nowadays lessened to a great deal with each passing days. Another reason is the social ailment that falls in the category of struggle of existence. Many worked for a living purely on daily wages. Yechipao today emerged out one significant cultural meeting point of the Meetei living in Myanmar. As per the existing Myanmar laws any community cannot form into group unless it is a religious related function otherwise prior permission needs to be obtained from the authority for any gathering sort. The Yechipao lai haraoba is an aged old religious ritual which is accepted by Myanmar authorities. The rejoicing moment in Yechipao is many Meeteies scattered around Myanmar have slowly and gradually been participating the lai haraoba event and increasing in quadruple fold with each passing year. Before 8 years it was a humble and low key affair but this year the Manipuris devotees from all walk of life have thronged to the shrine and offered flowers to the Meeetie Goddess. Indo Myanmar Fraternal Alliance, Manipur with its tourism group Indo Myanmar Fraternal Tourist centre took part in the event this year too. R.K. Shivachandra, P. Aristotle, Yumnam Shyamkeshor, Kshetrimayum Santosh,Ningombam Indralal, Akoijam Jugindro, Akoijam Biswarjit, Khagembam sadananda, yensembam Iswarchandra, Yensembam Nageswari, Mayenglambam Nishan, Mayenglambam rajkumar and mayenglambas Sharat. The Manipuri participation in this event had been a morale exhortation to the Meitei living in Myanmar. This had laid out a platform where the Manipuris of Myanmar and Manipuris of Manipur can hug each other and sing the song of unity in the same chord and tune. The Manipuri delegation also presented half a dozen of books to the Meetei Library at Mide Ekin of Meetei Leikai towards helping them in quest of the innermost pleasure and prestige on being remained as a true Meetei no matter how long and how far we have been drifted apart.

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