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Celebrating in the right spirit

by IT Web Admin
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The changing seasons have an unmistakable way of making their presence felt, and so it is once again the time for the state to celebrate what could be arguably described as the most intensely participated festival of all, Yaoshang/ Yaosang- a local take on the Holi festival which marks the end of the winter gloom and the rejoicing of the bloom of the approaching spring. Almost all print media in the state will cease publication for five days as Manipur celebrates the festival from the 23rd to the 27th of this month. It is not that the media houses intentionally want to stay off the newsstand thereby depriving the right of the citizens to information but are rather compelled as newspaper hawkers faces the most terrible time in distributing the papers from door to door. As a convention,  during the festival period people raised no objection, but rather expected of little girls coming out on the streets and lanes and beg for money (nakatheng). Young boys have fun distributing coins at their capacity. Elders or parents of the girls enjoy seeing their tiny tots rubbing colours on their face by boys of their ages. Yaosang perhaps is the biggest festival for Manipuri Hindus. Just as with any festival of recurring occasion changing and evolving with the times, the actual manner of celebration of the biggest festival was replaced by organizing sports meet at each locality by the local clubs making the festival more meaningful and turning it into a festival not only for the Manipuri Hindus but also for all the people residing in the state.
However the beauty of the festival is marred by the excessively aggressive character of some of the girls. While it would evidently be misleading and risk generalization of the actions of the girls to say that the morals of Manipuri girls seem to have declined during the last few years and this year witnessed the worst, there certainly is a perceptible shift in the outlook and social behavior of a growing number of girls in the state. Girls were seen stopping passersby asking them donation to celebrate the festival when the festival has not yet begin. In effect, the very spirit of Yaosang is sabotaged by the aggressive nature of these few girls if not all.
This is an earnest appeal to all the people particularly the young as well as the not-so- young girls of the state to celebrate the festival with dignity and positive restraint. Reckless driving, stopping of speeding vehicles on the roads and lanes for donations etc also entails physical injury. Celebration of the festival by organizing sports is a healthy sign of the progress our state towards a better and inclusive future. It shows how the state is marching towards a more tolerant, practical and sporting direction.  
Meanwhile the state government should take extra efforts to ensure that people of the state celebrate the festival of colour in the right spirit as the most popular festival has a unifying and uplifting role in the socio-economic, cultural and political life of every community, big or small, primitive or modern, backward or developing or even developed ones in the state.

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