Among the many, one reason that makes Manipur pride is the floating Keibul Lamjao National park, which is the dancing platform of rare animals ‘Sangai’. Nature’s gift makes the state potential in every aspect. The rich cultural heritage, arts and culture are all the reflection of the nature’s elegant looks.
Culture, traditions and life style is being inherited from the surrounding and the beauty of Manipuri culture is also a reflection of the surrounding.
Ongoing Sangai festival, can be assumed as the gift of the dancing Brow Alter deer locally called Sangai which live only on the floating park at the fresh water lake Loktak called Keibul Lamjao. Perhaps it is because of this understanding that the state government officially opened the Sangai Festival here at Keibul Lamjao.
Everybody praise the nature’s gift and everybody talk about the rarest animals Sangai. Not only Sangai, but the state is also blessed with rare flower Siroy Lily which is only found in Sirui Hill of Ukhrul district. The government also organised Sirui Lily festival.
But the fact is that nobody seems to realize that the reason for organizing festival to attract tourist is the outcome of the nature’s special gift Sangai and Sirui lily to this reason.
Sirui Lily seems to have stopped blooming slowly and the Sangai now stop dancing as the thickness bushes (biomass) of the floating park now is decreasing day after day. Experts blame the climate change, people blame the government for not taking measures to protect the rare gift, and the government people blame the people for cutting trees and for hunting the animals. But none seem to act and had work out any policy to protect the rare animals and flowers.
The construction of Ithai barrage and later the commissioning of the National Hydro Electric Power Project at Loktak is the beginning of the present day condition of the Keibul Lamjao Floating lake which is the dancing platform of the Sangai. This newspaper did not said it , it was said by experts from the University and from the authority of the Environment and forest department. Which means that the government knows the NHPC is the main reason of why the Sangai stop dancing . During election time promises were heard about decommissioning of the NHPC to protect the one and the only fresh water lake in the reason. But as of now no action is notice taken up from the side of the government.
Instead the state now witnesses more constructions of dam by displacing villagers and more such are likely to be taken up. The government is preparing for commissioning of the Mapithel Dam by driving out villages. The indigenous beauty of Villages is now a history. The next generation people may hardly know that once upon a time there was beautiful village called Chadong in Ukhrul district.
The same is with the Tipaimukh Dam. Many natural habitants which were exceptional gift of the nature will be no where seen.
Coming back to the Sangai Festival, people now started fighting over allotment of stalls constructed at Keibul. Even elected representatives were reported exchanging heated words on the inaugural day. The way things are happening clearly indicates that people have now forgotten the dancing deer which brings pride to the state.
For sure the Sangai will not dance anymore.
Rinku Khumukcham, Editor of Imphal Times has more than 15+ years in the field of Journalism. A seasoned editor, was a former editor of ISTV News. He resides in Keishamthong Elangbam Leikai, with his wife and parents.