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Cecil Thounaojam

Cecil Thounaojam

Cecil Thounaojam has been a freelance writer for Imphal Times and currently working as an in-house journalist for Imphal Times. He has completed MBA and worked as a copywriter for 5+ years in digital advertising agencies. Cecil is from Nongmeibung, Imphal East and he can be contacted at [email protected]

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South Korea is the Country Partner for the 4th India International Cherry Blossom Festival 2019 at Shillong

IT News

Shillong, Nov 2

Shillong’s 4th India International Cherry Blossom Festival 2019- will celebrate the unique autumn flowering of Himalayan Cherry Blossoms with several cultural events at Shillong, Meghalaya from 13-16 November 2019. Visitors can enjoy fashion shows, rock concerts, a beauty pageant and even compete in an amateur Golf Tournament. Alongside, there will be stalls showcasing the best of the region’s food, wine and crafts. This festival is being organised at Polo 5th Ground and the picturesque Ward’s Lake by the Government of Meghalaya (spearheaded by the Forest and Environment Department), Institute of Bioresources and Sustainable Development (IBSD) and the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR).

This International Year of Indigenous Languages also brings in the Republic of Korea as a partner country and there will be several K-events including a K-Pop concert, a Korean Taekwondo  also Korean Cuisine and Arts stalls and exhibits on opportunities on Education in South Korea, in collaboration with the Korean Cultural Centre India.

The festival will be inaugurated by Conrad Sangma, Hon’ble Chief Minister of Meghalaya and the Republic of Korea delegation will be led by HE Shin Bong-Kil, Ambassador of the Republic of Korea.

A key event of the Festival will be a summit between the Republic of Korea and the Government of Meghalaya on issues of environmental reclamation and waste to wealth, and several MoUs are expected to be inked during the summit.

In this 4th edition of the Festival, LG Electronics Inc , a South Korean Headquartered Multinational Electronics Company has also stepped in as a a major sponsor.

Visitors are advised to visit the festival website cherryblossomfestival.in and the Facebook Page India International Cherry Blossom Festival for the latest updates and tracking of the Cherry Blossoms.

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Achoubi in Love: A story (about ponies) lost in transition from inspiration to execution

Achoubi in Love is a documentary film
    by Meena Longjam on the theme of
    protection of indigenous ponies, and it was screened at Mass Communication Department of Manipur University on 11th October, 2019. She conceived the idea after witnessing a dead pony on the road in a horrific condition. It broke her heart, she cried that night, even wrote a poem, and then decided to make a documentary on it to bring the attention towards the conservation of this endangered species. No doubt, the inspiration came from the right place of compassion, but, while in the process, the film seemed to have shifted its focus from the ponies to the humans. What started as a project to center the ponies in the conversation, became a glorified sympathizer for humans, pushing the ponies aside.
The only time that the film focused on the ponies was a few clips where it showed dead ponies on the road with flies on them. It was just a random shock value without any reality check or focus on how did the ponies end up there.
The film revolved around Achoubi, an old woman, who “owned” ponies because she was fascinated with and passionate about ponies and horse riding. It showed Achoubi conducting various rituals for ponies as humans do for other humans. This and other acts of humanization of nonhuman animals (here, ponies) were praised and glorified without delving deeper into its ills and wrongs. Moreover, the film also failed to highlight the selected humanization of a few ponies that only added values to human desires, be it for passion or polo. Apart from humanization, one can also see the meitei feminization of ponies in the official poster of the film where a pony was dressed as a meitei woman. Even the filmmaker said during the post-screening discussion that she was fascinated by how Achoubi “treated her ponies as humans.”
It celebrated the same old outdated idea of mirroring the dominant community for the marginalized community to be treated with respect. Moreover, the film did not show the other side of the humanization of nonhuman animals - how it harmed the ponies and the limits of humanization.
 There was no mention of harms and health hazards or casualties caused to ponies because of using them in sports like polo or horse riding, carrying a whole load of a human body and continuously being ridden for hours with braces on their head. Another avenue it left unexplored was about those ponies that were not beneficial for polo or horse riding. What happened to the ponies that were considered unfit or no more fit for polo or horse riding? If the concern was protection of ponies, then why so many ponies, except for the ones used for polo or horse riding, were stranded on the road? If the love for ponies existed only because of their association with the sports or regardless of the human desires to use them? These were a few questions that the film failed to touch upon.
 While there were mentions of ponies dying on the roads as a result of eating plastic and garbage, it did not explore how did these ponies end up there. The lack of sanctuaries, urbanization, and unavailability of grasses that the ponies could eat was in a few clips but it never went beyond mentions. It also did not touch upon the facts that while some ponies were humanized, the same were animalized (treated like “animals”) during horse riding or on the polo ground. The rest of the ponies not in polo or not humanized at home for various human desires, were still victims of their animal status.
On the contrary, the film laid its focus on the passion and obsession of humans on owning and riding ponies and playing polo. The toxicity of this passion and obsession on ponies was hidden under the garb of human’s love for the ponies. While the film explored the financial difficulties of Achoubi and difficulties she and other humans faced taking care of the ponies, it missed the part of how it impacted the ponies.
On top of it, the focus was extended to how polo had put Manipur on a global platform and its promotion by the government without actually addressing the harms caused to the ponies by the lack of relevant government projects and the irrelevant government (developmental) projects. In its entirety, the film made a reference of ponies yet the ponies and their issues were absent.
 This was pretty evident when the post-screening discussion had an echoing celebration of Achoubi’s passion and diligence. The idea born out of care and compassion for ponies ended up in addressing the interest and struggle of humans in most of the parts. Maybe due to lack of research or maybe not. As a result, the story conceived from the right place was lost in its transition from inspiration to execution.

450 women of Wangjing Tentha will be provided with benefits in weaving - Hemanta

IT News
Imphal, Oct 18

450 women from 12 villages of Wangjing Tentha will be provided with benefits under Ministry of MSME (Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises), said Moirangthem Hemanta in a one-day awareness programme on Traditional Embroidery Cluster. In the event organised by Wangjing Tentha Farmers Development Association (WATEFADEAS), he further said that the scheme has a total amount of Rs. 1 crore 32 lakh, out of which 90% is from Indian government and 10% from WATEFADEAS, for the raw materials, marketing, and production of traditional products. The government of India has already granted Rs 28 lakh for this scheme and permission for the Common Facility Centre in Khongjom, which will have machines with foreign technology by November, he added.

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Minister Biswajit launches SAMARTH in state

IT News

Imphal, Oct 17

Textiles, Commerce and Industries Minister Thongam Biswajit Singh launched the Live Streaming and Training of SAMARTH, Scheme for Capacity Building in Textiles Sector today at the Manipur Trade & Expo Centre, Lamboi Khongnangkhong, Imphal.

Addressing the formal launching function, Biswajit said that Manipur is the first State to launch training under the scheme. He said the State had signed an agreement on August 14, 2019 in the presence of Union Minister Smriti Zubin Irani to take project SAMARTH and impart skill development to 25,000 youth in the State.

He said SAMARTH which is also known as the Scheme for Capacity Building in Textile Sector (SCBTS) will provide demand driven placement oriented skills. He said the scheme aims to enable provision of sustainable livelihood either by wage or self employment to all sections of the society.

He continued that the scheme in the State targets to provide skill development trainings to 25000 youth in batches. He said that if there are any possibilities the concerned authorities should focus in imparting the training in all the districts so as to encourage weavers of all districts. 

Biswajit said that the State has witnessed an increase in the number of weavers and looms over the years. Citing the Fourth All India Handloom Census 2019-20, the Minister said the number of weavers has increased to 2,12,481 weavers in 2019-20 from 2,04,319 weavers in 2009-10 and 2,11,148 looms in 2019-20 from 1,90,634 in 2009-10.

          He said that the increase in number of weavers only show the standing of handloom in our society.

          Biswajit also observed that the handloom/textile sector is second to only agriculture as a source of livelihood.

          Encouraging the youth, Biswajit said that no skilled labour or worker will remain idle. He said if all workers become skilled

Acknowledging the efforts and support of the weavers,

Seeking support and cooperation of all, Biswajit said that the department cannot survive alone and needs cooperation and sharing of ideas with all.

Biswajit also explained various schemes and programmes including Mission for Economic Empowerment of Traditional Artisans & Craftsmen (MEETAC), Delivery Scheme among others. He also talked about the upcoming MANITEX.

Director Lamlee Kamei delivered the welcome address.

The programme was also attended by MHHDC Ltd. Chairman S.Rajen Singh as president, KVIB, Chairman L.Radhakishore Singh, MANIDCO Ltd. Chairman Dr.Radheshyam Yumnam and Kshetrigao A/C MLA Nahakpam Indrajit as guests of honour. Principal Secretary (Textiles, Commerce and Industries) P.Vaiphei attended as the chief host.

Meanwhile, as part of the programme Project Managers District Handlooms and Textiles, Manipur, WSC Imphal were honoured in recognition of their contribution in the field.

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