Guwahati: While the entire nation celebrated Diwali, the festival of lights, the valley districts of violence-hit Manipur erupted into a total blackout in the evening for 10 minutes from 6 pm to 6.10 pm as people, responding to the call of a civil society body, turned off their lights to show solidarity with the victims of the ongoing conflict.
Divergent to the previous years, the valley districts, this time, witnessed no grand Diwali festivities though the Meitei Vaishnavites observed the day at their respective homes in low-key worshipping Goddess Lakshmi.
The same symbolic way of showing solidarity with the strife victims will also be seen on Ningol Chakkouba, the biggest festival of the Manipuri women which falls on Wednesday as the people have declared to forgo it.
On the Ningol Chakkouba day, the Meitei women, particularly the married ones, attired in their best traditional clothes, move to their natal homes and enjoy a bunch of fish dishes with their siblings and parents.
With blessings and simple gifts given by their parents and brothers, the Ningols (women) return home in high spirits. A number of entertainment programmes like music concerts, Shumang Leela (Courtyard theatre), among others are also held during the festival.
The Co-Ordination Committee Against the Action of Chin Kuki Narco Terrorist and Illegal Immigrants on Sunday appealed to the people not to celebrate Diwali and Ningol Chakkouba this year.
Chana Lembi, Chairperson of the committee, said Diwali is one of the biggest festivals for Hindus across the globe to mark the victory of light over darkness and good over evil, but this year, the current strife has doused the festivities for the Hindus in the state.
For over six months, Manipur has been on the boil owing to the current crisis, Lembi said, adding that thousands of people have been rendered homeless and over one hundred were killed in the conflict which is a “dark chapter” in the history of the state.
To show solidarity with the sufferings of the displaced people and respect for the brave heroes who gave their lives for their motherland in the ongoing conflict, Lembi appealed to the people of the state to switch off their electric lights on Diwali from 6 pm to 6.10 pm.
A Meitei Vaishnavite in Imphal East district, Chaoba Sharma, said “Unlike the previous years, we only offered fruits and sweets and prayed Goddess Lakshmi today without dipping into jollity. There is no meaning at all to celebrate Diwali in a grand manner when over 60,000 people are displaced and have taken refuge at relief camps.”
Echoing Sharma, Kamla Devi said her family only celebrated Diwali in the humblest way with only offering prayers to Goddess Lakshmi.“
Besides Diwali, we will also not celebrate Ninglol Chakkouba this time,” she added.
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