The 15-day-long 11th Manipur Winter Shumang Leela Festival has begun.
Organised by the Manipur State Shumang Leela Council at the Iboyaima Shumang Leela Shanglen, the inaugural function was attended by Agriculture Minister Mohammad Abdul Nasir, the Chairman of the Manipur Pollution Control Board, Dr. Ng. Bijoy Singh and social worker S. Manaoton, who were the chief guest, president and guest of honour respectively.
Speaking on the occasion, Nasir said sports, art and culture play an important role in the development of society.
"There is a need for promoting and preserving the art and culture of Manipur and the Shumang Leela is making immense contribution to the development of art and culture of the society," he said.
In order to preserve it,he assured that he would approach Chief Minister O. Ibobi Singh to extend financial support through this year's budget allocation.
He said that the Shumang Leela Festival imparts various messages to the public, and so, there is a need for strengthening this art form to showcase Manipur's culture internationally.
On the first day of the festival, the Chakpa Makhao Ngambi play of the Iramdam Manipur Artiste Association was showcased.
Chakpa Makhao Ngambi was married to the King of Burma (Awah) on the assurance that Burmese King would make her the Queen of the Awa Kingdom, and her son would be crowned as the King of Awah. It was also assured that seven disputed villages would be returned back to Manipur King. However, she became the root cause of a war between Manipur and Burma.
In this week-long event, 12 Shumang Leela organisations are participating, showcasing their respective plays.
As on today, around 13 Shumang Leela groups still carry on with their age-old traditions.