Manipur: Shumang Leela has become powerful medium for mass education, says Guv
La Ganesan and N Biren Singh (left to right)

Imphal: Manipur Governor La Ganesan has said that Shumang Leela has become a powerful medium for mass education besides entertainment and relaxation.

He was speaking as chief guest at the inaugural function of the 50th All Manipur Shumang Leela Festival 2021-2022 held on Saturday at Iboyaima Shumang Leela Shanglen at Palace Compound in Imphal.

Governor Ganesan said originally Shumang Leela started as a comic genre presented before the kings and noblemen, which ultimately developed into the present form of courtyard-enacted play.

He said, “Shumang Leela groups of those days attempted to preserve and promote humanism, tolerance, confidence, devotion, truth and justice through their performances.”

Stating that Shumang Leela has, today, developed both theatrically and artistically, Ganesan said that the present-day Shumang Leelas have been trying to focus on the issues of moral values, unity and integrity. 

It has also been trying to strengthen the bond of brotherhood and friendship among various communities of the state. Hence, it acts as a catalyst in bringing peace and harmony to society. It is the responsibility of all of us irrespective of caste, creed, religion and language to preserve and promote the unity and integrity of the state, he added.

The Governor also appealed to all sections of the people of Manipur to contribute their best in their respective capacities with sincerity, discipline and confidence for ensuring peace in Manipur, so that the state can move towards progress and prosperity. He also thanked the Manipur State Kala Akademi (MSKA) for their relentless efforts in organising festivals, exhibitions, seminars, and workshops and instituting awards and scholarships for personalities in the field of art and culture over the years.

Chief Minister N Biren Singh, while speaking at the function, said the Shumang Leela festival is an encouraging event in the field of art & culture in the state. He said the Shumang Leela is a vital art form and has been playing a great role in educating people in many aspects of life and also in bringing reforms in society. 

Stating that Shumang Leela is an effective medium for mass awareness and education, CM Biren Singh said, “Even during the COVID-19 pandemic, the medium played a great role in educating people about the disease and how it can be minimised. Women’s participation in this art form is very much encouraging and it will definitely help to bring about a change in society.”

Singh said the government is committed to extend support to the artists in the state. He said CM’s Pension Scheme for Artists has been implemented and separate budgetary allocation has been made for organising Shumang Leela Festival. 

“Under AYUSHMAN BHARAT and CMHT, all artists will be covered and health cards will be issued. Though the state has limited resources, steps to extend help to the artistes will be taken up in the future too.”

The Governor distributed medals to the winners of the 49th All Manipur Shumang Leela Festival, 2020-21. Altogether 25 Shumang Leela Groups-11 male and 14 female- were participating in the festival that is being organised by MSKA as a part of its Golden Jubilee Celebration.

M Joy, Commissioner (Art & Culture), L Kishorjit Singh, Director, Art & Culture, artists and students attended the inaugural function of the festival. 

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