Miss Lily 2019 participants at the grooming session held in Imphal, Manipur recently Credit: EastMojo image

Imphal: Manipur is all set to celebrate one of the most extravagant festivals of the season in the state by showcasing the once-deeply rooted ancestral culture of the people, particularly the Tangkhul Naga community.

The 3rd Shirui Lily festival, which is being organised by Manipur State Tourism Department, is scheduled to be held in Ukhrul district from October 16 to 19 this year.

As part of the festival, 19 girls will vie for the top spot of ‘Miss Lily 2019’ beauty pageant. Organised by the Indigenous Foundation, the event aims to celebrate the beauty of the endangered state flower ‘Shirui Lily’ and also to build a platform for the young girls who wish to explore their potential in the world of fashion.

On Monday, EastMojo had an opportunity to meet the 19 finalists who went grooming sessions at Classic Hotel in Imphal.

These girls are being trained by experts on various topics, including soft skills, public speaking, beauty for humanity, women empowerment and so on, and will showcase their best performances during Miss Lily 2019, the grand finale of which will be held at Tangkhul Naga Long (TNL) ground in the hill district on October 18.

On being asked the meaning of celebrating the festival, Maya Chanu, contestant No 14, quickly said: “Shirui Lily festival is all about unity when we have a cultural, traditional and emotional attachment. And I would like to appeal everyone that it’s time to come together and change our way of thinking because together as a community, we will have a micro effect to save our endangered state flower Shirui lily and also to promote the hill district as the best tourist destination of our state.”

“We are so happy and excited to be part of this journey. Miss Lily 2019, which is a beauty for humanity, is a representation of women with a beautiful heart. And despite our indifferences, we are more like sisters now after coming here, “added Yanmila Shadang, contestant No 11.

Commenting on how effective the grooming sessions are for them and how it has shaped as an individual overall, Rinsemphy Sasah, contestant No 2, said, “For me, grooming session has been such a blessing time of the year. I get to meet so many people with different personalities. And the way they (experts) groomed us, motivate and tried to improve us is such a wonderful thing. And I am loving it to be part of this team.”

“My best experience during the grooming session is about the session on women empowerment. We were taught about how women should be empowered and stand up against any such social inequalities. It was such an encouragement and motivated session and I hope we all improve ourselves from this session not just for the contest but for future as well,” added Gaisinglungliu A Panmei, contestant No 9 of the upcoming ‘Miss Lily 2019’ beauty pageant.

According to the organisers, a series of auditions were held in various places, including Ukhrul, Imphal and New Delhi. Of the many applicants who wished to be part of the scintillating event, 19 were finally selected for the grand finale.

“I joined this beauty pageant because as a person, I want to have a sense of fulfilment and achievement in my life. I want to widen my social horizon and to be more confident and to develop my social esteem,” said Wungchanphy Lungleng, contestant No 13.

Meanwhile, some of the participants also disclosed their plan in case of winning the coveted title.

Chanchui Khayi, contestant No 4, said: “If I win the title, I will gain a lot of confidence and a better person overall. And throughout the session, I have learnt so much about being a woman and the essence of being one of them. Whatever I have learnt from here, I think I would be able to spread and channelise to whomever people I meet and be able to genuinely spread a smile to everyone I meet along the way.”

“If I win a title, I want to spearhead a campaign in my place on the use of plastic. Because the use of plastic has caused a severe hazard on environment and health. With such campaign, it will spread awareness on the use of plastic and its effect to masses and make a better place to live in,” Pretty Inkah, contestant No 17 added.

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