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Manipur Governor inaugurates Shumang Leela festival

Shumang Leela generally was held in the courtyard of residential houses. Originally, it started as a comic genre presented to the kings and noblemen which ultimately developed into the present form.

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Imphal: Governor La Ganesan Sunday inaugurated the 49thAll Manipur Shumang Leela Festival,2020-21 at Iboyaima Shumang Leela Shanglen. The festival is organised by Manipur  State Kala Akademi.

The Governor applauded the organizers and stated that it is worthwhile to recall how it flourished in the state. Shumang Leela is as popular as Jatra of Bengal, Tamasha of Maharastra, Bhavi of Madhya Pradesh and Nautanki of Uttar Pradesh.

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Shumang Leela generally was held in the courtyard of residential houses. Originally, it started as a comic genre presented to the kings and noblemen which ultimately developed into the present form.

Over the years, it has become a powerful medium for mass education besides providing entertainment and relaxation. Stories of Harischandra, Sati Savitri, Ram, Prahlada and episodes from the Mahabharata, Ramayana and other mythologies were successfully staged through this medium. The immortal love story of Khamba and Thoibi and other historical events related to Moirang were also conveniently used by Shumang Leelas in the style called “ Moirang Parva”.

The old groups of Shumang Leelas preserved and promoted humanism, tolerance, confidence, devotion truth and justice through their performance and also contributed their best for the betterment of society and this needs to be remembered by the present Shumang Leela activists with gratitude, he added.

The Governor expressed happiness to learn the unique feature of Shumang Leela Groups that are exclusively composed of male artistes who play female roles with ease. Groups comprising entirely of females have also come up and they have become a prominent feature in many festivals. He further expressed his sadness by stating that it is unfortunate to learn that only 14 female groups will participate in the festival due to COVID- 19 pandemic.

He expressed hope that the present Shumang Leela festival will provide good opportunity for the performers to show their artistic talents to the audience and also to standardize the present Manipur Shumang Leela.

The Governor expressed his happiness on learning that the present day Sumang Leelas are trying to focus on the issues of moral values, unity and integrity as well as brotherhood and friendship among various communities in the State with the aim and objective of strengthening the very fabric which binds the people of the state together. It acts as a catalyst in bringing about peace and harmony in society and hopes that it will continue its endeavour to achieve the goal. Since the State is passing through difficult times, the need of the hour is to do away with issues that blemish our aged- old peaceful co-existence and it is the responsibility of every citizen irrespective of caste, creed or religion to contribute their best their respective capacities with sincerity, discipline and confidence for ensuring peace in the state.

The inaugural function was also attended by MLA Karam Shyam, as President. As a part of the programme 25 artists were awarded best actors, supporting actors, best lyricist, best Director, best script, best Productions and best actor in comic roles. The function was also attended many dignitaries  and the general public.

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