IMPHAL, Aug. 14 -- Manipur State Sumang Leela Council today observed Patriots' Day at Iboyaima Shumang Leela Shanglen, Palace Compound.

The programme began with a tree sapling plantation followed by offering of floral tributes to the portrait of Bir Tikendrajit and Thangal General. As a part of the programme, a play "Mareipak Ningba Koirengsana" was presented.

Delivering his speech as chief guest of the function, minister art and culture, L. Jayantakumar Singh said that unique art form of the state, Shumang Leela (Courtyard play) plays important role in building unity and integrity of this State which is settled by diverse communities. Through this medium, sense of nationalism and patriotism can be injected to the youth of the State, he said.

He said that the state government is going to discuss about promotion and preservation of various art forms of the State with the union minister of Tourism and Art and Culture, who will be in the soon visiting the State for two days, though the date has not been fixed yet. "If Shumang Leela artist could present a very interesting play during his visit, it would be a great opportunity for the State," he suggested and further stated that the state government is also aiming to establish a school of Shumang Leela.

Recalling the history of the State, he said that all the historical events prove the wars broke out due to tussle for power and eventually reducing the life of the people into a state of mere dependency. Keeping those instances as experience, the present generation must think of building a strong unity and integrity among all ethnic groups.

He expressed his desire that the Patriots' Day will be more meaning if tributes are also paid to the unsung heroes by all irrespective of caste, creed, religion etc.

The titular King of the state, Leishemba Sanajaoba said that the State has less than 30 lakh population but it is again divided into various ethnic lines. "The State will never be progress unless people have the sense of unity in diversity," he stated.

Other dignitaries attended in the function were vice-chairman of SALAI Holdings Pvt. Ltd, Elangbam Brojendro and managing director, Iboyaima Hospital and Research Centre, Hero Thokchom as guests of honour.

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