WWl event ends amid flurry of homages, cultural extravaganza
R LESTER MAKANG
UKHRUL, 7th Nov: A flurry of solemn homages to the 1200 Tangkhul Labour Corps, aptly interspersed with myriad cultural songs and dance performances, brought the curtains down on the twoday Centenary celebration of the World War l Tangkhul Naga Labour Corps (1917-18) & Other Labour Corps of the Manipur Labour Corps Company at TNL ground in the district headquarters town on Wednesday. The valedictory function was attended by Manipur Legislative Assembly Speaker Yuman Khemchand as chief guest, while Chingai MLA Khashim Vashum, Phungyar MLA Leishiyo Keishing and Ukhrul MLA Alfred Arthur attended as guests of honour. On arriving at the commemoration venue, Speaker Khemchand along with the district’s three MLAs paid homage to the Labour Corps at the memorial located at the northern fringe of TNL ground which has been constructed in honour of the Tangkhul Labour Corps. The closing ceremony was also attended by Ukhrul ADC (UADC) vice-chairman M Isaac as functional president, while UADC EM SP Mashunngam and councillors Dr Yaronsho Ngalung, Thanchipem Jagoi and Ramshang were among the special guests. "We learn that in the First World War, a total of 2000 men from Manipur served as labour corps and out of this, as many as 1200 of them were from Ukhrul district. As such, the historic participation of Tangkhul men in the war shows that Tangkhuls had a crucial role in the administration of the state," Khemchand stated in his speech before a mammoth gathering of descendants of the labour corps and the public. He further attributed the mass participation of Tangkhuls in the battle to the wisdom of the American missionary Rev William Pettigrew who had the convincing power to win over his students to take part in the war.
Khemchand also wished prosperity for the descendants of the labour corps in the glories of the heroic deeds of their ancestors
Lauding the WWI-Tangkhul Naga Labour Corps Association for the successful commemoration of the brave men through the Centenary celebration, the Speaker also assured every possible assistance to the association from his side.
In their addresses, MLAs Khashim Vashum and Leishiyo Keishing also expressed personal gratitude and remembrance of the Tangkhul Labour Corps who earned laurels not just for the district but for the entire state.
In what added grist to the celebration's mill, a mosaic of cultural displays in the form of 'Kharar Laa', 'Tallu Kakhong' and folk dance performances by different cultural troupes from various villages enthralled the dignitaries and the public alike.
In a display of traditional Tangkhul hospitality, the dignitaries comprising Speaker Khemchand, and MLAs Khashim, Leishiyo and Alfred Arthur and ADC vice chairman M Isaac, EM SP Mashunngam and councillors Dr Yaronsho Ngalung, Thanchipem Jagoi and Ramshang and others were invited out to the ground and served a rare variety of indigenous rice beer by the Huishu cultural dance troupe.
As part of the commemoration, a cultural musical extravaganza was held later in the evening wherein popular Tangkhul singers including Guru Rewben Mashangva, Thangmeiso Shanglai, Ngathingpam Tangva, Thotreiso Keishing, Nimzingla Horam, Johnny Dilbung and others regaled the audience with their chart busting songs and musical performances.