Everyone understands the innate beauty of such a day and all talk about it. At the same time everyone also talk how this beautiful day has been reduced to an exercise of flaunting one’s wealth and how it has literally become an occasion to ‘show off’ one’s wealth and how much presents one can bring. Or what presents one can give to one’s married sister or aunt or any female relative who has married and gone to settle with her husband.
To many it is no longer just about sharing a meal at one’s natal home but is more about bringing back presents, which may amount to the obnoxious. No wonder numerous films have been made crying out against such a practise and so do numerous Shumang Leelas. Yet the practise continues. So from the humble cloth that one may give as a present to one’s sister or aunt or any other married female relatives it has now ballooned to jewellery, the latest television model, refrigerator, sofa sets etc.
This is not only sickening but also defeats the noble and heart touching aspect of Ningol Chakkouba. Enough has been said on the rapidly materialistic interpretation given to Ningol Chakkouba and while voices against the prevailing practise will continue, it is also time for all particularly the Government to seriously think about opening a special market during the Ningol Chakkouba season, away from the already crowded Imphal. As Ningol Chakkouba follows the lunar calendar, the date of this day will differ from year to year, but this should not deter the Government from earmarking places where people may go shopping for Ningol Chakkouba. There may be one market for selling fish, one market for vegetables, one market to sell clothes, which are invariably given during this festival as gifts etc.
So come 2018, the Government should work to identify some places where these markets may be opened for weeks running up to Ningol Chakkouba. Say if next year Ningol Chakkouba falls on October 20, then the Government may open the special Ningol Chakkouba markets from the second week of October.
All customers intending to buy anything related with the festival may then head towards these markets. This will not only address the traffic congestion in Imphal but will also help the people to look beyond Imphal, particularly the commercial centres when they have to shop. As things stand today, all shoppers need to head to Thangal Keithel, Paona Keithel, BT Road, Khwairamband Keithel to buy anything ranging from nails and pails to TV sets or refrigerators.
The Government need to seriously look into this matter. Locate some places where the markets may be opened for Ningol Chakkouba and such an arrangement will surely go a long way in addressing the problem of traffic snarls on the roads of Imphal. As stated numerous times in this column, the fish mela held every year in connection with Ningol Chakkouba will also need to be shifted to some other place. It makes no sense to hold the fish mela plum in the heart of Imphal every year, multiplying the road congestion. Time to look beyond Imphal.
Source: The Sangai Express