GUWAHATI: The annual colourful event, ‘Sikpui Ruoi’ (post-harvest festival of the Hmars), was celebrated at NEZCC Shilpgram, Panjabari, here recently. The theme for the occasion was ‘Service to Humanity’, which is the motto of the Hmar Welfare Society, Guwahati (HWSG).
It may be appropriately recalled here that, outside of the Sixth Schedule Areas, ‘Sikpui Ruoi’ was officially declared for the first time as a ‘Restricted Holiday’ (RH) in the state of Assam on 29.11.18 vide Gazette notification issued by the Governor of Assam, stated a release.
Earlier, ‘Sikpui Ruoi’ was an occasion for merry making with free flowing of rice beer to celebrate a year of ‘bountiful harvest’. After embracing Christianity, the manner of celebration underwent a sea change. In contemporary times, the occasion is invariably solemnized by paying obeisance to the Almighty and thanksgiving. This year, Pastor Fimthasang Infimate invoked God’s blessings with an opening prayer.
After the opening song, “Kan tlangram mawi (Our beautiful meandering hills)”, Pu James L Neingaite (Chairman, Sikpui Ruoi Organising Committee) delivered the welcome speech.
‘Sikpui Ph’ (Chief Host), Thanghlun Hmar (IRS), Dy. Commissioner, IT (B.P.), sounded the traditional gong and officially declared the festivities open. Speaking on the occasion as ‘Sikpui Pa’ & Chairman (HWSG), he narrated the history, purpose and contrast in the manner of celebration before and after the advent of Christianity among the members of the Hmar community. He stated that, ‘Sikpui Ruoi’ in one way of preserving and ensuring continuity of the rich culture and traditions of the Hmar community.
‘Khuol Lien (Chief Gnest), Lalthlirlien Darngawn (AFS, Sr. Financial Adviser, Govt. of Assam) officially released the H.W.S.G. Constitution 2019 (amended version). In his speech, he narrated the history of ‘Sikpui Ruoi’ and its significance for the Hmar community. He emphasised the need to preserve and promote one’s culture as they are our roots and identity.
A brief secretarial report was given by Joshua Neitham (Secretary, H.W.S.G.). This was followed by election of H.W.S.G. lenders for 2020-21 and an oath-taking ceremony.
For the year 2019, in recognition of their selfless service to the infirm by way of blood donation, 16 individuals were felicitated by the ‘Blood Donors Club’ (B.D.C.) — an initiative of H.W.S.G. Pastor Vanlalsang Khuptong concluded the first session with a closing prayer.
The second session began with an opening song, ‘Thangruolin lungruolin’ (One heart, one mind). After the crowd was enthralled by the skilled dancers of H.S.A. Jt. Hqrs., Guwahati Cultural Dance Troupe, the ‘H.S.A. Year Planner’ calendar was officially unveiled.
The ‘Sikpui Nopui’ (Sikpui Cup) was awarded to six individuals in recognition of their chivalrous acts during 2019. A cultural event showcasing the rich, diverse and beautiful traditional garments was on full display. From among several shortlisted individuals who have contributed selflessly to the society during 2019, after a question-and-answer round from the judges, Lalzuithang and Lalnghatkim were finally selected as Mr. & Mrs. Sikpui Ruoi 2019 respectively. Representatives of sister organisations present on the occasion delivered greetings and well-wishes.