- NET Web Desk
The Manipur Governor La. Ganesan inaugurated “All Manipur Shumang Leela Festival 2020-21” at Iboyaima Shumang Leela Shanglen at Palace Compound.
Speaking during the event, the governor referred ‘Shumang Leela’ – a theatrical form, which is as popular as Jatra of Bengal, Tamasha of Maharastra, Bhavi of Madhya Pradesh and Nautanki of Uttar Pradesh.
“Over the years, it has become a powerful medium for mass education besides providing entertainment and relaxation,” he said.
Generally held in courtyard of residential houses, the groups exclusively incorporating of male artists, play female role with ease, asserted the governor while expressing his happiness.
The Governor appreciated the fact that present-day Shumang Leela is 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.”
Shumang Leela or Shumang Kumhei is a traditional form of theatre in Manipur, which is arranged in open air.
Prevalent since the time of monarchical rule in Manipur, the roles are played by males, sometimes dressed as ladies.
If historical reports are taken into context, the proper form of Shumang Leela had its inception in 1895 A.D.
It is pertinent to note that in 2017, Shougrakpam Hemanta became the first person to receive the prestigious Sangeet Natak Akademi Award, in recognition of his contribution towards this art form.