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To the organization that helped shape the politics and destiny of women’s movement in its land and beyond; that represents the voice of women in the hills of Ukhrul; that has built a history of struggle and resistance against militarization and injustice from 1974 and continues to do so: we write this letter to appeal with good intent; remembering and recalling families grappling with life and livelihood issues on an everyday basis.
Reminding ourselves of the economic and social difficulties our people-especially women-struggle with, we seek an alternative from the ‘Philava Hunt/ Miss Shirui Lily/ /Miss Spring’ in Shirui Lily Festival, to events that persuade wider participation of women with talents and promote collective good.
We hold that beauty contests as a concept are disconnected from the indigenous peoples’ worldview and it distorts our present social realities. It imposes upon us the idea of what a beautiful woman is. We believe that beauty and dignity should not be graded and we do not wish for anyone to parade in our land, for the state and spectators to qualify as ‘Miss’ even if they willingly participate. But we wish for every woman in our land to grow in their own strength and grace and help others who are disadvantaged.
The Tangkhul Shanao Long as an organization that gave a different life and meaning to the idea of dignity and beauty of women, that it is about fighting everyday injustices, must also help shape the way such festivals are held. The organization should guide how it is celebrated and aid in working out events that is relevant to our struggle, culture and history, even if the festival is sponsored by the state. We feel that the aims and objectives of the festival must reflect our lives and the life of the Shirui Lily and must be able to direct us all to a shared future.
We look forward to a more vibrant Lily festival that embraces every people, from all backgrounds and women be respected like the Shirui Lily without the need categorize them.
We sincerely hope that TSL would act wisely and let every woman grow!
T.Ningreichon, Chingri Vashum, Chonchuirinmaya Luithui, Yuimi Vashum, Seema Ks Awungshi, Mathingmi Shimzing