Imphal, Aug 31: Despite reeling under violence that threatens to fragment the border state on ethnic lines, Manipur joined the rest of the country in celebrating unity in diversity through the symbolic 'Meri Maati Mera Desh' campaign.
Launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on August 9, the nationwide campaign is conceived as a culminating event of the ‘Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav’ to pay tribute to those great heroes who have made the supreme sacrifice for their motherland.
Even as the state has to maintain buffer zones to maintain fragile peace in the foothills abutting the valley districts and the hills inhabited by the Kuki-Chin-Zo community amid the ongoing strife, the state government collected ‘Maati’ or soil from all its 16 districts, including the hotbeds of the recent violence - Churachandpur, Tengnoupal, Kangpokpi and Pherzawl - to symbolically display the territorial integrity of the state.
The focus of the programme, held on Thursday at the Manipur State Film Development Society (MSFDS) auditorium in Imphal, was the display of 388 different batches of soil collected from the 16 districts, as the dignitaries, comprising Cabinet ministers, MLAs and top bureaucrats, paid homage to them.
As part of the campaign, soil from the state will be taken to the Kartavya Path in Delhi where an 'Amrit Vatika' would be developed by planting different indigenous trees in the mixture of different soils brought from every part of the country.
Addressing the gathering, Chief Minister N. Biren Singh emphasised the importance of collective efforts towards nation-building and development.
He said unity among the indigenous communities is essential to protect the motherland and it is the moral obligation of all to ensure its safekeeps.
Singh also expressed pride on the successful soft landing of Chandrayaan-3 on the lunar South Pole and congratulated the state’s native, Raghu Ningthoujam, for being part of the prestigious ISRO mission as a project manager.