Chief Minister N Biren inaugurated the First Chief Minister’s Sagol Kangjei Championship 2022 at the Manung Kangjeibung located in Kangla yesterday. The championship, organized by the All Manipur Polo Association (AMPA) as part of the Sangai Festival 2022, will continue for 10 days until November 27. The event is organized under the theme of Save Manipuri Pony, Save Grazing Field, and Revive Sagol Kangjei.
Sagol Tongba Police in Manipur
The Chief Minister also inaugurated the Sagol Tongba Police (Manipur Mounted Police), which will be used to maintain law and order in Imphal city and will also be a tourist attraction during the Sangai Festival 2022. Speaking on the occasion, CM Biren said that the championship would be a memorable event in the history of Manipur as Sagol Kangjei’s match was brought up after a long time. He thanked the AMPA for organizing such an important Sagol Kangjei championship. Asserting that Polo was taken from the Sagol Kangjei of Manipur is a known fact, he said that the people of Manipur are not in the habit of bringing up or feeling proud of their own belongings.
CM N Biren tweeted, ” It’s a historic day for Manipur! Continuing our mission to save and promote the indigenous game of Sagol Kangjei, inaugurated the 1st CM’s Sagol Kangjei Championship at Manung Kangjeibung, Kangla in the presence of Hon’ble Ministers, MLAs, Scholars & esteemed dignitaries.”
Idea behind Sagol Kangjei Championship
He argued that Sagol Kangjei is not only a game but also symbolizes the role of the Manipuri Sagol (pony) and the warfare techniques that the Manipuri soldiers possessed to defend the sovereignty of Manipur during ancient times. Manipuri ponies have always been part of the civilization and culture of the state, he added.
The Chief Minister stressed the need to promote Sagol Kangjei, adding that through this, we could give a message to the world about who we are and the civilizational steps that the state has taken since time immemorial. He went on to say that the state government has made various efforts to maintain a healthy relationship between different communities, adding that some vested interest forces have always been trying to disintegrate the unity among different communities.
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Stating that the state government had organized various events in different places in connection with the upcoming 2022 edition of Sangai Festival, he added that the Sagol Kangjei Championship is meant to promote the importance of preserving the game and the endangered breed of Manipuri pony.
Speaking of the Sagol Tongba Police (Manipur Mounted Police) launched on Friday, CM Biren added that each Manipur Rifle Battalion would be tasked with rearing 10 ponies each. He added that the state government has taken some steps to preserve the pony. He also tweeted about the Sagol Tongba Police, “Absolutely delighted to introduce the Manipur Mounted Police at Kangla today. Our forefathers defended Manipur from various invaders, riding ponies and weapons such as the Arambai. The mounted police team is introduced in honor of their legacy and our rich traditions and culture.”
Concluding his speech, CM N Biren appealed to the public to live together peacefully as one, leaving aside all communal views and thinking and contributing to taking the State towards development.
In his presidential speech, Rajya Sabha Member of Parliament Maharaja Leishemba Sanajaoba expressed his happiness at the organization of the Sagol Kangjei Championship under the supervision of the Chief Minister, adding that the game seemed to lose its relevance for a long time. He said hosting the Sagol Kangjei Championship every year would help preserve the pony and also promote Sagol Kangjei, showing the world that Manipur is the birthplace of modern polo.
Maharaja Leishemba Sanajaoba also tweeted about the event, “Pleased to join with our Hon CM Manipur Shri @NBirenSingh at the opening ceremony of the 1st Chief Minister’s Sagol Kangjei (Traditional Manipuri Style of Polo) Championship 2022 at the Manung Kangjeibung (Inner Pologround) of Kangla.Manipuri Sagol Kangjei is 5122 yrs old game.”
The program was attended by cabinet ministers, MLAs, senior civil and police officials of the state government, academicians, AMPA members, and veteran Sagol Kangjei players, among others. During the program, the Chief Minister honored Sagol Kangjei veterans with citations and cash rewards, honoring their contribution to promoting the game. Cultural programs were also presented before the inaugural match of Sagol Kangjei Championship between Chingkhei Hunba Polo Club and Imphal East Polo Association.
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