It was Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s mask that caught everyone’s attention, especially in Manipur, when he addressed the nation on Tuesday.
During his address to the nation, Modi was wearing a “Lengyan”- a traditional Manipuri scarf- which is held in high esteem by the Meiteis.
This traditional Manipuri scarf signifies love, dignity and respect.
Thanking the Prime Minister via a tweet, Manipur Chief Minister N Biren Singh wrote, “My sincere appreciation and salute to the Hon’ble PM @narendramodiji for using Manipuri Meitei Lengyan which is a traditionally and culturally symbolic one, while addressing the nation today. It shows how much our PM loves and care for the NE particularly Manipur.”
My sincere appreciation and salute to the Hon'ble PM @narendramodi ji for using Manipuri Meitei Lengyan which is a traditionally and culturally symbolic one, while addressing the nation today. It shows how much our PM loves and care for the NE particularly Manipur ?. pic.twitter.com/aHA4ikLCuN
— N.Biren Singh (@NBirenSingh) April 14, 2020
“The Prime Minister often says Manipuris) guard the border for the nation,” said RK Shiva Chandra, a traditionalist and convenor of Act East Policy Committee.
“This gesture of the Prime Minister was heart-warming. By wearing the lengyan, Modi extended his love and respect to everyone guarding the country’s border,” Chandra added.
Eminent Manipuri fashion designer Robert Naorem, speaking on it said, “He has recognised the weaving tradition of Manipur.”
“Prime Minister Modi wearing the lengyan means a lot to us,” Naorem said while speaking to the media.
“This gesture was a huge support, not only to the people of Manipur but also the weavers and this will inspire and motivate them,” he added.
Similar feelings were echoed by Lourembam Bedabati, a world-renowned Manipuri folk singer.
“It was a matter of pride for us as lengyan is a symbol of unity of all indigenous communities of Manipur,” she said.
Appreciating Modi, Congress spokesperson Ningombam Bupenda Meitei tweeted, “Proud to see Prime Minister @narendramodi ji wearing our traditional Meitei muffler (called Meitei lengyan in Manipuri, which is popularly known as leirung phee) while addressing the nation.”
— Ningombam Bupenda Meitei (@BupendaMeitei) April 14, 2020
Lengyan is mostly worn by the Manipuri men and it consists of different colours and has a red borderline and it is very common in Manipuri weddings as well.
The Prime Minister, in general, is seen to be wearing the traditional Assamese gamosa and it took everybody by surprise when he wore the lengyan.
The surprise, as many said, was a pleasant one as it showed the love and respect the Prime Minister has for the entire northeast.