In News: Recently Lai Haraoba festival was celebrated in Agartala, Tripura by the Meitei community.

About Lai Haraoba:

  • Lai Haraoba means ‘Festivity of the Gods’ or merry making of Gods.
  • This festival is marked to celebrate the creation of the universe and the recollection of the evolution of plants, animals and human beings.
  • The festival is observed in the  honour of Umang Lai deity of the state.
    • Umang Lai are the sacred trees that are preserved for the local forest deities. The trees have a significant place in Sanamahism. 
    • The followers of the religion mainly worship elements of nature such as mountains, water and fire. 
    • According to the 2011 census, around 8% of Manipur's population are following Sanamahism.
  • During the festival, men and women dance in front of the idols of gods and goddesses and also perform dance drama, enactment of Khamba and Thoibi, the hero and the heroine of a popular folklore.

 About Meiteis:

  • Meiteis are the majority ethnic groups of the state of Manipur.
  • The community is spread across Assam, Tripura, Manipur, Meghalaya, Myanmar and Bangladesh. However, the festival is widely celebrated in the state of Manipur.
  • They speak Meiteilon (Manipuri), a Tibeto-Burman language. 
  • It is one of the officially recognized languages of India which was included in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution in 1992.
  • Constitutional provisions relating to Eighth Schedule: The Constitutional provisions relating to the Eighth Schedule occur in article 344(1) and 351 of the Constitution.
  • The Eighth Schedule to the Constitution consists of the following 22 languages:- (1) Assamese, (2) Bengali, (3) Gujarati, (4) Hindi, (5) Kannada, (6) Kashmiri, (7) Konkani, (8) Malayalam, (9) Manipuri, (10) Marathi, (11) Nepali, (12) Oriya, (13) Punjabi, (14) Sanskrit, (15) Sindhi, (16) Tamil, (17) Telugu, (18) Urdu (19) Bodo, (20) Santhali, (21) Maithili and (22) Dogri. 
  • Of these languages, 14 were initially included in the Constitution. The Sindhi language was added in 1967. 
  • Thereafter three more languages viz., Konkani, Manipuri, and Nepali were included in 1992. Subsequently, Bodo, Dogri, Maithili, and Santhali were added in 2004.