Blooming Manipur, a community gardening project, was initially taken up as a European Manipuri Association (EMA) project for a period of 12 months to beautify the historic Ema Keithel (women’s market) at Imphal and build a sense of pride and belongingness.
Dr Bish Elangbam had discussed the idea with his brother Satyajit Elangbam after being inspired by the concept of Britain in Bloom, wherein local authorities encourage community gardening to brighten up streets, parks, markets etc across the country, and has resulted in making Britain more beautiful. ‘We discussed the feasibility and logistics, and agreed to propose it as the association project as a mark of gratitude to two individuals who have taken up posts within the EMA. We also thought that the project would be able to inspire many of our association members to undertake similar initiatives in places where they live, making Manipur brighter and more beautiful through community gardening .’
With time and after witnessing the success of the project, Blooming Manipur became an independent organisation with a small number of active members. The team co-ordinates with interested individuals and organisations who want to undertake community gardening activities.
Dr Bish Elangbam feels that Manipur needs this initiative now, more than ever. ‘In the last 2-3 decades, Manipur have witnessed a gradual deterioration in community based work, a diminishing public space and a lack of responsible activities that in the past had allowed public areas like the market and streets to thrive. This diminishing community spirit have led to children growing up in isolation with lesser contact with their neighbours and local community depriving a sense of belongingness to the place where they live. We hope Blooming Manipur’s gardening activities can help restore and promote healthy community activities and bring our community closer.’
Here are some community gardening activities initiated, supported or documented as inspired by Blooming Manipur –
- Community gardening project that was started in October 2012 at the historic and Asia’s largest women’s only market, along with many gardening events organised in and around this market.
- Supported activists of Blooming Moirang to plant flowers in hanging baskets in Thoibi Awun Keithel (market) at Moirang .
- Planting trees and flowers at the road median of Sendra LAmbi in the loving memory of Sir Jeremy Morse
- One kondhong (gate) – one flower at Chingmeirong Maning Leikai
- One shop- one flower at Kakching where the residents have now planted around 300 plants and flowers in and around the Kakching Keithel (market).
- Planting Bauhinia, Chingthrao trees at Heingang Ching (hill)
- Two wonderful individuals of Khangnabok planted shrubs and flowers in their local street for the last 2 years and have now become a local pride and are expanding to two neighbouring streets
- Planting flowers near a local school of Thamnapokpi, Bishnupur district.
- Planting flowers in a similar fashion to Ema Keithel at Thoubal Keithel (market) in 2013.
- Planting flowers and plants under the flyover of Imphal with green activists of LetPAintTheEArthGreen organisation.
Blooming Manipur is currently planning gardening activities in four market areas with the help of local residents. They also plan to increase the number of flowering trees planted at Heingang Ching, which is the spiritual centre of Polo.
They are more than happy to welcome like-minded people to become a part of the team so if you want to do your bit to beautify Manipur, then do get in touch with them.
Words: Meeta Borah