DESAM demands public apology from designer for 'misinterpreting' Meitei Phanek as fashion wear

Professionalism, modernisation and human rights are complementary to one another and they should go hand in hand but should not jeopardise the core cultural values and tradition, DESAM stated.


Strongly condemning the modification of traditional Meitei Phanek ‘Mayek Naiba’ into mini skirt and coat, and Rani Phi into Kurta, the Democratic Students' Alliance of Manipur (DESAM) has urged the Manipur government to take action against it.

DESAM stated tha a self-proclaimed designer named Priyanka Anna Joseph has allegedly misinterpreted the Meitei Phanek (Mayek Naiba) in social media and disregarded the cultural significance of it.

Pointing out that Priyanka modified Mayek Naiba into a mini skirt and coat and Rani Phi into Kurta. DESAM strongly condemned such an act and treated it as a threat and disrespect to the cultural rights and tradition of Meitei.

Demanding that the designer should apologise publicly, the DESAM stated in a release signed by it secretary general Leishangthem Lamyanba Meitei that the designer hurt the sentiment of the Meitei community as Mayek Naiba Phanek is worn only on cultural or formal functions to signify their identity and sometimes politically as signifying resistance.

"Meiteis always regard the Phanek as distinctive sacred things and there is a belief that a piece of torn Phanek is said to protect their sons and daughters. The Meitei Pangal community also stands proud of the Phanek Mayek Naiba as their cultural heritage," the DESAM stated while lamenting that the act of recreation is unacceptable. To mock and disrespect one's culture is highly condemnable, the release added.

Professionalism, modernisation and human rights are complementary to one another and they should go hand in hand but should not jeopardise the core cultural values and tradition, it said.

First Published:June 17, 2021, 1:15 a.m.

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