Ukhrul: Veterinary and Transport minister, Khashim Vashum inaugurated the 1st edition of Haofa festival at Phungcham village on Thursday. Addressing the public, minister Khashim exhorted the villagers to protect and promote the famed Tangkhul Haofa (Safa meaning wild animal hunter) breed and streamline the local business through this unique and faithful dog.
Phungcham is one of the oldest villages in Manipur’s Ukhrul district, home to the Tangkhul Naga tribe.
Wungnaongam Horam, headman, Phungcham village attended function as the occasion chief host.
Haofa festival, organised for the first time by Phungcham Haofa Lovers Association (PHLA) in collaboration with Phungcham Village Authority, Phungcham VDC, Phungcham Shanao Long and Phungcham Katamnao Mayar Ngala Long will not only preserve its breed but boost local economy and attract more people in the years to come, he emphasised.
He also urged them to administer vaccine to the Haofa on time.
Khashim continued that La Ganesan, governor of Manipur and chief minister N. Biren Singh had recognised the Haofa breed specialties during the State Shirui Lily festival 2022.
Tangkhul Haofa is known for its gentleness, obedience and hunting skill. It also possess characteristics of bravery, freedom and have a strong sense of smell.
The programme was attended by Dr. S. Basanta Singh, central agriculture university; Dr Ng. Ibotombi Singh, directors, veterinary and animal husbandry service, Dr. Th. Ranadhir Singh, professor in-charge, livestock unit, NEC model farm, director of extension education, CAU, Imphal and colonel Manoj Shinde, commandant, 35 AR, Somsai as functional president, guests of honour and special guest respectively.
Asserting that BJP-led Manipur government is committed to develop Manipur hills and develop areas and places which have unique domesticated animals and places, Khashim urged villagers and people to give their co-operation.
As part of the festival, singers, Thangmeiso Shinglai entertained the public with his special hits. The local villagers also displayed sakhareng, wotrei kaphung and cultural items among others.
In his speech, Tennoson Pheirei, president, Phungcham Haofa Lovers Associations (PHLA) expressed his immense gratitude to minister Khashim for sponsoring the festival and made this a successful one. He also extended his gratitude to all the dignitaries for there august presence.
PHLA was established in October 2021 with the sole intent to protect, preserve and promote Haofa, the indigenous canine breed of Manipur’s Tangkhul community.
Since time immemorial, Haofa has been the loyal companion of our forefathers. In the earlier days haofa is fondly reared by Tangkhul community because of its gentleness, obedience and hunting skill, he recalled.
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Lately, their numbers have rapidly declined. But some individuals and other interested people from Phungcham village have started breeding Haofa to revive their dwindling numbers. Today, we have around 150 Haofa in Phungcham village alone and we can expect more in the years to come. The hunting skill of a male Haofa owned by legendary Shimreishang Zimik and the brave and ferocious male Haofa of Longyao Vashum is fondly remembered at Phungcham and is heard far and wide across Tangkhul community.
Haofa is little known to the outside world. Ursula Graham Bower had vividly recorded in her memoir way back in 1939. Other than that we don’t have any written record. Since we do not have any written record for the Tangkhul dog breed, it is not feasible to organise a competition. Therefore, we urgently need to set a standard of anatomy and morphology. How a perfect Haofa should look like and how it behaves unique to its breed, he pointed out.
Lately, many people have developed an interest in rearing Tangkhul Haofa. Even, the Assam Rifles have started ordering for procurement of the breed for their dog training Centre at Jorhat, Assam.
The directorate general, Assam Rifles, Laitkor, Shillong have also expressed its intend to purchase Haofa puppy at Rs. 9,000 per puppy through M/S Hollen Dog Training Centre situated at Khurai Nandeibam Leikai, Imphal.
Phungcham Haofa Lovers Association (PHLA) this year carried out free anti-rabies vaccination at Phungcham through the support and arrangement of minister Khashim. 100 shots of anti-rabies vaccine were provided to the association free of cost, he added.
The event was attended by Haofa lovers, neighbouring villagers and well-wishers.