TODAY -

Manipur Sankirtana artistes, Gurus continue to uphold the art form
Source: The Sangai Express

Imphal, December 06 2019: Manipur Sankirtana, a form of performing art which has been recognised and included in the UNESCO's Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, is a popular art form in the State and Sankirtana artistes and Gurus have spend a life time to strengthen and uphold the art.

In the recently observed International Sankirtana Day, numerous artistes performed and showcased Sankirtana by playing instruments and singing at the same time.

With "Celebrating Sankirtana of Manipur: India's Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity" as the theme, Intellectual Forum of North East, Department of Sankirtana, Manipur University of Culture, Department of Dance and Music, Manipur University and Manipur Citizen Forum organised Nata Sankirtana Day at the Banquet Hall, 1st MR, Imphal with Governor Dr Najma Heptulla as the chief guest.



Manipur Sankirtana artistes, Gurus continue to uphold the art form
Manipur Sankirtana artistes, Gurus continue to uphold the art form


Meanwhile, Art and Culture Department also organised the 6th International Sankirtana Day at Government Dance College, Palace Compound while JNMDA Imphal organised similar observation at its auditorium.

Other organisations and groups also organised similar celebrations to commemorate the inclusion of Manipur Sankirtana in the UNESCO's Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

Speaking to The Sangai Express about this subject, Jawaharlal Nehru Manipur Dance Academy Imphal senior Guru as well as Director cum senior Guru of Guru Gulapi Nata Sankirtana Academy Kwakeithel, Leimapokpam Lakpati conveyed that the forefathers and Gurus have been performing Sankirtana since time immemorial through ritual singing, drumming and dancing to mark religious occasions and various stages in the life.

With time, different styles of Sankirtana were collected and compiled to create Maharaj Rajarshi Bhagyachandra Nata Sankirtana, he said.

Guru Leimapokpam Lakpati continued that, unlike the earlier way of performing Sankirtana which was done by a group of 64 singers/dancers including two drummers, a group of about 32 or 16 or 8 singer-dancers perform Sankirtana with two drummers in a hall or domestic courtyard encircled by seated devotees.

Maintaining that Nata Sankirata performers dress in all white, he said that the artistes narrate the lives and deeds of the god through song and dance.

He further stated that Sankirtana was included in the Representative List of the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity during the 8th session of the UNESCO Intergovernmental Committee meeting in December 2013.He maintained that two male Pala artistes showcased breathtaking performances during the celebration at JNMDA auditorium.

On the other hand, retired Professor of MU Nongmaithem Tombi, while speaking to The Sangai Express about International Sankirtana Day celebration stated that it is rather fortunate for the future generation and a proud art form, which the forefathers have left for the people of the State.

Different styles of Sankirtana are performed at different ceremonies, Tombi added.

Conveying that the recognition of Sankirtana by UNESCO is an indication of persevering the art form, he lauded UNESCO for including in its Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

On the other hand, Nata Sankirtana is included as a subject in JNMDA in which talented and eligible Gurus are spreading their knowledge to many aspiring artistes, he noted.

He opined the need of opening a course on Sankirtana at Government Dance College and Manipur University if not available.

The retired Professor further stressed on the need for an inclusive effort to uphold and promote Manipur Sankirtana.


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