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HLCF (Hueiyen Lanpao Columnists' Forum) for promotion of indigenous art forms
Source: Hueiyen News Service

Imphal, February 28 2013: Pressing for inclusion of 'Pena' and 'Khongjom Parva', two dying indigenous musical art forms of Manipur, in the curriculum of Government Music College as well as for framing a policy to save other dying indigenous art forms of Manipur, Hueiyen Lanpao Columnists' Forum yesterday submitted a memorandum to the Commissioner of Art & Culture, Government of Manipur.

In the memorandum signed jointly by its President B Jayantakumar Sharma and Secretary Seram Neken, the Forum pointed out that Manipur is known throughout the world for its rich cultural heritage in the form of music, dance and art.

But Pena is one of the most valuable and highly aesthetic art forms of the Meiteis and it embodies the rich heritage reflecting the mythology, philosophy, history, lifestyle, literature, martial art, festivities, healing practices, rituals and evolutionary theories pertaining to the Meitei community.

Every component of the instrument and every verse in Pena recital has its own aesthetic values.

So, an extensive research, rejuvenation and popularization of this age-old performing art are required for preserving the identity of the Manipuris, the memorandum, the copy of which has also been forwarded to the Director of Art and Culture, noted.

It went on to point out that Pena is not a mere musical instrument for entertaining the audience.

It signifies creation and evolution.

As a primordial art form, Pena had medicative values in the days of yore.

A Pena artiste is usually a healer of a variety of ailments.

It is said that the Meitei kings patronized this art form so much so that they used to accompany a Pena artiste while heading for voyages.

It is said that Chandrakirti Maharaja accompanied a Pena artiste in his Jilla Darbar trips for the purpose of interpreting topographies and also for entertaining him.

Pena may rightly be described as the royal court music of the Meiteis, as almost all civilized nationalities had such an institution.

Moreover, with academic and scientific studies on the art form, Pena may well be developed as a valuable world-class musical instrument.

It has all the elements of being at par with other contemporary classical music forms.

It is, however, unfortunate that such a valuable art form is dying in Manipur due to lack of patronage and academic research by the contemporary society.

The number of living Pena teachers and performers has been reduced to a great extent.

Pena Phamsak as a very important mode of performance is vanishing day by day.

At present, there is no institution for teaching Pena in the state.

Similarly, Khongjom Parva is also facing the same reality.

As such, almost all valuable indigenous performing art forms in Manipur are continuously vanishing, the memorandum lamented.

Considering the importance of rejuvenating this art form, Hueiyen Lanpao Columnists' Forum (HLCF) organized two interactive academic sessions on the aesthetic values of Pena on January 12, 2013 and February 24, 2013 respectively at the Literary Hall of Hueiyen Lanpao Daily.

Resourceful cultural activists, writers and columnists of the state participated in the programme called 'The Hueiyen Rendezvous 1 & 2' and expressed their desire for pressing the State Government to pay attention towards preservation of this highly valuable, but vanishing art form.

It is, therefore, resolved to submit the some recommendations to the Art and Culture Department, Government of Manipur in public interest, the memorandum said.

The state government may frame a concrete policy on Indigenous performing Art forms of Manipur to preserve the native art forms of varied communities residing in the state.

Such a policy will surely enliven the emotional integrity among the various sections of the composite Manipur nation and heighten the richness of our heritage.

Moreover, the State Government may make arrangement for inclusion of Pena and Khongjom as subjects in the Shri Balmukund-dev Government Music College curriculum in order to preserve these art forms for the posterity of Manipur, the memorandum elucidated, adding that the members of Hueiyen Lanpao Columnists' Forum and the people of Manipur will be elated necessary initiatives are taken to save the dying art forms of Manipur, particularly Pena and Khongjom Parva.


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