Homage to Rajkumar Shitaljit Singh

Thoudam Imomacha Singh *

 A file Photo of Rajkumar Shitaljit
Rajkumar Shitaljit :: Pix - TSE

The year-long birth centenary celebrations of Rajkumar Shitaljit Singh being organised jointly by Sahitya Thoupang Lup and Shitaljit Memorial Service have been concluded on August 18, 2014 at Jawaharlal Nehru Manipur Dance Academy, Imphal.

The epilogue of the celebrations was an accomplished ritual attended by a few academics along with many stalwarts in the fields of literature, art and social activism. Everybody in the audience seems to have an adoration for literature or credence in the literary works of the eminent writer Rajkumar Shitaljit Singh. The chief guest of the function was R.K Nimai Singh, Commissioner, Art and Culture, Government of Manipur, a mandarin who always supports every corrective measure in the Manipur polity. Shri Longjam Joychandra Singh, litterateur and former Director, Jawaharlal Nehru Manipur Dance Academy presided over the function.

The whole atmosphere of the celebrations ceremony was serene reflecting the moral virtues of the devout Rajkumar Shitaljit Singh. The author feels it to be a privilege to have known Rajkumar Shitaljit Singh since his very childhood, although he was not a student of Ram Lal Paul High English School, Imphal. The author, in fact, has had the advantage to meet and speak with this academic personage as and when the situation demands. The author never felt perturbed while in company with the doyen as he always had a sublime confidence in him (Shitaljit).

There were a few speakers at the function comprising Smt. Yumlembam Gambhini Devi, Padmashri and renowned Nata Sankirtan artiste, Lt. Col. M. Ranjit Singh (Retd.) an alumnae of Ram Lal Paul High English School, Shri Yumlembam Ibomcha Singh, also an alumnae of that school and a classmate of RK Dusarigopal Singh, son of Rajkumar Shitaljit Singh, and Shri Kh. Biswamitra Singh, also an alumnae of that school and now film and theatre personality. A book entitled "Shitaljit Seithaba Sheirengsing" was also released in the occasion.

Smt. Yumlembam Gambhini Devi spoke vividly about her association and relationship with Rajkumar Shitaljit Singh during her childhood and adulthood periods. Her immaculate sense of story-telling had a classic touch in her expression about the bygone days. This lady deserves an accolade more prestigious than Padmashri. Reason is, she is absolutely a rare brand of an artiste in her domain.

Lt. Col. Ranjit Singh (Retd.) spoke about his nostalgia, his fascination about Rajkumar Shitaljit Singh as a teacher, as a human being and his togetherness with the patriarch after his retirement. He said he always used to seek advice on interesting social issues from Rajkumar Shitaljit Singh. His answers always gave him solace.

Shri Yumlembam Ibomcha Singh, a writer in his own right, said about Rajkumar Shitaljit Singh as the only person who could be seen by him in the avatar of a perfect teacher. May be an obsession, but his unparalleled devotion is praiseworthy. But the most remarkable observation he made was that the writing style of Rajkumar Shitaljit Singh was always a challenge to a prolific writer like Dr. Lamabam Kamal, who has had the skill to add literary flavours to all his writings. The author personally shares this view of his (Shri Yumlembam Ibomcha Singh). Rajkumar Shitaljit Singh's straight-line expression in almost all his writings is phenomenal on the firmament of Manipuri literature.

However, it is for the literary critics to put their heads together to find out whether there is an essence in such an opinion. The author may be pardoned, if prominent men of literature of the day find his point dissonant. Of the quadruple speakers, Shri Kh. Biswamitra Singh was the youngest. He began his elucidation with a Sloka from the Veda (Holy Scriptures of Hinduism), a unique style deeply commensurate with the solemn occasion.

In his monotone voice, Shri Biswamitra Singh spoke about Rajkumar Shitaljit Singh's in-depth style of teaching celibacy to the young minds. What is awesome is his lucidity in expression to this context. The author cannot but thank Shri Biswamitra for his exemplary skill in oratory. Not only this, he was the lone speaker, who came forward with the suggestion of forming a "Shitaljit School of Thought".

Birth Centenary of noted scholar Rajkumar Shitaljit  on August 18 2014
Birth Centenary of noted scholar Rajkumar Shitaljit on August 18 2014 :: Pix - Hueiyen Lanpao

Since Shri Biswamitra Singh has given the clue, the author would also like to suggest for the institution of a "Think Tank" of Shitaljit admirers to shape the formalities of "Shitaljit School of Thought". In this regard, the ball is very much in the court of Shitaljit Memorial Service.

It is always hoped that Shitaljit Memorial Service should leave no stone unturned in their endeavour to spread the activities of "Shitaljit School of Thought" throughout the length and breadth of Manipur to get rid of the minatory of violence. Although Shri Biswamitra is comparatively young, he stands high with his compatible suggestion of instituting "the Shitaljit School of Thought". Further the author vehemently awaits the premiere of his film that he announced to be dedicated to the father-figure Rajkumar Shitaljit Singh.

The chief guest of the centenary celebrations, Dr. RK Nimai Singh in his address puzzled the audience with the expression of his eccentric opinion on God and religion. But what is arousing in his remark is his commitment to do his duty as a human being and his identical respect for every religion. In his short, but mind-boggling speech, Dr. Nimai said despite Rajkumar Shitaljit Singh's pioneering spirit in doing something in different social disciplines and his achievements in many of them, he was always sidelined by any ruling dispensation.

About this the author feels, the reason is not far to seek. Rajkumar Shitaljit Singh was never familiar with the habit of quid-pro-quo. In his address, Dr. Nimai expressed profound respect for Rajkumar Shitaljit Singh and he described him as a Karmayogee. Pertaining to this point of his, the author feels that Dr. RK Nimai Singh has also the instinct of a Karmayogee.

The last but not the least is the address of the presiding officer of the function, Shri L. Joychandra Singh. The litterateur has humbly shown his maturity and sensibility by saying in his address that the new generation of writers in Manipur must never forget to honour the contributions of those giant writers like Chaoba, Dorendrajit, Dr. Kamal, Anganghal, Hijam Irabot, Minaketan and Shitaljit. They were all stars on the literary firmament of Manipur.

What the author learns from the sermon given by the scholar (Joychandra) is that provided the new generation of writers follow the path of these great souls of literature, we may one day understand the meaning of "the sky is the limit" in many fields of human polity.

Now, the author in his epilogue remembers Robert Frost (1874-1963), the American poet laureate's
"The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep."

* Thoudam Imomacha Singh wrote this article for Hueiyen Lanpao
The writer is Former Broadcast Journalist, All India Radio, Imphal
This article was posted on August 29, 2014.

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