Extension of Education through Cultural Exchange

Mustaque Ahmed *

Office of the Principal : Department Buildings of DM College of Arts,  Imphal ::  October 2012
Office of the Principal : DM College of Arts, Imphal in October 2012 :: Pix - Banti Phurailatpam

Recently the awarding of Bharat Ratna to Pandit Madan Mohan Malviya is very suitable action though it is at a very late stage. The award has been given posthumously. His founding with the Banaras Hindu University (BHU), Varanasi (UP, India), is historical. The university has contributed a lot in the field of education and freedom struggle.

In short he can be treated as one famous educationist and social reformer in India. We need more of social reformers in India to promote education. Moreover, our aim by having more universities is to establish a vibrant, new culture of tension free and religious tolerance country.

In Manipur, we are proud to be having 28 Government Colleges and 12 Government aided colleges with a total of 40 Government Colleges in Manipur. There are well established/performed private Colleges in the state too. It is learnt from the reliable sources that the government of Manipur had been facing financial constraints from the last many years in building up the necessary infrastructure to update and modernize the existing Government and aided colleges in the state.

The government is doing its utmost care to deliver every aspect to boom higher education in Manipur through central assistance in the present case RUSA (Rashtriya Ucchatar Shiksha Abhiyan). More growth particularly in the higher education sector is sought after. Funds of this scheme started pouring in due to hard labour/efforts of Shri M. Okendro and his kind Ministry. May the Almighty God give good health and strength to the present government for creating more development in the field of education!

Some months back, the state cabinet has finally passed to be formulating one state Private university and the other state University (DHANAMANJURI comprising cluster colleges of the DM Colleges, G.P.Women's Colleges & others) under Government of Manipur.

The recently concluded session of state assembly recommended to a committee to carefully look after the matter of formulating the universities. Private university is a recent good development in Manipur. The Sangai National University is very suitable by its nomenclature. The establishment will be the first private entrepreneur in respect of higher study.

It will be helping to get admissions to the students as well as giving jobs to the youths particularly in Manipur. There are numbers of eligible job seekers by holding degrees and certificates such as NET/SLET/SET/ Ph.D. Therefore, both the universities are our much hope to strengthen and embolden education sector.

Why we need more universities in Manipur? Geographically we are isolated from mainland India. We are having hills and mountains. Our students have to travel through tough and tiring journeys to reach Guwahati/Dimapur to take train journeys for travelling to other states for seeking admission to various universities in other states. Many in Manipur do not undergo higher study because of poverty. Many do not get admission here. Only some/few fortunate have to study abroad.

Manipur University, Assam University, Gauhati University, North Eastern Hill University, etc can attract lot of students from other states too. Why cannot our universities attract students in the state? Surely, the time has come to establish communal harmony, change mind-set, etc. with the establishment of more universities in a state where we are lacking industries.

Secondly, we can attract students from foreign countries here. This can be encouraged by endorsing and strengthening the tentacles of Look East Policy more. The climatic condition of the state is salubrious that Jawaharlal Nehru once called this state as "Switzerland of the East". This is the state where Polo was started.

We have endemic plants like Siroy Lily and Dzuko Lily & the endangered animal Sangai and the state bird Nongeen. We have a floating lake called Loktak Lake. Ema market is having such feature not available anywhere in the world.

Our amalgamation of rhythm and dance in performing Pung Cholom is quite worldwide famous. Manipuri version of Rash Leela is quite famous. Above all we have Meitei/Meetei, more than 33 tribes, Pangals/Meitei-Pangal (Muslims), Nepali, etc communities and their beautiful cultures. We have beautiful tribal dances and enchanting & melodious folksongs in various languages.

The beauty of the state has much potential to attract tourist; it's an opportunity to let others know our land and culture through symposiums, conferences and workshops. The universities can open the departments to foster relationship between south east countries. The foreign languages can be studied here. The cultural exchanges of youths of this region will be very useful through the efforts of competitions every year.

Sangai festival every year is also one to attract foreigners in the state. In the opening function of Sangai festival, Hon'ble CM of the state expressed his sincere views about the need to attract lot of tourists in Manipur through our efforts and accommodative behavior. The government is very mature to have invited our own PM in Manipur during the festival.

With the coming of students from Delhi University to Manipur, it will set examples of cultural understanding. This will bring chance to explore one another in the country. These steps will minimize the lost trust between the countrymen. This will bring chance to know one another their culture and respect of languages. India is a great country having multi ethnic cultures and languages. There are chances to learn one other's language in the country.

This process is likely to promote communal harmony and religious tolerance. Participating Gyanodaya tour to Manipur, Sumit K. Sharma, one undergraduate student from Moti Lal Nehru Evening College, Delhi, under Delhi University talked to me "I came yesterday only. People are very nice. Nice's wonderful experience," Priya Kumari of BA 1st semester of the same college stated" We have to study handicrafts, folk-lore, culture of this place so as to understand more of the people here to complete a project work assignment as part of the syllabus. I will be exciting to explore more....."

We can change our syllabus everywhere in the country. Lower level schools should learn about some minimum number of infamous vocabularies/ language of Manipur state. The probable words are Singju, Morok Ametpa, Bora Kanghou, Polo, Mukna & Mukna Kangjei, Sangai, Nongeen, Loktak Lake, Ema Market, Pung Cholom, Manipuri Dance, Ningthougi Konung, Sagol & Sagol Kangjei, Kut festival, Lui Ngai-ni, Bamboo dance, Pangal/Meitei-pangal, Phanek, Pheijom, Hiyang Tannaba, Chanou Tangba, Eromba, Yongchak Eromba, Uti thongba, etc.

By recognizing these words, only then the people from the mainland India will start to know more beauty of the state. In the process, we will be happy and will not be felt alien to others in the country.

* Mustaque Ahmed wrote this article for Hueiyen Lanpao
This article was posted on February 17, 2015.

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