Manipur Culture Policy

Any suggestions/Comments from Individuals/Organisations may please be submitted to the Director, Art and Culture, Govt of Manipur or mail us at on or before 15th January, 2003.
Culture is the product of human civilisation. It is “the complex whole which includes knowledge, belief, art, moral, law, custom and any other capabilities and habits acquired by man as a member of society”1, (Annexure). It is the mass of learned and transmitted movements, habits, techniques, ideas and values and the behaviour they induce. It is also “the patterns, explicit and implicit, of and for behaviour acquired and transmitted by symbols, constituting the distinctive achievements of human groups including their embodiments in artifacts”2. The above are some definitions of culture by anthropologists.

“In its widest sense culture may now be said to be the whole complex of distinctive spiritual, material, intellectual and emotional features that characterise a society or social group. It includes not only the arts and letters, but also modes of life, the fundamental rights of the human being, value systems, traditions and beliefs... It is culture that gives man the ability to reflect upon himself... makes us specifically human, rational beings, endowed with a critical judgement and a sense of moral commitment. It is through culture that man expresses himself, becomes aware of himself, recognizes his incompleteness, questions his own ‘achievements, seeks untiringly for new meanings and creates works through which he transcends his limitations”3.

“Culture is a sense of ultimate values possessed by a particular society as expressed in its collective institutions, by its individual members in their dispositions, feelings, attitudes and manners as well as in significant forms which they give to material objects”4.

Inspite of great discoveries and inventions, the last century was beset with war and violence. We are still in the midst of tension, conflict, violence and disintegration. Nothing of value has ever been achieved by violence and coercion. We are now therefore to lay stress on the evolution of a culture of peace, non-violence and amity. “The objective of a culture of peace is to ensure that the conflicts inherent in human relationship be resolved non-violently, based on the traditional values of peace”5. The culture of peace is all the values, attitude and forms of behaviour that reflect respect for life, human dignity and rights, rejection of violence in all its forms and commitment to the principles of justice, tolerance, solidarity and understanding among peoples and between groups and individuals. In a state like Manipur which is full of diversity we must learn to live in fruitful co-existence and inter-cultural harmony. Peace is a comprehensive enterprise that requires a transformation in our thinking, sense of values, will and resources and solidarity of all. The proposed policy will promote and strengthen those cultural embodiments and manifestations of these thoughts, values and ethos of peace.
Culture is a crucial part of development deserving substantial investment and careful attention. Although the Manipur State Government have spent large sums on development, the investment in improving the cultural dimension has not been commensurate with the broad social needs and its intrinsic value. Economic and technical development should go hand in hand with cultural advancement. The cultural dimension of development needs to be brought into a sharper focus and strengthening.The importance of cultural dimension in the development effort has now been internationally recognised. The Final Report accepted by UNESCO’s Inter-Governmental Committee of the World Decade for Cultural Development stated, inter alia, that “It is most important to understand the term development in its philosophical and conceptual meaning. Development has all too often been perceived as modernisation patterned after a particular dominant design, while in fact, there is a need for a multicultural and pluralistic conception in which different ways of living, different belief systems (and) values are accommodated to reach the ultimate goals of various communities. Modernisation does not mean the mechanical imitation of a particular way of life... The concept of development has to be redefined in these terms. In particular, it would be necessary also to emphasise the linkage of the development elements to the cultural elements, including local relevance to geographical and environmental factors, historical traditions, traditional knowledge and skill, etc. The importance of the aesthetic and artistic dimensions of life should also be fully recognised... The motivation of the people who are the beneficiaries and participants in the development process is of utmost importance in successful design and implementation of programmes. Cultural factors play an important role in energising the motivation calling forth requisite participation and are thus crucial to sustainable development in which new concepts and ideas are absorbed in a permanent manner”6.

Culture is the essential condition for genuine development. Society must make substantial efforts with respect to the planning, administration and financing of cultural activities.

Culture constitutes a fundamental dimension of the development process. Growth has frequently been conceived in quantitative terms, without taking into account its necessary qualitative dimension, namely the satisfaction of man’s spiritual and cultural aspirations. The aim of genuine development is the continuing well-being and fulfilment of each and every individual. Man is the origin and goal of development. Any cultural policy should restore to development its profound human significance.
Culture springs from the people as a whole and should return to them. Democratic cultural policy will provide for enjoyment and expression of artistic excellence by all communities and the whole population through equality of opportunity.
Culture is a central instrument of discovering, integrating and asserting the national identity of the country which is truly and inevitably pluralistic. Manipur, like India, is a plural polity where diverse languages, religions, races, ethnic communities, traditions and cultures exist. There are diverse cultural traditions each contributing to the renewal and enrichment of national identity. In the policy there should be commitment to pluralism. The principle of pluralism, in the sense of tolerance and respect for and rejoicing over the plurality of cultures, should be emphasised. We therefore need a cultural policy that will protect, stimulate and enrich each people’s identity and cultural heritage, and establish absolute respect for and appreciation of cultural minorities. In a pluri-cultural state like Manipur cultural diversity and cultural identity are inseparable. A multicultural society should evolve its unity out of its diversity by encouraging its cultural communities to evolve a plural culture that both reflects and transcends them.
“No culture is hermetically sealed entity”7. All cultures are influenced by and in turn influence other cultures. Nor is any culture changeless, invariant or static. All cultures are in a state of flux, driven by both internal and external forces.” A culturally homogeneous society whose members share and mechanically follow an identical body of beliefs and practises is today no more than an anthropological fiction”8. The policy believes that while resisting colonization of mind, our culture should remain in constant dialogue with the world at large in the realm of ideas, perceptions, media and expressions.
The flowering and enrichment of culture can only take place if the ultimate values of beauty, elegance, purity of thought, ideals, deeds and nobility of feelings and morals, subtlety and complexity are cared for. Essentially there is no conflict between aesthetic sensibility and scientific temper, between tradition and creativity. The policy would emphasise on this holistic view.
We have now arrived at a stage of development when we have to define the importance of culture clearly, identify the area of public intervention, assess and modify the role of the state in culture, recognise and further encourage the importance of societal and voluntary efforts in this area. Manipur has a rich and varied cultural tradition and heritage which percolates every stratum of its society and lies at the matrix of all the stages of life of its people. The cultural dimension needs to be brought into sharper focus and strengthening to create a suitable condition in which the ultimate values of culture flower in vital forms and embodiments. With this objective the Government of Manipur have decided to formulate a State Policy on Culture entitled “Manipur Culture Policy” in tune with the emerging national cultural situation. The policy will adumbrate and outline conditions conducive to more satisfactory self-expression and participation in cultural life by the people without distinction of race, caste, creed and language. It will recognise !he need to develop strategies to sensitise people, particularly the young, to creative expression in a framework of values which are generally accepted as those which enrich the quality of life.

The policy will provide strategies to promote the development of the various forms of creative expressions which embody the ultimate values of peace, non-violence, amity, unity, dignity of life, justice, rule of law, democracy, pluralism and solidarity of all.

The policy proposes that the State as far as possible would play only a catalytic role in the development and progress of culture with “an arm’s length intervention”9.

The wide-spread coarsening of sensibility, loss of sense of values, erosion of pluralistic vision and reduction of the masses into passive recipients in process of culture should be resisted. The pursuit of cultural creativity has to be seen as a self-reflexive activity.

There is a close relationship between culture, education and science. The overall development of society calls for complementary policies in these fields with a view to the establishment of a harmonious balance between technological progress and the intellectual and moral advancement of the people. Education is ideally suited to the transmission of national and universal cultural values and should foster the assimilation of scientific and technological knowledge without detriment to each people’s capacities and values.

The National Policy on Education (1986) has been designed to create a national system and remove all imbalances and disparities in all sectors of education. It has a national curricular framework which contains, along with other flexible components, a common core that includes the history of India’s freedom movement, our constitutional obligations, our cultural value system, national heritage, inculcation of scientific temper, secularism, democracy and socialism. These elements will cut across subject areas and will be designed to promote values to which we, as a nation, are culturally and constitutionally committed. “The new Education system would seek to reinforce the country’s old values and maintain our Indianness against the deluge of materialism”. It has highlighted the growing concern over the erosion of essential values and focused the need for readjustments in the curriculum in order to make education a forceful tool for the cultivation of social and moral values.

The State culture policy in consonance with the National Education Policy, envisages the enrichment of the cultural content in education in as many manifestations as possible. The young in particular will be enabled to develop sensitivity to beauty, harmony and refinement.

Linkages will be established between the University System and Institutions of higher learning in arts and letters, fine arts, folklore, etc. Values of integrity, truth, devotion and sensitivity to beauty will be emphasised in school curricula. At the primary and secondary levels it is proposed to impart every child with a basic core of facts about India’s and Manipur’s cultural heritage. For this there is the necessity to establish close linkage among several authorities of the State Government with a view to developing balanced personalities with creativity and vision. The policy should ensure close complementary tie-up among the State Departments of Culture, Education, Science and others necessary for a harmonious advancement in culture.

The Government shall take up strategies for the promotion, preservation and enrichment of the culture of Manipur which is composite and plural in nature. The diverse range of creative activities e.g. literary, performing, visual and plastic, folk and tribal arts and the various forms of artistic self-expression by individuals, specialists or lay, or by communities shall receive the utmost attention.
Culture should embrace the whole society rather than a few privileged citizens, groups and communities. The plains and the hills, the urban and the rural, several communities, ethnic and tribal groups shall receive equal attention in the endeavour to develop culture.
The plural and composite characters of our culture, the crucial contribution made by various communities to it, the ultimate values and the inclusive and humanising ethos should be highlighted and brought home to all.
The preservation and promotion of our culture should be made in such a manner and spirit that the unity and integrity of the state and of the country. The ethos of secularism, socialism, democracy, social justice and peaceful co-existence are maintained and strengthened. The infusion of a shared moral vision, democratic and humanist values should be made crucial constituents of a composite culture.
There should not be any discrimination of race, caste and creed, gender, language, ethnicity and community in the activities for promotion of culture.
In the spirit of unity in diversity, the unique cultural identity of the state which is composite in character should be made to flourish to enable it to contribute to the vast culture of the country.
The ever enriching cultural diversity of the state shall be recognised in all plans for development and strategies for protection and promotion of culture. There should be no attempts to give any single direction or ideological orientation in culture. Diversities and pluralism must be allowed free play but in an overall context of harmony and consonance.
In the midst of changes and mutations we witness today, we need to adopt and strengthen a holistic vision of culture so that no segment, area or community feels excluded and each is encouraged to freely and willingly contribute towards promoting cultural growth and enrichment. Importance should be given to the projection and promotion of cultural contribution of the weaker sections and minorities.
Concrete steps should be taken to provide greater opportunities with the widest ramification to citizens in the hills and the plains. Both rural and urban of meaningful and continuing exposure to and participation in various forms of cultural manifestations.
Interaction between different art disciplines and levels of the society, from the most affluent to the weakest sections shall be encouraged. There should be a constant flow of cultural forms which would give the people a remarkable openness and resilience and enrich the range of their artistic endeavour and creative activities.
The old traditional institutions which have been enriching our culture such as Pandit, Pala, Penal, Maibi Loishangs, etc. should be preserved, protected and strengthened. Likewise, ethnic traditional institutions, for instance, Pakhang Phan, Leisha Phan, etc. should also be preserved and protected.
While endeavouring to preserve tradition, the State would also encourage openness to new ideas, new forms and manifestations, combinations, original interpretations, experiments, etc. for the emergence of new cultural expressions. Cinema, photography, contemporary architecture, etc. are examples of such new cultural expressions. The policy would promote evaluation of a dynamic relationship between tradition and modernity.
Both education and media of mass communication participate and play important roles in the society and are therefore crucial culturising agencies. The policy emphasises the positive cultural consequences of education and media. Both should deepen and strengthen their cultural components. It would aim at seeing that consumerist tendencies are not allowed to create cultural distortions and tensions.
As stated in the National Policy on Education 1986 “de-culturalisation, de-humanisation and alienation must be avoided at all cost. Education can and must bring about a fine synthesis between change-oriented technologies and the country’s community of cultural traditions. Efforts should be made particularly to enable children and youth to develop sensitivity to duty, beauty, harmony and refinement”. Emphasis should be given on the growth of cultural literacy along with verbal literacy. It would also aim at “interweaving into the formal and non-formal systems of education at all levels, of the content of culture and escalation and sharpening of cultural inputs in educational curricula with a view to arouse deeper interest in cultural heritage, to provide free creativity and to foster elements of composite culture”. Respect and striving for ultimate values, creativity and excellence must be inculcated from early stage of education. Every child from the primary level should be imparted with a basic core of facts about the cultural heritage of the state and the country.
The policy would stress on an integrated approach to cultural education. Strategies would be made for co-ordination amongst the Departments of Culture, Education, Youth Affairs and Sports, Information and Public Relations, Tribal Development and Tourism, and others for furtherance and strengthening of the cause of culture.
Guru Shishya Parampara is still relevant and shall be emphasised in cultural education.
Literacy is an essential condition for people’s cultural development. It would therefore be necessary to ensure community participation at all levels including formal, non-formal and informal agencies such as panchayats, local bodies, etc.
A Centre/Institute of Advanced Study and Research is envisaged to be set up to promote and enrich Manipuri Culture. The policy also envisages to open training centres for various art forms.
The state would consider conferment of State Awards on individuals and institutions strictly on the basis of attainment, eminence in and contribution to Manipuri culture.
Infrastructural facilities shall be developed and strengthened in a more co-ordinated manner for promotion and conservation of various forms of creative expression.
The policy envisages to open a composite cultural centre in each district of Manipur with facilities of museum, library, exhibition and exposition of several arts, artifacts and letters with the understanding that decentralisation and participation by the people are key factors in cultural promotion.
Cultural heritage in its different manifestations and ways shall be preserved. The policy recognises the need for preserving and documenting those aspects of classical, folk, tribal, ethnic, rural and community culture traditions which are rare but vanishing and in danger of extinction due to social change, market forces, technological onslaught, globalisation, etc.
Endeavour would be made to preserve, protect and document monuments, historical places, antiquities, art treasures, public and private records of cultural and artistic importance in an integrated approach in collaboration with other related Departments of the State.
As far as possible the State would play a catalytic role with only “an arm’s length intervention” in the efforts for development of culture. The pursuit of cultural creativity has to be seen as a self-reflexive activity.
Despite this desire not to make any direct intervention in cultural matters on the part of the State, coarsening of sensibility, loss of values and induction of the masses into passive recipients in the processes of culture should be resisted.
Understanding that culture is a crucial part of development deserving substantial investment and that the investment so far made in the cultural dimension is not adequate, the policy envisages to enhance investment for development of culture commensurate with the broad social needs and its intrinsic value. Material development should go hand in hand with cultural and spiritual advancement.
The public support and patronage in the promotion of culture should be encouraged instead of depending only on the State patronage. There should be effective co-ordination amongst the activities of various agencies in the State. The policy recognises that decentralisation is a key factor in cultural promotion and that an important role should be played by individuals, voluntary organisations and corporate sectors.
Autonomy in the functioning of the Government agencies like the Manipur State Kala Akademi for promotion of several arts and letters shall be maintained and strengthened.
The policy would consider extending recognition and support, strictly on merit to voluntary organisations and individuals outside the State working for promotion and enrichment off Manipuri culture.
For better and maximal use of funds and infrastructural facilities, duplication of works should be scrupulously avoided.
Women have been occupying a pride of status in the economic, social and cultural processes in Manipur by dint of their creativity, talent, innovation and participation. The policy shall emphasise on furthering their presence, works, full spectrum of their views and contribution in cultural processes to achieve a truly ‘cultural’ life.
Anything not covered in the foregoing articles can be incorporated into the body of the objective if it is conducive to the promotion and enrichment of culture.
The following plan of action is suggested with a view to attaining broadly the objectives stated earlier :
The State will assign high priority to the preservation, promotion and enrichment of culture in its diverse manifestations and endeavours. It has a responsibility to foster and nurture the seminal values which find creative expression in arts, letters and other cultural aspects. Nevertheless direct State intervention needs to be avoided. Though the State must provide funds and facilities for such activities on a scale commensurate with the needs in the context of the link between them and the plans to improve the quality of life, it must not be involved in any direct grant giving activities. It is perceived that such avoidance would also eliminate various forms of intervention. It has already been stated in the articles of objectives that the State would play a role with only “an arm’s length intervention” in the development efforts of culture.
As the Policy insists on avoidance of direct Government involvement in cultural processes, the role of the Government cultural agencies has become crucial. In tune with the autonomous functioning of the three National Akademies viz. Sangeet Natak, Sahitya and Lalit Kala the autonomy of the cultural agencies of the State Government like the Manipur State Kala Akademi and others shall be maintained and strengthened. At the same time they must be made responsible in their areas of concern and accountable as well.

A Monitoring Cell shall be set up to look after the workings of the cultural agencies.

It is proposed to set up a body to be called “Manipur Cultural Advisory Council” comprising not more than 25 top level experts and eminent persons in various fields of culture which would evolve well thought-out strategies, mechanism and guidelines in order to carry out successfully and meaningfully the objectives of preserving, strengthening and enriching Manipuri culture. The members of the Council shall be nominated by the State Government. It shall have a tenure of three years with only an advisory capacity. The details of composition and terms of reference will be framed by the State Government.
Perceiving that culture is a crucial part of development deserving substantial investment and that the investments so far made for its promotion and enrichment have not been adequate, it is proposed to enhance quantum of investment on culture commensurate with the broad social needs and its intrinsic value. Growth has frequently been conceived in quantitative terms without taking into account its necessary qualitative dimension, namely the satisfaction of man’s spiritual and cultural aspirations. It is vital to humanize development. In fact, development should have profound human significance which is the continuing well-being and fulfilment of each and every individual. Attempts at making cultural factors an integral part of the strategies designed to achieve balanced development shall be made. These strategies should always be devised in the light of the historical, social and cultural context of our society.
Maintaining the composite character and plurality of our culture should be emphasised. Our unity in the midst of diversity shall be focused and programmes and actions shall be oriented towards it.
A democratic cultural policy to which we are committed should provide for enjoyment of artistic excellence by all communities and the whole population. Culture springs from community and should return to it. The action plans should ensure the broadest possible participation by the individual and society in cultural life without distinction of status, education, caste, creed, language, sex, ethnicity, minority or fringe groups. All cultural programmes and actions should not confine to the towns and urban areas but reach out to the rural and interior areas both in the hills and the plains.
The public support and patrollage in the promotion of culture should be encouraged instead of depending only on State patronage. A process of decentralisation in cultural promotion shall be adopted. Individuals, voluntary organisations and corporate bodies shall play an important role in the cultural process.
There is an increasing perception that there are areas of co-operation, collaboration and net-working among several Departments and agencies of the State Government to be adopted for effective projection and implementation of cultural processes. Departments of Art and Culture, Education, Tourism, Youth Affairs & Sports, Information and Public Relations, Tribal Development, Minority & Backward Classes, etc. can tie up by pulling together their resources and infrastructural facilities in implementing several programmes that will project our history, heritage and culture. Historical sites and places of cultural significance can be kept vibrating and reverberating with the rhythms, visuals and movements of our cultural ethos. The Department of Art & Culture, Government of Manipur shall initiate to co-ordinate with other Departments.
Old castles, forts, palaces, ruins and similar sites are to be conserved and maintained, because they can not only spread the kind of awareness that has been referred to earlier but also generate substantial resources. There must be a ready supply of attractive literature, photographs, postcards and souvenirs available at each site; the services of multilingual guides need to be provided. The Kangla, for example, can be selected as such sites. Light and sound shows, performances of dance, music and other art forms at these places off and on organised jointly by Departments of Art & Culture, Tourism, Tribal Development and Youth Affairs & Sports. etc. would add to the attraction of these sites. Such performances in which gates should be charged can not only attract large number of crowds but also generate Income.
As stated in the National Policy on Education 1986 cultural content shall be introduced from the early levels of education upwards not as an additional but as an integrated component in the syllabi and curricula to enable children and youth to develop sensitivity to environment, beauty, creativity, harmony and refinement and be aware of our ancient traditions and ultimate values. A cultural primer would be prepared which should serve as a kind of handbook for teachers at the pre-primary and primary levels. Resource persons in the community, irrespective of their formal educational qualifications will be invited to contribute to the cultural enrichment of education employing both the literate and oral traditions of communication. To sustain and carry forward the cultural tradition, the role of old masters who train pupils through traditional modes will be supported and recognised. Guru Shishya Parampara is still relevant and shall be supported and strengthened. It is proposed that linkages will be established between the University system and institutions of higher learning in art. Due attention will be paid to the specified disciplines such as fine arts, folklore, traditional and indigenous art forms. etc. Research, teaching and training in various disciplines will be strengthened so as to replenish specialised manpower in them. An integrated approach to the problem of co-ordination amongst several department in the context of human resource development shall be stressed.
Manipuri, which is one of the scheduled languages of the Constitution of India, is a valuable vehicle of cultural articulation and dissemination. It is also the lingua franca of the State. Many states in India have taken up actions for speeding up the enrichment of such languages. Himachal Pradesh, for example, has even a Ministry of Language to look after the development of languages. In tune with these trends the policy envisages to set up a language department in co-ordination with the Education Department of the State to ensure development and enrichment of Manipuri and other languages. Lexicons; encyclopaedias; books of terminologies in different subjects like the sciences, technology, law, culture, literature, arts, etc. should be published to speed up the development of the languages.
To inculcate a culture of peace, non-violence and harmony in the minds of the children and youth in their formative years, cultural content in this respect should be incorporated as integrated component in their syllabi and curricula. Content of the several programmes of cultural process should also reflect the above ultimate values to drive home their significance in this time of tension and conflict.
It is envisaged to set up a university for advanced study and research in Manipuri culture and related subjects. The existing colleges of dance, music and fine arts under the State Government may form the nuclei of the proposed university. Institutions of other subjects e.g. theatre, traditional performing arts, etc. may be added in due course. It is also envisaged to maintain repertoires of selective performing art forms in need of strengthening.
Centres of training in the several Manipuri arts shall be set up. The role of non-government organisations and old masters in the task of sustaining and carrying forward these cultural traditions will be recognised and supported. Special attention shall be given to attract young learners in these fields. “Catch them young” shall be the motto. The syllabi of these centres shall be standardised and recognised by the proposed University.
In view of the large number of cultural organisations and agencies needing specialised management, programmes of training in cultural administration, cultural resource development shall be evolved and implemented.
Infrastructural facilities such as auditorium, open-air theatre and performance spaces, halls for conferences, seminars, lecture-demonstrations, art gallery, rooms for art exhibition and rehearsals, guest rooms and dormitories for artistes, etc. shall be developed and strengthened in a co-ordinated approach with related departments.
A State Documentation Centre would be established in a complementary effort with other departments, agencies and corporate bodies for preserving and documenting cultural manifestations especially those which are rare but languishing and in danger of extinction. Our rich mosaic of folk and tribal cultures need comprehensive and systematic documentation over and above the classical, traditional and visual arts. Documentation of these cultural forms will inevitably include their oral literature, visual and performing art traditions and also artifacts. Old castles, forts, palaces ruins and sites of historical and cultural importance and eminent cultural personalities should also be documented and preserved by pulling together resources of several State departments. The documented products can be converted to CDs. They can be valuable research materials and viewed by interested persons on payment of charges which can also generate income. For this audio-visual, rooms may be provided in the Documentation Centre.
Museums are not merely places to house our ancient heritage. They have to function as centres of learning and creative awareness. Attractive programmes which would interest the children and the youth need to be developed by each museum on a regular basis.
Action would be taken up for declaration of heritage zones in respect of identifiable and compact areas which have large bodies of significant historical and cultural properties like the Kangla, parts of Canchipur, etc. Such zones should be protected fully against the location of commercial and industrial establishments, spread-effects of urbanisation and other adverse effects.
A State cultural data bank would be established to ensure a system of linkage between museum and other educational and cultural institutions Important educational institutions should have museum corners.
A cultural centre in each district of Manipur shall be set up. A composite infrastructural facilities like auditorium, art exhibition room, a museum, a library and spaces for performances of several art forms, etc. shall be made available for each of them. It would serve as a centre of multi-faceted activities and learning abounding with cultural ethos. A net-working of cultural programmes which may include festivals, sale of traditional food items, handloom and handicraft products shall be systematically implemented in these centres to create awareness and participation by all. Entries can also be charged within affordable rates which can help generation of income.
Emphasis should be given to cultural programmes being carried out throughout the State which would attract the attention and willing participation of the children and the youths of all communities. Children and young people should be given a cultural identity and made visible everywhere in the society. They have the right to be seen and exist in the world. Their rights include the right to rest and leisure, play and recreation and to freely participate in cultural and artistic life. Creative energy is necessary for cultural development. Children and young people have creative energy. Therefore they must be given as much opportunity as possible to participate in the cultural processes. The libraries and museums for instance, are the only meeting places open to children in an otherwise commercialised environs and, in practice, they can be veritably children’s cultural centres with many activities.
Manipuri women have been playing important roles in the cultural, social and economic development of the State. Their participation in and contribution to cultural processes have been very valuable. They have extraordinary creativity, talent and energy. Cultural development heavily depends on creativity and innovation. Therefore emphasis should be given to furthering and strengthening their presence and contribution to cultural life as a whole. They must be given increased access to decision-making positions and opportunities to enhance their status in cultural sector.
Rural, folk and tribal artists and artisans, whose art creations generally turn into crafts, would be promoted. A more inclusive concept of art which encompasses the artistic contribution of all segments whether urban, folk, tribal and community shall be, encouraged. Craft melas can be frequently organised where the products may be exposed and sold.
Strategies shall be taken up by the State Government to preserve, protect and strengthen the various institutions which have been enriching our culture.
While strengthening tradition, concrete steps should be taken up to encourage new forms, combinations, experiments, creative innovations in arts. There should be dynamic relationship between tradition and modernity.
Guru Shishya Parampara has been a seminal factor in transference of vision and technique in the performing arts. This system is now facing many challenges and needs to be carefully and imaginatively strengthened in the midst of changed ethos. Efforts would be made to involve various agencies, voluntary cultural organisations, corporate sectors. etc to provide local support and sustenance of skill to the Gurus in various forms and styles in the several art forms like music, dance, theatre, Manipuri martial art, etc. Special attention will be paid to such forms, styles and instruments that may be threatened with extinction.

Making of musical instruments, traditional artistic costullles and ornaments is an important area which has not received sufficient public attention and is currently facing a grave crisis. A scheme would be prepared to ensure that young trainees and apprentices are encouraged to receive training in these activities.

The development of fine arts needs to be accelerated and strengthened. Several branches of fine arts are required to be introduced by expanding the facilities in the arts college under the State Government. A State Art Gallery is needed to be set up. Art galleries are dynamic centres of educating taste. In the proposed composite cultural centres in each district of Manipur art galleries and exhibition rooms should be provided. There has been an increasing number of schools and idioms what with the influence of the West and outside impact. There is also an authentic search for roots and local cultural idioms both in the sphere of the visual and the literary arts. The policy will stress the development of ways to encourage this and the diverse streams which together constitute a vibrant and pulsating scenario of growth. Folk and tribal arts constitute an important part of the total heritage in this field. Their development shall be strengthened A comprehensive benchmark survey and documentation of various folk and tribal arts including visual arts would be taken up. They should be suitably exhibited in art galleries and museums.

Organisations of fine arts in the State are few in number There is only one Art College in Manipur. They should be encouraged to bring out monographs and books on visual and plastic arts; organise exhibitions, workshops and interactions at frequent intervals; expose artists and their works in national and international exhibitions. Suitable schemes are required to be taken up to sponsor deserving artists to undergo studies in reputed fine arts institutions in the country.

The perspective and ethos of literature in the State needs to be more widely disseminated and appreciated. Publication of books, literary journals, purchase of books would be encouraged. Agencies of the State Government, voluntary organisations and corporate sectors should also be persuaded to extend support in these regards.
Translation is recognised as an important creative activity. The programme of translation from one language to another, specially from other languages into Manipuri including tribal languages and vice versa, should be enhanced. A scheme to train and support competent translators would be launched.
All forms of theatre whether traditional, contemporary or creative both in hills and valley, would need encouragement. The State Government would set up theatre repertories. Separate sections for theatre and other arts in the museums need to be opened. Movement for children’s theatre, school and college theatre should be encouraged.
Research in the different Manipuri arts is necessary for their enrichment. Research Fellowships in these arts shall be instituted.
Prestigious State Awards like Saraswati, and Kalidas Sammans in the field of Manipuri Arts shall be instituted for conferment on deserving persons of distinction and eminence.
The importance of the cinema as a contemporary art form is recognised. Production of films in all formats which would enrich quality of human minds shall be supported. Manipur Film Development Corporation shall play an important role in the promotion of cinema. A separate film policy shall be worked out.
A network of libraries throughout the State will be set up over and above strengthening the State Central Library and the district libraries.
While recognising the great importance of the media both electronic and print, care should be taken to see that consumerist tendencies are not allowed to create cultural distortions and tensions. Television, film, video, internet, etc., for instance, are important in transmission of cultural processes. But loss of values, coarsening of sensibility, induction of the masses into passive recipients in the cultural processes should be resisted.
Websites are necessary for dissemination of culture. It should be opened as a part of the Documentation Centre mentioned earlier.
Publication of important works of art and culture shall be given importance. Strategies for extending support to writers shall be chalked out.
The existing and the proposed museums should keep separate sections for the exhibition of artefacts and cultural materials of different art forms.
People of Manipur living in the plains and the hills, urban and rural areas, experts and the lay, creative persons of various race, castes, religion, gender, gurus, teachers, students are human resources of culture in Manipur. It is they who create, sustain, protect and transmute culture.
For the areas where this policy envisages Government support, the existing levels of investment will have to be significantly enhanced.
Steps would be necessary to be taken up to attract private and corporate sectors to come forward for funding and investments in culture.
Efforts should also be made to step up incomes that are earned out of museums, monuments, infrastructures, performances, exhibitions, etc.
Voluntary agencies should also be able to generate their own resources to augment them by private donations, etc.
Many items would be funded by other Ministries and Departments like, Education, Information and Public Relations, Tourism, Sports and Youth Affairs, Tribal Development, etc.
This Cultural Policy may be reviewed at frequent intervals, say for every 5 years for infusing dynamism. The review can be initiated by the State Government itself and a body of people of eminence in the field of culture like the Manipur Cultural Advisory Council. This would give enough time for cultural activities to obtain a degree of definition, and avoid the danger of capriciousness which too frequent changes may cause and at the same time to keep the policy always responsive and relevant.
This Policy shall come into effect from the date of notification.
References :
1 Edward B. Taylor 1871 quoted (Page 138) in Cultural Anthropology: A Contemporary Perspective by Roger M. Keesing, Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1976, U.S.A.
2 Quoted from Kroeber and Kluckhohn 1952 (Page 138), Ibid.
3 Mexico City Declaration on Cultural Policies, World Conference on Cultural Policies, Mexico City, 26 July -6 August 1982 sponsored by UNESCO; reaffirmed in the Action Plan of UNESCO’s World Conference on Cultural Policies for Development, Stockholm, March/April1998.
4 S. Abid Husain : The National Culture of India, National Book Trust, India, 1992, Page 3.
5 International Forum on the Culture of Peace, San Salvador, February 1994, UNESCO.
6 Quote reproduced from National Culture Policy. (An Approach Paper) Introductory 1.3. 1992 New Delhi.
7 Source: Chapter 2: Commitment to Pluralism. Courtsy : Core Loisanglen, Centre for Organisation Research and Education. Imphal 2002.
8 A Commitment to Cultural Pluralism by Bhikhu Parekh, Professor of Political Theory at the University of Hull. Source. Courtsy Core Loisanglen, Imphal as in 7 above.
9 Quote taken from National Culture Policy (An Approach Paper) 1992, New Delhi. 1.5.
Any suggestions/Comments from Individuals/Organisations may please be submitted to the Director, Art and Culture, Govt of Manipur or mail us at on or before 15th January, 2003.
Art and Culture, Manipur


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