TODAY -

Yaoshang Diary Notes : Our Heritage, Our Yaoshang

K. Radhakumar *

12th - The Great June Uprising Observation at Kekrupat Martyrs' Memorial complex  :: June 18 2013
Yaoshang Annual Sports festival 2014 at THAU Ground, Thangmeiband, Imphal on 17th March 2014



As we grow old, we look back on our childhood.

Ah, how happy we were in our youth!

Do you remember the day when our self-made kites fly in the sky? Those were the days!

We would like to restore life to its former glory.

In our younger days, we looked forward to getting a good education, a secure job and a happy married life. Received wisdom has it that there is no understanding fate.

Hopes of living a perfect life seem to be fading away. Many a dream of life fade into insignificance.

And we say with Shakespeare’s Macbeth – Life is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing. The evening lives in the fading glory of the morning.

One poem of my father, written late in life, has an unforgettable line – Life is remembrance of things past. Maybe I am getting old the line is pregnant with meanings.

I am a Manipuri Meitei born and brought up in Imphal. Here early spring is associated with Yaoshang.

And Yaoshang is simply Yaoshang and no other names like holi or dol or doljatra stick to it.

Holi singers on foot will be seem going towards the temples of Shri Shri Govindaji and Bijoygovindaji. Stick wielding Brajamais are also seen. Small boys and girls play with coloured powders and ask for donations in cash or in kind.

Adolescent boys and girls are more interested in thabal chongba. Musical concerts, social plays and comedies in open courtyards and community halls, sweet dishes, old people playing cards under shaded trees, burning of small huts made of bamboo and dried straw in the afternoon on the first day of the celebration – well, these are my memories of Yaoshang.

And these are sweet memories. We do not write treatises on holi, holika, Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, ougri nor are there the issues of restriction of number of days for thabal chongba, the rise of Yaoshang sports etc.

We simply enjoy Yaoshang.

One can enjoy without bothering to be a Hindu Meitei or a Sanamahi Meitei. I have seen mayangs joining thabal chongba and it is always a fun to see an apprentice to this folk dance form.

What is important is not the advent of Hinduism and its impact to a pre-Hindu people.

What is important is the synthesis of the traditional values of pre-Hindu Meiteis and the modern values that come with Hinduism.

The two things exist side by side, one supplementing the other and a wonderful beauty is born.

And this, I think, is our heritage, our Yaoshang.


* K. Radhakumar wrote this article for Hueiyen Lanpao (English Edition)
This article was posted on March 18, 2014



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