Finding Our Promised Land

Omila Thounaojam *

Khamba Thoibi Jagoi at the Manipur Sangai Tourism Festival 2011
Khamba Thoibi Jagoi at the Manipur Sangai Tourism Festival 2011

...Our cultural roots must be strengthened with a collective effort whereby we can finally achieve a social revolution and a continuous sense of present, past and future...

It was never a journey meant to be taken in a hurry.

It is always about choices to make and a basic requirement for a firm determination.

It is and will be about Hearts that are willing to plunge into and dive deep into the muddy rivers of life.

Where is our Home, our Territory known to us all these while to be a kind of Paradise on Earth?

Only euphoric mirage like empty words won't be enough to salvage us from our deteriorating life at the moment.

What kind of life guiding principles are needed to be injected into our youths, which symbol of truth inspiring enough for the present generation must be glorified, how should we define our identity in relation with our culture...?- all these and many more of such queries encircle our life today.

Ambiguity and a series of rhetoric color our life pattern and this situation drive thinking minds all the more crazy. When the world today celebrates its status of being a "Global Village" or rather "A Flat Space" appreciating the kind of fastest connectivity and multicultural salad-bowl world culture, still nevertheless, it also holds in its bosom "dark" spaces that need light.

There are territories and regions in this world still in a kind of "silent quest" for meaningful existence and are involved in a journey to locate the "promised land" of their ancestors. None will deny the fact that "old is gold" and it is more relevant and authentic while one brings in the notion of our age-old cultural and religious traditions. The more we try to associate ourselves with our forefathers, the more we get to get closer with the hidden terrains of our heritage that are worth worshipping.

Even though each day we wake up and see things in our surroundings the same way, all the more, we at the same time fail to value aspects of our life and culture that are implicitly, barriers of our rich cultural treasure.

With the kind of new cultural trends arriving owing to the easiest doorway the fastest growing typhoon-like technologies are providing, the metaphorical divorce between the youth of the time and everything "home-grown'" is most evident.

Even though acknowledging the positive growth possible through the kind of cultural cross-breeding system the world culture is marketing today, such a product being accepted at the cost of one's own indigenous cultural tradition and patterns is also not acceptable.

The need of the hour is to protect, nurture and preserve all the precious cultural symbols that are gifts to us from our ancestors and to "Rise".

We can find our "Promised Land" if we "Rise" up now and open our eyes wide and involve ourselves in a kind of self-identification process in relation with and to our cultural root.

To a scholar like Bill Ashcroft, no identity is outside representation and the critical call of the hour is the recognition of the fact that we become better only when we better our "home".

Our cultural roots must be strengthened with a collective effort whereby we can finally achieve a social revolution and a continuous sense of present, past and future.

At a time and situation where "change" is the exclusive thing that is only constant, we could direct our minds towards bringing about a mental revolution.

A kind of dynamic process that can instill in us innovative ways of bridging the gaps or the subtle chasms evident today in the way youths understand and define their culture and identity in relation to their "home".

It is solely up to us to choose the authentic path of life. The journey must begin and it must not be a kind of travelling in a nowhere land but "back" to our "roots".

Whether it be glorifying our traditional food or celebrating our music, dance, the unique features of our homely carved fabrics and other such culturally and religiously beautified items- the show must begin.

Let us not forget that as long as we possess the will, we will literally find our aspired way to our Promised Land sooner than expected.

* Omila Thounaojam wrote this article for Hueiyen Lanpao
The writer is a Research Scholar at Assam University (Silchar) .
This article was posted on June 29 2012

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