TODAY -

Shifting To A Global Paradigm
Manipur government must think global in its efforts to promote sports and culture of the state

Seram Neken *

Bangladeshi Dancer Tamanna Rahaman and her troupe presenting Rass leela at INDICLAD : International Indian Classical Dance Festival
Bangladeshi Dancer Tamanna Rahaman and her troupe presenting Rass leela at INDICLAD : International Indian Classical Dance Festival :: pix - Bullu Raj



Manipur has received numerous global recognitions in terms of its cultural aesthetics and marvelous sports achievements. Manipur's meager infrastructure, poor transport and communication, pitiable resources, small size and population etc. do not deter the state to triumph over the other nations, communities and peoples of the globe. It is time for us to work harder towards exploring the hidden sports talents and cultural beauties of this land, and demonstrate the same to the whole world.

Manipur shines again at the fag end of this year. On two great news reports, the global community has recently peeped into Manipur. First is the Nat Sankirtan in the list of the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. Second is Manipur lifting the champion's title in the 7th Manipur Polo International tournament.

In both culture and sports, Manipur is obviously the envy of the rest of the world. Still there are lots to explore in this land and demonstrate in front of the global community. Manipuris, both the people and the government, need to think global in promoting the sports and culture.

No doubt, the state lacks wealth, infrastructure and other facilities to compete with the other people. Still it is a fertile soil for grooming sports talents and cultural aesthetics. Since the pre-historic days, Manipur has owned highly adventurous indigenous games, the techniques of which tremendously add to the strength and skills of today's sports persons. The various adventurous games played by our forefathers are really a treasure for the present generation. They are the secrets to success of Manipuri players in the international arena.

In the same way, the rich cultural heritage of the people of Manipur shines amid the powerful nations of the world, when UNESCO recognizes the precious Nat Sankirtan of Manipur as one of the Intangible Cultural Heritages of Humanity.

Considering the aesthetic values inherent in the Nat Sankirtan, the UNESCO has nominated this ritual singing with drumming and dancing for the precious recognition. This was recently announced at the eighth session of the UNESCO Intergovernmental Committee. The Representative List seeks to create awareness about the intangible heritage of a community, provide recognition to its tradition and how it is reflected in the community's cultural diversity.

Nat Sankirtana encompasses an array of arts performed to mark religious occasions and various stages in the life of the people of Manipur. Although it narrates the lives and deeds of Krishna through songs and dance, Nat Sankirtan of Manipur is not wholly based on Hinduism of mainland India. There are ample reflections of the original traditions of the native people in its creation.

The godly king of Manipur, Bheigyachandra Maharaj innovated this art form as part of his mission to rejuvenate the native traditions and culture along the lines of Vaisnav faith. The various components of Nat Sankirtan embody the martial arts (Thang-ta), indigenous games (Mukna and Kangjei) etc. It can well be said that the Nat Sankirtan is entirely a creation based on traditions and beliefs of native Manipur.

It is a typical performance with two drummers (Pung Yeiba) and some singer-dancers in a temple or domestic courtyard encircled by seated devotees during a religious ceremony. The dignity and flow of aesthetic and religious energy is unparalleled, moving the devoted audience to tears. Because of the presence of some unique elements well known to the intellectual world, the international organisation has chosen 'Nat Sankirtan' for the coveted recognition. It is a matter of pride for the Manipuris and largely the Indians.

In terms of the rich cultural heritage and sporting talents of its people, Manipur undoubtedly is the real 'Sana Leibak' shining across nations around the globe. It is ample proof that Manipur had a highly civilized society from very early times. Now, it is lamentable that most of the youths are not aware of the values of Nat Sankirtan performance.

Hence, majority of them do not endear this internationally recognized performing art. Through this article, the writer seeks to find a way through which the young people are made aware of the importance of Nat Sankirtan. The elders of the society and the cultural activists of the state need to pay attention to mobilize the young people on the values and practices of world famous Nat Sankirtan of the Manipuris.

VOICE OF THE WEEK

Manipur must have an effective Cultural Policy which aims to linking the young generation with the traditional values of Manipur. In the absence of an effective Cultural Policy, the rich heritages of this land lay unexplored and unattended by the young generation. The Government and the Cultural activists of the state need to shift the paradigm towards a global perspective.


* Seram Neken wrote this article for Hueiyen Lanpao as part of 'The Voiceless Speaks' Column
This article was posted on December 18, 2013.


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