MK Binodini and Manipuri Polo

* Moirangthem Shantikumar

"Sport and culture introduce Manipur to the world...", Imashi M.K.Binodini was giving me dictation in English for her letter addressed to His Excellency, the Governor of Manipur. When I was slightly faltering while taking the dictation, she burst out in Manipuri "Why are you you think I am exaggerating... don't you people believe that the players and the artists of Manipur are real gems... but for them our tiny State could have been unknown to the rest of the world".

Her sudden outburst was so sweet and delightful that I kept staring at her for some moment before I said" Imashi, it is not that I don't believe you... It was just thrilling when such words came out of your mouth. You sound so sincere and empathetic..." "You are an inveterate flatterer..." she blurted. I continued taking the dictation which finally took the following form and was sent to Shri S.S. Sidhu, His Excellency, the Governor of Manipur on 13th January, 2005.

She wrote

Your Excellency,
May kindly recollect the pleasant discussion we had at the Imphal Pologround on the final day of polo tournament on the 2nd January, 2005 on the fate of polo in Manipur, the place of its birth. I was a little nostalgic or rather moved when I saw the old polo ground where my late father Churachand Maharaj used to play with his courtiers and British officers after his return from Mayo College, Ajmeer in 1901.

As a young man he must have played the game with the Maharaja of Patiala, Maharaja Ranji Singhaji of cricket fame and many other sport loving princes of the native States of India. All these thoughts came to my mind in a flash when I saw two old veteran polo players aged around 84/85 years coming from a distant village, huddling in a corner of the gallery and watching the game of their love with such intensity as if they were viewing the last of the game in their lives.

I felt at once that we must do something for these old players who have played the game so many times in this polo ground and have themselves become a history of this legendary game in flesh and blood. It will be a yeoman service if some monetary allowance is given selectively to these old veteran polo players who are above eighty years of age.

To-day, Your Excellency is aware that Manipur is introduced to the outsiders not only by its dance but also by its sport - in some selected fields of which Manipur boys and girls play second fiddle to none. Of all the sports, polo is closer to the heart of the people. Polo which has been declared as the State game is more of a heritage than a sport for the people of Manipur.

In spite of some ups and downs in its fortune, the game has been revived and survived by the relentless efforts of some polo enthusiasts and the dedicated organizations like the All Manipur Polo Association and the Manipur Horse Riding and Polo Association. However, I completely share His Excellency's views that the preservation of the game is vitally linked to the survival of Manipuri pony as a breed on this earth.

It is really shocking that the population of this recognized pony breed of the world has dwindled to a near extinct number of below two thousand. The other nations of the world which are fortunate enough to have their own native specie or breed of animal take pride in their exclusive possessions and protect them as heritage animals.

I am confident that under your patronage we can protect and preserve our legendary heritage animal called Manipuri pony and showcase it for the world to see as a living time capsule of South Asia's turbulent past.

We can conveniently establish a Heritage Park, as is done in other parts of the world, in the available areas like Lamphel Pat adjoining Langol where we can keep a few ponies to roam freely combined with additional facility for recreation. It can definitely make the people proud of their heritage and learn to live in harmony with nature. The State Government too may be advised to keep a reserved area or sanctuary for these ponies.

These few words are written with the genuine conviction that His Excellency may kindly take up some projects which are closer to the heart of the people and we, as senior citizen can be proud of being associated with your enlightened leadership.

With regards.

Dr. SS Sidhu,
His Excellency, the Governor of Manipur.

Yours sincerely,
M.K. Binodini Devi

I still have her dictation with all those outbursts and emotions in the sound recordings of my mobile phone. The day she died, when AIR Imphal announced her demise, I played the recordings over and over in her remembrance. I saw my wife who was listening to the recordings all through was teary eyed. When asked she said "Imashi's voice is as sweet as her writings."

My wife is an avid reader of Imashi's books among which Bor Saheb Ongbi Sanatombi was her favourite. Like any other couple we may have divergent views on different aspects of life but when it comes to Imashi M.K. Binodini we had a meeting point. My wife admires her writings and I admire her unflinching pride in the cultural heritage of her tiny State.

* Moirangthem Shantikumar wrote this article for The Sangai Express
This article was webcasted on April 07, 2011.

* Comments posted by users in this discussion thread and other parts of this site are opinions of the individuals posting them (whose user ID is displayed alongside) and not the views of We strongly recommend that users exercise responsibility, sensitivity and caution over language while writing your opinions which will be seen and read by other users. Please read a complete Guideline on using comments on this website.

  • Mix Media Festival #3:: Gallery
  • Khurumjei eethou eekan :: Radio e-pao
  • Shaheed Manoranjan football :: Gallery
  • Birth Anniversary of Maharani Dhanamnjuri
  • Buddha advised to follow the moderate way
  • A hope of second meeting with dear mum
  • Sadar Hills Demand 2011-2017 : Timeline
  • Killing Culture in Manipur
  • Lingering allure of lotus after polls
  • 30 mn trafficking victims worldwide: CJ
  • Tough for some to be out of news
  • Manipur Sangai Festival 2016 #3 : Ooba
  • Yaoshang Sports #3 (Mar 16) :: Gallery
  • Eyek Tamba :: Learn Manipuri script
  • Glimpses of Puppets in India
  • NE important part of 2nd World War
  • Strategic place branding of Manipur
  • Non-biodegradable solid wastes mgmt
  • Skill oriented vocational training
  • Indo-Naga Talks 2017 :: News Timeline
  • No pact on integration of Naga areas
  • Nobody is a fool, introduce Lok Ayukta
  • Khoupum Valley Expedition #5:: Gallery
  • 36th World TB day Rally :: Gallery
  • Veteran Cricket Tournament :: Gallery
  • And thus she became a fast learner
  • Coalition Government & its periphery
  • Know your test: Uric acid
  • Inner Line Permit (ILP) Demand :: Timeline
  • No compromise on territorial integrity
  • Ten meritorious students sponsored
  • Anti Corruption Cell to be set up
  • Centre, State: Put RIMS back on track
  • Minister promise on Imphal Jiribam road
  • Students for HSLC Exam :: Gallery
  • Governor Cup Polo tournament #1:: Gallery
  • Blast of Md Kora & his shadows
  • A Drunken Dream :: Poem
  • Downfall of Congress party in Manipur
  • Corruption a part and parcel in our society
  • Hangkhanlian, Radheshyam, Nemcha ...
  • Lecture on TS. Eliot's contribution
  • Naga integration via FA: Game of word play
  • Almost perfect team...missing "Lok Ayukta"
  • Miss Manipur Queen 2017 #2 : Gallery
  • Yangkholet, Somatai, Mangaleima :: eMing
  • N Biren sworn-in CM #3 :: Gallery
  • Lanmei Thanbi Re-imagining the Light Spirit
  • Did we glorify the UNC highway blockade?
  • Career penchant in Anthropology
  • The formation of new BJP-led Government
  • The Killing Fields :: News Timeline
  • Nagas safe under Framework : NSCN-IM
  • New fish species discovered in Assam
  • Making Manipur bandh & blockade free: Guv
  • Politicking the politics
  • Photo : Governor with all Elected MLAs
  • Day 3: @ Bamon Leikai #3 : Gallery
  • Yaoshang Day 3 activities #2 : Gallery
  • Kanchan Soibam in Femina Miss India 2017
  • RIST talk 28-Transition in amorphous solid
  • Formation of Gender Champions @RGU
  • Free spectacle distribution at Loktak Station
  • Naga history of transition stands unique
  • Delhi warn NE against shady land deals
  • Screen kids' films in NE languages
  • Looking at the pre-poll promises of BJP
  • State govt- perceptions & premonitions
  • MLAs took oath of office : Gallery
  • SundarGopal Condolence @Ghy : Gallery
  • Yaoshang Thabal at Pune #2 :: Gallery
  • Yaoshang: Journalist Sports #2 :: Gallery
  • What Term of Negotiation btn GoM & UNC?
  • Class 12 marks may decide your college..
  • N. Biren led Govt won the floor test
  • Job @ VK NRL Hospital at Numaligarh
  • Cycling from Jessami to Mantripukhri
  • Lifting the longest ever blockade
  • Hope amid the hesitations
  • Tenwa Chandrasakhi :: Funga wari
  • Yaoshang Day 5: Sports #2: Gallery
  • Day 3: Yaoshang activities #1 : Gallery
  • Day 3: @ Bamon Leikai #2 : Gallery
  • Drinking bottled mineral water culture
  • Condolence meeting for friend of Assam
  • Food Outlet at DM Community College
  • APFEJ urges Delhi to be respectful to media
  • TSA Ceremonial Rite to its Former SG
  • Statistics not telling the whole story
  • Kangleipak Kang Trophy #1 : Gallery
  • Day 5: Yaoshang Activities #4: Gallery
  • N Biren sworn-in CM #2 :: Gallery
  • Insurgency as reflected in Chagi Khuji
  • Yaoshang Meithaba @Uripok: Gallery
  • Women Empowerment
  • Construction as career choice
  • Condolence meeting for Sundar Gopal
  • Manipuri group to stall trains
  • Manipur State Archery Championship
  • Miss Manipur Queen 2017 #1 : Gallery
  • Yaoshang Halankar celebration : Gallery
  • 2nd phase Polling @Nungba #2 :: Gallery
  • Art of Lamangdong's stone bowls & Toupokpi
  • Yaoshang Day 1: Mei Loukhatpa #2: Gallery
  • Pabung Sunder Gopal funeral at Mandalay
  • Emotional integration of all communities
  • Training on Traditional Snacks
  • How to take along disparate parties
  • Yaoshang Day 5: Sports #1: Gallery
  • Meetei Pokpi :: Radio e-pao
  • Day 3: @ Bamon Leikai #1 : Gallery
  • Yaoshang Day 1: Mei Thaba #4: Gallery
  • Letter: Manipur Public Service Commission
  • Career as Chef
  • HQ IGAR celebrates 14th Raising Day [upd]
  • N Biren sworn-in CM #1 :: Gallery
  • Yaoshang Thabal at Pune #1 :: Gallery
  • Mix Media Art exhibition #2 :: Gallery
  • Yaoshang: Journalist Sports #1 :: Gallery
  • Nongthombam Biren sworn-in CM, Mar 15
  • Glaucoma Week : March 12 - 18, 2017
  • Annual Yaoshang Thabal 2017 at Pune
  • Course in Butterfly Studies at BNHS
  • Yaoshang- with DJ @Sekmai :: Gallery
  • Kangleipak Football Trophy 2017 :: Gallery
  • Thabal chongbagi Peisa khaiba #2:: Gallery
  • Yaoshang Day 1: Mei Thaba #3: Gallery
  • Cue card for the new Chief Minister
  • International Rivers Day at Tamenglong
  • What kind of Nagaland are we moving..
  • Yaoshang Day 1: Mei Loukhatpa #1: Gallery
  • Yaoshang Day 1: Mei Thaba #2: Gallery
  • Election: Counting & Winnners #2:: Gallery
  • Ending TB is going to be hard...
  • Holi Pala performance at Raj Bhavan
  • Archery Championship at Keithalmanbi
  • NPF to support non-Congress coalition
  • Workshop on filmmaking at MSFDS
  • Yaoshang Day 1: Mei Thaba #1: Gallery
  • Yaoshang Day 1: AMWJU Sports : Gallery
  • 2nd phase Polling @Chandel :: Gallery
  • Testing patience of Manipuris, Cong-UNC
  • Bangladesh Meetei leisabi at Sylhet
  • A Hindi tract with feminist ideals
  • Condemns decision on Sajibu Nongma
  • Churchill Brothers vs Shillong Lajong
  • Election: Counting & Winnners #1:: Gallery
  • Mamliba maikeise :: Radio e-pao
  • Saroi Khangba #3 : Gallery
  • Yaoshang :: A flash presntation
  • UNC in Manipur Electoral Politics #3
  • The Election Trap :: Poem
  • Mix Media Art exhibition #1 :: Gallery
  • Mountain Division Polo #2 : Gallery
  • MCA T20 Luwangpokpa Trophy :: Gallery
  • Possibility of hung House
  • BJP will form government in Manipur
  • Trade connection with Southeast Asia #2
  • Breast Cancer Conference :: Gallery
  • Saroi Khangba #2 : Gallery
  • 2nd phase Polling @Sora :: Gallery
  • Judgement regarding MCSCCE - 2016
  • 2nd phase Polling @Nungba #1 :: Gallery
  • Thabal chongbagi Peisa khaiba #1:: Gallery
  • Featured Photo for 2017 #1 :: Gallery
  • Exam Centers for HSE 2017 : Download
  • 'Thammoi Tahoure' : Muslims' musical
  • International Women's Day at Delhi
  • International Women's day
  • Thoubal Keithel #1 : Gallery
  • Gita-Govinda- Dance Drama #2: Gallery
  • Women's Day: Women Safety in Train
  • All eyes on 2nd phase polls
  • Not so hard verdict, but perhaps..
  • Kabui Keioiba & Lai Khutsangbi ...
  • Rahul Gandhi @Imphal #2: Gallery
  • Mountain Division Polo #1 : Gallery
  • People's Convention on FA : Gallery
  • Manipur hills as tourist destination
  • Armed Violence & Nationalism : Report
  • Saroi Khangba #1 : Gallery
  • Polling for Assembly election #2 : Gallery
  • PM Narendra Modi #3: Gallery
  • Maphou Dam :: 360 View Panorama
  • Laisram Birendra Kumar: PadmaShri Award
  • Trekking to Dzukou Valley #2: Gallery
  • Biju Ningombam (Photos) #3 :: eRang
  • Laihui @Tanglei Music Festival :: Gallery
  • Landscape of Manipur #5: Wallpaper
  • Wareppa Naba :: Profile of Theatre Actor
  • Meiteilon Folk & Tangkhul duet : Ooba
  • Khunung Eeshei/ Ema Emoinu #3 : Radio