Sports University : The Greatest Birthday Gift
Seram Neken *
Aerial view of Khuman Lampak Sports Stadium in Imphal in November 2012 :: Pix - MMTA
Churachand Maharaj deserves a place of honour in the National Sports University to be set up in Manipur. If we name the newly mooted sports university as "Maharaj Churachand National Sports University", it will be a great salute to the sports pioneer king.
If news reports are to be believed, Narendra Modi called up Okram Ibobi to wish a Happy Birthday on 19th July last while the state chief minister was on the dais for inaugurating an annexe of Churachandpur district hospital. Modi reportedly excited the chief minister with the greatest ever gift in the form of a National Sports University for which an amount of Rs. 100 crore has already been allocated in the annual budget by the centre. The 66th Birth anniversary of Okram Ibobi is significant, as far as the sports development in the state is concerned.
A concrete election agenda of the BJP Manipur, Sports University is truly the realization of the pre-election-hype "Acchey Din" to the people of Manipur. Delhi becomes nearer to Imphal, as people have begun to witness the unexpected attention of Narendra Modi government towards the far-off border state of Manipur.
BJP government under Modi has made tremendous efforts to maintain maximum cordiality with the existing opposition-led state governments across India, as it has done to win the antagonistic neighbours of the country. Centre-state relations have probably begun to show its cordiality as never before with Modi government reaching out to opposition ruled state governments.
To establish the first ever National Sports University in Manipur is a great opportunity for the state and its people. It is also due to the contributions made by sports enthusiasts and players of Manipur that the present generation gets the opportunity to own a national university.
In addition to numerous sports activists who dedicated their lives and everything for sports, we may here recall the contributions made by Churachand Maharaj in modern sports development in the state. Manipur is able to stand as a powerhouse of sports in the whole country, because of the unparalleled endeavour of Churachand Maharaj and later Bodhachandra Maharaj during the past one century of so. Both the kings were not only ardent promoters of Manipur sports movement but also good players in a number of disciplines.
Once, the Manipur Maharaj Churachand was reported to have purchased all the sports equipment available at Oberoi in Calcutta leaving nothing for sale at the shop. The national paper Statesman reported it the next day. This showed the magnitude of sports enthusiasm and patronage the king had extended during those olden days. Churachand Maharaj of Manipur who lived only for fifty years from 1891 to 1941, dedicated his life for sports development in the state. He was responsible for introduction of various modern games in the state during his rule in Manipur.
Unfortunately, not a single stadium, playground or sports complex in Manipur has been named in memory of Churachand Maharaj of Manipur who introduced modern games and worked for development of modern sports in Manipur. It is only the CC Meet Football event, which takes the name of the king. If we name the newly mooted sports university as "Maharaj Churachand National Sports University", it will be a great salute to the sports pioneer king of Manipur.
Manipur is a fertile soil that easily adapt to each and every modern game. A powerhouse of sports, Manipur could have produced a number of players of global repute including Olympians. Every modern game finds its proper adaptation on the Manipur soil for which credit must be given to the forefathers who had nurtured various indigenous games such as Sagol Kangjei, Khong kangjei, Mukna, Thang-ta and Yubi Lakpi.
Moreover, local people and tiny local playgrounds took the enormous roles to nurture players in the absence of efficient coaches, and equipment. Hence the upcoming Sports University must give ample room for development of our indigenous games which were nurtured by our forefathers.
It will be the first sports university in the whole country. Besides the existing sports academies, a few institutions have been imparting various courses on sports management, sports coaching, sports medicine, physical education, sports information technology, sports bio-mechanics and kinesiology. Indian Institute of Social Welfare and Business Management, Kolkata has been providing Post Graduate Diploma course in Sports Management, while Netaji Subhas National Institute of Sports, Patiala imparts Master degree in Sports Coaching and Post Graduate Diploma in Sports Medicine.
Amity School of Physical Education and Sports Sciences, Noida gives courses of Post Graduate Diploma in Sports Psychology and Doctor of Philosophy in Physical Education, while Indira Gandhi Institute of Physical Education & Sports Sciences, New Delhi has opened Bachelor courses in Physical Education and Health Education. Guru Nanak Dev University Amritsar, Tamil Nadu Physical Education and Sports University Chennai, Netaji Subhas National Institute Of Sports Patiala, Acharya Nagarjuna University Centre for Distance Education Guntur etc. are some other institutes providing sports education in India.
Investment in Sports sector will never go futile in Manipur, as game spirit has been inherent in the Manipuris since the very beginning. Innumerable number of sportspersons in the pre-statehood years in Manipur amply proves it. The sports university finds a suitable soil in this land too.
When the sports university is established in Manipur, local sportspersons and sports students will be benefited. The dying indigenous games of Manipur such as Thang Ta, Kang, Mukna, Khong Kagjei, etc. can well be conserved and promoted.
* Seram Neken wrote this article for Hueiyen Lanpao as part of 'The Voiceless Speaks' column
This article was posted on July 23, 2014.
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