TODAY -

Manipuri Sankirtana On UNESCO's list sends conflicting signals

Achoibam Saphaba Meetei *

A press meet on Recognition of 'Manipuri Nata Sankirtana as Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO' at Kwakeithel Nganapi Thong :: December 13 2013
A press meet on Recognition of 'Manipuri Nata Sankirtana as Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO' at Kwakeithel Nganapi Thong on December 13 2013 :: Pix - Deepak Oinam



Manipuri Sankirtana being inscribed on UNESCO's intangible heritage list brought a moment of mingled happiness and pride for India. However, it sends conflicting signals and disturbing among the multi-cultural inhabitants of Manipur.

The advent of enormous selective institutions and Academies with certain authority has transformed and converted the indigenous religion and cultures of Manipur into another form. It has hurt the sentiments of several powerless people in this region.

The recognition of Sankirtana by UNESCO has grately affected the existence of indigenous Meitei/Meetei people in the State.

Thanks to Sanskritisation, the lovely indigenous hill and valley people have been forgotten though they originated from the same commonly shared cultural historical background. The Meitei tradition has been uprooted.

The following years after the middle of the 15th century A.D./CE., the process of Sanskirtisation continued with internal and external illegitimate force. This is akin to opening the "Pandora Box" especially with the resurrection of Shantidas Gosai in the present time - all set to ruin rich culture of indigenous Manipuri people.

This create inorganic relationship with the people, which notice till today- ''Demanding Separate State'' and always probably to happen communal clashes.

The Vaishnav community and vaishnav people of Manipur should perform to mark ritual religion occassion, narrate the lives and deeds of Lord Krishna through songs and dances with the legacy of their forefathers who belonged to the culture.

In fact, they shouldn't modify and performed which had been predominately occupied the MEITEI cultural elements. Those were Poong (musical drum), also the Lulhup (royal crown), khamen chatpa feijom (dhoti printed printed with khamen chatpa design ), reshom shirt (velvet shirt worn by king in the early period), the processs of uniqueness evolving indigenous religion - SANAMAHISM.

The Vaishnav community may go in any manner but not to harm the others downtrodden people. The tendency of underestimating the Meitei cultural elements should be stopped.

We hope Martial art THANG-TA won't be reproduced in some other form which could go against the indegenious religion-SANAMAHISM.!!!

Altogether we should promote the idea of co-existence and co-development to make our society more progressive and to bring unity.

However, the integrity of Manipur and nation building factor is largely dependent on how culture evolves. It shouldn't end up as a theatre of conflict. It would serve better if recognition were given to the Umang Lai Haraoba by the UNESCO.

I request to all the peace loving organisation and Sangeet Natak Akademi , Jawaharlal Nehru Manipur And Dance Academy(JMNDA), Manipur Dance Academy, MU to rethink and reform on the disturbing present trend. And not to be carried out in the form of commercialisation.


* Achoibam Saphaba Meetei wrote this article for The Sangai Express
The writer is Student, Jamia Milia Islamia University New Delhi and can be reached at saphabameiteiachoibam(at)gmail(dot)com
This article was posted on December 26, 2013.


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