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E-Pao! Opinion - Meitei budhist - are they a minority community?t

Meitei buddhist - are they a minority community?

Dr. Bishwajeet Elangbam *



The recently published article on e-pao.net - Buddhism in Manipur, seems to have exposed a lot of intriguing facts about the current socio-cultural trend in Manipur.

At the end of the said article it writes as- "Currently Prof. Ningomba is the chairman of All Manipur Minorities (Buddhist, Christian, Muslim and Sikh) Forum, Imphal".

Correct me if I am wrong, but does it mean Prof. Ningomba has just become a minority group in Manipur despite being a Meitei himself. Has choice of religion or has religion divide communities into - minorities and majorities, believer and non-believers.

I sincerely think Prof Ningomba should use his status and knowledge to instill "a sense of togetherness " among the people of Manipur, rather than to wait for "Look East Asia door" to open for Buddhism to instill Nirvana in us, while he continues as a minority in his own homeland.

It is quite disturbing, when Prof Ningomba tries to hypothesize past and current Meitei ways of life could be as a result of a Phoren religion, without any firm backgrounds.

This wishes of many learned Manipuris trying to distort Manipur's history to fulfill their fantasies for e.g. Meiteis being descendants of Arjuns and Bhims, has time and again expose our much maligned low self esteem attitude in being ourselves. This low self esteem attitude might account for Meiteis trying to assert themselves in most Minimal Meitei background.

The disturbing fact is as Prof Ningomba mentioned, in his Buddhism-marketing Technique that Many learned college lecturers and professor are part of his minority community.

It is quite surprising or maybe I should blame myself, for I have failed to see even a few words of the divine philosophy of Buddhism in this particular article, written by a devout Buddhist. There is hardly any "compassion" (one of the core ideology of Buddhism) in the words of our respectable devout Buddhist.

In Manipur especially among the upper middle class families, it has been some kind of a cult phenomenon to be carried away by the charms and harms, of foreign religion like SAI BABA, ISCKON etc with hardly any knowledge of their own indigenous way of life.

Unfortunately it is this upper middle class who in the role of bureaucrats , ministers runs the state of Manipur and shape its present and future .

Is this Phoren-philia culture one of the reasons why Meiteis took so long to implement our own Meitei-mayek script in our career and thoughts-shaping education?

Would it sound FANATIC OR TALIBANISTIC, if I ask the many Meiteis especially the upper middle class why we shy or fail to see any reasons to know and learn more about our own indigenous heritage?

Manipur doesn't need Religion to divide, but wisdom especially from learned or educated ones, to give Manipuri a reason to be proud of being themselves and carry them towards a prosperous future.

Just recently, after being a Manipuri for 30 years I have learned something about the Indian classical dance and our Manipuri classical dance......

Our Classical dance "Ras Lila" which is an off-shoot from the Maibe jagoi, has unique difference from the other Indian classical dances. The Indian classical dances are mainly dances derived from dances of courtesans, who had danced in the King's court to charm or entertain the nobleman .

On the contrary our dance is one of fine movements of the hands and other parts of the body, danced with respect and devotion to God and depicting the "evolution of human and the universe" not just for entertainment.

So much for a system of a education created by our policy makers, we many Meiteis have minimal knowledge about ourselves.


Dr. Bishwajeet Elangbam , a Practising Doctor in London, UK & General Secretary of EMA, contributes regularly to e-pao.net
You can email the writer at biswaelangbam@yahoo.com
This article was webcasted on 23rd October 2005.


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