TODAY -

Open Letter to V Shanmuganathan (Governor of Manipur) on the Definition of Culture
- Part 4 -

Kshetri Prem *

V. Shanmuganathan : Governor of Manipur
V. Shanmuganathan : Governor of Manipur :: Pix - DIPR



I am trying to convince myself that the 'hundred words challenge' was a well intended pun. I almost convinced myself that Your Excellency was indirectly hinting towards the present culture of corruption, fake encounters, culture of distrust, counter culture on ethnic lines, culture of ideological difference, culture of competitive identity politics, bandh culture, economic blockade culture, culture of ethnic violence, culture of disrupting classrooms, upland lowland dichotomy, the lawai and Imphal divide, 'you know who I am' culture, murder of human rights, culture of silently observing a failed state, assisted democracy, 'happy class' culture, culture or negligence and denial (the list is limitless), etc. brewing in Manipur.

But, I am wrong and Your Excellency is not hinting towards any of these cultures cited above. I have come to the conclusion that Your Excellency has little knowledge or no knowledge about Manipur or the region. Not to talk about India or India's diverse cultures. As I pointed out earlier, it is just impractical and impossible to promulgate one definition of culture and consider that definition as an all encompassing and definitive definition of culture.

I can throw big big names in the field of Cultural Studies and Popular Culture for that cup of tea (western theorists and thinkers). But I would not do that. I will, at the same time, refrain from quoting Shri S. Radhakrishna or Shri Aurobindo or Prof. Abid Hussain (Indian theorists and thinkers, just to show that I have heard about them). I would just say that the English word 'culture' has its roots in Latin colere which means 'to till the ground'. There is an element of 'cultivate/ion' in the word and the idea transmitted by culture. And, of course, one must also know where and when to till because what one sows one surely reaps.

Your Excellency, chakcha yuthak is a Manipuri expression. It means 'the way in which one eats and drinks'. We Manipuris believe that someone's way of eating and drinking will reveal much about the character of that person. By extension, it also means the way someone carries and conducts himself in the public sphere. If I were you (Your Excellency) I would definitely tender an apology to the people of Manipur. Because, what you (Your Excellency) did was nothing but an act of denigrating Manipur and Manipuris. However, the decision is yours (Your Excellency's decision).

Having said that, I would like to conclude this chhoti muh badi baat wala letter with one quotation, something that makes us think. This is from Verrier Elwin's book A Philosophy for NEFA in which Jawaharlal Nehru wrote:

I am not all sure which is the better way of living, the tribal or our own. In some respects I am quite certain their's is better. Therefore, it is grossly presumptuous on our part to approach them with an air of superiority, to tell them how to behave or what to do and what not to do. There is no point in trying to make of them a second-rate copy of ourselves. [21]

Vande Mataram.

Yours Sincerely

Kshetri Prem
Assistant Professor, Dept. of English
Tripura University, Suryamaninagar – 799022
Agartala, Tripura, India
kshprem(AT)gmail(DOT)com, kshetrisingh(AT)tripurauniv(DOT)in


I took the liberty of preparing some notes for your kind reference

1 Ch. Manihar Singh, A History of Manipuri Literature (New Delhi: Sahitya Akademi, 2003), p. 107.

2 Kshirodachandra Raychaudhuri, "Banglar Borbor Jati", Nabya Bharat (Boishakh, 1886), pp. 30, 33–35, cited in Swarupa Gupta's Notions of Nationhood in Bengal: Perspectives on Samaj, c. 1867–1905 (Leiden: Brill, 2009), p. 203.

3 "The thing which is not" is a phrase used by Houyhnhnms in Gulliver's Travels, Book IV, to describe the word ‘lie' as such a word does not exist in their vocabulary. Jonathan Swift here says that a human being can degrade himself by lying and speculating. His idea alludes to the ‘lie' the imperialists tell to expand their colonies as depicted by Joseph Conrad in Heart of Darkness.

4 Joseph Addison, "Remarks on the English by the Indian Kings" in Eight Essayists. ed. A S Cairncross (Chennai: Macmillan Publishers India Ltd. 2009), p. 51.

5 Quoting Savarkar (1922) and Golwalker (1938) Romila Thapar points out the difficulties of ascertaining the meaning held by the term Aryan in recent times. See, Romila Thapar et al., India: Historical Beginnings and the Concept of the Aryan (New Delhi: National Book Trust, 2010), p. 19.

6 According to eminent Indologist Prof. Suniti Kumar Chatterji kirata is a Sanskrit term which indicates ‘wild non-Aryan tribes living in the mountains, particularly the Himalayas and in the Northeastern areas of India, who were Mongoloid in origin'. Prof. S. K. Chatterji prefers to call kiratas Indo-Mongoloids.

7 Chandra Dhar Tripathi. Aspects of the Medieval History of Assam (Shimla: Indian Institute of Advanced Study, 2002) p. 2.

8 Believing in the false superior European ‘knowledge and power', the colonisers took upon themselves the burden of civilising the uncivilized natives. Joseph Conrad equates ‘knowledge' to ‘the Bible' and ‘power' to the ‘sword'. By the same token, J. Shakespeare opines that the Sanskritisation of Manipur was carried out by Indian religious/cultural imperialists through a Brahmin's ‘scrolls and sanctities'. See, J. Shakespeare calls it ‘J. Shakespeare. "Religion of Manipur". Folklore, Vol. 24, No. 4 (Dec., 1913), pp. 409-455.
< http://www.jstor.org/stable/1255647. > Accessed: 06/07/2012, 02:34.

9 Explaining the postcolonial experience in Africa, Ngugi Wa Thiongo opines that there are two traditions followed by the people of a former colony. They are, an imperialist tradition, and the resistance tradition. He furthers goes on to say that those who follow the resistance tradition tries to protect their original culture, religion, language, etc. But those following the imperialist tradition remain agents for the colonial power to disseminate the coloniser's neo-colonialist agenda. See, Ngũgĩ Wa Thiongo, Decolonising the Mind: The Politics of Language in African Literature. (New Delhi: Worldview Publications, 2007).

10 Some Meiteis want to do away with the Hindu tag and return to what they believe is an essentially tribal root. Hence, there is a section of Meiteis who demand Scheduled Tribe status.

11 Translated with the help of Rajkumar Jitendrajit Sinha. "Manipur", Janmabhumi, Part 1, Number 4 (Chaitra, 1890), p. 224.

12 Pandit Ningthoukhongjam Khelchandra Singh lists some 120 Manipuri texts burnt at Kangla on the insistence of Santadas Goswami. See, Khelchandra, Ariba Manipuri Sahityagi Itihash (A History of Old Manipuri Literature) (Imphal: Khelchandra, 2011), pp. 39-41.

13 Suniti Kumar Chatterjee, Kirata- Jana-Kriti, The Indo-Mongoloids: Their Contribution to the History and Culture of India (Calcutta: The Asiatic Society, 1998), p. 160.

14 While Nagas construct and promote Naga identity, Kukis fight for greater political and cultural space in Manipur. Meiteis, the dominant group, on the other hand, are embroiled in an extremely complicated situation as Meiteis have identified themselves with Manipur's history, culture, and society.

15 John Parrat, "Atom Bapu Sharma and the Religious Roots of Integrationism"
Accessed on 02/12/2014.

16 Rajkumar Jhalait Singh, A History of Manipuri Literature (Imphal: Public Book Store on behalf of Manipur University, 1987), p. 16-17.

17 L. Iboongohal Singh, Introduction to Manipur (Imphal: S. Ibomcha Singh, 1987), p. 9.

18 "Manipur", Janmabhumi, p. 221.

19 Romila Thapar, "The Historigraphy of the Concept of ‘Aryan'", India: Historical Beginnings and the Concept of the Aryan (New Delhi: National Book Trust, 2010), p. 17.

20 Rajkumar Jhalajit Singh, p. 18-19.

21 Jawaharlal Nehru, Epigraph. Verrier Elwin. A Philosophy of NEFA

Concluded.....


* Kshetri Prem wrote this article for e-pao.net
The writer is Assistant Professor, Dept. of English, Tripura University and can be reached at kshprem(AT)gmail(DOT)com
This article was posted on August 21, 2016.


* 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 e-pao.net. 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.




LATEST IN E-PAO.NET
  • Meira Rally on Patriots' Day #2 :: Gallery
  • ... All The Flowers Gone? #2 :: Gallery
  • Shri Shri Govindaji Temple #1 :: 360 ° View
  • My Japanlan memoir after 4 score yrs
  • Traffic jam and 13th August
  • Manipur District Demand :: Articles / Photos
  • The Law is Mightier Than The Pen
  • Let the law decide
  • ...health insurance scheme for scribes
  • Absurd 1 Village, 1 Denomination decree
  • Singcha Wuya Won (flower) #3:: Gallery
  • Sunday Cup Football @Lamshang :: Gallery
  • Gurmayum Robert wins gold at World Event
  • Loktak Project & corporate unaccountability
  • Supremacy Of The Party :: NPF
  • Binding the wound: The district row
  • Admission Notice - AiTC, Imphal
  • Inner Line Permit (ILP) Demand : Timeline
  • 'Sexuality & Internet' at Digital Summit
  • Zeliang welcomed support from NPF Minority
  • NSU site and undue communal overtones
  • Tripartite Talk: GOI/GOM/UNC :: Gallery
  • Governor's Cup Fencing :: Gallery
  • 13 Aug @Kangla & BT Park :: Gallery
  • Bruce Dickinson: "son-rise" of Iron Maiden
  • Biren should learn from Mamata Banerjee
  • The globe is in your fist
  • AR I-Day festivities with Myanmar army
  • AR celebrates 71st Independence day
  • Unconstitutionality of TR Government
  • Stadium upgrade for I-League
  • NE film festival in Delhi from Aug 18
  • Myanmarese advised to follow traffic rules
  • The human torch and AFSPA
  • The real taste of Independence Day
  • Mission XI football @ Andro :: Gallery
  • Krishna Janma @ Mahabali :: Gallery
  • Blood Donation for 13 August:: Gallery
  • Mahabali Temple , Imphal :: 360 ° View
  • Graphic & plastic arts of Zeliangrong #3
  • Silence :: Poem
  • Sport Univ: Promises kept but corruption?
  • Job requirements at SKY Hospital
  • Jobs @ National Informatics Centre (NIC)
  • I-Day Celebration at BJP State Office
  • Celebrations amid militant boycott call
  • 3 Manipur terrorists arrested in Delhi
  • NSCN/GPRN condemns raid
  • NSCN-K signing hinges on cross-border..
  • Meira Rally on Patriots' Day #1 :: Gallery
  • Patriots' Day @ Kolkata :: Gallery
  • 26th NAMA Convention Report, Houston, TX
  • Forming Plurals in Manipuri Language
  • Mammography and frequently ask question
  • Indo-Naga Talks 2017 :: News Timeline
  • NPF Office Bearers reaffirm support
  • DAN Co-ordination Meeting Resolutions
  • India and China: From rivalry to enmity
  • For better tomorrows
  • Security forces round up NSCN (IM) cadres
  • Survey 'finds' jumbos in Manipur
  • Kirti Chakra for brave major
  • President medal for IPS officer- Robin Hibu
  • 13 August @Hicham Yaichampat :: Gallery
  • Achingliu, Haokhulan, Hiyaichenbi: eMing
  • Patriots' Day @ Hojai, Assam :: Gallery
  • Protest: malpractices of MPSC :: Gallery
  • On MPSC scam & people defending it
  • 126th Patriots' Day observed in Delhi
  • 126th Patriots' Day observed in Hojai
  • Lajong U-12 to represent India in BRICS
  • Learn something from 2015 experience
  • The district creation headache
  • State Thang-Ta Competition :: Gallery
  • Search operation [Aug 12] :: Gallery
  • 13 August Patriots' Day : Read all about it
  • Thangal General : The Patriot
  • Proxy examination and Wrong politics
  • Women should not live in fear ....
  • Summer Thoughts :: Poem
  • NPF Youth serve Ultimatum to Rio
  • A slap on the face of Christianity
  • U-Morok @ Shirarakhong :: Gallery
  • Dangers of 'Trial by Media' & the MPSC
  • Is Culture of insensible activism taking root
  • Meiteilon never been Tibeto-Burman
  • Mechanized threshing of foodgrains #2
  • ZSUB Foundation Day, Fresher's Meeting
  • Sadar Hills District Demand: News Timeline
  • Breaking the barrier
  • Natural Body Building #3 :: Gallery
  • National Handloom Day @ GHY :: Gallery
  • Chirom Indira shine in hearts of NE Weavers
  • Investigate killings as ordered by SC
  • MSTC CMD met with CM of Manipur
  • Conspiracy behind the toppling game
  • Armed groups attack..a human right abuse
  • Drawing Competition at Khengjoi, Chandel
  • Govt firm on protecting indigenous people
  • Suspension of Operation term extended
  • Rs 100 cr allotted to study NE floods
  • Save the indigenous people cry : Valley..
  • A matter need to ponder
  • Earthen wares of Ningthemcha Karong
  • Indigenous Wrestling @ SPT #2 :: Gallery
  • Awunching Biodiversity Park #3 :: 360 ° View
  • XXVIII State Thang-Ta Competition 2017
  • India's HLPF review of SDGs & Manipur
  • Robotics as career options
  • International Day of Indigenous People
  • Rejoinder Issued By Shurhozelie Liezietsu
  • Hard facts of political crisis (Nagaland)
  • Viewing through one's community
  • Darkening shadows of doubt
  • Ziumi village, Maram Landscape:: Gallery
  • Inter School Handball Tournament :: Gallery
  • The Proud Bamboo Tree :: Folk Tale
  • Populated Attitudes :: Poem
  • Marijuana, Mahadev and Maneka
  • Notice for MSc Biochemistry Admissions
  • The Killing Fields :: News Timeline
  • Assam edition of NE India Fashion Week
  • Being different from Cong Govt
  • Cracking down on fraudulence
  • Hanuba-hanubi paan thaba :: Funga Wari
  • ... All The Flowers Gone? #1 :: Gallery
  • Need to bust racket running inside MPSC
  • Will PM Modi betray Assam in No ST, no rest
  • State Level Essay Writing Competition
  • RIST Condolence Function at MU
  • When we stumble and fall
  • Customer Care Executive @ basicP, Imphal
  • Petition for Disqualification of 10 MLAs
  • Cracking down on fraudulence
  • Rape of small newspaper
  • Landscape of Ukhrul District #2:: Gallery
  • Jhulon Nupi Pala Phamsak :: Gallery
  • TR is CM by technicality sans Legality
  • One Day in Heaven :: Poem
  • Libraries Vs Google: Are we heading there
  • ..for electrical distribution rearrangement
  • Lessons to learn from CCpur: public hygiene
  • Angaoba Film Scenes #1 :: eRang
  • Eyek Tamba :: Learn Manipuri script
  • The dawn of cricket in Manipur
  • Lumbini Leikolda Shat-houba Leirang
  • Workshop on MU Reservations held
  • Job posting at C-DAC Silchar
  • Lafikul murdered to stir communal tension
  • Wayward rules of law
  • Indigenous Wrestling @ SPT #1 :: Gallery
  • Tourist Watch Tower, Khongjom #4 :: 360 °
  • Admission for B.Ed at Manipur University
  • The Evening Blues :: Poem
  • A village called Nbena :: Book Review
  • Employment Generating Hands on Skill
  • Unnatural death of Sainik School student
  • Condemns killing of KNO/KNLF leader
  • AR conducts Pre Recruitment Training
  • Makeshift sheds at Lamphel
  • For a clean future generation
  • Mr Maipak Body Building #2:: Gallery
  • CM referring to ST Comm is ultra vires
  • VIP culture out, VVVIP culture in
  • Be an unchained raindrop :: Poem
  • Holistic education : Trends & challenges
  • Jobs - Going Officers Pamjei
  • Providing Various Health Benefit Plans
  • larification to Tokheho's recollections
  • SoO groups in the news for wrong reasons
  • Confession
  • Nongbrang, bank of Thoubal River :: Gallery
  • Pukpha Fest @Tamenglong :: Gallery
  • Binalakshmi Nepram at UN, NYC : 1 Aug
  • Free Computer Course by KEN @ Imphal
  • Where is the justice in mob justice
  • Ishu : Feature Film in Assamese :: Review
  • Flood: State efforts are too little too late
  • Crisis within NPF unfortunate : KG Kenye
  • decision-making body of NPF resolve: 2 Aug
  • NPF Legislature Party Statement : 2 Aug
  • ..honoring martyrs by raising Tri-colour
  • ..strong Opposition: Cong MLA striving hard
  • Battle Of Khongjom & Manipuris in 1891 #3
  • Khongjom War Memorial #2 :: 360 ° View
  • Oops! They've Done It Again!
  • Photography: Career through lenses
  • Mega Marathon Manipur : Download Form
  • Chemical Ecology: Info for college/Univs
  • Jobs - Nursing Aides in Singapore
  • NPF responds to MLAs' demand
  • Overlooking one's own Cabinet decision
  • Potential of our state
  • Drinking joints in a dry State : Liquor tragedy
  • Landscape of Manipur #7: Wallpaper
  • Singcha Wayawon opening #2:: Gallery
  • Meetei bears more tribal characters ...
  • The slumbering Beauty :: Poem
  • Selected to Global Shapers Imphal Hub
  • NPF Legislature Party Meeting on 31st July
  • Indo Myanmar Post Level Meeting at Onzia
  • Notice: Employment Exchange Imphal East
  • The unintended windfall
  • Hepatitis C is upto 95 pc curable
  • Sit-in-Demand : ST Demand Committee
  • Police na maheiroi singda kahenba..
  • Manung Kangjeibung, Kangla :: 360 ° View
  • My visit to Shri Lanka #4
  • 1st Mao Market day @Nagamapal:: Gallery
  • ILP : Students protest [27 July] :: Gallery
  • Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon #2 :: Gallery
  • Nomination for State Journalist Awards
  • Rare historical stone inscription #1
  • Singcha Wayawon opening #1:: Gallery
  • Huidrom Kirankr- Fellowhsip for Thang-Ta
  • Ethoi Oinam (Actress) #2 :: eRang Photos
  • Echum Lairembi, Khurkhul #3:: Gallery
  • Tapta :: Funga Wari
  • Nungbi Khullen, Ukhrul #1 :: Gallery
  • NH-102 (Maram road) landslide :: Gallery
  • Featured Photo for 2017 #3 :: Gallery
  • Landslide at Jiribam Highway #2 :: Gallery
  • Tribute to Sapam Robinhood #2 :: Gallery
  • Lai Khong Chingba @Thangjing #4
  • Manipur Sangai Festival 2016 #5 : Ooba
  • SPONSORED ADS