TODAY -

Seminar stresses in-depth understanding of Meetei culture, history
Source: Chronicle News Service

Imphal, June 09 2024: A one-day seminar on the ethnography of the Meiteis (Meeteis) was held at GP Women's College, here, on Sunday.

Organised by SR Institute of Manipur Studies and sponsored by the Art and Culture Department, the seminar emphasised the importance of acquiring comprehensive knowledge of Meetei ethnography and history, and featured discussions and presentations by prominent scholars and experts, highlighting the cultural, social, and historical aspects of the Meetei community.

The seminar was attended by Manipur University retired professor Naorem Joykumar, SR Institute director Sapam Bheigya and Poknapham editor Aribam Robindro Sharma as chief guest, president and guest of honour respectively.

In his address, Prof Joykumar emphasised the importance of understanding Manipuri history, particularly for students preparing for civil services examinations.

He highlighted the current socio-political challenges in Manipur, where Meeteis can no longer venture beyond Pallel or cross into Kangpokpi.

However, as the majority community, the Meeteis must remain vigilant and work towards resolving these issues, and maintain harmony and unity within the community, the professor said, while urging the community to abandon the mentality of disregarding others and to stop undermining each other.

Prof Joykumar also delineated two types of students, those who study to gain knowledge and those infatuated with academic certificates.

He stressed the need for students to grasp current trends and work diligently to become accomplished individuals while cautioning that continuing on the current path would lead to a bleak future for society.

He then called for a change in outlook and ponder seriously for the betterment of the community, the state, and the future.

In his address, Sapam Bheigya spoke about the rich cultural heritage of the Meeteis, particularly in their costumes and traditions along with underscoring the need to preserve and promote these traditions, which have been meticulously maintained through generations by the forefathers.

In his keynote address, Manipur University professor Dr Sapam Dilip-kumar emphasised the necessity of understanding Manipuri history in depth.

He also stressed the importance of being knowledgeable about the history and current affairs of neighbouring countries besides calling for a deeper understanding of self by acquiring a comprehensive knowledge of Meeteis' ethnography.

Lamenting that once dwellers of a powerful sovereign nation in Southeast Asia, the Meeteis are now confined to the valley districts of present-day Manipur, Dr Dilipkumar called for more research into the community's culture, food habits, costumes, traditions, and social behaviours to foster better understanding.

The first technical session of the seminar moderated by Prof Naorem Joykumar, featured presentations by Dr Th Joyshri on "Status of Meetei Women in Society", exploring the roles and contributions of women within the Meetei community; GP Women's College assistant professor Dr Kh Geetarani on "Costumes of Meeteis", highlighting the traditional attire and its cultural significance; MU Economic department retired professor Prof Bijoykumar on "Economy of the Meeteis", detailing the economic practices and their evolution over time; DM University anthropology department professor Dr Ravikant on "Settlement of Meeteis and Homestead Lands", focusing on land use and settlement patterns; and Manipur University of Culture assistant professor Dr Makhonmani Mongsaba on "Battle Weapons of Meetei", providing insights into the traditional weaponry used by the community.

In the second session moderated by MU, Manipuri Department professor Toijam Tampha, Modern College's Dr Haobijam Chanu Prema shed light on the "Rites of Passage of Meeteis", while Dr Tejabati of Liberal College spoke on "Marriage and Divorce Tradition of Meeteis " as Dr Soibam Langlen Chanu delved into the "Household Material Culture of Meeteis", exploring the artefacts and objects that hold cultural significance and Dr Sagolsem Lalleibi provided insights into the "Ancient Ethnomedicine of Meeteis", revealing traditional healing practices.

Finally, Dr Takhellambam Bidiyabati Devi shared knowledge about the "Recreational Methods of Meeteis", showcasing leisure activities enjoyed by the community.

Under the moderation of DM University dean of humanities, Dr Sagolsem Lanchenba Meetei, the third session continued with presentations of Dr Sinam Tondon of DM University presented on "Domestic Basketry of Meeteis", exploring the craft and its cultural significance; Dr M Sadananda, also from DM University, on "Musical Instruments of Meeteis", highlighting the traditional music heritage; M Bidiyabati, a research scholar at Manipur University, on "Indigenous Games of Meeteis", showcasing traditional sports and recreational activities; and W Sobhapati Devi of Waikhom Mani Girls' College, Thoubal, sharing insights into "Weaving Activities and Associated Tools of Meeteis", shedding light on the craftsmanship and tools used in weaving traditions.

The seminar concluded with a call for continued research and preservation of Meeteis' rich cultural heritage.

The participants emphasised the importance of education, unity, and proactive measures to safeguard the community's future.


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