Unearthing multiple layers of Manipur’s heritage

NEW DELHI, Jan 18 : The Indira Gandhi National Centre of Arts (IGNCA), New Delhi has launched series of activities in the north-eastern States to research, document, publish, promote, preserve, revitalize and safeguard the tangible and intangible cultural resources including the human heritage of the region.
Sources in the IGNCA said, “Manipur is one of the most culturally rich and dynamic states of North-east India. In the financial year of 2007-2008 the IGNCA has very successfully covered multiple layers of known and unknown dimensions of the tangible and intangible heritage of this state.”

The centre in collaboration with the Department of Art and Culture, Government of Manipur, Manipur Film Development Corporation (MFDC), Tribal Research Institute, State Archaeology; Directorate of Art and Culture and also with some individual artists, professionals, scholars has launched series of activities during the period.

Thirty four dance forms and folk songs of the Kom Tribe have already been documented in collaboration with the Kom Cultural Society of Khoirentak Village of the Churachandpur District. The women, men, young and old and also the social animators of the Kom tribe of the state participated in a day-long deliberation on the development and culture of the Kom community. An exhibition of the rare Kom ethnographic objects and clothes was successfully organized.

With the help of MFDC an extensive photographic and video documentary was made on the archaeological and heritage sites of Manipur. More than 33 tribal communities are living in various cultural and geographical pockets of Manipur. The centre has procured the ethnographic objects, documented some of rare fairs and festivals, and worked on the headgears of all the tribes of the State.

Loktak Lake is the biggest lake in North-east. It is associated with the socio-cultural history and mental memory of the people of Manipur. The centre organized a two-day seminar of its significance on the life and culture of the people and made an interesting documentary film.

A day-long meet of the museologists and museum professionals of Manipur was organized at the State Museum , Imphal. Attempt was made to draw the action plan for the community museum and create awareness on preserving the attributes of intangible and tangible heritage among the common men and women of the state.
There are several forms of folk games in the state. Sadly, many of them are dying. The centre in collaboration with the Tribal Research Institute, made an attempt to create awareness about the local and cultural significance of these folk games. The folk games of 19 tribes of the states were carefully documented and a documentary film was made on the theme.

In order to understand the contribution of the Meities women of Manipur a day-long workshop on the Maibis or the female priestesses of the state was organized in collaboration of the Women organization, Manipur Central University at Imphal.
Attempt was also made to understand the layers of harmony through martial games. The ritual and ethnographic objects from the tribal communities, village communities and also from the other groups of people were acquired to highlight the culture of the state in Delhi and other parts of India .

The local painters made an attempt to create the morphological features of the deities and other characters of the narratives and the lore of the common people. A workshop on Art and Crafts of Manipur was organized at Imphal. The other activities included workshop on traditional toy making, documentation of the festival of Rongmei tribe, workshop on ritualistic practice in Lai Haraoba of Manipur, workshop on the Gostha Leela tradition, Workshop on the tribal art of Manipur with reference to stone and wood Carvings and Integration through martial arts, sources added. (Agencies)