Oblique attempt to alter a historical course is futile: RK SinghajitIMPHAL | May 18
There are tendencies among the social groups of the state to reinterpret history in a wrong light. A historical course in the life of a nation can never be altered according to one’s wish. Any attempt in this regards will be an exercise in futility.
This was stated by Manipuri dance maestro, Rajkumar Singhajit Singh, here today at the JNMDA auditorium. He was delivering a lecture on the theme, ‘Peculiarities of Manipuri Culture with special reference to Manipuri Dance.’ The lecture was held in connection with the 61th foundation day of The Cultural Forum, Manipur, which also marked the year-long Diamond Jubilee celebrations of the organisation.
Continuing his lecture, Singhajit said, culture is something which does not have a concrete definition. “It is like an incomplete symphony of music. It is in a constant flux and keeps on changing, taking new forms and meaning. And it is also an odyssey which does not have an end,” he said.
Further dwelling on the nuances of culture, Singhajit said, it is impossible to weigh and judge whether a cultural practice or expression of a group is either ‘superior’ or ‘inferior’ with that of another culture. It is also a challenging proposition to classify culture as ‘primitive’ or ‘modern’, he said.
“At the end of the day, it is our sense-perception which carry out the task of interpreting and re-interpreting the meaning of culture. In this regard, one’s subjective interpretation and social moorings highly come into play,” Singhajit said.
The jam-packed audience listened with rapt attention to the octogenarian dance maestro’s lecture, which hinges on his personal anecdotal accounts and Manipuri folklore. He continued, Manipuri Sankirtan is the finest example of our unique cultural expression. “I have done extensive research on Manohar Sai, a subset of Sankirtan, which originated from Bengal. But its practice in Manipur is starkly different from the way Bengali performs. Here lies the essence of our culture,” Singhajit pointed out.
He went on to emphasise that the recognition of the Manipuri Sankirtan as an intangible cultural heritage of the world by the UNESCO is not a mean feat. He said, “We should all be proud of the achievement. This recognition has been given after careful consideration by a body consisting of highly acclaimed experts. And it has been chosen from among an assorted list of performances across India as the unique one.”
On being asked to point out the uniqueness of Manipuri dance, Singhajit taking cue from drawing said,
“In drawing, a line can be drawn either vertically or horizontally. It can also be drawn in a curved way. Manipuri dance pertains to the latter category,” adding, our dance has ‘compensated movement’, which is not loud or precise like other classical dances of India.
Further taking a dig at the degrading quality of Manipuri language of local vernacular papers, Singhajit said, it is high time to seriously think and act towards promoting and protecting the language in a right direction.
The lecture was presided by former president of the forum, Lairenlakpam Iboton Singh and its current president, Prof. Huirem Behari Singh. Later in the evening, the audience was enthralled by solo dance performances of A. Radhamanbi Devi, Yumlembam Gopi Devi and Pukhrambam Lilabati Devi.
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