By: Manshi Sagolshem
I was a failing student without any hope. Even though I was a failure, I always had a sense of patriotism. I love My Motherland – Manipur from the bottom of my heart ever since wisdom bloomed in my childhood. Just saying – “I love My Motherland” will not fulfill the heart and the want of my motherland. We ought to do something for our motherland. What should we do? Is there anything we can do for our motherland? We need to ask ourselves such questions. I asked it myself, many answers came up. Among those answers, I picked up one, i. e., “Our motherland is such a beautiful natural place, we love our motherland but we don’t know the history of our motherland, we don’t know who we are, where we came from and where we will be heading to”. Being a daughter of our great motherland, I pondered to reconstruct the past glories of our motherland – Manipur.
Today’s world is the age of science & technology. In every work, we need a scientific study of facts. In reconstructing the past too, we need to apply science and study the facts very clearly and minutely with zero error. In this quest, I have developed a sheer interest in becoming an archaeologist than that of a historian. Yes, both Archaeologists and Historians reconstruct the past but the technique is different. Archaeology studies the past through material evidences & History studies the past through literary sources. In history, sometimes people write in their own interest without analyzing the facts, like the distortion of Manipur History by some nomadic groups and vested interests. Accordingly, I convinced myself that we need to give emphasis more on studying facts with critical analysis of written texts.
I wanted to meet some archaeologists of Manipur. I wanted them to encourage me and guide me to become an eminent archaeologist who can reconstruct the past of Manipur and write a fact-based new history with scientific findings and archeological excavations. Keen to study pre-history, ideas of how humans have evolved and civilizations sprang up kept haunting me. In this search for my perfect guides, the God Almighty has made me stumbled upon an Uncle, an activist, who, later I learn, has been working for a better political future for the people of Manipur for the last three decades. I chanced upon him for lending his helping hand in my quest for mapping the archeological history of Manipur. He goes by the name, MC Meetei. To my surprise, I have found him full of the philosophy of archeology. His unidirectional motivation, sheer encouragement and upright guiding spirit emboldening the archeological history of Manipur shall always remain a chapter in my whole life. He took me to one of the top-most famous archaeologists of Manipur – Dr. Okram Kumar Singh, the man who does not need any introduction. Meeting him along with my uncle was a remarkable day in my journey into archeology. His indepth narration of the history of Manipur and the challenging tasks of an archaeologist shall remain fossilized in my mind. I will have to cultivate the strength to never forget the iconic sentence he uttered, “Archaeologists’ task is squeezing blood from bones”. From him, I begin to learn that excavations should be done carefully and must not be considered as an easy task as it vitalizes the existence of a civilization. A day later, we visited Dr. Sapam Bhiegya, Former Superintendent, State Archeology, Manipur and the RK Maipaksana Memorial Trust. I got voluminous knowledge from them with the unstinted help of my uncle.
After meeting all these personalities, I went to Kangla, the sanctum sanctorum of Manipur, also an archeological site, where I zeroed into the Kangla Museum. There, I met an elder gentleman who was enthralled discovering me as a student pursuing a career in archeology. He guided me a tour of the museum and explained the details of every artifact kept in the museum. He gave me some samples he had collected. He also wished me to become a famous archaeologist.
Going surveys and doing excavations should be done when we do research. But from now on, I have started collecting objects from some archaeological sites. And also, I will do field visits of archaeological sites of Manipur with the help of my people. It might seem very earlier doing these things because I am just in the First Semester of BA (Hons.) Archeology with a tender age of 18. But, age and standard do not matter in beginning My Journey into Archeology to reconstruct the past of Manipur in the womb of time and human history.
A few elders, well-wishers and teachers have now encouraged me a lot. This encouragement is not only because they love me, it is also because they love Our Motherland-Manipur & they want to reinvent the history too. Now, the responsibility to become a good eminent archaeologist has laid upon me. I want to know how our civilization flourished, how Our Motherland came up, the vibrant history of Manipur, etc. I promise to reconstruct the past journey of Manipur. I will work hard until my last breath…
(The writer is a young student pursuing BA (Honours) Archeology & Ancient History, MS University, Baroda, Gujarat. She can be reached at [email protected])