Home » Aribam Syam Sharma recounts Manipur’s Sankirtana journey to UNESCO’s list

Aribam Syam Sharma recounts Manipur’s Sankirtana journey to UNESCO’s list

by Aribam Bishwajit
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Aribam Syam Sharma recounts Manipur’s Sankirtana journey to UNESCO’s list

Renowned filmmaker Aribam Syam Sharma eloquently shared the enthralling narrative behind his 10-minute cinematic masterpiece, which delves into Manipur’s Sankirtana—an illustrious cultural odyssey that has Sankirtana secured its position on UNESCO’s prestigious Intangible Cultural Heritage list. Syam Sharma’s insightful address took place at the commemoration of “Sankirtana Day” held at the Shree Shree Ramji Prabhu Mandap in Ningthem Pukhri Mapal, Imphal East.
“When tasked with creating a 10-minute film on Sankirtana, a UNESCO requirement, I initially considered it an impossible endeavor. Overwhelmed, I conceded, expressing my inability to undertake such a challenge. It was at this juncture that Yambung Singhajit reached out to me, encouraging me to persist. He emphasized that the essence of Sankirtana transcended written descriptions and needed to be visually presented. Yambung conveyed the importance of capturing the essence of Manipur for an audience unfamiliar with our culture.” Syam recounted this pivotal moment.
Syam delved into the intricate journey of securing UNESCO recognition for Manipur’s Sankirtana, describing the exhaustive process that led to its inclusion in the Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. He underscored the significance of ensuring that the youth and the upcoming generations of Manipur comprehend the arduous path that culminated in this prestigious accolade.
As he continued his narrative, Syam emphasized that the entire endeavor was far from facile. The challenges encountered during the process, he noted, reflected the intricate nature of preserving and promoting cultural heritage on a global scale. Manipur’s Sankirtana, now standing prominently at the pinnacle globally, serves as a testament to the perseverance and dedication invested in safeguarding the rich cultural tapestry of the region.
In a passionate appeal to the budding talent in the field, Syam urged the youth to recognize the gravity of this achievement and to acknowledge the paramount role played by their gurus and mentors. He stressed the importance of preserving the teachings imparted by these venerable figures, as they form the foundation upon which the cultural legacy thrives. Syam’s message resonated as a call to action, imploring the next generation to approach their craft with reverence, respect, and an unwavering commitment to upholding the cultural heritage of Manipur.
Art and Culture Commissioner M. Joy Singh emphasized the imperative of safeguarding the Sankirtana, a revered cultural heritage, cautioning that UNESCO might consider its removal from the Intangible Cultural Heritage list if its value and cultural significance are not adequately preserved. Stressing the collective responsibility, he urged all to contribute to the protection and preservation efforts of Sankirtana’s traditional and cultural essence.
Furthermore, Commissioner Singh proposed the incorporation of Sankirtana elements into the educational curriculum. This strategic move aims to familiarize the younger generation with the profound value of Sankirtana and elucidate its recognition on UNESCO’s Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. Highlighting Sankirtana’s pivotal role in upholding Manipur’s culture and tradition, he underscored the need to cherish and showcase it to the global community, thus contributing to a broader understanding of Manipur’s rich cultural tapestry.
The Government of Manipur’s Department of Art and Culture, in conjunction with Manipur Nata Sankirtana Apunba, celebrated “Sankirtana Day” at the Shree Shree Ramji Prabhu Mandap, Ningthem Pukhri Mapal, Imphal East. The event was honored by the presence of distinguished cultural personality Aribam Syam Sharma and the Commissioner of Art and Culture, M Joy Singh, who served as the chief guest and president of the function, respectively.
The mesmerizing Sankirtana performance featured captivating renditions of Ariba Pala, Manoharsai, and Nata Sankirtana, captivating the audience with its cultural richness. Numerous attendees had the opportunity to witness this splendid display of traditional artistry.

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