Home » ‘Emergence of Manipur as a Nation State’ by Prof Joykumar released Scholars dissect the modern Manipuri history

‘Emergence of Manipur as a Nation State’ by Prof Joykumar released Scholars dissect the modern Manipuri history

by IT Web Admin
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A book titled, “Emergence of Manipur as a Nation State (from Prehistory to Mid Eighteen Century) by Prof. N Joykumar Singh, Department of history, Manipur University, Canchipur has been published during a function held at Lainingthou Eshing Chaiba Mandap, Khwai Nagamapal Paonam Leikai here on Tuesday.
Dr. N. Birchandra Singh, Department of History, Lilong Haoreibi College, Lilong and Prof. MC Arun, Department of Anthropology, Manipur University, Canchipur gave critical exposition of the book published by Akansa, New Delhi.
Introducing the book, Prof. N. Joykumar Singh shared that his basic objective in writing the book was to show Manipur attained the status of nation-state in a particular time in history. Thus, the work deals with analysis of Manipur’s timeline in history since the prehistoric times to the eighteenth century.
Dr. N. Birchandra Singh, Department of History, Lilong Haoreibi College, Lilong remarked that there are seven chapters in the book which deals with different facets of the Manipuri society in different historical epochs.
‘His work is based the analysis puyas, the ancient manuscripts of Manipur. But he follows a scientific method and logically makes comparison between contemporary theoretical insights and the facts gathered in the puyas. However, one also comes across grey areas in the work and the author leaves it to the readers in the form of questions. This difficulty emanates largely on account of puyas not being scientific works per se. Overall, the book develops a coherent narrative on the unity and integrity of Manipur. He believes that the work would be useful for future scholars.’
Giving a critical insight of the book Prof. MC Arun said that the book gives a horizontal dimension of the emergence of a nation state in the eighteen century. Vertically looking, most of the books written by Oja Joykumar is associated with movement. But the current book views the history not from a time-line period. One gets the feeling that the book has been written in a retrospective manner. One way of looking at nation state is from the spirit of the people, or from the angle of ethnicity from a primordial perspective. And the other way is looking at state as a result of the formation of communities in different historical and circumstances. Oja Joykumar gives a geographical and archaeological detail of Manipur as other experts have viewed. His argument is that different communities make states at different times under special circumstances. Therefore, he does not give a detail account of peopling in Manipur.
He gives an interesting account of how people in the process of interaction, say between the aromatic rice consumers and fermented food consumers but eaters of common rice (non-aromatic), results in formation of state. Meetei state formation dates back to the 33 AD as the author opines but what is also noteworthy is the analysis of the dynastic rules which was devoid of popular works. Extension of such people-centric works started only during the reign of Khagemba. Analysis of the Garibniwas in the book is also equally fascinating. The portrayal of Garibniwas as the agency responsible expansion of the territory of Manipur as well as “the act of segregation” needed to rule different ethnos is fascinating. This period serves as the defining period for the rise and consolidation of Meetei identity in a powerful way. Here we observe a political equation e.i. the emergence of nation state or a state society. The state was at the same time liberated from the dynastic rule and the evolution of a sovereign and creation of a national myth and symbol, say in the name of Govindajee. His narrative explodes in the seventh chapter, and crowns his work as the exposition on nation state finds a wonderful climax.

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