Home » Voice of Imphal Times: Saving Manipuri Culture without supporting artists is meaningless

Voice of Imphal Times: Saving Manipuri Culture without supporting artists is meaningless

by Rinku Khumukcham
0 comment 5 minutes read

IT Desk

Manipur artists’ extraordinary quality is that they don’t bargain performance fees.  Many artists including dancers or theatre performers never bother with performance fee but almost all of them do it for passion, desires and perhaps love for the Manipuri Culture. It is the artists/performers that make Manipur known to the world. But the irony is that among these performers, only a few are fortunate enough to live an honourable life after getting a Government job or perhaps by establishing their own repertory centre. Unlike sportspersons, who equally brought fame to the world, not all art performers are as lucky as them. Maybe this is because of the long-pending Manipur’s culture policy, which is yet to be implemented.
Leaving aside the so-called culture policy, many extraordinary people with gifted talents have always come up to show the world the rich cultural traditions highlighted in the form of performing art.
But the tragedy is that those artists grew old as time passed and it is too quick for both the Government as well as the people to forget them. Except for a fortunate few, the majority of the performers of Manipuri culture are more like disposable glasses (use and throw). It is not that, the Government did nothing. Thousand opportunities are given to promote themselves by engaging these talented performers as paid employees by the Government at either Cultural academy or colleges or the state government-owned State Kala Academy and now the National Culture University which is still surrounded by controversies.
In this noble profession too, the unfortunate part is the existence of crab culture among some vested interested people. Criticism seems to be injected to these few vested interested people. These peoples not only criticized but also attempted to sabotage any short of good work which someone wholeheartedly organised for the promotion of Manipur Culture. These people only look at the dark side for their selfish gain. To be precise we have seen these few people at which some of them never know what actually is the Manipuri culture and performance but who work closely with higher authority like the Chief Minister or the Governor after getting employed in Government service. They are making all efforts to ruin the talented artists of the state as well as the good work of many people who had dedicated to the cause of promoting Manipur Culture. A recent example is about some misleading information shared to this newspaper to create a bad impression on the director in-charge of the JNMDA, who had organized over 20 cultural events besides conducting classes for students which number is over 500.
Today, it is difficult to find performers as the government had not only failed to promote these artists either by organising festivals to attract audiences but also by putting a halt on the production grant provided by the State Kala Academy.
Renowned theatre playwrights, director and former director of the National School of Dance often said that “ theatre is a composite art form” dance, music, songs etc all should be learnt. In addition, he also said that understanding the Aesthetic culture and tradition is the core component of a theatre artist.
Just taking an example from the Chorus Repertory Theatre which had performed almost all over the world, how many of the artist who has stopped performing due to ageing are living a comfortable life after retirement.
There may be many difficulties for the State government to make life of every artist live a comfortable life, even though it is not difficult for them to make a government peon live comfortably after retirement with proper pension. It should be remembered that there are many artists who can be absorbed in government institution like the JNMDA, Govt. Dance Colleges or of course by creating jobs for teachers in the school curriculum.
The government may not have known that once a famous classical dance performer who had brought the fame to Manipuri dance at many places across the world have decided to stop performing and now is living a miserable life by selling “Singju” after getting married.
This lady after getting married had full hope of getting a job at JMNDA as her performance is known by everyone including the then director and the selection committee members some few years ago.
But to the utter surprise, some influential people allegedly demand a brief for the post and her husband mortgaged the land hoping the job.
However, she was not selected for the post despite the fact that she is one among the most suitable artists.
Maybe became she didn’t pay more.
For many years, since I started writing, my interest was on proscenium theatre and experimental theatre.
One among the best play I witnessed during a theatre festival held at JNMDA was “Coma”, directed and scripted by Leishangbam Dhananjoy of the Highway Theatre group in 2003.
The theatre director was appreciated by all and the play was even honoured with “Critic award”.
The Director, who should have been a celebrate by now for his creative mind today live a miserable life. He can no longer produce any play as the State Kala Academy refused any support to his theatre group for reason best known to the govt. authority.
“Those days, many artists came and many little lone have at my residence at Sekmai was packed. Today I am sitting alone dreaming tolerating the scolding of my family”, Dhananjoy told Imphal Times.
The feeling of an artist can be understood by an artist only. Bureaucrats who hardly know the problems of an artist will never be competent enough to head certain institutions or academy or State Kala Academy. These academy or institution should only be handed over to qualified real artist, who understand the problems of the artists.

You may also like

Leave a Comment


Imphal Times is a daily English newspaper published in Imphal and is registered with Registrar of the Newspapers for India with Regd. No MANENG/2013/51092


©2023 – All Right Reserved. Designed and Hosted by eManipur!

Adblock Detected

Please support us by disabling your AdBlocker extension from your browsers for our website.