In commemoration of “Sankirtana: Ritual singing, drumming and dancing of Manipur”, the state level organising committee celebrated the International Sankirtana Day at the Maharaj Chandrakirti Auditorium in the palace compound in Imphal. Chief guests, dignitaries and Sankirtana performers paid floral tribute to the 31 Sankirtana gurus.
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In all 150 mid-aged Sankirtana performers were conferred awards as recognition for their contribution towards Sankirtana Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh. The representative list of the eighth session of the UNESCO Inter-Governmental Committee in Baku, Azerbaijan, held from December 2 to 7 seeks to create awareness about the intangible heritage of a community, provide recognition to its traditions and how it is reflected in the community’s cultural diversity.
The Inter-Governmental Committee consists of 24 representatives from state parties elected by the General Assembly. Sankirtana is maintained by the Sangeet Natak Akademi. It encompasses an array of arts performed on religious occasions and reflective of the various stages in the life of the Vaishnav people of the Manipur plains.
It is practiced at the centre of a temple, where performers narrate the lives and deeds of Krishna through song and dance. In a typical performance, two drummers and about ten singer-dancers perform in a hall or domestic courtyard encircled by seated devotees. The dignity and flow of aesthetic and religious energy is unparalleled, moving audience members to tears.
Sankirtana brings people together on festive occasions throughout the year, acting as a cohesive force within Manipur’s Vaishnav community. It establishes and reinforces relationships between the individual and the community through life-cycle ceremonies. It can also be regarded as a vibrant practice promoting an organic relationship with people.
The whole society is involved in its safeguarding, with the specific knowledge and skills traditionally transmitted from mentor to disciple. Sankirtana works in harmony with the natural world, whose presence is acknowledged through its many rituals. The viability of the element has been ensured by social support that has kept the art alive through centuries.
The celebration is being graced by Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh, Mr. T. Mangibabu Singh, MLA and Chairman, PDA, Dr. Ng. Bijoy Singh, MLA and Chairman, Manipur Pollution Control Board, Y. Surchandra Singh, MLA, E. Chand Singh, MLA and L. Nandakumar Singh, MLA and Chairman Organising Committee as the chief guest, guests of honour and president respectively.