by Sanasam Umananda
The people’s princess of Manipur is no move no. with the departure of Imshi Binodini from the land of her love, Manipur has lost a voice – a voice that was sweet, melodious and loud. She at times thundered against gross injustices and social ignominies that trampled on the prestige of Manipur. But the normally melodious voice that enchanted the literary world along with the art and culture of Manipur will not be heard again. Yet, I am wrong. The voice may not be heard but it will not be lost. Its echo will reverberate throughout the hills, vales and dales of Manipur and inspire generations to come for a united and prosperous Manipur.
Imashi Binodini bade good-bye to all of us on the 17the January, 2011 co-inciting with state-wide celebration of “Imoinu”, the Goddess of Wealth and prosperity at 8:04 p.m. at the peak hour of the musical extravaganza which reached a crescendo.
The precious soul seemed to traverse through a well-lit road towards heaven on the night of “Imoinu Iratpa Day,” a festival of light.
After a long and protracted illness, her tryst with Goddess Imoinu came on a cold Wakching night only to hand over the beloved land of her birth called Manipur to Imoinu to ensure security, safety and prosperity. It seemed she was so long struggling with death waiting for this moment in her bed, motionless and determined.
A significant end to a long life of service to literature, language, art, culture, aesthetics and the people became a historic moment for Manipur. She was 89.
Imashi Binodini possessed all that is admirable to us. Hers was a creative life with a wide vision. But it was her defiance to injustice and misdeeds by the powers that be, that attracts our admiration. She was never a silent and mute spectator when Manipur’s pride was at stake. She would raise her banner of protest against anything despicable and unsavoury to the existence as a Manipuri. There was a moment when she returned her “Padmashree” to the Government of India in defiance of the most controversial AFSPA. Even though some praises came on the heroic action shown by her, many in Manipur including the powers that be, kept it in the cold storage of their psyche quite oblivious of the inner meaning it conveys. She was a woman and she always questioned the divided response of the populace to the challenges of the times in Manipur. Her mental anguish also revolved around the stoic silence of our intellectuals and social workers on so many occasions concerning the dreadful future of Manipur and the pessimistic stance silently taken in token their cowardice.
She was a rare epitome of the happy blending of the “exotic and the native” – be it in culture, in language and even in religion. This was a remarkable trait of her character that forms a basis for the solutions of the woes of present day Manipur and, nay of the world. Her writings and films best prove it. The ideal for a new world-order also required a happy amalgam of the exotic and the native as a fore-runner of the much-hyped “globalization” slogan considered to be the only mantra that can save our world. But she has practiced it. A valuable life indeed.
A patriot is now dead. With it a blessed life has gone. But, we believe, her love for Manipur will make her soul true kindred points of heaven and home.