There is not a single day when we have stopped celebrating our achievers in multi-faceted fields in the recent months, which is indeed encouraging for the health of our society. And it should continue, as such celebration reflects the inner strength of our society and the inherent urge to achieve more and more, soar higher and higher. If we do not celebrate our heroes, who will. Manipuri film actor Leishangthem Tonthoi won the Best Supporting Actress in the 59th edition of National Film Awards. What a remarkable feat. And why her felicitation should should be left to her native village alone. She should be feted everywhere in every nook and corner of the state. She is the pride of the state. And the film ‘Phiji gi Mani’ won the best regional film. Shouldn’t we be proud of these achievements and why shouldn’t we celebrate their achievement? The idea behind the celebration is to invoke more achievers in the film world. We weep with joy when our talented sportspersons excel in various disciplines. And we weep in despair when they are defeated. The rebel in us had rebelled with joy when our boxer Dingko Singh returned with laurels from the Bangkok Asian Games way back. We bask in the glory of our boxers Mary Kom and Sarita Devi. We are so involved with our sportsmen that we sway as they sway. We are proud of our sports heritage and martial tradition. We dare the Indian state with our sports achievers. There is also a talent spillover to other states that do not have enough sportspersons to represent them in various disciplines’ of which we should be immensely proud. So many Manipuri sportspersons are representing other states in national events. It is because our state is brimming with talent and like water it has to find a way. They are brand ambassadors of a once regional power in these parts and a martial state called Manipur. Not only in the field of sports, our people excelling in the arts like the theatre and the films. We have giants like Ratan Thiyam and Kanhailal who are respected worldwide. We have film icons like Aribam Syam Sharma. We are indeed fortunate that we are walking alongside them. Peoples of other states envy our rich cultural tradition and artistic expressions. Our boys are excelling in the field of education also. Come results season, the newspapers would be full of news of our boys and girls achieving first class first with distinction from different universities of the country and abroad or for that matter achievements of our scientists in the country and abroad. We sometimes lament about the brain drain and the lack of adequate space for our excellent scientists and sportspersons. Yet we should be glad that our achievers are rubbing shoulders with peers coming from other states with far better infrastructure and academic atmosphere. People outside the state are always surprised by the achievements of the Manipuris in different fields, despite the reports of violence and conflict situation they constantly read in the newspapers. ‘How could your society produce so many achievers in such a chaos?’
They used to ask out of ignorance. And we used to say, it is the combination of latent energy in our youth and the chaotic condition in the backdrop of thousand years civilizational history which had effected the release of immense talent in diversified fields. The latent energy is there and it has to find a way out, be it in sports or education or the arts or other alternative careers. In the pure martial tradition, he picks up a weapon of choice or a gun either for the state or the non-state for it is in his blood.