Manipur’s pride,neighbour’s envy
National Youth Day, celebrated every year on January 12, and National Sports Day held on August 29 are two events which emphasise that youths are the most important asset of the country and that the nation’s future lies in their hands and activities. While National Youth Day is held to mark the birth anniversary of Swami Vivekananda with the objective of inspiring the younger generation to follow the path of righteousness and contribute their mite towards development of the country, the National Sports Day not only remembers the exploits of hockey legend Dhyan Chand but also encourages the young sportspersons to aim for personal glory and bring laurels to the country. Observances of these events also bring to the fore enviable achievements by the Manipuri youths in diverse sectors, especially in the field of sports. Though excellence in sports has been overshadowing equally significant feats in other sectors, it is an undeniable fact that Manipur has been continuously producing academicians, cultural artistes, theatre personalities, film-makers, etc., of repute. That there has been increasing number of Manipuris involved in research works of global significance apart from many working in multi-national companies in major Indian cities and abroad signify that the youths do not feel miserable being born and brought up in the strife-torn state but have firm resolve to overcome any obstacles that stand in their way of pursuing their goal in life.
From Nameirakpam Chingkheinganba, who at the tender age of 16 years seven months and 11 days had set the record of being the youngest Indian to climb Mount Everest, to unaccountable medal winners at national and international level competitions, Manipuri sportspersons have vividly demonstrated that no force could stop them from reaching their goals. At the national level competitions, Manipur is far more superior as is evident from the fact that the main challenge it faces from grabbing the top honours at the national games is not from any particular state but from the services team, which comprise players from all parts of the country, including many from Manipur. By winning the bronze medal at the London Olympics MC Mary Kom showcased to the world that the state youths are a force to reckon with in diverse fields. Moreover, significant numbers of Manipuris regularly finding their place in the national squads tell tales that the youth are hardworking, resilient and focused. Such enviable achievements in various fields could also be a factor for some section of a neighbouring state harbouring ill-will against Manipuris and not hesitating to lend hands to elements inimical to interest of Manipur and its people by causing disruption in the transportation of essential commodities. Compared to the rich history of Manipur and its existence as a sovereign nation before the British soldiers set foot, ‘uniqueness’ of the neighbouring state’s history is that arrival of the British rulers and preachers ended the head-hunting days and the people abandoned traditions of their forefathers to embrace an alien faith.