The Telegraph
Tuesday , October 30 , 2012
Since 1st March, 1999
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Unity symbols on giant stones

Imphal, Oct. 29: The Manipur government will preserve motifs and traditional carvings of all the communities of the state on two giant-sized stones erected on the campus of the art and culture department, at the gate of the nearby Bhagyachandra Open Air Theatre.

Experts on two 19-feet high stones will do the carvings during a 15-day workshop organised by the department, which is near the office.

The department collected six main sculptors and six assistants were involved in the sculpting job. The sculptors include four Tangkhuls.

The carvings would be done under the supervision of Mutua Bahadur, director of Mutua Museum, which is a private museum in Imphal.

“The main idea behind the project is to preserve the traditional carvings and motifs of all indigenous communities of the state and also to reflect the different cultures as a symbol of unity between the communities,” R.K. Nimai Singh, commissioner of art and culture, said.

“The department was planning the project for quite sometime. However, it could begin because of the non-availability of the right sized stones, which were found at Thangjing hill range in Bishnupur district,” the commissioner said.

He said transportation to Imphal from the Thangjing hill range was a tough task.

The department is yet to give a name to the two stone pillars and Bahadur said it could be named as cultural pillar instead of integrity pillar or something similar.

However, the stones would be a symbol of unity between the different communities.

The workshop began on Mera Houchongba, an age-old unity festival of the people living in the hills and valleys.

The main highlights of the festival are cultural programmes and exchange of gifts.

“The finished products of the workshop will be a symbol of unity and integrity of Manipuri culture, which will be permanently displayed within the directorate complex in the city. After completing the engraving of the stones, it will be unmasked formally on an auspicious day,” art and culture director K. Sobita Devi said.

She said the aim of the project was to preserve the culture of nearly 40 indigenous communities of Manipur.

It could provide the opportunity to researchers and visitors to have an insight into the culture and traditions of the people of the state, she added.

The stone at the gate of the open-air theatre will have the traditional clothing designs and patterns of all the communities, while the one within the complex will have motifs and carvings.

The workshop was inaugurated with a simple prayer ritual.

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