Manipur University and Intellectual Forum of North East – Manipur jointly organized a book discussion function for the book “Lok, Beyond Folk: Reimagining Bharat’s Future Based on National Selfhood,” edited by J. Nandakumar and published by Prajna Pravah Pratishtan, New Delhi on 17 august, 2022 at Manipur University. The book discussion was a pre-event of Lokmanthan 2022, Guwahati. The book discussion was graced by Prof. Paonam Gunindro Singh, Hon’ble Vice-Chancellor, Manipur University of Culture; Prof. Nongmaithem Rajmuhon Singh, Hon’ ble Vice-Chancellor, Dhanamanjuri University; and Shri J. Nandakumal, National Convenor, Prajna Pravah. Prof. Naorem Lokendra Singh, Hon’ble Vice-Chancellor, Manipur University, presided over the book discussion. Delegates from Manipur University, Manipur University of Culture, Dhanamanjuri University, Indira Gandhi National Tribal University, Regional Campus, Manipur, National Institute of Technology, Manipur, and various colleges and social organizations attended the book discussion.
Shri Nandakumar Ji initiated the discussion by emphasizing the need to re-examine the importance of local concepts, which many intellectuals have blindly interpreted and engaged with western orientation. The orientation of the west is not only alien to Bhartiya culture and civilization but also has limited concepts in understanding the Bhartiya culture. To critically engage in the colonial legacy and to decolonize the mind, there is a need to invoke or rejuvenate our Bhartiya culture.
As a pre-event of Lokmanthan 2022, Nandakumar Ji cited the platform of Lokmanthan to intervene in the situation. He stated that the very concept of Lokmanthan is conceived as a ‘Colloquium of Nation First Thinkers and Practitioners’ that offers a common platform to not just intellectuals but all those who have excelled in their respective fields and contributed to realizing the idea of Rashtra (nationhood).
He recalled that the first edition of Lokmanthan was held on the theme Desh-Kal-Sthithi in 2016 at Bhopal, which emphasizes ‘Decolonising Indian Mind,’ ‘Identity, Aspirations and National Integration,’ ‘Role of Art, Culture, History, and Media in Nation Building .’The second edition of Lokmanthan 2018 was held at Ranchi on the theme, ‘Bharat Bodh: Jan Gan Man,’ mainly intended to provide an ideological platform for multi-layered discussions on topics from arts to environment. The third edition of Lokmanthan 2022 will be held on the theme ‘Lokparampara’ at Guwahati from 22 – 24 September 2022. It aims to unite the common wisdom of these national ambassadors and present the national character of its very own, with its very own heritage of past and confidence of present for the Future of Bharat.
Nandakumar Ji highlighted that Lokmanthan had become one of the largest platforms to share, brainstorm and perorate on contemporary issues of the country that influences not only home but also the world. Talking about the book, “Lok, Beyond Folk: Reimagining Bharat’s Future Based on National Selfhood,” Nandakumar Ji stated that the book is an illustration of Lokparampara from different parts of Bharat and intends to provoke to decolonize the mind. Responding to a query from the delegates about humankind, globalization, and the advancement of technology, Nandakumar Ji underscores the importance of promoting and protecting its Culture and tradition. This process will help protect humankind’s social and human values in the future by citing various examples from different parts of the world and Bharat in particular.
Prof. Paonam Gunindro Singh, Hon’ble Vice-Chancellor, Manipur University of Culture, talks about the Akhanda Bharat and our Culture that have moved beyond Bharat. He cited the reference of cultural linkages with Bharat with South East Asia, particularly Thailand, Indonesia, and Cambodia. Prof. Nongmaithem Rajmuhon Singh, Hon’ble Vice-Chancellor, Dhanamanjuri University, talks about the traditional knowledge and the need to rejuvenate the traditional knowledge with scientific intervention. He highlighted the need to document the traditional knowledge of different communities of North East India, particularly Manipur, that will reflect the lokparampara of the region.
While giving the presidential speech, Prof. Naorem Lokendra Singh, Hon’ble Vice-Chancellor, Manipur University, continued the discussion of Nandakumar Ji of decolonizing the mind. He stated that many of our intellectuals continue to rely on British sources while ignoring their sources via-a viz lokparampara. The richness of traditional sources is expressed through our rites, ritual, festivals, etc. However, we seem to be failed to tap these communities’ sources.
The book discussion concludes with the need to bring out more volumes on the Manipur context by encouraging the nation’s first thinkers and practitioners.