History is history, it cannot be destroyed: Prof Adya Prasad

‘Collection of data is not history, history is human science’, Dr Balmukund Pandey has stated, adding that history had not given any place for great kings of 'our' country like Prithviraj Chauhan and Maharana Pratap Singh, and the same is the case of Maharaja Rajarshi Bhagyachandra of Manipur.

Akhil Bharatiya Itihas Sankalan Yojana organising secretary (all India) Dr Balmukund Pandey was speaking as a chief guest during the two-day national seminar on ‘The Life and Times of Rajarshi Bhagyachandra’ which was inaugurated Tuesday at the Court Hall of Manipur University. The seminar is being organised jointly by Department of History, Manipur University and Bharatiya Itihas Sankalan Samiti (BISS), Manipur under the sponsorship of Indian Council of Historical Research (ICHR).

The two-day seminar will deliberate on the great contributions of the king, his legacy, different aspects of the life and achievement of Rajarshi Bhagyachandra which will help in comprehensive understanding of socio-political and religious transformation of Manipur during 18th century.

Presided over by MU vice-chancellor Prof Adya Prasad Pandey, the inaugural session was also attended by former MSCW chairperson Dr Ch Jamini Devi and Akhil Bharatiya Itihas Sankalan Yojana zonal organising secretary (NE) Hemanta Dhing Mazumdar as guests of honour.

Delivering the presidential speech, Prof Pandey said, ‘History remains as history. History cannot be destroyed but the time has come for the real history to come forward’.

He observed that Rajarshi Bhagyachandra was an enlightened king who was politically and culturally farsighted. He was a virtuous king who exceled in all fronts and one of the most powerful rulers in the annals of Manipur civilization. Rajarshi was a devout person, possessing the qualities of a saint, thus becoming popular with the name ‘Rajarshi’. He is known to all by the name of Rajarshi Bhagyachandra.

Enumerating on the political aspect of the king, Prof Pandey said that Maharaja Bhagyachandra occupied a landmark for many counts in the history of Manipur. Apart from political history, his rule was characterised by unique socio-cultural evolution.

His time was associated with accounts of political crisis, diplomacy with the neighbouring states and cultural development. The reign of Rajarshi Bhagyachandra is considered to be the golden period for many reasons in the political and cultural history of Manipur.

The vice chancellor added that Bhagyachandra was also associated with the development of a strong wave of Dance and Music. ‘Nata Sankirtan’ which has recently been given the status of ‘Intangible Performing Art’ by the UNESCO is one of the legacies of Bhagyachandra’s contribution in the field of art and culture, he pointed out.

On the religious front, the most remarkable contribution of Maharaja is the propagation of Vaishnavism in Manipur; construction and installation of the Idol of Shree Govindajee and innovation of Dance drama known as Raas Lila. The famous ‘Raas Lila’, a classical dance, was introduced during his reign and it was performed for the first time at ‘Rasmandal Mandap’ located at Langthabal, the then palace of the King which is inside the present day campus of Manipur University.

Seminar Coordinator Prof N Lokendra accorded warm welcome to all the dignitaries and extended gratitude to the authorities concerned of Itihas Sankalan for giving the full support in conducting the seminar. He narrated Maharaja’s dealings with the rising power of Burmese and the East India Company.

Prof S N Pandey said that the theme of the seminar is very significant. The king was a very diplomatic and action oriented individual. Prof Pandey also highlighted some of the glimpses of Manipur and Burmese war.

Dr Ch Jaminia Devi expressed her pleasure in taking part in the seminar and said that Maharaja Bhagyachandra was a brave warrior, an artist, a great ruler, and perhaps the most popular statesman of his era. She highlighted the importance of Canchipur and Manipur University since this place has close ties with the life and history of Maharaja Bhagyachandra. She also appealed to the organisers to draw a common date for the birth ceremony of the king. Celebrating his death anniversary only will not do full justice to this great king of Manipur.

The inaugural function started with felicitation of the dignitaries and lighting the inaugural lamp. A book and souvenir were also released during the function.

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