Is the value of sports dwindling in Manipur’s educational space ?

Sanasam Yaiphaba Singh
Manipur is rightly regarded as the sports powerhouse of the country and this is the right time to study whether the formal education as one sees it encourages sports.
Under the present education system sports appears to have been kept separately from the general education. The main reason behind the situation is the culture of going to private tuition just when the new session of the school starts or when students start attending their class. Parents escort their children to many of the popular tuition centres or residence of teachers in the morning before going to school and also in the evening after returning from school. This is a new found tradition visible in almost all localities of Imphal and greater Imphal. When we look back thirty years or so, private tuition was reserved for a privileged few who were academically not so bright. Even then, private tuition was largely confined to one or two subject (s). Over the years, private tuition or coaching has become an integral part of the formal (school) education system in Manipur. With students going for private tuition for each and every subject, private tuition or coaching is fast acquiring the status of a parallel schooling system.
But when we look carefully it is found that because of this new tradition students are fully exhausted, need rest and many of them are playing with mobile phones instead of playing for a while. The parents also feel the need for their rest and permit their wards to play  mobile phone during the time of rest. The students have no spare time to play freely in open ground involving their physical activities which would secrete sweat. To our Manipuri culture sweating from physical activities is being treated as taking out of poison (Hoo+ manghanba) from the body in the form of sweat.
It is all known that the sports culture abundantly flourished in Manipur while our forefathers evolved the culture of different types of the games for every stage of body development and age groups both for male and female. There have been games for baby on lap, children, youths, even for old age groups etc. which are called as Indigenous games. During the time every able person has either played one or the other game suitable to them in the open local ground which was abundantly available in the urban and rural areas. As people involved in physical activities in sports with certain rules and regulations they were physically fit, mentally alert and well disciplined in society for living peacefully. Though the rules of the game during the time were not so much minutely framed the games were played under rules with a sense of discipline, propriety and proper respect of the games, players and people. At present, it is observed that prevalence of playing outdoor games in locally available grounds are hardly seen as done before. The present day style of playing and practice of games in some grounds are that kind of games that they started from direct modern games with costly dresses and equipments. Every potential player is not in position to participate in such modern games.
If students understand the value of sports at grassroots level it automatically brings the sports sprit which in turn would encourage them to play and look out for the game. This idea can easily be ascertained from the life history of many veteran players of the State. They said that they started running and playing in local ground from their childhood and hence they know well what sports are and the idea of sports automatically comes up in their mind. But, at present the impact of the sports among the students at grassroots level is very less.
(To be contd)