With no prospect of job, Thang-Ta players on the wane


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By Our Staff Reporter
IMPHAL, Mar 19 : While other sports are given proper attention and recognition, the aged martial arts form of Thang-Ta is being ignored without any hope and opportunity of a career for the players, said Leitanthem Ibungomacha, an  instructor of Kanglei Inat Thang-Ta Shindam Shanglen.
He said this while speaking at an event organised at the KCDO Complex at Kongpal Chanam Leikai today to showcase “Cheisaang Marol”, a production of the Kanglei Inat Thang-Ta Shindam Shanglen.
“Cheisaang Marol” is a form of martial arts practiced by “our forefathers”. This form uses a Cheisaang (a long stick) instead of a sword or a spear or other weapons. Before going to a war or hunting expedition, the forefathers used sticks to practice this art form, said Ibungomacha.
This martial arts form is defensive and is very effective when surrounded by enemies. Usually, a person uses one long and a short stick. The long stick is used like a spear while the shorter stick is used like a sword, he added.
The Government has not yet fully recognised Thang-Ta. No Thang-Ta player has received a diploma or Government job. For this reason, the number of people practising this martial art form is declining, he said.
While this aged martial art which played an important role in defending Manipur from enemies is being ignored, people and the Government are giving more attention to other sports and martial arts forms like boxing, fencing, judo and weightlifting etc, Ibungomacha said.
“Players of other sports are encouraged and their parents and the Government also take keen interests in developing them as they could bring fame and laurels.”
The players of other sports are also well motivated with the hope that they can get a Government job and enhance their careers when they get medals and win fame for the State and the Nation.
Meanwhile, those who practice Thang-Ta do not have these opportunities. As a result, parents too are also becoming less and less interested in sending their wards to practice Thang-Ta, he said.
While expressing hope that Chief Minister N Biren Singh and his Government would give special attention to develop the Thang-Ta, Ibungomacha said, giving an opportunity to the martial artists to land a job would motivate them.
Development of Thang-Ta requires lifting the spirits of the martial artists. The opportunity of landing a Government job like in other sports would certainly lift their spirits and help develop the art form further, he added.
“Thang-Ta must not be seen as a performing art for shows only. The art form is part of our culture and it teaches discipline. This art form should be preserved and developed,” he said.
Thang-Ta State Awardee, L Ibomcha Khuman who also attended the event stressed the need to develop the “Cheishaang Marol” and Thang-Ta as a whole.
He also encouraged the instructors of the Kanglei Inat Thang-Ta Shindam Shanglen to carefully and completely teach the “Cheishaang Marol” as they were taught by their mentor Late Leitanthem Heramot.
He stated that “Cheisaang Marol” is closely related to “Sharit Sharak” and is a part of the Thang-Ta.
Kanglei Inat Thang-Ta Shindam Shanglen president Th Birendra Mangang and KCDO advisor N Ibomcha attended the event as president and guest of honour respectively.