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Tribal Museum: A Treasure Trove In Shambles

The pathetic state of the Tribal Museum. Image Credit: Sangai Photo

IMPHAL, Jan 19: Like the proverbial Kangkha Thang, the one and only Museum in Manipur, where scholars can come and conduct research studies on the various tribes living in the State, remains locked most of the time, its immense potential slowly rotting away.

When The Sangai Express conducted a spot inspection of the Tribal Research Institute located inside Adimjati complex at Chingmeirong today, it was found that the Tribal Museum is indeed a treasure trove of cultural elements and relics of various tribes living in the State. But the rooms to the gallery of the museum remain closed most of the time for no reason.

The museum keeper Dr K Shantibala did open the doors of the rooms at the request of The Sangai Express, the rooms were found in total darkness and complete disarray.

Dr Shantibala informed that there is electricity in the museum only for one hour at the maximum in a day and there are also times when there is no electricity at all.

Apart from this problem, lack of proper maintenance could be easily discerned from empty galleries while various tribal artifacts were seen scattered on the floor instead of displaying them on the gallery.

Looking at the present condition, any visitor who comes to visit the museum may wonder how the Art and Culture Department of the Government of Manipur under whom it had been constructed have been taking care of the museum all these years.

Construction of the museum and the modernization of the gallery which is part of the larger Tribal Research Institute had been taken up with financial assistance from the Ministry of Culture, Government of India.

It was on December 27, 2006 that Chief Minister O Ibobi Singh inaugurated the museum in the presence of his Council of Ministers.

There are at present nine staff including Joint Director, Deputy Director, APS, Librarian, Museum Keeper, UDC, LDC, photographer, computer operator, Peon and Chowkidar to look after the Tribal Research Institute and its museum.

Many dignitaries have visited the Institute and its museum in the past including Director of Ministry of Tribal Affairs, Government of India SK Das visited the institute on December 3, 2007, Chairman of National Commission for Schedule Tribes Urmila Singh on June 15, 2009 as well as Chief Secretary of Manipur DS Poonia on September 8, 2009.

The photographs of these high profile visits decorate the walls of the institute.

It was learnt that ahead of any high profile visit, the officials of the Department of Art and Culture, Government of Manipur always make it a point to keep the institute and the museum in spic and span condition to give a good impression. Otherwise, it remains wanting for attention.

(Courtesy: The Sangai Express)

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