TODAY -

G20, Bali and Manipur

K Rajeshwar Sharma *

 Pung-Cholom : Inaugural Ceremony of 6th Women's International Polo Tournament at Mapal Kangjeibung  :: 15th February  2023
Pung-Cholom at the 6th Women's International Polo Tournament at Mapal Kangjeibung on 15 February 2023 :: Pix - Khaba Kh



One may wonder what Manipur has to do with G20 and Bali where the last G20 Summit was held.

The group of twenty countries or G20 that came together as an aftermath of the economic crisis of the late nineties of the last century is a premier forum for international cooperation particularly on the most important aspects of trade, economic and financial matters.

It comprises of countries of the developed North and developing South. The G20 countries generate 90% of the global GDP. Not only do they represent 80% of the international trade, but they also occupy two-thirds of the world market.

It is a rare opportunity for Manipur to get exposed to the G20 countries, and to showcase her rich cultural heritage and its economic potentials that might catapult Manipur to that of Bali.

Nature and culture make Bali the most sought-after tourist destination of the world. More than six million tourists visit Bali every year, which is double the size of its population.

Eighty percent of Bali's economy is generated by the tourism industry. The success story of Bali's tourism industry can be replicated here in Manipur provided that the required infrastructure is developed.

Manipur is the Bali of India. There are striking similarities between these two States of India and Indonesia. Like Manipur, Bali was a Hindu kingdom where majority of the people are Hindus who worship the Hindu Gods-Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva every day, and celebrate Hindu festivals.

Just as the Hindu dominated valley of Manipur is surrounded by the Christian dominated hills, Bali, where eighty percent of the population are Hindus, is surrounded by Muslim dominated islands-Java and Sumatra to the west, and Borneo to the east.

In spite of Indonesia being a predominantly Muslim country, the natural beauty of Bali and its rich Hindu culture are the two elements that make Bali the most sought after tourist destination of the world. Hindu culture is so popular in Indonesia that Juko Widodo, the president of Indonesia, wishes he had the power of Lord Krishna.

Manipur was where East met West. Having been situated at the lower tapering ranges of the South Eastern Himalayas, Manipur, the erstwhile Hindu kingdom, had witnessed, in the ancient past, travelers from the East and from the West passing through the forests on her blue hills, crossing the meandering rivers that run through her green valley which was dotted with sparkling lakes.

A cocktail of cultures has evolved out of her thousand-year-old history. What makes Manipur unique is her rich cultural heritage and natural beauties-Loktak lake, Keibul Lamjao National Park, Dzuko Valley and blue hills with lush green forests that have the potentials to develop a successful tourism industry.

Besides being gifted with all the natural beauties, Manipur has inherited a rich cultural heritage that range from graceful dances, religious festivals and music to sports such as Thang Ta, Mukna Kangjei, Yubee Laakpi and Sagol Kangjei.

A troupe of Manipuri drummers and dancers with the bugling sound of their conch shells could attract thousands not only on the streets of Europe and America but also in Manipur.

Eerie Khangkhui Caves in Ukhrul could be a tourist hotspot as much as Shirui hills are. The silent beauty of the Dzuko Valley would be more than enough to attract thousand tourists every year.

Mahabali and Sree Govindajee Temple along with Kangla Fort at the heart of Imphal have the potential to attract pilgrims and tourists as well. These tourist spots and the indigenous festivals and sports are worth more than a thousand- crore-rupee project.


* K Rajeshwar Sharma wrote this article for The Sangai Express
This article was webcasted on February 19 2023.



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