Sunday 7 January 2024

Samarth Bharat Parva - Smt Hanjabam Ongbi Radhe Sharmi - Art is Life !!

It has been one of the principles of my life not to be ashamed of my own ancestors. I am one of the proudest men ever born, but let me tell you frankly, it is not for myself, but on account of my ancestry.  - Swami Vivekananda
{CWSV-3 : Lectures From Colombo to Almora : The Common Bases of Hinduism}
{Swami Vivekananda's Rousing Call to Hindu Nation : Religion, The Soul of India: We are Hindus}

Manipur's 90-year-old Hanjabam Ongbi Radhe Sharmi, who promotes potloi setpi – the traditional bridal dress of Manipur's Meitei community – is happy with gaining recognition through her Padma Shri award.

Smt Hanjabam Ongbi Radhe Sharmi is a well known artist in the field of Totloi making from the state of Manipur. She is lovingly known to many as Abok Radhe where Abok stands for grandma' in the Meitei language. Since the past 50 years, she has been working as a Totloi Setpi (wedding dresser).

Born on 2 March, 1941 in a small village called Samaram, Manipur, Smt. Hanjabam started as Totioi dresser when she was 25 years old. Totioi is a traditional bridal dress worn by the Manipuri brides on their wedding ceremony. Shaped in a stiff cylindrical skirt, this Totioi, usually comes in red, pink and green colours, adorned with traditional motifs, it is worn with a traditional shawl knows as innaphi and a blouse made of rich fabrics.

Smt. Hanjabam's involvement with the Totioi dressing over a long time had made her confident to make Totloi' with her own exquisite designs and motifs. She has dressed over 1,000- brides with her own hand-made Totlois ull recent days. To refine her handiwork, she was trained under Shri Khurailakpam Iboton Sharma. renowned dance teacher and dress designer. In addition to this, she also makes costumes for Ras Lecia dance and the Khamba-Thoibi dance, a folk dance performed in the Lai Haraoba festival of the Meitei community, commonly celebrated in the month of May every year. With the passing years, she has been training the local artisans in art of Totioi making and helping them to become self employed and self-sustained economically.

Smt. Hanjabam has been a recipient of various awards and honours in consideration of her contribution to the society and also in recognition of her strong will to develop the art form of Totior making and its propagation to the younger generations of our society.

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मुक्तसंग्ङोऽनहंवादी धृत्युत्साहसमन्वित:।
सिद्ध‌‌यसिद्धयोर्निर्विकार: कर्ता सात्त्विक उच्यते ॥१८.२६॥

Freed from attachment, non-egoistic, endowed with courage and enthusiasm and unperturbed by success or failure, the worker is known as a pure (Sattvika) one. Four outstanding and essential qualities of a worker. - Bhagwad Gita : XVIII-26

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