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Ima – An Ode to Divine Mother

The story of Devi the Divine Mother, who descends on earth every autumn is an allegory that takes us beyond the realm of facts,  pointing out the evils in the world. The mythical act of the Divine Mother clashing with the demons stands for the struggles we face daily within and without. What better topic could Manipuri exponent Bimbavati Devi select this season to conceptualize and choreograph a short aesthetic piece of dance than Ima –An Ode to Divine Mother?

Panthoibi the ancient  Goddess of the Meitei people worshipped in Manipur from hoary times coincide with the worship of the Durga. Both these mythical Goddesses have the same attributes. During Durga Puja, the temples of Manipur celebrate the greatness of both.

Ima formally launched by EZCC in a virtual programme, was visualised as the mother, who is like the five elements of the earth-Fire that burns one’s ego;  Water that soothes you; Earth that heals you; Air that blows away all darkness and the all-pervading and overwhelming Space. Ima, the mother goddess is at once unapproachable and very much a part of you.

A song in the language of the Meiteis speaking of the many-splendoured activities of Panthoibi and seeking her blessings in the syntax of Manipuri caught one’s imagination. Sri Sri Chandi was the ready reckoner from which shlokas were chosen for the revelations of Devi’s greatness.

Manipur, being the home of many traditions, Bimbavati Devi could choose the most appropriate performing forms like Thang-Ta, the martial art of Manipur with the plaintive note of Pena Seitharol, an indigenous art form that melodiously portrays the beauty and grace of Panthoibi, the goddess of power, peace, love and prosperity in Meitei mythology brought out the theme and essence of this short  “you are the bearer of light”.

Panthoibi’s attributes are like the Hindu Goddess Devi Durga. The festival of Panthoibi incidentally falls at the time of Durga Puja. This made the theme chosen all the more topical.
Mudras or gestures were eloquent. Costumes were neat, which added to the beauty of the piece. Since it was a virtual programme, the surroundings chosen were in open spaces amidst nature.

An age-old theme was packaged thoughtfully and aesthetically, with the help of an efficient team, for a contemporary audience.

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