Manipuri literature

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Manipuri literature is the literature written in the Manipuri language (i.e. Meeteilon), including literature composed in Manipuri language by writers from Manipur, Assam, Tripura, Myanmar and Bangladesh. It is also known as Meetei Literature. The history of Manipuri literature can be traced back thousands of years with the flourishing of its civilisation. Nevertheless, Puya Meithaba (burning of ancient Manipuri scriptures) cannot be overlooked in the history of Manipuri Literature.

The terror event of history, the Puya Meithaba in 1729, during the reign of Meidingu Pamheiba (1709–1748), totally devastated the ancient Manipuri scriptures and cultural history. It began a new era of Manipuri literature. Most of the early literary works found in Manipuri Literature were in poetry and prose. Some of the books were written with a combination of both prose and poetry. Meetei scholars have broadly divided the history of Manipuri literature into the following periods:

Indian literature
Assamese
Bengali
Bhojpuri
Gujarati
Hindi
Kannada
Kashmiri
Malayalam
Manipuri
Marathi
Nepali
Oriya
Punjabi
Rajasthani
Sanskrit
Sindhi
Tamil
Telugu
Urdu

Ancient Period

The Meeteis had a long tradition of writing. It is not completely clear when the archaic Meetei puyas (old scriptures) and Meetei Mayek (Manipuri Scripts) first came into existence. However, the written constitution of the country (i.e. Meitrabak or Manipur), Loiyamba Shinyen (1110),1 during the regime of Meidingu Loiyamba (1074–1122), vividly connotes the practice of writing in this era. It has been further confirmed that from the time of Meidingu Thangwai Ningthouba (1467–1508), later as Kyamba, the Royal Chronicle – Chitharon Kumpaba was kept meticulously and continued until the end of kingship (Meidingu Bodhchandra, 1941–1955). As he was the worthy son of the mighty father Meidingu Ningthoukhomba (1432–1467) and warrior mother Linthoingambi, the kingdom was a full-fledged sovereign country, with much evidence for the considerable literary works during his reign.

But the use of writing has been referred back to the Mariya Phambalcha (in BC) era by many Meetei scholars. The skill of writing was the prerogative of the professional scribes and scholars of the traditional Meetei culture, the Maichous. The later proliferation of religious, proto-scientific and astrological text would suggest that as time progressed, writing was expanded beyond these professional scribal classes. However, most the ancient Meetei puyas (scriptures) were anonymous and undated.

The period from prehistory until the reign of Meidingu Charairongba (1697–1709), that is before the Puya Meithaba (1729), is considered to be the Ancient Period of the Manipuri Literature. Early Manipuri literature consists of ritual hymn, cosmogony, history, or folktales in prose and poetry. Most of the ancient Manipuri literature was written in archaic Meeteilon, which had attained the same fortune like Sanskrit and Latin language. A few of the notable works of ancient Meeteilon (i.e. Manipuri language) poetries are the following: Numit Kappa, Ougri, Khencho, Sana Lamoak (6th or 7th century), Ahonglon (11th century), Khoiju Lamoak (12th century), Hijin Hirao, Ningthauron (17th century).

The Numit Kappa is a common work.2

The excerpt below in archaic Meeteilon is from the Numit Kappa: "Haya he Liklaio / Yipungthou nongthourel o lahalnong / Laicha tarang ipakthakta / … … … ".

As one of the oldest literary works, Numit Kappa was written in archaic Meeteilon with Meetei Mayek (i.e. Manipuri script) in poetry verse. Though this puya was anonymous and undated, the researchers believed that it can be dated to the first century AD. Since ancient time, its verse had been used by Meetei Amaiba (priest) in Chup Shaba (a funeral ceremony). According to Tutenglon Puya, the two sons of Khuyoi Tompok (154 AD), Yoimongba and Taothingmang, personally participated in the dredging of the rivers in Meitrabak (i.e. Manipur). The two royal brothers entrapped the giant bird (Kakyen Meengamba) and killed it. The Numit Kappa hymn was sung when the giant bird wounded Yoimongba. T.C. Hodson was the first English who attempted to translate this archaic Meeteilon literary work into English in his book The Meitheis.3

Ougri

The excerpt below, rendering in Meeteilon, is from the beginning part of the Ougri Sheireng (i.e. Ougri Poem):

"Hoirou haya haya … … … / He hupe he / Ougri O kollo / Lamlenmada madaimada / Kangleiyonda pungmayonda / Yoimayaibu Taodanbabu / Taoroinaibu Anganbabu /… … … … … … … "

Ougri, which was also known as Leiroi Ngongloi Eshei, was also an anonymous and undated poetry written in archaic Meeteilon. But it is believed to have been written in the pre-Christian era.4 It was a part of Leishemlon Puya, the old scripture about Meetei cosmogony. Meeteis had been used it as the ceremonial hymn since the time immemorial. According to Meetei epic the Khamba-Thoibi in Moirang mythology, Ougri was sung by Thonglen as father of Khamba, when Khuman Khamba caught the Pamba Keiren (i.e. wild tiger) in Khoirentak. The Meetei festival Lai Haraouba is the observation of belief in Meetei cosmogony, and it interprets the philosophy by performing the Ougri Hangel Chongba. Amaiba (priest) and Amaibi (priestess), the spiritual guides of Meeteis, lead the Ougri Chongba and they perform very sincerely to avoid any fault in Ougri Chongba. Many of the Meetei Puyas (Manipuri Scriptures: viz- Naothingkhong Phambal Kaba, Laishra Pham, Panthoibi Khongul, Cheithon Kumbaba) mentioned the performance of this form of dance on different occasions.

A few of the most notable works of ancient Manipuri literature in prose include: Panthoibi Khongul (prehistory), Nongshaba Laihui (prehistory), Sakok Lairamlen (prehistory), Poireiton Khunthokpa (3rd century), Kangla Haoba (5th century), Loyamba Shinyen (11th century)[3], Naothingkhong Phambal Kaba (16th century), Khagemba Yumlep (16th century), Cheitharon Kumbaba.

The following scholars were the Royal Maichou (Scholar) during the reign of Meidingu Khagemba (1597–1652): Konok Thengra, Apoimacha, Salam Sana, Yumnam Tomba, Khaidem Temba, and Langgol Lukhoi. Among the notable works of these Maichous, the praiseworthy scriptures include: Shingkhan Laikhan and Kaibaron Puya.

Konok Thengra was an astrologer, and his great contribution was the prominent Kaibaron Puya, which depicted the future of Royal life and country's fortune. It had witness with real phenomena in the history of Meitrabak (i.e. Manipur). The style of Manipuri literature, with its own indigenous culture and religion, was continued until the regime of Meidingu Charairongba (1697–1709).

Medieval Period

The momentous change in Manipuri Literature and culture was during the reign of Meidingu Charairongba and his successors. With the dawn of the eighteenth century, Meitrabak (Manipur) achieved the full development of her culture, economy and state system. In this revolutionary change in the Meitrabak's life, there were three kings (father, son, and a great-grandson): Charairongba (1697–1709), Pamheiba or Garibniwaz (1709–1748) and Chingthangkhomba or Bhaygyachandra (1749–1798). They played very significant roles, the stamp of which was imprinted on the history of Meitrabak. After the death of Paikhomba, his nephew Charairongba, the son of his younger brother Tonsenngamba, ascended the throne in 1697. His reign was a transition period from traditional Meetei social situation to a Hinduised Meetei Society. He constructed several temples for Meitei deities like Panthoibi, Sanamahi and Hindu deities after his espousal with Vaishnavism. The relation with Burma was deteriorated and more strengthened with India after conversion into Vaishnavism. As a result, the period from the embraced of Vaishnavism by Meetei King till the advent of British in Meitrabak (Manipur) is considered to be the Medieval Period of Manipuri Literature.

Influence of Vaishnavism

As great as a conqueror, Meidingu Pamheiba (1709–1748) was also a great religious and social reformer, under his royal patronage Cheitanya's school of Vaishnavism was propagated in Meitrabak. Cheitharol Kumbaba records that in October 1717. Graibnawaz was initiated into Vaishnavism by Guru Gopal Das. Afterward, he switched over to Ramanandi School of Vaishnavism after the arrival of Shanta Das.

Puya Meithaba – Burning of the Meetei Puyas

At the instigation of Santidas Gosain, more than 123 Meetei Puyas (Holy Meetei Scriptures) had been consigned at Kangla Uttra to flames at around 9–10 a.m., on the 17th day of mera (October) in 1729 on Sunday.5 It was definitely an unethical action on the part of king and his preceptor. When there was no fruitful result to the strong objection of this disastrous conduct of the king, the great Maichou (scholar) of Meetei religion, Laurembam Khongnangthaba concealed himself. The names of the Puyas were recorded as follows: Taoroinai Yangbi, Pakhangba Yangbi, Pakhangba Naoyaom, Sanamahi Naoyom, Sanamahi Laihui, Taoroinai Picha, Pakhangba Thiren, Pakhangba Laihui, Sanahami Laikhan Nongkhan, Leithak Leikharon, Leichinlon Yumbi, Nonglon Yumbi, Nonglon Laicham, Nonglon Kruthong, Nongdon Langbum, etc.

Since then, it had started the Sanskritised interpolation with the post-proselytisation writing for the last couple of centuries in the more than two millennia-old history of Meitrabak (Manipur).

Angom Gopi was the renowned poet and scholar in the royal court during the reign of Meidingu Pamheiba, and he was not only proficient in Meeteilon but also in Sanskrit and Bengali language. He translated the Kritibas's Ramayan and Gangadas's Mahabharat into Meeteilon. The other books which he wrote include: Parikhit, Langka Kanda, Aranya Kanda, Kishkindiya Kanda, Sundar Kanda, Uttar Kanda.

There were historical accounts such as Shomshok Ngamba ("The conquest of Samjok") written by two authors, Laishram Aroi and Yumnam Atibar. Laishram Aroi personally participated in the expeditions in the Kabaw valley and Burma under the command of King Pamheiba.

Nungangbam Gobindaram was another scholar and writer of Pamheiba's court and his two praiseworthy disciples were: Mayengba Brindaban and Wahengba Madhabram. His literary works include: Pakhangba Nongaron, the translation of Astakal from Sanskrit to Meeteilon, and Takhel Ngamba, the conquest of Tripura.

Another remarkable anonymous book of this period is titled: "Chothe Thangwai Pakhangba".

In the later part of the 18th century, Wangkhei Pundit Gopiram Singh was the scholar in the royal court of Medingu Chingthangkhomba (1763–1798). In case of any adversity, the king used to consult with him. In 1789 (as per Meetei calendar, 28th Wakching, Thursday), Gobindaram had started the writing of Meihaubaron Puya.

Wahengba Madhabram was the prominent scholar during the reign of Medingu Chingthangkhomba and Labainaya Chandra. The praiseworthy books written by him were: Langlon, Mahabharat Birat Parva, Chingthongkhomba Ganga Chatpa, and Sana Manik.

In the 20th century, Langlon was first published in 1924 by Education Minister of Manipur, Waheingbam Yumjao Singh, with archaic and modern Meeteilon. It is also known as the Sloka of Meetei Chaneika.

Another landmark in the history of Manipuri literature was the evidence of novels in 1779, while religious books were only the mainstream in this era. Sana Manik can be considered as one of the earliest Manipuri novels, which was written during the regime of Meidingu Chingthangkhomba.

The eldest son of Meidingu Chingthangkhomba, Nabananda Yubaraj, was one the renowned writer from the royal family, and he had translated Virat Parva of Ram Krishnadas into Meeteilon as title "Virat Shathuplon".

Chingthangkhomba Ganga Chatpa was written by Haricharon Khangyenba, Barmani Lauremba, Khagendra Yimnaba, Khongchen Aheiba with the recommendation from Meidingu Labanya Chandra.

Ashamedha Parva of Gangadas sen in Bengali was translated into Meeteilon by a group of Meetei scholars with the title "Langoi Shagol Thaba". Longjam Parshuram had played a major role for this work, with the great contributions from Chirom Avimaynu, Wairokpam Gangaram, Oinam Nabashyam, Thokchom Ganashyam, Maibam Aviram, Hiamcha Madan and Khanglenbam Aviram.

Modern Period

Meitrabak lost her freedom after the Anglo-Manipuri war on 27 April 1891, and the British entered into Kangla on the same day. The British Government selected Meidingngu Churachand (1891–1941), a minor son of Chaobiyaima, as the king of Meitrabak. After the advent of British, a new phase, the beginning of the modern Manipuri literature began with British influence.

In 1872, the acting political agent, Nuttal, began an English medium school. Later political agent Lt-Col. Sir James Johnstone established the first Middle English School. William Pettigrew's, the Christian missionary, contribution to western education in the country was also a remarkable one. In the valley of Meitrabak, the common language of instruction was Bengali, and this led to use of Bengali script for writing of Meeteilon. As a result of this, the substantial amount of earlier literature in Meetei Mayek became inaccessible to the western educated elites and next-generation Meetei peoples.

Renaissance of Culture and Literature

The pioneer in the effort to publish the Meeteilon (Manipuri language) with Bengali script was Haodijam Chaintanya, who was born of Meetei parents in Shillong, in 1867. His interest in Meetei culture led him to make translation of folk literature and ancient manuscripts, such as Takhel Ngamba and Khahi Ngamba, into Bengali script, and published by Chronicle Press from Sylhet in 1900 and 1902, respectively. He deserved the credit of being the first to have attempted to make some of the old manuscripts publicly available.

The decade of 1920–1930 was not only the beginnings of modern Manipuri literature, but also the renaissance of Meetei culture, language and religion. The culmination of this cultural movement was the formation of "Manipuri Sabha" in 1933. Later it was renamed as "Nikhil Hindu Manipuri Mahasabha" (NHMM). Maharaj Churachand was the president of the newly form organisation, and Irabot was chosen as the president of the reception committee. From the fourth session, the name of the organisation was changed to "Nikhil Manipuri Mahasabha" (NMM), by dropping the word "Hindu".

In the 1930s, Phurailatpam Atombapu Sharma was appointed to the Brahma Sabha and made as court Pandit. His family migrated from North India into Meitrabak (Manipur) during the 15th century. As per the resolution of the first session of NHMM, the court Pandi, Atombapu Sharma, was asked to establish the Historical Society for Manipur. He was a prolific writer, almost entirely self-published. Many of his publications are very brief and ephemeral, and as a whole, his work was very repetitive. His translation of Sanskri into Meeteilon are no doubt a valuable resource, but this work is vitiated by the fact that it provides a basis for his misinterpretation of Meetei culture. He approached Meetei culture and religion with a number of ideological assumptions. For him, the original Meetei civilisation was vedic. On this basis, virtually everything in the traditional Meetei culture – its deities, its rituals, its dance – are explained by drawing crude parallel with the Vedas. The foundation of all this was his belief that Manipur is referred to in the Mahabharata. In effect it was a re-writing of Meetei history to make it part of the grand Vedic tradition.

Laininghan Naoria Phulo (1888–1941) was the pioneer of Meeteis cultural renaissance and the revival movement. In opposition to the misinterpreted Hinduism in Manipuri society, there arose a movement which sought to rediscover and reassert the religion of the past, and to purify it from all superstition influence. This was an attempt to return to the past, to the pre-Hindu religion of the Meeteis in what was conceived to be its pure form. He founded the Apokpa Laining in Cachar, Assam, in 1930, for revival of Meetei Laining (religion) and development of Meeteilon. In 1936 he confronted with the king and the court Pandit, Atombapu Sharma.

He is honoured as a Meetei Maichou and prophet6 by the Meeteis, and his literary works for the spiritual discoveries considered him also as a poet. His great contribution in Manipuri literature in poetry were –Yumlai Lairon(1930), Apokpa Mapugee Tungnapham (1931), Tengbanba Amashung Lainingthou Laibao (1933), Athoiba Sheireng(1935), etc. The important works in prose were –Meetei Yelhou Mayek(1931), Meetei Haobam Wari(1934), Aigee Wareng(1940),etc..

Hijam Irabot produced the first magazine, Meetei Chanu, in 1922, but it was in short-lived. Yakeirol, which appeared in 1930 under the editorship of Ningthoujam Leiren. Three years later, another magazine Lalit Manjuri Patrika, came out. In the next decade, the first two daily newspaper appeared: Deinik Manipur Patrika and Manipur Matam.

There was a tradition in Meitrabak (Manipur) of dramatic presentation of ancient legends in the form of "Sumang Leela". The Dramatic Union was founded in 1905 for religious theme for Bengali language, and later Manipur Dramatic Union was established in 1932.

By this decade too modern Manipuri literature was becoming a recognizable force with the appearance of works by Khwairakpam Chaoba, Dr. Lamabam Kamal and Hijam Anganghal. This flowering of the literary activities resulted into the foundation of the Manipuri Sahitya Parishad, Imphal, Manipur, which was devoted to the development of Manipuri literature and culture.

The names of most important Meetei writers in the 20th century are –Hijam Anganghal Singh (1892–1943), Khwairakpam Chaoba Singh (1895–1950), Lamabam Kamal Singh (1899–1935).

Hijam Anganghal Singh (1892–1943) – besides being a poet, he is a well-known essayist and dramatist, renowned for his magnum opus, Khamba Thoibi (1940), which is a poem of 39,000 lines considered to be a 'national' epic of the Meeteis.

Khwairakpam Chaoba Singh (1895–1950) is one of the best-known writers of modern Manipuri literature. His historical novel Lavangalata (1939) is considered as an outstanding work in Manipuri. His other prose works include: Wakhalgi Icel, Wakhal, Phidam, Kannaba Wa and Chhatramacha.

Lamabam Kamal Singh (1899–1935): His Madhavi (1930) is recognised as the first modern Manipuri novel. His collection of poems called Lai Pareng (1931) has been acclaimed to be 'the most significant poetical works of this century'.

Modern Poetry

Modern Manipuri poetry distinctly falls into two groups – the poetry of Dr. Lamabam Kamal and his contemporaries representing the early phase and poetry of more modern and younger poets representing the Zeitgeist of the contemporary world picture. The late Dr. Kamal is now acknowledged as the representative poet and writer of the present day in Manipuri literature. The predominant atmosphere in his poetry is rather somber and gloomy and in keeping with this he expresses his sentiments in elegies. Writing about Hijam Anganghal, Dr. S.K. Chatterji observes:” … One great Manipuri writer , the late poet Hijam Anganghal Singh (1944) has composed a huge poem of some 39000 lines in Meithei (i.e. Manipuri) on a popular theme , old ballad about which in Manipur are still sung..” (Language and Literature of the Modern India). Nabadwipchandra’s poems depict a somber atmosphere of fatalism while those of Irabot and Mayurdhawaja are marked by lyrical and didactic overtune. Dorendra wrote his Kansa Badha on the style and technique of Michael Madhusudhan Dutta’s Meghanad Badha Kavya.

Approach of Minaketan is new and quite individual. Appreciation of his poems requires a background knowledge of old Manipuri myths, tradition and legends and also mastery over archaic Manipuri. Surchand Sharma mainly deals with some aspects of the greate Moirang Thoibi legend while R.K. Shitaljit is a poet of nature and humanity. In the Poems of R.K. Surendrajit the symbolic and the allegoric are blended with lyricism, while in the poetry of Nadia the narrative is blended with sonorous rhythm. Poems of Nilabir Sharma are actuated by an intense love of Manipur. Kh. Ibohal writes with intensity of passion and appears best in voicing the feeling of a dejected lover. Poets like Gourkishar and R.K.Elbangbam belong to this group of romantic lyrical poets. The poetry of younger poets gives expression to the deep sense of the immense panorama of futility, anger, questioning of traditional values and absence of faith and integrity in the society. Samarendra, the most forceful and talented of this younger group of poets, shows his ingenuity and perhaps and unrivalled skill in the use of the language. His poems are modern in outlook, conception and technique. The poetry of Nilakanta is characterized by intense emotions, felicity of expression, scholarly erudition and intellectual atmosphere. Among the younger poets of this group, mention may be made of Padmakumar, Shri Biren, Ibomcha, Ibohal, Ibopishak,Madhubir, Jyotirindra and Ibempishak.

In the field of translation from other languages, the name of Nabadwipchandra may be remembered for his translation of Michael Madhusudhan’s Meghanad Badha Kavya into Manipuri. Tagore’s Gitanjali has been translated by A. Minaketan and Krishnamohan in their own inimitable ways. Gourkishar has done Kalidasa’s Meghdoota into Manipuri. Kumar Sambhava, Kiratajuniam, Raghuvansa Kavya, Mahabharata of Kasiramdas, Ramayana of Krittibas and Bhagvad Gita have been translated into Manipuri in verse form. Shakespeare’s Rape of Lucree has also been translated by Minaketan.

Drama

The patriotic exploits of the heroes of Manipur, the heroic and pathetic lives of legendary and mythological characters from the inexhaustible stock of Moirang Kangleirol. These are the main and almost invariable themes of the early dramatics. They include: Sati Khongnag and Areppa Marup of Lalit, Nara Singh of Lairenmayum Ibungahal, Moirang Thoibi of Dorendrajit, Bir Tikendrajit of Bira Singh, Chingu Khongnag Thaba of Birmangol, Mainu Pemcha of Shymsundar, and Kege Lanja of Bormani, from among the galaxy of such plays, as good instances.

The contemporary dramatists have come forward with plays new in theme and technique. They easily come across politics and socio-economic problems in their search. The foremost among these contemporary dramatists is G.C. Tongbra.It may be said that he follows the path of Ibsen and G.B. Shaw. He also writes One Act Plays which are immensely popular showing his distinctive quality. Among the contemporary dramatists names of Netrajit, M. K. Binodini Devi, Ramcharan, Kanhailal, A. Sumorendro, Tomchou and Sanajaoba may be mentioned. The most prominent present dramatist who has created his own genre of theatre is Heisnam Kanhailal, the founder-director of Kalakshetra Manipur in 1969. Heisnam Kanhailal, who learned on his own, was an avante-garde of a new physical theatre who revolutionised the language of theatre using the rich cultural body aesthetics of Manipur to address the political realities of his time. Kanhailal began his experiment in a continuous process of 'renewal of ancestral tradition' for a contemporary cultural expression as the progeny of an ethno-social tradition of Manipur. He learned afresh the native lore travelling throughout the nook and corner of Manipur and strengthened the creative will. The other prominent dramatist who is well-respected for his spectacular, a student of modern Indian theatre pioneer Ebrahim Alkazi is the mighty Ratan Thiyam. After passing out from National School of Drama, he founded the 'Chorus Repertory Theatre', in Imphal, in 1976. Premier theatre houses which worth to mention among of many are Manipur Dramatic Union, Rupmahal, Arayan Theatre, Society Theatre. The translation plays extends to Bhasa, Kalidasa, Tagore,Shakespeare, Marlowe, Ibsen, Shaw and Greek Tragedies.

Novels

Early in the 20th century, Dr. Kamal, Chaoba, Anganghal attempted first original novels in Manipur. The name of Dr. Kamal remains ever fresh for his deep and lively description of nature. His novel Madhabi breathes with the indomitable nature of human hope, the high ideal of sacrifice and the fathomless cruelty of man. Chaoba in his historical novel, Labanga Lata recalls the pomp and grandeur of the reign of the historical past during the reign of king Khagemba (1597–1652). Jahera, a voluminous novel of Anganghal depicts the love between a Manipuri Hindu youth and a Muslim girl. He can be true both to the gentle feeling of love and complex social problem. R.K. Shitaljit is a purist and moralist. His is certainly a moral and religious approach. Names of H. Guno, Thoibi Devi, R.K. Elangbam, Ram Singh, Ibohal, Dr. Bhagya, Nodiachand, Ibomcha, Chitreshwar, M.K. Binodini and Pacha Meetei deserve mention besides those of many other contemporary novelists. Surchand Sarma, Shymsundar, Raghumani Sarma and Nishan Singh, may be mentioned among the prominent novel translators. Novels of Bankim Chandra, Sarat Chandra, Rabindranath Tagore, Premchand, Bhagavati, Charan Varma, etc. have been translated into Meeteilon.

Short Stories

The short stories also made their advent along with the novel. R.K. Shitaljit's stories, racy and plain, are narrated in his own characteristics, simple, direct and unadorned Manipuri. Each story is a self-contained unit and progress like the flight of arrow. R.K. Elangbam portrays ordinary people moved by the ordinary concerns and passion of life, particularly the passion, love and all its consequences of joy and sorrow. Nilbir Sharma is the mouthpiece of the poor and neglected humanity. H. Gonu probes into the ailing Manipuri society in his stories. Stories of Nongthombam Kunjamohan, using the colloquial are colourful. He also exploits sentimentalism which is one of the predominant passions of Manipuri literature. Names of Shri Biren, M.K. Binodini, E. Dinamani, Biramani deserve mention, besides those of many other contemporary.

Tolstoygee Wari Nachom, Rabindranath Thakurgi Wari, Thambal Taret (etc.), being translations from the stories respectively of Leo Tolstoy, Rabindranath Tagore and Munshi Premchand deserve mention.

Literary criticism, linguistics, and history

Critical literature in Manipuri are fast coming up. Arabia Manipuri Sahityagi Itihas by Pandit Khelchandra and Manipuri Shatyagi Ashamba Itihas of Kalachand Shastri survey the early and medieval periods of Manipuri literature. Meitei Upanyasa vol −1 of Minaketan and Manipuri Sahitya Amasung Sahityakar of Dinamani are critical surveys of leading Manipuri novels. Sahityagi Neinaba Wareng of Chandramani, Sheireng Leiteng of Kalachand Shastri, Sahitya Mingshel of Gokul Shastri, Alangkar Kaumudi of Pandit Brajabihari Sharma and Alangkar Jyoti of Laurembam Iboyaima are also critical writings in Manipuri. Manipuri Kavitagi Chhanda of Nilakanta and Chhanda Veena of R.K. Surendrajit and Manipuri Kavya Kanglon by O. Ibo Chaoba makes a survey of the prosody of Manipuri poetry along scientific lines.

Pandit Khelchandra's Manipuri-to-Manipuri and English Dictionary is the first modern Manipuri-to-Manipuri dictionary and also Ariba Manipuri Longei is an authoritative dictionary of archaic Manipuri. Khununglongi Artha of Pandit Dinachandra, and Manipuri-to-Manipuri and Hindi Dictionary by Narayan Sharma are of the same genre. Panthei Paorou by Narayan Sharma, Meitei Panthei Paorou by ChandraShekhar, and Paorou Paotak Akhomba are collections of idioms, phrases and proverbs.

The Manipuri Vyakaran Kaumudi of Kalachand Shastri is an advanced Meeteilon grammar. Meitei lonlam by Bokul, Meiteilon Vyakaran by Dwijamani Dev Sharma, Manipuri Vyakaran by Narayan Sharma and Meiteilon Vyakaran by Nandalal Sharma,Lonmit of M. Ningomba,Meetei Wahauron of Naoria Amusana are of noteworthy about the Meeteilon grammars.

Among the works in the history of Manipur, Asamba Manipur Itihas by Yumjao, Manipur Itihas by R.K. Sanahal, Manipur Itibrita by Kaomacha, Meitrbakki Wari by H. Bijoy, and Manipur Puwari by Naorem Sanajaoba are a few among the galaxy of such work.

The most important contribution towards the literature on law is the publication of the translation of Manu Samhita with Sanskrit text by Surchand Sharma. Some of the works in the field include: Foujadari Aain Practice by Jyotindra, Indian Penal Code by Gaurachandra, Police Act (1961) by Budhachandra, and Meeoibagee Hak by Naorem Sanajaoba.

Some important works on Indian Philosophy are Chaitanya Charitamrita, Govinda Lilamrita, Mahabharta, Ramayana, Bhagavat Geeta, etc.

Modern Manipuri Writers

  • Arambam Dorendrajit Singh (1907–1944) is another pioneer poet and dramatist whose works include three dramas, viz. Miorang Thoibi, Bhagyachandra and Kaurav Parajay and two epic poems, viz. Kansa Badha and Subhadra Haran.
  • Laishram Samarendra Singh (b. 1928) is one of the forerunners of modern Manipuri poetry. He is renowned for his poetic collections Wa Amata Hiage Telanga, Mamang Leikai Thambal Satle and Khun Amagi Vari.
  • H. Guno Singh (b. 1927) is an acclaimed short-story writer in Manipuri. His important works include –

Khudol, Langjim Mangkhrabi Kishi,Laman, Aroiba Paodam and Aikhoigi Tada. He also translated Sukumar Sen's History of Bengali Literature into Manipuri.

  • Pacha Meetei (1940–1990) set a new trend in Manipuri novel by introducing contemporary social problems in place of the romantic and passionate atmosphere prevalent in the Manipuri novel in the first half of the 20th century. He is acclaimed for his novel Na Tathiba Ahal Ama.

Other distinguished modern Manipuri writers are:

G.C. Tongbra, Ngabongkhao, Sahitya Akademi Award, 1978

Elangbam Nilakanta, Tirtha Yatra, Sahitya Akademi Award, 1987

Ningthonbam Kunjamohan, Ilisa Amagi Mahao, Sahitya Akademi Award, 1974

Ashangbam Minaketan, Aseibagi Nitaipod, Sahitya Akademi Award, 1977

M.K. Binodini Devi, Boro Saheb Ongbi Sanatombi, Sahitya Akademi Award, 1979

Ningthoukhonjam Khelchandra,Maheidi Atangba Lanni, National Literary Award, 2002

R.K. Shitaljit, Lamabam Viramani Singh, Chekla Paikhrabada, Sahitya Akademi Award, 1984

Keisham Priyokumar, Nongdi Tarak-Khidare, Sahitya Akademi Award, 1998

Arambam Memchoubi, Idu Ningthou, Sahitya Akademi Award, 2008

See also

References

  1. ^ Naorem Sanajaoba, Manipur Treaties and Documents-Vol I,1993, New Delhi. Book I: "Twelfth Century Meetei Constitution To Pemberton Report".
  2. ^ Chanam Hemchandra, Numit Kappa, translated and rendered into modern Meteeilon, 2008, Imphal, Manipur.
  3. ^ T.C. Hodson, The Meitheis, 1908, London. Appendix II, page 180.
  4. ^ Ningthoujongjam Khelchandra, History of Ancient Manipuri Literature, Pub-Manipuri Sahitya Parishad, 1969.
  5. ^ Source: The Sangai Express http://e-pao.net/GP.asp?src=9..101008.oct08
  6. ^ Konsaba Ebochou, Revival of Meetei Religion, 1985, Inphal, Manipur.


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