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Courtesy Arambam Kapil

On Reading in Bengali, Thinking in Manipuri

As a Major Indian Language study in our high school we had read Manipuri literature in Bengali script. This education deprived us from the opportunity to learn Meitei Mayek in a formal way, but had given us ample time to understand the conflicts of our society. Though understanding is not enough in as much as photography cannot be substituted for motion pictures, it does provide us insights into how history and culture shape our social structure.

The Poet and the Art of Poetry

A TRANSLATION OF THE ESSAY ‘KABI AMASOONG KABYA’ BY KHWAIRAKPAM CHAOBA 
Whom do we call a poet? On a theme, from an emotional appeal of hope and happiness, we pick up our pen to express ourselves. Yet it is beyond our comprehension, from a poet’s perspective, to see how much we can write and how clearly we can put down the feelings and impressions in black and white. We always try to emphasise on the mellifluous sound and well-timed rhythm, by adding, subtracting and tweaking the pieces of our voice that should be easy on our and the readers’ ear — all’s well if we succeed in our penning endeavour. The ear is irrefutably the only tool, which measures the quality and the originality of the poet and the nicety of his/her art. The poet croons and creates the sound and rhythm, much to the delight of the body and the soul of the readers, who jumps with joy, whose emotion dances to the tune of the delightful words. It is apparent from one of our experiences, when a melody enters the gate of our heart the first impression mostly finds it hard to please our soul. Can you reach the heaven; howsoever when you are pleased, when you hear about the wonders of heaven? The beauty of poetry lies in the art of the possible, if not in reaching the heaven. A scentless flower cannot capture our attention for a long time. That’s why people who appreciate the art of poetry have to stand on a raised platform to relish the delicacy of this art form. Attention to detail is the hallmark of the connoisseurs, who read the nuances of carefully chosen words — whether the words can penetrate the several folds of heart and produce an entirely new sensation, if the words can recreate a fresh image of beauty in the heart; and if not, the work cannot be accepted as an art of poetry if the strings of the heart produce merely a tuneless sound but not a new melody.

At a Meeting of the Manipuri Sahitya Parishad, Assam

A couple of weeks ago, a press release in one of the previous day’s newspaper made me so curious to go and see what the Manipuri Sahitya Parishad, Assam (MSP) is all about in this part of the world. I saw only their announcement about the gathering in one corner of Dispur district, but the next day I found as it happened, an annual district committee meeting and an election of the office bearers were to be convened as adverted in the news report. But that was no issue, as I saw it was in other matters rather than the meeting and election, where I found the usual hollowness in us when we talk about our relationship with the society and vice versa. The meeting place is situated hardly ten kilometres from where I’m putting up right now, and it is easy to commute through two bus routes. But the exact location is a place where I have to enquire a lot, because it is far from any known landmark and is in one of the interior parts of the town, where I have to take another rickshaw to enter from the main road in an uphill street.

Howling for a Radical Literary Landscape

We are what when nobody is watching. We become more genuine, not when we are alone, but when we see ourselves in literature in our private moments. The works of art offer a space to turn around and sideways to watch and see ourselves. Our actual vanity and arrogance, and the raw reality are absent in the literally, fictitious world. We are a self-conceited animal even when we are alone; we hardly know our own faults. However, a figment of imagination in black and white can uncover the falsities, which hopefully allows us to become more humane.
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Words: Action and Perception 

A word is but its meaning. There are words we have to do an action to perceive their meaning, though how we do an action and how perceive the meaning are quite another thing. It is also an entirely different issue with a complex psychoneurological process, plus other lingual and sematic perspectives on how we are/become aware of the meaning. 

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