Nongmaithem Tombi Singh's contribution to the making of Hijam Anganghal a Mahakavi
- Part 2 -

Surjitkumar Loitam *

 Prof. Nongmaithem Tombi Singh
Prof. Nongmaithem Tombi Singh

Adapting Jahera, the novel into a Radio Serial:

While the yearlong Birth Centenary Celebration of the Mahakavi was going on throughout the state of Manipur, All India Radio, Imphal attempted to grasp the opportunity of showing distinguished respect to the Mahakavi by broadcasting an adapted radio serial of the novel, Jahera of the Mahakavi.

When the authority of the AIR, Imphal entrusted the responsibility of adapting the novel to Oja Nongmaithem Tombi, considering him to be the right man to do it gingerly and successfully, he welcomed it and accepted it. Right away he took up strategies to materialize the plan. Tremendous succor could be received from prominent theatre and Sumang Lila persons– Lamabam Gojendro and Manaobi MM who were one-time students of Oja.

The dialogues of the play got gradually developed through frequent arguments and interactions that took place among them. He took help from one Sharni, an aunt in his locality, in an attempt to know better about the then women's common parlance to suit the idiolect of Ibecha, a prominent woman character in the novel.

The very features of Sharni became the perfect visage of Ibecha that Oja Tombi created in his mind. He observed the idiolect and idiosyncrasy of his aunt Sharni minutely and could derive materials. While creating the play he consulted many great personalities of Manipur and his local oldsters frequently.

Thus completing the writing of the play within the stipulated time, he could submit the adapted radio play to AIR, Imphal, and its broadcasting in 13 episodes starting from October 1992 at 07:45 pm every Saturday of every week after the evening news continued up to December 1992 taking three months. Since then, Jahera, the novel that was once only in the hands of some educated elite has now opened up to the general public.

It became the favorite serial of the then-radio audience. Lots of plaudits were showered upon Oja Tombi. On listening to the radio serial the daughter-in-law of Anganghal, Rajkumari Sanajaobi was so much pleased that she gave many a time lavish praises to Nongmaithem Tombi. It was for the AIR to pay a profuse homage to the Mahakavi.

On the part of Oja Tombi also the successful broadcasting of the radio serial turned out to be his valuable gift to the Mahkavi.

His penchant for the collection of Mahakavi's books and their study

Furthermore, Oja Tombi began to pay attention to the in-depth study of Anganghal's books. There from some articles of criticism on Manipuri literature have been contributed. Two articles titled Khamba Thoibee Sheirengda Untliba Darsan (Meitei Amasung Hindu Anigi Wakhal Punsinba Wakhallon) [The Vision Depicted in Khamba Thoibee Sheireng] (Synthesis of the ideas of Meitei and Hindu philosophies) and Mahakavi Anganghalgi Jahera da Utliba Awangba Nungsibagi Masak (The Ideal Love Depicted In Mahakavi Anganghal's Jahera) appeared in the books of the State Level Mahakavi Centenary Celebration Committee published in the year 1994, Mahakavi Anganghal and Manipuri Wareng Khara (A collection of his loose proses).

Amidst his hectic activities on Mahakavi and others, in the year 1996-97, he synergistically attempted with Hijam Romani-the son of the Mahakavi, Nungleppam Shyamkanhai, and myself, to produce an enlarged edition of Mahakavi's poems including the newly found 13 poems from old journals and those already published ones. This time also Oja Tombi took charge of the editor and could publish a complete book of Anganghal's poems.

His contribution to Mahakavi's Anniversary celebrated by the Tunggi Yaifanaba Semba Kanglup:

On an early morning at the beginning of July 1996-97, a delegation of the Kanglup visited Oja Nongmaithem Tombi at his residence to request him to participate in a seminar to be held as a part of the 102nd Birth Anniversary of the Mahakavi at Shamurou, his birthplace. At that time we, all the members of the Kanglup, were youths below 20 and callow in the fields of literature and culture and so, at the onset, we felt timidity to accost Oja.

By that time Oja Tombi was a Professor at Manipur University. Contrary to our wimpiness, Oja warm-heartedly agreed to our request and encouraged us for the endeavor we had undertaken. Besides this, he volunteered to distribute the invitation cards to his literature-lover friends in the Imphal area and also advised us to consult with Oja Elangbam Dinamani, Head of the Manipuri Department, Manipur University so that he also would extend help in his capacity.

We met Oja Dinamani as advised. He too warmly agreed and took the significant responsibility of printing the seminar papers without making the Kangpup pay for them and also offered to distribute the printed invitation cards including that of Oja Tombi and some others.

In the seminar on the topic, Manipuri Sahitya da Anganghal gi Khut ee Neinaba (Exegesis of Anganghal's writings in Manipuri Literature), Oja Dinamani acted as the moderator, and three distinguished scholars, namely Nongmaithem Tombi Singh, Lamabam Gojendra, and Thoudam Tombi Singh read out seminar papers as resource persons. The grand support received from Oja Tombi made the initial step of the Kanglup, the 102nd Birth Anniversary Function of the Mahakavi held at Shamurou, his birthplace, successful.

Oja Tombi participated continuously as a resource person, chief guest, moderator, etc. in almost all the anniversary functions of the Mahakavi organized by the Kanglup from 1994 CE to 2019 CE. Many articles were also contributed to the memorial journals of the Mahakavi published by the Kanglup. Oja Tombi knew no fatigue in assisting with the functions of the Mahakavi and participating himself as if it were his own.

His Role in Erecting Mahakavi's Statue at MU Campus

Discussions have been initiated since 1995 CE within the coterie of intellectuals such as Mahakavi's son-Hijam Romoni, Elangbam Nilakanta, Elangbam Dinamani, Nongmaithem Tombi including the representatives of the Tunggi Yaifanaba Semba Kanglup about erecting a statue of the Mahakavi at Shamurou, his birthplace.

The attempt for procuring a piece of land from the premises where the Mahakavi was born and brought up was not initially successful. Some years had elapsed in chagrin. In the meantime, leaving aside the matter of the statue, and with the approach of the year 1997, a critical treatise, Mahakavi Anganghal-Ahanba Volume, was published with Oja Elangbam Dinamani as the editor, containing articles newly written by some of the distinguished writers, poets, and scholars of this land like Aribam Kumar Sharma, Dr M Kirti, Dr Debaraj, IR Babu, Dr, S. Tomba, Nongthonbam Kunjamohan, B Jayantakumar Sharma, Thangjam Ibopishak, and Nongmaithem Tombi and along with those collected papers from the incessant seminars held during anniversary functions.

During the following week, Oja Tombi in his column of Nongmai Pundit, wrote a detailed analysis of the book. Later on, with the advocacy of Oja Tombi and Oja Elangbam Dinamani, the book was approved as a reference book in 1998 CE in Manipuri Department, Manipur University.

In 2000 the Mahakavi Anganghal Statue Construction Committee was formed with Oja Elangbam Nilakanta as the Chairman in collaboration with the Tunggi Yaifanaba Semba Kanglup, Shamurou. The members of the committee—Moirangthem Achou, Elangbam Dinamani, and Hijam Romani, including Nongmaithem Tombi attempted to erect the statue of the Mahakavi at Shamurou once again.

But this time again they faced, at its onset, a misfortune that Oja Nilakanta, the chairman, suddenly passed away that very year, and in his place, Oja Elangbam Sonamani was newly elected as the chairman to continue the project.

As the last attempt to erect the statue at Shamurou met with failure, the committee ultimately decided that the statue could be erected at any place in Manipur and so the committee requested Hijam Tombi, the then VC of Manipur University to allocate a place within the campus of the university for the erection of the Mahakavi's statue.

The VC welcomed and accepted the request and then called a special syndicate meeting to discuss the matter and the syndicate gave the permission. The construction committee took up measures promptly to construct the statue. All the bits and pieces of Oja Tombi's endeavor during the three months, from January 2004 to 21 March 2004, the day on which the statue was unveiled, were all unforgettable events.

He would as usual go to university to take classes, then instead of going back home, he would directly go to Hijam Romani's residence at Yaiskul Hiruhanjaba Leikai, the meeting house of the construction committee, and discuss with the members all the details of the unveiling ceremony.

He would then go to Iboyaima Printers at Moirangkhom Loklaobung and single handedly proof read the special edition of the souvenir book to be published on the occasion of the unveiling of the statue and consult with the staff on the getup of the book. He would not return home until he could accomplish the day's share of work even though it was getting late.

To be continued....

* Surjitkumar Loitam wrote this article for The Sangai Express
This article was webcasted on March 17 2023.

* Comments posted by users in this discussion thread and other parts of this site are opinions of the individuals posting them (whose user ID is displayed alongside) and not the views of We strongly recommend that users exercise responsibility, sensitivity and caution over language while writing your opinions which will be seen and read by other users. Please read a complete Guideline on using comments on this website.

  • Yaoshang & Thabal @ Pune : Gallery
  • Sangai Fest: Adventure activities : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 28 March : Govt of Manipur
  • Yaoshang Festival organized at Pune
  • Earth Hour: A wakeup call for the Planet
  • Lakes of Rajasthan
  • COVID-19 : Impact in Manipur :: News Timeline
  • BJP feasting on disunity of opposition
  • ST for Meiteis and NRC call : Common thread
  • Nongmaithem Tombi Singh's contribution #3
  • N Tomchou: 3 medals @ World Weightlifting
  • Luwangpokpa Multi-Sports Complex : Gallery
  • Installation of opposition-less Govt in Nagaland
  • Stay hungry, stay foolish
  • Tech-driven MSME for Food Security
  • Plan to shelter amid demand for deportation
  • Temporary Shelter Home at Moreh
  • Thabal Competition #2 : Gallery
  • Lembi Leima: Best Film at 1st NE Film Fest
  • COVID-19 Status 26 March : Govt of Manipur
  • Flexing the farming muscles !
  • Is HIV self-test, missing link to reach #endAIDS
  • 'Vested move' in bringing Phizo's body ?
  • Advantages of being disqualified
  • Onus on state to rake in peace time bonus
  • Process of lifting AFSPA : From 2004 to 2023
  • My Memories of Imphal #15 : Download
  • Q&A with Babloo Loitongbam at Netherlands
  • Job Vacancy @ Makok Tech, Bishnupur
  • Drought :: Poem
  • Law as a career choice
  • COVID-19 Status 25 March : Govt of Manipur
  • Day 2 : Punjab students' tour to Manipur
  • Sajibu Cheirao-chingkaba : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 24 March : Govt of Manipur
  • Central Univ Punjab exposure tour to Manipur
  • Question of Survival
  • lived without love, not one without water
  • World Tuberculosis Day at Arunachal
  • Pulling out of SoO pact with 3 groups
  • Legal hurdles in nailing drug peddlers
  • Sangai Fest: Moyon Dance : Gallery
  • Will lessons from COVID vaccine rollout ...
  • Of water scarcity: Beyond class room teaching
  • COVID-19 Status 23 March : Govt of Manipur
  • Manipur Univ to host students from Punjab
  • Mangrove, the magical tree
  • Ban plastics or set up recycling plants
  • Enforcing ban on single use plastic
  • Sajibu Cheiraoba Chak Katpa #1 : Gallery
  • Tri-Nation International Football Tournament
  • Modern Cancer Treatment in Manipur
  • International conference on Natural farming
  • Importance of farm pond for agriculture
  • Drowned :: Poem
  • Poireiton Khunthok (Abridged Translation) #1
  • Sajibu Cheiraoba (Meitei New Year) : Book
  • COVID-19 Status 21 March : Govt of Manipur
  • 'Implement NRC must precede delimitation'
  • Yuva Samvad - India@2047 organized
  • Serum for hair
  • As you sail through the noises
  • Seizure of PDS rice amid erratic distribution
  • Studying with a purpose in mind
  • Yaoshang Mei Loukhatpa #3 : Gallery
  • Liquor prohibition in Manipur
  • Lifting Bhagyachandra and elephant
  • COVID-19 Status 20 March : Govt of Manipur
  • Bishnupur Cricket Association meeting
  • Fake News & Disinformation New Challenges
  • Prospect, feasibility of natural farming in state
  • Manipur and water crisis
  • Lamta Thangja @Kangla Gate : Gallery
  • Sangai Fest: Kabui Dance : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 19 March : Govt of Manipur
  • Oil and gas scenario in Manipur
  • NPF's 'Gandhigiri' gestures towards NDPP
  • Spreading happiness as a career choice
  • Afforestation campaign: Test of Govt resilience
  • Poppy plantation & agents of desertification
  • My Memories of Imphal #14 : Download
  • Imphal Turel condition [18 Mar] : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 18 March : Govt of Manipur
  • Seminar on Awareness about lifestyle diseases
  • Pole Star :: Poem
  • Blunting of AIDS epidemic: zero-complacency
  • Conduct of election to Municipal in Nagaland
  • Saroi Khangba @ Imphal #2 : Gallery
  • Ima Keithel, a yearlong tourist's destination
  • COVID-19 Status 17 March : Govt of Manipur
  • Her Struggle
  • In Nagaland, NDPP rises & NPF falls
  • Dream Zone - School of Creative Studies
  • Sluggish project works abetting water crisis
  • Taking the NRC call to Delhi : Unifying factor
  • Nongmaithem Tombi Singh's contribution #2
  • Highways of Life :: Movie Review
  • COVID-19 Status 16 March : Govt of Manipur
  • Farewell Maharashtra student : Gallery
  • How healthy is your relationship ?
  • G20: Driving women-led development
  • Yogini Temple of Hirapur, Odisha
  • Holistic laws must to cleanse rot in exam
  • All thunder & lightening but no rain
  • Bora Festival #2 : Gallery
  • Deepika Mayanglambam : Felicitated by Y20
  • COVID-19 Status 15 March : Govt of Manipur
  • Will shorter TB regimen reach those in need
  • From a student, Dear Dhanamanjuri University
  • An inspiring story of a fish farmer journey
  • British Council announces STEM scholarship
  • State's reputation at stake as drug...
  • Briefing Union Home Minister
  • Thabal Competition #1 : Gallery
  • International River day at Lairouching
  • COVID-19 Status 14 March : Govt of Manipur
  • Lembi Leima : Film Premeire at Melbourne
  • Ballad For Gloom :: Poem
  • Dialectics of identity & development #2
  • Patriarchy opting for Gender Equality
  • Demand for NRC, panel testifies restive state
  • All set for HSLC 2023 exams
  • Yaoshang Mei Loukhatpa #2 : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 13 March : Govt of Manipur
  • Railways acts as engine of development
  • The Book of Ichigo Ichie :: Review
  • Platform for women to re-start their careers
  • The rising threat of forest fires
  • Land allotment scam amid uproar over eviction
  • Noting stand of Forest Minister
  • English Pronouncing Skills : Book Download
  • Day 5: Yaoshang Sports : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 12 March : Govt of Manipur
  • Representation to PM seeking appointment
  • Condemnation of CM N Biren's interview
  • Eco-friendly management of fall armyworm
  • Honesty is the worst privacy
  • Resistance to Govt efforts to protect forests
  • Tough times call for tough decisions
  • My Memories of Imphal #13 : Download
  • Day 4: Yaoshang Sports : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 11 March : Govt of Manipur
  • Why COVID-19 continues to be a pandemic?
  • International Women's Day
  • 'Electricity collaboration' diplomacy in BBIN
  • Day 3: Yaoshang Sports : Gallery
  • Yaoshang Sports: Yubi Lakpi at Khongman
  • COVID-19 Status 10 March : Govt of Manipur
  • UNHHRC access to Mizoram & Manipur
  • Govt to withdraw from SOO agreement
  • 4 Filmmakers invited for Indie8 Fest
  • Dialectics of identity & development #1
  • Thabal Chongba @Mongsangei #1 : Gallery
  • Yaoshang Pichakari #1 : Gallery
  • Featured Front Page Photo 2023 #1: Gallery
  • International Women's Day 2023
  • COVID-19 Status 09 March : Govt of Manipur
  • Yaoshang Sports at Khongman
  • International Women's Day at IBSD, Imphal
  • Nakatheng Chatpa @Kakwa : Gallery
  • Yaoshang Mei Loukhatpa #1 : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 08 March : Govt of Manipur
  • Sports item distributed at Bishnupur
  • Parents :: Poem
  • Call for world peace & harmony
  • Tips to play safe Holi
  • Yaoshang Mei Thaba @Imphal : Gallery
  • Yaoshang Mei Thaba @Nabadwip : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 07 March : Govt of Manipur
  • Yaoshang : Nostalgia, tradition & identity
  • GOI pressure on CM Rio to deliver solution
  • Update gun license otherwise
  • Art Exhibition @ RKCS #1 : Gallery
  • NE Convention on Indigenous Peoples Land
  • COVID-19 Status 06 March : Govt of Manipur
  • Yaoshang (Holi) Festival :: Book
  • Railways: Engine of new growth in NE India
  • Precautionary measures during Yaoshang
  • Persons suffering from Sickle cell disease
  • Training on mushroom at Khangabok
  • Floodlight boon for state's sportspersons
  • Act not think for the future of Meiteis
  • Yaoshang Sen Khaiba : Gallery
  • Students Tour to Nagpur #2 :: Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 05 March : Govt of Manipur
  • Lampak is calling
  • North East endorses Modi but with conditions
  • Elephanta Caves
  • After village chief, anti-poppy vow by legislator
  • The good & the bad of Yaoshang
  • My Memories of Imphal #12 : Download
  • Sangai Fest: Khutpak Chatkoi #2 : Gallery
  • 538th Birth Anniv of Cheitanya Mahaprabhu
  • COVID-19 Status 04 March : Govt of Manipur
  • Gender gap in STEM: Its impact & solution
  • On Rethinking Corruption
  • How sports help in development of women
  • Lanna Thouram of Chaoren #2 :: Gallery
  • Water use during water crisis: Hunphun/Ukhrul
  • COVID-19 Status 03 March : Govt of Manipur
  • World Wildlife Day : Awareness Cycle Rally
  • Farewell to students from Maharashtra
  • Bodoland International Knowledge Festival
  • Startups & NE India connect
  • Minister Biswajit's anti-poppy stand
  • Show no leniency to poppy growers
  • MANITEX @ Nilakuthi #3 : Gallery
  • Dr Surpriya Hawaibam: Ophthalmology Award
  • Time to get back to basics to end TB
  • In light of reintroducing Damodar Swami
  • Can Myanmar-Bangladesh promote ASEAN
  • Play organic Holi with natural colors
  • Must prepare to derive benefit of border trade
  • ST demand has come a long way
  • Likon Sanaba @Ningthoukhong #2 : Gallery
  • State Project Co-ordinator for Manipur
  • COVID-19 Status 01 March : Govt of Manipur
  • National Science Day at Lilong
  • Lessons from the inferno @Sainik School
  • Messi -- The Name Is Enough -III
  • Tourism is a cross cutting industry
  • Spike in electricity demand
  • Lungnila : Long wait for justice
  • Hiyang Tannaba @ Loktak #4 : Gallery
  • Nongmaithem Tombi Singh's contribution #1
  • March Calendar for Year 2023 : Tools
  • Saroi Khangba @ Imphal #1 : Gallery
  • Sangai Fest: Cherry Blossom @Mao : Gallery
  • Lanna Thouram of Chaoren #1 :: Gallery
  • Singju Festival @Heingang #1 :: Gallery
  • 6th Intl Women's Polo #1 :: Gallery
  • Lui-ngai-ni Fest @ Chandel #1 :: Gallery
  • Mangani Leihun of Chaoren #2 :: Gallery
  • Shopping List for Shivaratri :: Gallery
  • Jiribam Keithel [June 2022] #2 :: Gallery
  • MK Binodini's centenary - oral literature
  • Aribam Syam Sharma :: Filmography
  • Olympians & National awardees of Manipur
  • Downloadable Manipuri Calendar for 2023