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Folklore and Print Culture of the Rongmeis :: Event Report
Delhi, 21st August 2021

*



Rongmei Scholars’ Association
A Brief Report of the Rongmei Scholars’ Association Inaugural Talk
“Writing the Oral: Folklore and Print Culture of the Rongmeis”
Date & Time: 21st August 2021, 6 pm


The Rongmei Scholars’ Association (RSA) organised their inaugural talk on Saturday, the 21st of August 2021 on an online platform under the topic “Writing the Oral: Folklore and Print Culture of the Rongmeis.”

The event was chaired by the President of RSA, Dr. Aphun Kamei, who is a Sr. Assistant Professor at Delhi School of Economics. As he welcomed the participants of the talk, he stated that this talk is a historic event for the community.

He also mentioned that RSA was formed in 2018 with the aim to provide an academic platform, engage on issues pertaining to the Rongmei people, collaborate with research and academic institutions and such bodies across the globe. He ended his welcome speech by inviting all Rongmei scholars to work together from here onwards.

The speaker of this talk was Dr. Senganglu Thaimei, Associate Professor of English at Miranda House, Delhi University. Her talk encompassed a detailed description and analysis of Rongmei literature from the beginning up to the present, using the findings from her thorough research in this particular subject.

She started with the valuable information that there are over 250 books written and printed in the Rongmei language. She maintains a catalogue of all these books which she had curated during a span of over ten years and continues to do so. These important books, most of which are out-of-print or long forgotten, were mostly published independently starting from the third decade of the 20th century.

To trace these books and understand the context, she divided her talk into three sections: the emergence of Rongmei literature, Rongmei folklore in print, and the evolution and present state of Rongmei literature. She made a mention of many important individuals and their works which are crucial to the development of Rongmei literature, giving the participants a clear picture of its history and progress.

An important point she noted was that folklores are integral to a Rongmei author’s attempts to write history, and since writing is a political act, our literature itself was a form of socio-political resistance to different dangerous forces.

To conclude, she classified the chronological development of Rongmei literature into three broad phases: formative, descriptive and analytical phases. She appealed that Rongmei people now have to proactively work in the analytical creation and development of Rongmei literature.

After the talk, the Chairperson shared his observations by laying down some important matters the Rongmei people need to see as they continue on their literary journey, which includes problems of interpretation and our direction as a people.

During the Q&A session, through the queries of around eight participants, topics like oral tradition vis-à-vis literature, Meitei influence of Rongmei literature, Zeliangrong movement, Rongmei morality, and orthography and standardisation of Rongmei language were discussed.

This session in itself was a quality time of informative discussion and critical analysis. While answering these questions, the speaker mentioned that oral tradition and literature go hand in hand, that folklore is rooted in nationalism, and that standardising the language is the only way forward.

After this discussion hour, the rapporteur of the event, Juliana Phaomei, a PhD Scholar at Manipur University, presented a brief summary of the event. The vote of thanks was delivered by Dr. Lungthuiyang Riamei, Assistant Professor at Gargi College, Delhi University.

Dr. Aphun Kamei,
President, RSA

Dr. Veronica Khangchian,
General Secretary, RSA


* Rongmei Scholars' Association (RSA) sent this info to e-pao.net
They can be contacted at rongmeischolars(AT)gmail(DOT)com
This article was webcasted on August 23, 2021 .



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