TODAY -

Historical Study Of Print Journalism (Newspapers) In Manipur (1910-1980)
- Part 2 -

By A Chungmeikamei *



After the First World War (1914-18), Manipuri's got the proper facilities of using printing machines in Manipur. However, the printing of government annual reports have been practiced outside Manipur like Calcutta and Shillong under the supervision of the East India Company.

The Manipuri script was abolished in 1891 since in those days Manipuri got education through the medium of Bengali therefore the Bengali script has been adopted by the Manipuri. In 1895, Pundit Mark Singh brought out books have been taught by Manipuri's. William Pettigrew wrote a book on Manipuri grammar in English styling on 1912. These are some of the available books found in those days.

The first ever printing book in Manipur was however Sorokhaibam Lalit Singh's Areppa Marup. The cover of the book was printed in color. Again, in 1912, Loitangbam Kalachand Singh produced a small book of children drama printed in color printing.

In 1919, a small printing press came into existence, during 1117-18, the state printing press was established in Imphal and many printing of government report and private publication began. Till 1918-19 a hand press was used, therefore there were a limited number of publications.

It can be said that the first journalism was started from outside Manipur during the ruling of King and therefore under the British ruled freedom of expression was far. Gradually people who learnt the west education slowly came to realize the importance of producing a journal base on literature, social awareness and by most of the Manipuri inhabiting area in Sylhet, Silchar and Dibrugarh and student of Manipur Studying outside.

In 1917-18 a handwritten paper known as Meetei Leima Magazine was published, and it can be said to be the first ever produce of Manipuri journalism and also known for the beginning of journalism in Manipur, though the magazine did not last for long it was survived for a while. In 1 924, M.A (B.D.) Mahendra as editor from Pratabgarh produce Jagaran Patrika in Manipur.

In 1920 also Manipuri students from outside produced a hand written magazine Meitei Chanu. From some of these publications recognition of Manipuri to the outside world seems to show. Using of Bengali script brings changes in many fields and that include the introduction of journalism in Manipur. From the early 30s there was a good relationship between Manipur and Agartala both in literature and Culture.

The spreading of meetei culture and tradition play a great role by the King of Takhel and people of meetei in Manipur through publication of journals in meetei script are Marup produce by Rajkumar Kamaljit Singh as editor and Saratki Echel and Chelambi a weekly paper are some of the worth mentioning. The neighboring states in Cachar published a journal such as Nongpok Meira edited by Shri Chandra Singh, B.A. from Silchar in 1923.

Anouba Echel is also some of the published magazines worth mentioning. Pantha by Shri Chongtham Gowra Singh from Cachar was known in meitei literacy, both in Bengali and Manipuri in publication of prose and short stories. Many Manipuri are settled because of further studies, which later on took opportunities in business etc. Dumibra Roy produces in meetei script a daily paper/ Bi-monthly Bharat Ima which has two pages published in Assam province.

During India was for Independence from 1940 a number of newspaper editors were arrested and put into jail. Mr. Kunjabihari the editor of weekly magazines Anouba Pao was the first case in the history of Manipuri to put an editor in jail. During Second World War from 1939 to 1945 most of the newspaper and journals could not be produced. However in the peak period of the second world war no newspaper either magazines or journal were not published nor were new publications seen to bring out. It was only after the Second World War some newspapers and journals began publishing.

However, the rapid and development, of journalism in Manipur can be identified from the year 1949 in the same year Manipur merge with India. The period from 1949-80 may be considered as the second phase of the development of the press in Manipur or the development of Manipur journalism. In the year 1949-50, many changes took place in the political and economic condition of Manipur.

Organization like the Nikhil Manipur Malhouba joined with the congress party of India to raised slogans against the British to leave the country. The king of Manipur arranged for the merger with the Indian Union. The movement was successful with the active cooperation of the then educated Manipuri's who get inform the common mass by means of newspapers and from many publication of journals of Manipur.

In fact, the development of press can be seen apart from Manipur language of different dialects especially in hills areas from the year 1930 through some Christian journal of Church circulation. During this period most of the hill people are Christian converted by Christian Missionary from outside India which later spread the importance of literature through setting up of education institution. The setting up of education institute give rise to the beginning of journalism in the hill areas of tribal community in Manipur.

The name and year in periodical published during 1910-1940 are:-

  • Meitei Leima (1917-1941) a monthly magazine,
  • Yakairol (1918-1930) the first Manipur monthly journal,
  • Meitei Chanu (1920) a handwritten journal,
  • Masik Jagaran, (1924) a monthly journal,
  • Dainik Manipur Patrika (1932) daily,
  • Lalit Manjuri Patrika (1933) monthly Journal
  • Hmasawnna Hmar (1935) monthly journal,
  • Manipur Sahitya Parishad Patrika (1935) half year publication,
  • Manipur Matam (1939) weekly,
  • Tarun Manipur (1938) weekly,
  • Manipur Paojel (1939) weekly.
  • The Manipur Mahilla (1939) or Meitei Chanu (1939) monthly,
  • Meitei (1941) monthly
  • Naharol (1941) quarterly publication,
  • Bhagyabati Patrika (1946-1950) daily to weekly Sunday published,
  • Satra Jagot (1946) monthly,
  • Khonjel (1946-47) monthly later again appear after a long gap in 1975 annual magazine,
  • Eikhoigi Manipur (1947) daily paper,
  • Shandya Bhayabati Partika 1947 daily,
  • Anouba Jug (1947) weekly,
  • Palem (1947) monthly,
  • Imarol (1947) monthly,
  • Praja (1947-52) weekly to daily in (1953-56)
  • Meengnaidabee (1947) quarterly,
  • Sahitya Bhaigyabati Partika 1947


To be continued ...


* A Chungmeikamei is a PhD Research Scholar in History department at Manipur University . This was originally printed on "Manipur Today" - a publication by DIPR, GOvt of Manipur on the eve of Khongjom Day 23rd April, 2010. This article was webcasted on May 23, 2010.



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