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Manipuri Literature Event In New York City

Provided By:- L. Somi Roy *



NEW YORK, July 25, 2006: Professor Laishram Sadananda, retired Professor of Manipuri Literature at Manipur College, Imphal, gave a presentation entitled "What is Manipuri Literature: An Overview of the Language and Literature of Manipur" at the New York Public Library in New York City.

The event was organized by the evening's host, Dr. John M. Lundquist, The Susan and Douglas Dillon Chief Librarian of the Asian and Middle Eastern Division of the Research Libraries, in association with L. Somi Roy, New York-based Manipuri-American media arts curator and producer.

Professor Sadananda's media presentation was the first lecture on Manipuri literature to be presented outside of India.

In introducing him, Mr. Roy gave a brief overview of digitizeMANIPUR!, the Manipuri manuscript digitization project he recently started with the help of the Richard Gilder Foundation and Educate LLC of New York.

In his presentation on the project, he thanked the leaders of these two American philanthropies, who, shocked by the arson in Manipur's Central Library in 2005, had initiated the digitization of surviving Manipuri manuscripts by computerizing the office of Oja N.Khelchandra's Archive in June 2006.

Using projections, Professor Sadananda gave a succinct and informative introduction to early as well as modern Manipuri literature. He providing a lively and living context to the manuscripts in Oja N. Khelchandra's collection.

The presentation covered Manipuri's Tibeto-Burman linguistic origins, its dispersal outside of Manipur, the major categories of its early and modern literature, along with examples of prominent texts and, in the case of modern Manipuri literature, its notable writers.

Professor Sadananda's survey of literary associations, publishing houses, media, and the teaching of Manipuri literature today, deftly defined the literary scene in Manipur today.

The event was attended by, among others, Heike Kordish, Director of The New York Public Library's Humanities and Social Sciences Library, Mrs.Verne Oliver, Associate Director of the Richard Gilder Foundation, Laurel Kendall, Curator in the Anthropology Department of the American Museum of Natural History, Serenity Young, a writer on Buddhism, Zette Emmons from the Newark Museum, professional librarians including D.Marie Grieco, as well as several Manipuri-Americans and their friends.

Professor Sadananda's media presentation, designed by Mr. Roy and Sushil Laishram, will be presented online for the Manipuri cyber-community as well as academics and librarians around the world.


* L. Somi Roy is a Manipuri-American arts curator living in New York
This article was webcasted on 27th July 2006.


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