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Book release: Ayekpam Shyamsunder's book 'Osman Thambal' at Imphal

Dr. Syed Ahmed *

 Book release of 'Osman Thambal' at Imphal on 4th September 2022
Book release of 'Osman Thambal' at Imphal on 4th September 2022



Writers' Union, Imphal released Ayekpam Shyamsunder Singh's book, Osman Thambal, at a function held on 4th September 2022 at Manipur Press Club, Imphal.

Convenor, Manipuri Language Advisory Board, New Delhi, Nongmaithem Kirankumar; Assistant Professor, Manipur University of Culture, Makhon Mani Mongsaba; the eldest daughter of Ayekpam Shyamsunder, Ayekpam Lilabati Devi; Principal, Lilong Haoreibi College, Dr. Raheijuddin Sheikh, and President, Writers' Union, Imphal, Dr. Syed Ahmed graced the function as Chief Guest, Guests of Honour and President respectively.

The released book is the second edition published by S.M. Sheikh, former Secretary of Writers' Union, Imphal. It is reprinted in both Meetei/Meitei mayek and Bengali script. Shyamsunder had published this historical drama, written in Manipuri, in 1974.

Giving the keynote address, S.M. Sheikh expressed, "Ayekpam Shyamsunder's Osman Thambal was published in 1974. The drama is based on an actual incident that happened during the reign of Maharaj Chandrakirti Singh. It is the story of the romantic affair between a Muslim boy and a Meetei/Meitei girl.

The novel depicts the socio-cultural life of the 19th century. I was deeply fascinated by this drama. I still remember, during my younger days Osman Thambal was enacted on stage and it was hugely popular among the general public. The play attracted large crowds wherever it was staged. It is a significant literary work which should be read by today's youth.

However, the copies of this book are hard to find. That's the reason why I decided to re-publish it. I am extremely grateful to Ayekpam Lilabati Devi, the daughter of Ayekpam Shyamsunder, for giving me the permission to republish the book."

Kirankumar and Makhom Mani analysed the book, while Dr. Syed Ahmed spoke on the historical context of the story of Osman and Thambal. Lilabati Devi remembered the life and works of his father Ayekpam Shyamsunder.

The book, Osman Thambal, is a historical drama based on the romantic affair between Osman, a Muslim boy, and Thambal, a Meetei/Meitei girl. The incident actually took place in the late 19th century during the reign of King Chandrakirti Singh (1850-1886).

It was a time when the Hinduised Meetei/Meitei community enforced strict restrictions on the social relations, particularly inter-marriage, between the Hinduised Meetei/Meiteis and other communities. The affair of Osman and Thambal became a serious religious issue for the Hinduised Meetei/Meiteis. The matter reached the king. He ordered the girl to renounce her faith and punished her parents. Osman took Thambal as his wife.

The event is mentioned in the royal chronicle, Cheitharol Kumbaba. The text notes that in 1880, in the month of Hiyangei (November), the daughter of a tailor of Sagolsem, surname of the family, was forced to renounce her faith for having relation with a Muslim and as a punishment her parents were forced to settle beyond Lilong at Wairokpam Yumpham within the Muslim locality.


* Dr. Syed Ahmed wrote this article for e-pao.net
The writer can be contacted at syed_ahmed4(AT)yahoo(DOT)com
This article was webcasted on 07 September 2022.



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