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Dr Thokchom Ibohanbi - first Manipuri writer to get Akademi award
Source: Chronicle News Service / Oinam Mission

Imphal, February 23 2022: Dr Thokchom Ibohanbi has become the first Manipuri writer to get the Sahitya Akademi award for literary criticism ever since the Akademi recognised Manipuri as a major language in 1972 .

He was selected for the award for his book on biographical literature titled 'Manipurida Punsi Warigee Sahitya'.

Dr Ibohanbi was born to Thokchom Lukhoi and RK Lembisana of Singjamei Chongtham Leikai on April 5,1951 .

He retired from service as associate professor and Head of Manipuri department of DM College of Arts.

He had remained as office bearers of several literary organisations, which included general secretary of Manipuri Sahitya Parishad, Imphal & Naharol Sahitya Premi Samiti, besides being member of Sahitya Akademi advisory board (Manipuri), Manipur State Kala Akademi Standing Committee (literature) and BSEM Curriculum Sub-Committee (Manipuri).

He is also co-writer ol 'Manipuri Sahityagi Itihas' (2015) and 'Manipuri Grammar Amasung Composition' (2012) published by Council of Higher Secondary Education Manipur (COHSEM).

Some of his mentionable literary works include 'Anganba Matamgee Manipuri Sahityada Imaginery' (1997), 'Banga Bondhugee Leibakta' (2002), 'Sagol Gari Thouba Gulamdin Amasung Atei Waree Khara' (2013), 'Makers of Indian Literature: Madhav Ram Wahengba' (2016), and 'Manipurida Punsi Warigee Sahitya' (2017) .

The writer had also been honoured with several awards for his works and won the Manipur State Kala Akademi Award (literature) in 2007 and Dr Seram Mukta Sahitya Mana in 2005 for his book Banga Bondhugee Leibakta'.

Naharol Sahitya Premi Samiti Imphal also honoured him with Jananeta Hijam Irabot Mana 2019 for his book Manipurida Punsi Warigee Sahitya'.

Speaking to the People's Chronicle, Dr Ibohanbi explained that literary criticism is very rare in Manipuri literature.

Manipuri literature has advanced in the field of poetry, short story, novel and travelogue, but it still lacks in the field of literary criticism.

Though there are some works of literary criticism on poetry, short story, novel and drama, there is no criticism work on biographical literature.

He saw this gap in Manipuri literature and penned the book, said the awardee.

Manipuri language was recognised by Sahitya Akademi, New Delhi in 1972 and the first Sahitya Akademi award for Manipuri language was conferred to Pacha Meetei in 1973 for his book 'Imphal Amasing Magee Ishing Nungshitkee Fivam' .

In the 47 long years, all the Sahitya Akademi awards conferred in Manipuri literature are in the field of creative writing.

Today, several new writers are emerging in the state and most of them con fine their areas in poetry and short story.

However, quality work is still a rare thing, he maintained.

He also mentioned Yumlembam Ibomcha, Keisham Priyokumar and Lamabam Biramani as some of the no table writers of the state with their own unique styles and narratives.

Kunjamohon and Thokchom Manihar can also be regarded as quality writers in the field of travelogue and none of the new writers have been able to reach their level, he said.

He emphasised on en couraging young writers and promoting their works while at the same time main taining that resilience is the most important quality to become a good writer.

The young and emerging writers also need to read books oi internationally reclaimed writers to refine their works and skills, he stressed.


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