TODAY -

Birth Centenary Celebrations of Jananeta Irabat Singh, 1996 : Book Translation
- Part 6 -
Patriotic Songs of Irabot: Part 3

James Oinam *

 Birth Centenary Celebrations of Jananeta Irabat Singh, 1996 : Book Cover
Birth Centenary Celebrations of Jananeta Irabat Singh, 1996 : Book Cover



Patriotic Songs of Irabot: Part 3
B. Jayantakumar Sharma


Translator’s Note: Translated from Manipuri section of the book below
Book: Birth Centenary Celebrations of Jananeta Irabat Singh, 1996
Editor: L. Damodar Singh
Joint Editor: Dr. N. Tombi Singh
Jointly Organised by Eastern Zonal Cultural Centre, Calcutta
and Department of Art and Culture, Manipur,
Sept. 29 and Oct. 13, 1996

Cover design: Premananda Roy
Published by: Shri Th. Subol Singh
Printed at: Padma Printers (Computerised), Paona Bazar, Imphal – 795001

To achieve freedom of the country, the lakhs and crores of citizens should be cured of poverty, illiteracy, and superstition, these three. Then eating one’s hard-earned food and happy and prosperous freedom will come, thus taught poet Irabot. His is not ordinary poetry, song; they are mantras for the depressed.

Poet covers the culture of the society widely. In a society built by men and women, looking down upon women, and women also thinking that they are weak and dependent since the creation followed men, this is not the time. Women should also take part in building the society and in the freedom struggle. They should not remain in the small corner of the house just cooking and pounding paddy.

Nakhoi lao yenghauro lao….
Nupi landa
Nupi kaya thawai katkhiba


[You come and see…
In Nupi Lan
Many women sacrificed their life]

Thus, what was gathering in the hearts of such women was let loose by the poet. And in the following lyrics the poet tells who is the mother in a heart-wrenching way:

Kokthakta potlum puribi
Namda nambo poribi
Awa kongai khanglibi
Chintagi potlum puribi
Nongju nungsha khaktana
Humang mana tallibi
Chara nama charibi
Taibang potlum puribi
Phadi phara shetlibi
A-nangba kongai khanglibi
Makhoishe eikhoigi emani


[Carrying heavy load on the head
Carrying child on the back
Bearing many sufferings
Bearing loads on their minds
Not distinguishing rain or heat
Earning by their sweats
Not eating square meals
Carrying the burden of life
Wearing the towels
Bearing heavy poverty
They are our mothers]

The mothers of the poor who work in the sun and in the rain to bring up their children, wear the blankets, thus showering their love on their children, sings the poet painting the face of the mother. And the duty of the children is to pay back the debt, by making them happy and equal to others:

Kaonagumshiko makhoibu
Takhatlo charei phido
Singlashine khomlang laman
Utlashine taubimando


[Let’s not forget them
Roll up the “charie” cloths
Let’s pay back the debt of milk
Let’s show gratefulness]

Who doesn’t know their interest? But one who thinks for others also puts them on high pedestal. While poet Irabot advocated for freedom and well-being of the country, he was an internationalist. This can be gauged from the song:
O mereibakki chekla O unnakhishiko karigumba matam amada
[O birds of foreign lands, lets meet again some time].

Nungshidaba ngamde eihakna ekai khumnajari thamoina
O mireibakki chekla O kainarashiko handakmukti matangshidadi
Kainagani haiba khangna khangna
Namthak taurui eina nangbu
Oidaba waheinashu karal challui
Nungshibashu shashinarui
Handakmukki matangshidadi ereibak lamdam nattabana
Achetpa niyamnashu punkhibana pukchel tinaba ngamlamdre
Eshagi ening tamlaba kal ening tauna leiraba kanda
Nungshi koiloi shakladuna nungshi khongul lirakkedo

[I can’t help but love, give regards from the heart
O birds of foreign land let’s part for now
Knowing that will part
I cheated you
Said words that weren’t true
Acted falling in love
This time not being my country
Bound by strict rules could not bind our hearts
When I am free and able to do whatever I want
Singing songs of love will follow the footsteps of love]

The poet had strong desire of loving all without boundaries, and binding in strong bonds of friendship.

The poet was a republic revolutionary. He wanted revolution. The poet wanted those sick with poverty, downtrodden society, depressed by poverty, and stricken with the curse of illiteracy and superstition to become good, developed, independent society with strong roots just like a dirty cloths washed by soap. He was a dedicated republic soldier:

O replabata nanga eiga unakhido
Sinnakhi thamoi thamoi pamudana
Thajadaba wakhaldo thajadana thokhare
Shagatlure wakhalgi phura—O replabata


[O republic(?) you and I met
Exchanged heart to heart without reserve
What could not believe happened unbelievably
Built palace in the mind—O republic]

(Source:Echel”, Sahitya, Sanskriti tha [month] 6/6 publication, sixth year 1996, Nahakhol, Yurembam, published after obtaining from the writer)

To be continued .....


* James Oinam wrote this translated article for e-pao.net
The writer can be contacted at jamesoinam(AT)gmail(DOT)com
This article was webcasted on June 18 2024 .



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