TODAY -

Birth Centenary Celebrations of Jananeta Irabat Singh, 1996 : Book Translation
- Part 7 -
Discussion on Irabot’s "Imagi Puja [Worshipping the Mother]" : Part 1

James Oinam *

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



Discussion on Irabot’s "Imagi Puja [Worshipping the Mother]": Part 1
Dr. Karam Manimohan


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

Irabot was pioneer of new literature of Manipur; he brought in a new taste in literature. Before, literature was floating in dream world, satisfied in the description of lovers and their tenderness—Kamal, Chaoba, Anganghal — escaping from their world, for the first time, and showing the lived experiences of the people, with his sharp pen he drew in poetry, in "Emagi Puja".

His is not floating in sweet literature, but life, the face of reality that jumps out bitter, sweet, dirty, inability to love etc. It should be discussed as a literature; his is a mirror that shows our face. To know the society at that time, one must know the people of that time—the farmers, the poor, the oppressed women—look at the face of the oppressed people, and read his writings, his poems, "Emagi Puja".

He is Charles Dickens of poverty in Manipuri literature, saviour of the unfortunate. His poems tell what is love of humanity, what is freedom, what is war, and who is our enemy. His few words can teach perseverance, patriotism, and how to love friends from the heart.

There are many things that can be discussed in the book "Imagi Puja". Never before expressed in the literature like a thought-leader, Irabot brought to light the many horrors of the world war. Picture painted by Irabot is no less than the Erich Maria’s All Quiet on the Western Front. He was untiring in painting the picture of the military action for the public.

Irabot showed to the ignorant what war looks like. He coined many phrases: langja aeroplane paire (eagle aeroplane flying), lamhui sairen khongle (fox blew the bugle), motar(?) sahui lang-e, Hanumanna bomb thadare (Hanuman dropping bombs), chek nung chakle (brick and stone burn), etc.

Blackouts during the war has been described thus: "Sairen tabaga phiruk khumba, nattraga mashak udanaba lotpa" (On the sound of siren, covering one’s face with cloth, or hide to be not seen).

These were new experiences in Manipuri literature. In Irabot’s poems, love for one’s country, false society after lost of freedom, desire to free the women, bringing the light of social freedom, mainly freedom of women in society, were his religion.

Irabot’s love for his motherland was unlike that of Darendrajit(?). He actively became part of the society, his motherland was not imaginary, not an idealistic or romanticized motherland of Kamal, Chaoba, Anganghal. They did not face the society and did not know what was happening in their left and right. That is why their motherland is like heaven.

When Irabot was incarcerated in distant land, he remembers his motherland in following way:

Thammoi rajyagi akoiba seemana
Prakritigi achetpa pan
Chingna koina khariba
Mapan rajyaga leinaba mari
Kakthatle, kakthatle
Ninghalli leiriba swadeshdani
****
Chahi phana kainaraba
Thabum kaya pao phangdraba
Eigi nungshirabi matrabhumi
Eigi nungshiraba deshbashi


[Boundary of the heart’s kingdom
Strong levees of nature
Surrounded by mountains
Relations with outside state
Broken, broken
Reminds of living in outside land
****
Separated for a complete year
Got no news for many months
Of my dear motherland
Of my dear countrymen]

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 24 2024 .



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