Experts begin translation of Manipur’s ancient texts

IMPHAL, June 20, 2018: The translation process of ancient texts of Manipur, known as Puya, into English and other languages has started with chief minister N. Biren Singh handing over a set of Puya, collectively known as Masil, to translators in a simple and traditional ceremony held at the chief minister’s office on June 15.

The translation work was taken up as promised by Biren Singh a few days after he took charge as Manipur chief minister in March last year.

The translation of the Manipuri ancient text has been taken up with the objective to make the culture and civilization of Manipur known to the world.

Chief minister N. Biren Singh at the ceremony in Imphal on Tuesday.
Picture by Ngangbam Indrakanta Singh
Masil is generally based on the assignment of duties and responsibilities to officials and citizens by the kings and the overall picture of state administrative structure.

Sources said other Puyas would also be translated after the first task is taken up. Puya is a repository of Manipuri traditional knowledge and chronicle of ancient culture and tradition and Manipuri worldview. More than 4,000 Puyas are believed to be in existence ranging from astrology, astronomy, geography, science, statecraft, biology, agriculture practices, martial tradition, traditional knowledge systems, politics and economy and others that cover what life and civilization experiences.

Chanam Hemchandra is a member of the translator’s team, who transliterated Masil in Manipuri modern language using a Bengali script attached to the original Manipuri script.

Talking to this reporter, Hemchandra said, “I have come across 4,000 Puya books and transliterated 250 of them and published 30.”

This 65-year-old man from Naoremthong here started transliterating Puya since the age of 25. His just completed transliterated book, Ningthourol Lampuba, has 1,021 pages. It is the Puya on royal chronicles.

“I am trying to connect the past and present through my transcription work of our literature which holds classical value. I want to present the ancient text of Manipur’s origin to the humankind of today and tomorrow,” he said.

“A society cannot be called a developed unless the past is linked with the present and I want to prove that Manipur ancient texts are classical literature,” he said.

Hemchandra is happy with the translation work being taken up by Manipur government to promote the culture and history of the state. “But we have a long way to go. There are many scripts which are hard to understand.”

He said anyone who wants to publish my transliterated works of Puya can take assistance from his completed works.

Source: The Telegraph

Image Courtesy: E-Pao Net, Ngangbam Indrakanta Singh

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