Manipuri or Meitei is the official language of the state of Manipur. According to statistics around 15, 00,000 people all across the globe speak this language. It is an officially recognized language by the government of our country. Not just in the state of Manipur, this language is also spoken in other scattered parts of the north eastern ranges. Manipuri is accompanied by 5 other locally relevant languages plus English in the state of Manipur.
UPSC Manipuri Syllabus
Answers must be written in Manipuri.
a) General characteristics of Manipuri Language and history of its development; its importance and status among the Tibeto-Burman Languages of North-East India; recent development in the study of Manipuri language; evolution and study of old Manipuri script.
b) Significant features of Manipuri language :
i) Phonology-Phoneme-vowels, consonants juncture, tone, consonant cluster and its occurrence, syllable-its structure, pattern and types.
ii) Morphology : Word-class, root and its types; affix and its types; grammatical categories-gender, number, person, case, tense and aspects, process of compounding (samas and sandhi).
iii) Syntax : Word order : types of sentences, pharse and clause structures.
a) Literary History of Manipuri :
Early period (upto 17th century)-Social and cultural background; Themes, diction and style of the works.
Medieval period (18th and 19th century)- Social, religious and political background; Themes, diction and style of the works.
Modern period-Growth of major literary forms; change of Themes, diction and style.
b) Manipuri Folk Literature :
Legend, Folktale, Folksong, Ballad, Proverb and Riddle.
c) Aspects of Manipuri Culture :
Pre-Hindu Manipuri Faith; Advent of Hinduism and the process of syncreticism.
Performing arts-Lai Haraoba, Maha Ras; Indegenous games-Sagol Kangjei, Khong Kangjei, Kang.
Answers must be written in Manipuri.
This paper will require first hand reading of the texts prescribed and will be designed to test the candidate’s critical ability to assess them.
Old and Medieval Manipuri Literature
a) Old Manipuri Literature
1. O. Bhogeswar Singh (Ed.) :
2. M. Gourachandra Singh (Ed.) : Thawanthaba Hiran
3. N. Khelchandra Singh (Ed.) : Naothingkhong Phambal Kaba
4. M. Chandra Singh (Ed.) :
b) Medieval Manipuri Literature :
1. M. Chandra Singh (Ed.) : Samsok Ngamba
2. R.K.Snahal Singh (Ed.) : Ramayana Adi Kanda
3. N. Khelchandra SIngh (Ed.) : Dhananjoy Laibu Ningba
4. O. Bhogeswar Singh (Ed.) : Chandrakirti Jila Changba
Modern Manipuri Literature :
a) Poetry and Epic :
(I) Poetry :
a) Manipuri Sheireng (Pub) Manipuri Sahitya Parishad, 1988 (ed.)
- Kh. Chaoba Singh : Pi Thadoi, Lamgi Chekla Amada, Loktak
- Dr. L. Kamal Singh : Nirjanata, Nirab Rajani
- A. Minaketan Singh : Kamalda, Nonggumlakkhoda
- L. Samarendra Singh : Ingagi Nong, Mamang Leikai Thambal Satle
- E. Nilakanta Singh : Manipur, Lamangnaba
- Shri Biren : Tangkhul Hui
- Th. Ibopishak : Anouba Thunglaba Jiba
b) Kanchi Sheireng. (Pub) Manipur University 1998 (ed.)
- Dr. L. Kamal Singh : Biswa-Prem
- Shri Biren : Chaphadraba Laigi Yen
- Th. Ibopishak : Norok Patal Prithivi
(II) Epic :
1. A. Dorendrajit Singh : Kansa Bodha
2. H. Anganghal Singh : Khamba-Thoibi Sheireng (San-Senba, Lei Langba, Shamu Khonggi Bichar)
(III) Drama :
1. S. Lalit Singh : Areppa Marup
2. G.C. Tongbra : Matric Pass
3. A. Samarendra : Judge Sahebki Imung
b) Novel, Short-story and Prose :
(I) Novel :
1. Dr. L. Kamal Singh : Madhabi
2. H. Anganghal Singh : Jahera
3. H. Guno Singh : Laman
4. Pacha Meetei : Imphal Amasung, Magi Ishing, Nungsitki Phibam
(II) Short-story :
a) Kanchi Warimacha (Pub) Manipur University 1997 (ed.)
- R.K. Shitaljit Singh : Kamala
- M.K. Binodini : Eigi Thahoudraba Heitup Lalu
- Kh. Prakash : Wanom Shareng
b) Parishadki Khangatlaba Warimacha (Pub) Manipuri Sahitya Parishad 1994 (ed.)
- S. Nilbir Shastri : Loukhatpa
- R.K. Elangba : Karinunggi
c) Anouba Manipuri Warimacha (Pub) The Cultural Forum Manipur 1992 (ed.)
- N. Kunjamohon Singh : Ijat Tanba
- E. Dinamani : Nongthak Khongnang
(III) Prose :
a) Warenggi Saklon [Due Part (Pub) The Cultural Forum Manipur 1992 (ed.)
- Kh. Chaoba Singh : Khamba-Thoibigi Wari Amasung Mahakavya
b) Kanchi Wareng (Pub) Manipur University 1998 (ed.)
- B. Manisana Shastri : Phajaba
- Ch. Manihar Singh : Lai-Haraoba
c) Apunba Wareng. (Pub) Manipur University, 1986 (ed.)
- Ch. Pishak Singh : Samaj Amasung, Sanskriti
- M.K. Binodini : Thoibidu Warouhouida
- Eric Newton : Kalagi Mahousa (translated by I.R. Babu)
d) Manipuri Wareng (Pub) The Cultural Forum Manipur 1999 (ed.)
- S. Krishnamohan Singh : Lan
More about the language
This language receives its origins from the north eastern part of our country’s history. So this language is prominently grouped under the Sino-Tibetan group of languages. The language has its own script too and the very first time a written script in the Manipuri language originated can be dated back to the 18th century.
But the spoken language is much older, belongs to the 11th century. It so happened that during the British era, due to cultural similarities and existential, habitual co-efficient, the script part of the language became popular as the Bengali script instead of the Manipuri script.
This journey of the Manipuri script as the ‘Bengali script’ continues till date, but ancestral Manipuri dwellers identify the sanctity and origin of their own native script and connect well with it.
The most popular form of dialect adopted by the locals of Manipur is the Bishnupriya Manipuri, which is popular among the Bishnupriya community of the state. This has a little drift from the original form of Manipuri language, mainly because linguists have grouped it under the Indo Aryan group of languages.
This form of the language has a wider reach among the local population stretching across different states and borders and even travelling across neighboring countries. Some of the states where this kind of dialect is more relevant to the population are Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura, and Arunachal Pradesh along with Manipur.
Our neighboring countries Myanmar and Bangladesh are also familiar with the language. This language alone has a speaking population of 4,50,000. This is a refined script with a mixed blend of Bengali, Maithili and Assamese scripts in it.
The written script of the language consists of the syllabic alphabets. It is written in normal writing patterns from left to right in the horizontal pattern. It is strange to know that every alphabet in Manipuri is named uniquely after a human body part.
The written part of the language is mainly a Brahmi derived script. This also brings it very closer to the Tibetan script and takes it a little away from typical Indian written language scripts. There are variations in tones of the letters in different contexts. They represent more of the Tibetan and Myanmar influence on the language than the Indian traditional legacies.
The language is believed to be more than 2500 years old. Though the language should be accorded the classical language status for its long existence, the confusion for the same prevails among linguistic experts. In fact the language is for long grouped under the Sino Tibetan languages, but many arguments have inconclusively detailed the language as an independent language having its own complex origin that is unique in many sorts.
Not just that, the original Manipuri script, before being called the Bengali script is very unique and unlikely to be derived from any other group or language form. It is popularly said and appreciated that the study on the original Manipuri script would bring back a lot of unearthed information about the ancient Manipuri language and culture in its wave if dug deep within. An entire lifetime would be required to be dedicated for the study of the original form of the language in depth.
The most fascinating part among the locals conversing in this language is the great swing of flexibility that comes with ease in this language. Since the language is scattered in various forms across populations ranging an entire belt of the north eastern ranges, different communities exchange words relevant to their respective communities.
This becomes a higher form of language flexibility, something that does not result to be called in the dialect of a language. Different usage forms in different patterns across communities are the main flavor of the language. The language gets a big slice of its own kind of blends and transformations.
Another famous yet tragic event of Manipuri literature is the burning down of heaps of literature material in the bygone ages due to incompetent decisions made by serving authorities at the time. It is believed that an entire course of the language got destroyed in this process, so ancient Manipuri literature is very difficult to be traced back.
If we look out for ancient forms of literary works or scriptures, there is hardly anything found. Whatever is left out are the famous folk songs and festival songs that people have oral connections with, but not in the written word. The language offers poetry in its truest form that describes the beauty of the state to which it belongs to, in all its grandeur and splendid culture and traditions. These local hymns are usually sung during festivals and offerings to local deities.