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Puya-translation all set for drawing room entry

IMPHAL, April 18: A coffee-table book release function of the English translation of the Puya titled “Chainarol: Way of the warrior “was held this afternoon at Classic Hotel, Imphal.

The book was released by the state Governor Gurbachan Jagat who attended the function as the chief guest.

Simon Peter Brooks, Deputy Head of Mission South Asia Regional Delegation International Committee of the Red Cross and Dr Mayanglambam Lala Singh, General Secretary, Indian Red Cross Society of Manipur State Branch attended the function as the guests of honour which was presided over by Babloo Loitongbam, Executive Director of Human Rights Alert.  

Providing an insight to the book, the Governor in his speech stated, “Chainarol is one such Puya that reported records of many armed combats of warriors; it is believed that this records events occurring from the 1st AD to 2nd half of the 16 century AD”.

“As the name suggests Chainarol means rules of personal combat for duels known as ‘Chainaba’. Many cultures, they’ve both written and unwritten codes for such duels however in ‘Chinaba’ there is a strong undercurrent of humanity” he continued.

“The demarcation between combatants and non-combatants, respect of the body of the death warrior, and the conscious attempt to avoid harm to the surrounding are found in Chainarol. Manipur which has a rich tradition of Martials arts require these practitioners not only the skill and strength but also high moral discipline, respect of opponents and human values were equally important aspects, these are recorded in Chainarol, these codes are enunciated so that society survives during those difficult times and anarchy does not prevail”, the Governor continued in his speech.

The contemporary International humanitarian laws date back to the middle of the 19 century resulting from the traumatic experiences of the European wars of that period. These are in essence measures to limit sufferings of war by protecting certain categories of people who are not or no longer taking part in the hostilities and by restricting the means and methods of warfare”, said Governor Gurbachan Jagat.

Speaking during the ceremony, the book’s editor and IFP resident editor Irengbam Arun said, “Translating an archaic Manipur text full of rich imagery into English turned out to be one the most difficult tasks. We all have seen translation of different Puya from archaic Manipuri to modern Manipuri and again to English language. But, our exercise is entirely different as it is the product of team effort and a consultative process.

“We have had to consult not only four versions of Chainarol from different custodians, but different Puyas like Khagemba Lanpha, Samsok Ngamba, Takhel Ngamba, Auwa Ngamba, Khahi Ngamba and Sapharol Lanpharol in search of humanitarian traditions in ancient times”.

“The comparative study of International Humanitarian Law and Manipuri humanitarian tradition was done under the able leadership of Dr MC Arun of Manipur University”.

He further informed the gathering that the Manipur University had recently acquired original texts of about 500 Puyas and hoped that the rich repository of knowledge stored in the Puyas would soon be open to the eyes of the world.

Executive director, Human Rights’ Alert Babloo Loitongbam, “I think in a way we are following the very old tradition of the Manipuri scholars, Chainarol text are all written on papyrus which are handmade, inks are created by the people who are writing it down and these papers doesn’t last for a little more than century or so”.

“So if these texts were indeed a collection of stories from the 5th century (some people even push it to the 1st century) which kind of stop as practices in 14 or 15 century, then a lot of people have burned the midnight oil to write it down and handed over to this generation, so in a way we feel that this project team was actually continuing the process of writing it down”.

“It is not merely an academic exercise, but also a humble attempt to compare the principles embedded in Chenarol with those of IHL in order to seek and humanise the situation by revisiting an almost forgotten value system”, he stated.



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