IMPHAL, June 17: The sixth Manipur State Award for Literature, organised by the Directorate of Language Planning and Implementation for Literature, was held on Tuesday at the Jawaharlal Nehru Manipur Dance Academy, Imphal.
Manipur Governor VK Duggal attended as the chief guest while Education minister M Okendro Singh presided over the function and eminent Manipuri writer and Professor Elangbam Dinamani Singh was invited as the guest of honour.
Giving his key note address, additional secretary of Science and Technology, Kh Raghumani Singh said that the State government has made a sincere effort to honour creative writers of the Manipuri language by awarding the State Award for Literature since 2008.
The award which remains the highest official recognition for Manipur literature in the State includes a plaque, a citation, cash award of Rs 3 lakhs and a shawl.
During the function, VK Duggal congratulated Birendrajit Naorem on receiving the award and complimented him for his outstanding contribution to Manipuri literature, particularly in poetry.
Expressing pleasure with the State government’s initiative in 2008 to award outstanding creative writers for their contribution towards enriching Manipuri literature, he said that Manipur has made tremendous contribution towards Indian literature and people should be proud because now there is no anthology of Indian literature which does not feature literary works in Manipuri.
“People outside the state will learn more about Manipuri literature if more literary works in Manipuri are translated. At present, the number of translated works is limited. I hope that the Department of Language, Planning and Implementation will take the initiative of translating Manipuri works into other languages and vice versa. Efforts should be made that more and more classical Manipuri literature is translated in other Indian and global languages,” he said.
Lamenting that he won’t be able to savour the beauty of Birendrajit Naorem’s collection of poems ‘Turel Nangdi’, he said that there has been an explosion in creative works in Manipuri from 1960 onwards, adding that it is was gratifying to note that since 1973, after Manipuri language was recognised by the Sahitya Akademi, 39 writers have been awarded the Sahitya Akademi award and a number of them have been given the translation prize.
He also requested the state government through the Education minister to accelerate the process of getting the Manipuri language declared as a Classical language.
Meanwhile, M Okendro said that the writers have been trying incessantly for the development of Manipuri language and the present Manipuri literature which evolved from ancient or prehistoric Manipuri has a long journey from oral traditions to the written form.
“Historically, Manipuri society has several different clans and different dialects and all the dialects have been assimilated into a common language and the present Manipuri literature has various themes with rich vocabulary which shows the beauty and richness of Manipuri language,” the Education minister said.
He appealed the younger generation to learn the beautiful language for their academic advancement and also for the sake of preserving our culture and civilization, adding that the government was happy to increase the cash prize of the Manipuri state award for literature from Rs 1 lakh to Rs 3 lakh.