What is the meaning of this simple Meeteilon “Malem Leikoipung” in the Context of Science? Can we unravel it?
Debate over centuries and its Settlement by Science: Over time & again, in the history of science and humanity, philosophers & scientists have developed a number of Models of the Solar System (in fact of the Universe) about their motion. Of such, the most prominent theory/models of solar system were Geocentric and Heliocentric Model of the Solar system.
There was centuries-old debate whether Earth is the Centre and Sun revolves around the Earth or Vice-versa. Also, similar progressive understanding on the Rotational motion of the Earth and its Shape. i.e. Is the Earth Flat or Round?
Geocentric Model: Proposed by Both Ptolemy (in 2nd Century CE) and Aristotle (in 4th Century BC) that Earth is at the Centre of the Solar system (in fact Universe) and all other celestial bodies like Stars and Planets revolve around it. The geocentric model persisted for over a thousand years till 1543 AD (16th Century).
Heliocentric Model: Proposed by Aristarchus (in 3rd Century CE) and generally rejected in favour of the geocentric theories until they were successfully revived nearly 1800 years later by Copernicus in 1543 AD (16th Century). The theory asserts that Sun is at the Centre of the Solar system and all Planets including Earth revolve around it, which is experimentally confirmed and accepted by science now. Thus, heliocentric theory won the debate.
Also, Aristarchus of Samos (c. 310-230 BC), a Greek astronomer, was first to assert that the earth rotates on its axis. Socratics (6th-5th century BC) and his contemporaries proposed that Earth is Flat.
Pythagoras in the 6th-century BC and Parmenides in the 5th-century stated that the Earth is spherical. Around 330 BC, Aristotle maintained on the basis of physical theory and observational evidence that the Earth was spherical. The spherical view spread rapidly in the Greek world and Isaac Newton first proposed that exact shape of the Earth is Oblate spheroid—a sphere that is squashed at its poles and swollen at the equator (like Orange) which is accepted now by science.
Settlement by Meetei Puya: One Time Settlement of Debate: Now, let’s look at the riddle of the simple word carefully:
MALEM LEIKOIPUNG = MALEM + LEI + KOI + PUNG = MALEM (EARTH) + LEI (ROTATES) + KOI (REVOLVES) + PUNG (SPHEROID)
It means that – The Earth Rotates on its spin axis as well as it Rovolves around the Sun and shape of it looks like an Oblate Spheroid. It indicates that The Sun is at the centre of the solar system and earth revolves around the sun. Also, about the shape of the earth. The simple word/phrase “MALEM LEIKOIPUNG” of the Kanglei Meeteilon (Language of Meetei race) indicates well in advance the result of the centuries-old debate on Science of Geocentric vis-à-vis Heliocentric Theory, Rotational motion of Earth and also about the shape of the Earth. The phrase simply means the Birth of Heliocentric model of the solar system which has won against Geocentric model that was lasted over thousands of years.
The simple word “Malem Leikoipung” has everything about – Rotation, Revolution and Shape of the Earth, which Science took thousands of years to develop the concept… What a Great Philosophy of Meetei puya!!