Skip to main content

Reflecting folk life

Ramlal Sinha takes a close look at DILS Lakshmindra Sinha’s collection of folktales that mirrors the community’s life accurately.

DILS Lakshmindra Sinha
THE folklore of a community comprises its traditional beliefs, myths, tales, and the practices of its individuals, being transmitted orally from generation to generation. If one wants to know a community better, the surest and most effective route to that is through understanding its folklore. Folktales are an essential component of folklore, and the oral tales of the Bishnupriya Manipuris are no exception to this.

The Bishnupriya Manipuri folktales, called Babeir Yari or Apabopar Yari (the tales of forefathers) by the community members, can be categorised as (1) Apangor Yari (tales about simpletons), (2) Raja-Rani baro Rajkumar-Rajkumarir Yari (tales about royal family members), (3) Bhootor Yari (tales on ghosts), (4) Soralelor Yari (tales about the Rain God, Indra and his seven scions), (5) Pahiyapolei baro Jibojantur Yari (tales of birds and beasts), (6) Porir Yari (fairy tales), (7) Etihasar Yari (tales from history), (8) Myth and Legends, (9) Funny Skits, (10) Thogoar Yari (tales of frauds), (11) Pabitra Yari (sacred tales), (12) mucky tales or mucky jokes and the like.

This collection and translation by DILS Lakshmindra Sinha, founder president of the Bishnupriya Manipuri Writers’ Forum (BMWF), has enough tales that depict the wit, intelligence, fancifulness and sense of humour that Bishnupriya Manipuris are richly endowed with. Poetic justice — an outcome in which vice is punished and virtue is rewarded in a peculiarly or ironically appropriate manner — is glaring in most of the tales in this collection. This indicates that the Vaishavite Bishnupriya Manipuri community respects justice and disapproves of logical fallacy entirely.

This collection comprising 26 folktales in English is the first of its kind among writers from the community. It gives readers the taste of a wide variety of folktales from Bishnupriya Manipuri folk literature, and from this point of view, the collection can be termed an inclusive collection. It is indeed a valuable documentation for posterity.

It is worth mentioning here that G A Grierson had collected three Bishnupriya Manipuri folktales from Manipur and included them in his Linguistic Survey of India (Vol. I, part IV, published in 1891) along with their English translations. Sinha has incorporated all the three folktales collected by Grierson. The author has also adopted and translated the folktale ‘The Lawyer and the Merchant’ that had been collected and published by Upendra Nath Guha in his Kacharer Itibritta’ (1971).

From my personal contact with Sinha, I have come to know the modus operandi followed by him while collecting these folktales. He had to wander from village to village and arrange some sort of story-telling competitions among old women, who got a meagre remuneration for each story told. Often, the same story would vary in its telling from region to region. Sinha has taken these variations into account while collating the tales.

The success that this collection has achieved is obvious from the fact that when a reader goes through any of the tales in it, she sees a vivid picture of what the rural Bishnupriya Manipuri life exactly looked like and to some extent, still does. Characters found in ‘The Idle Woman’, ‘The Silly Peasant’, ‘Two Brothers’, ‘Apang the Thief’, ‘The Tale of a Bitu-Titu’, ‘The Story of Pani’, ‘Gokulsena and His Wife’ and the like, look no different from rural Bishnupriya Manipuri folk.

This collection has added yet another feather to Sinha’s cap. He has as many as ten volumes of poetry to his credit already, besides a volume of short stories written in the Bishnupriya Manipuri language. Some of his poems have also been translated into Assamese, Bengali and Hindi. A select number of his short stories have also been published in English translation. Treasury of Bighnupriya Manipuri Folktales only goes to prove the versatility of this noted writer.

Courtesy: Seven Sisters Post (WWW.sevensisterspost)


  1. by DILS Lakshmindra Sinha Many many thanks to both Ramlal Sinha, associate editor, Seven Sisters' Post and Rishikesh Sinha, Editor, Bishnupriya for evaluation of my work and publicity. I don't think myself a verstile writer and whatever I have done, it is out of my love to my mothertonge, my society and culture.

  2. Many thanks to Mr Ramlal Sinha for escalating works of DILS Lakshindra Sinha. I know this gentleman is more like a north star of BM literature, who  has been contributing for last many years.. I wish him every happiness in life. 


Post a Comment

We all love comments. It is moderated

Popular posts from this blog

The 'Star' Krishankant Sinha of Space City Sigma

By RK Rishikesh Sinha, New Delhi It is a myth that the all-knowing Internet knows everything. One such myth relates to old television stuff aired on Doordarshan before 1990. Search in Google “Space City Sigma”, the search engine would throw up reminiscent results from the people who still long for those days. Those days were really golden days. Krishankant Sinha in the role of Captain Tara in Space City Singma For those who have watched Doordarshan some 15 to 20 years back, am sure they will have nostalgic memories of it. The days when possessing a now ubiquitous looking television set was a luxury. It was a neighbour’s envy product. It was a visual product to showoff, to flaunt that we have a television set . Those were the days when black and white, locked television was rarely found in homes. The days became immortal for teleserials like Ramayana, Mahabharata, Swami’s Malgudi Days (Ta-Na-Na-Na…), Ek-Do-Teen-Char (Title song: Ek do teen char, chaaro mil ke saath chale to

Sri Sri Bhubaneshwar Sadhu Thakur

By Ranita Sinha, Kolkata Sri Sri Bhubaneshwar Thakur, the great saint of the Bishnupriya Manipuri Community was born on 26th October, 1871, in a remote village of Cachar district called Baropua in the state of Assam. He was born to a Xatriya Manipuri family. His father Sri Sanatan Pandit was a Sanskrit teacher and mother Srimati Malati Devi, a house wife. Sadhu Baba from his childhood was indifferent to all worldly happenings. He was engrossed in chanting the name of Lord Krishna. Along with other students of his age, Sadhu Baba started taking lessons of grammar and other spiritual literature from his father. At a very young age he lost his mother but he was brought up with utmost love and care by his step mother. At the age of eighteen, Sadhu baba lost his father, so, to continue his spiritual education under the guidance of Rajpandit Mineshwas Swarbabhwam Bhattacherjee, he went to Tripura. But within one year he made up his mind to visit all the holy places and as such he took permis

Shastriya sangeet exponent no more

Post Bureau, Silchar/Guwahati (Mar 31): Renowned Shastriya Sangeet (Uchchangik) exponent from the Barak Valley and gold medalist (1983-84) from the Bangiya Sangeet Parishad, Calcutta Guru Motilal Sinha breathed his last at 10 pm on Friday at his Bhakatpur residence on the outskirts of Silchar town. Born in the family of Ojha Deveswar Singha and late Kusumleima Devi on Poush 11, 1330 Bangabda, Motilal Sinha had his graduation in vocal music (Bisharad in Shashtriya Sangeet) from Bhadkhande, Lucknow and master’s degree (Nipun with gold medal) from the Bangiya Sangeet Parishad, Calcutta. In 1960, he started teaching classical music (vocal) at Silchar. He had a long stint in the Silchar Sangeet Vidyalaya as its honorary principal since 1960. He also worked in Government Higher Secondary and Multipurpose Girls’ School, Silchar, and retired in 1985. He had received the Assam State Award as an ideal music teacher. He had a stint in conducting a programme on the teaching of Rabindra Sangeet