(Last Updated on : 05-10-2019)
Manipuri language is about 3,500 years old and belongs to the Kuki-Chin group of the Tibeto-Burmese stream of the Mongoloid family of languages. Up to the middle of the 19th century this language was known as 'Moitoi' after the name of a tribe. In the original 'Moitoi' there were 18 alphabets.Other alphabets were added later. Its alphabets, like the Burmese-Arakanese alphabets, are pronounced in accordance with the limbs of a human body. Its alphabets are similar to the Tibetan family. The Manipuri language began to be written in the Bangla script when VAISNAVIS assumed the form of the state religion during the days of Maharaja Garib Newaz in the 18th century.The first example of a lyrical composition in Manipuri language and literature was 'Ougri'. Before this a variety of love songs, proverbs and sayings, lyrical plays and ballads were present. The love songs are very poetic and are presented by youths in groups.
Manipuri language has many martial songs and several plays, novels, short stories and poems have been written in it. Even epic poems have been composed in this language. Some well-known Bengali and western books as well as RAMAYANA and MAHABHARATA have been translated into Manipuri. In the Indian state of Manipur it is an official language and it is one of the national languages of India. Manipuri is a Hybrid language. It is spoken by millions of people in Bangladesh, Tripura, Assam and Myanmar. Nearly half a million Manipuri speaking people live in Greater Sylhet.