(Last Updated on : 21/06/2011)
The period from the eighth century to 1074 AD is identified as the ancient period of Manipuri Literature. This was the period when the dialect of the Ningthoujas attained the status of the standard norm. The early Manipuri Literature consisted of only folk and poetries. The early medieval period ranges from 1074 to 1709 AD. During the late medieval period (post1709 A.D) the Manipuri literature witnessed a new phase. The Burmese had arrived. After the British invasion the modern period began in Manipuri literature as it had British influence. Thereafter the short stories and novels became popular in the Literature of Manipur
Meitei-mayek was the script that was used up to the 18th century. Later the Eastern Nagari or Bengali script was adopted for scripting Manipuri which is also used till now. Manipuri grammar is simple and interesting; the phonological system of the Manipuri language is divided into three levels- Vowels, Consonants and Tones. All the nouns, in Manipuri grammar are free roots. There is no gender in Manipuri, the human and animate nouns are addressed based on the natural sex.
Early Manipuri literature consists mainly of folk and religious poetry. Some of the earliest works in Manipuri are Numit Kappa (10th century), Naotinkhon Phambal Kaba (16-17th century), Lethak Lekharol (17th century) and Pantoibi Kangul (17th century).
Govindram Nunganba is one of the leading Manipuri poets of the 18th century. His Takhel Ngamba is the first historical ballad in Manipuri. Khwairakpam Chaoba Singh, Lamabam Kamal Singh and Hijam Anganghal Singh are the three most important Manipuri poets of the 20th century. Hijam Anganghal Singh is an essayist and dramatist who is known for his masterpiece Khamba Thoibe Sheireng (1940), which is a poem of 39,000 lines. It is considered as the 'national' epic of the Manipuris.
Khwairakpam Chaoba Singh is most prominent writer of modern Manipuri literature. His historical novel Lavangalata is an outstanding work in Manipuri. His other works are Vakhalgi Icel, Vakhal, Phidam, Kannaba Va and Chhatramacha. Lamabam Kamal Singh's Madhavi (1930) is the first Manipuri novel in Modern literature. Lai Pareng (1931) is considered as one of the most important poetical works of twentieth century. Arambam Dorendrajit Singh is a poet and dramatist whose works include three dramas: Miorang Thoibi, Bhagyachandra and Kaurav Parajay and two epic poems: Kansa Badha and Subhadra Haran. L. Samarendra Singh is a forerunner of modern Manipuri poetry. He is known for his poetic introduced a new trend in Manipuri novel by initiating contemporary social problems instead of the romantic atmosphere that was the theme in the Manipuri novel in the first half of the 20th century. He is known for his novel 'Na Tathiba Ahal Ama'.