PAGE TURNERS - DILS LK Sinha Recommends

Dils LK Sinha is the president of the Nikhil Bishnupriya Manipuri Sahitya Parisad and has authored numerous poems, books and plays. Talking to Gitanjali Das, he says that he fears the extinction of his language

What does literature mean to you? Do you think it has any relevance in our day-to-day lives? According to you, does it have anything to do with all that is happening around us?

Dils LK Sinha
Literature is the reflection of life in terms of humanity. It is a means to the ultimate truth in the inner soul of man. Through poetry, I try to spread knowledge about the Bishnupriya Manipuris, which is on the verge of extinction, and at the same time I try to express feelings which are hard to share in other mediums. Literature mirrors  society. We learn about things that happened in the past through books. In the same way, our posterity will find out what we feel now through our writings. Everything happening around us, from terrorism to price rise, finds an outlet through literature.

How close is your relation with literature in general, and with literature of the Northeast in particular?

I won’t classify literature because I feel it is general. The word mother, in whichever language you utter, addresses the same person  everywhere. I feel folk literature in Assamese, Bodo, Rabha, Mising, Manipuri, Mizo and others are very developed. I have a collection of Bishnupriya Manipuri folktales to my credit. Folk literature is a very interesting genre. It attracts readers of all ages. Bishnupriya Manipuri is a marginalised community, but we feel we are very much a part of literature in general.

What future do you see for literature from the Northeast?

The future of Northeast literature is very bright. With book fairs like the 13th North East Book Fair being held and books focusing on the region being published, the future ahead is bright. However, I fear that Bishnupriya Manipuri literature will become extinct. More and more elite litterateurs and scholars are joining our cause. But our literature is not as developed as Assamese, Bodo or Mizo, because it does not get financial support from any quarters. Moreover, there is no political patronage from the state. People associated with Bishnupriya Manipuri literature have translated many books into this language. The Gita has been translated a number of times by different writers since 1920. We are working with zeal without pondering much about how the future unfolds.

Name one book that had a lasting impact on you. In what way?

Rabindranath Tagore’s Gitanjali, TS Eliot’s poem ‘The Wasteland’ and the Upanishads have made an impact on me. They have given my life some sort of a direction. Eliot’s poem is an amalgamation of the East and the West. His philosophy of life has really inspired me. He has taken so much from different cultures.

What book would you recommend for our readers and why? 

I would suggest they read the Upanishads and the Vedas. I don’t feel they are religious books. They reflect love for humanity. I would also ask them to read Eliot. Terrorism and the emptiness of our society are evident in his poetry.

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