New Delhi, 16 December 2022:
Cultural luminaries, political and corporate leaders, and invitees from the northeast Indian community gathered at the UNESCO auditorium in Chanakyapuri, New Delhi, to highlight the contributions and legacy of the late Manipuri writer.
Dr. Hezekiel Dlamini, Officer-in-Charge of UNESCO New Delhi, Imasi Foundation’s collaborating partner for The Listener festival of literature that will held in early February 2023, spoke to the importance of the festival. Recalling UNESCO New Delhi’s past work with Imasi Foundation and IGNCA on training archivists from NER of India, he encouraged Imasi Foundation to continue this vital work.
Guest of Honor Aneish Rajan, Director, Ministry of Culture and Secretary-in-charge of Sangeet Natak Akademi, also a collaborating partner on the The Listener, spoke to the performance heritage that is oral literature and the unique concept of the festival that puts the audience – the listener – centre stage.
Guest of Honor Professor Dr. Ramesh Gaur, Director of the National School of Drama and head of Kala Nidhi at IGNCA urged Imasi Foundation to think of starting a literary museum, along the lines of the resolution of the Paris conference he had just come from and promised support for this as well as the festival of oral literature.
Guest of Honor Dr. Lorho S. Pfoze described movingly the tiny linguistic tribes in Manipur and NER. He talked about his conversations on the subject with fellow MPs from Sikkim and Assam.
Hon. Minister of State for Culture and External Affairs Smt. Meenakshi Lekhi sent her message as the Chief Guest as she was running very late. The message was a well rounded eulogy of the work and legacy of MK Binodini Devi.
Her contribution to dance whilst the Secretary of the Jawaharlal Nehru Manipur Dance Academy was paid tribute to by Oja M. Mangangsana who rendered traditional oral ballads accompanying himself on the Pena. He was joined later by dancers and drummers from the Panthoibi Jagoi Marup for a performance of maibi shaman dances to the accompaniment his Pena.
Somi Roy, Founder and Chairman of Imasi Foundation, spoke about his mother’s work and his work with his mother’s work. All VIPs were given copies of Penguin’s special 35th anniversary hardback edition of THE PRINCESS AND THE POLITICAL AGENT Roy’s translation of MK Binodini Devi’s Sahitya Akademi Award winning historical novel, as well as the monograph on MK Binodini Devi that he has written for Sahitya Akademi.
He was joined by L. Radhakanta Roy’ Trustee, and Satyajit Aribam, Advisory Council member, of Imasi Foundation. Consulting Advisers Atul Dev Sarmah of fiscal partner MMGLD, and Sanjeev Behari were pivotal in putting the event together, with Mr. Behari also delivering the vote of thanks.