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Nongthombam Shribiren’s Tangkhul Hui and Ei Laiming Loude

These are the translations of Nongthombam Shribiren’s Tangkhul Hui and Ei Laiming Loude. Original text courtesy: Manipuri Seireng, An Anthology of Manipuri Poetry, published by the Manipur Sahitya Parishad; first edition, 1983

Tangkhul Dog
Tangkhul Hui
...................................................................................

For building roads they arrived
And boulders and stones appeared galore
And the huge mass of concrete jammed in several mounds
And forever the tender irises were lost
Destroyed, crushed beneath the heaps of concrete
Ignored, neglected by the road builders
The road rollers completed the obliteration
And the overly suntanned driver showed his discoloured teeth
And he roared with laughter, loud, frantically.
And brokenhearted the quietly prostrating Tangkhul dog sobbed.



Public domain image from Pixabay

         
Ain’t I Baptised
Ei Laiming Loude
...................................................................................

Ain’t I baptised
Ain’t I got a religion
The mind makes their almighty
If god was real
There’d been no inequality
There’d been no injustice
And why the heaven did the woman suffer?
— She was hardworking
She was just too innocent;
Why the hell was she robbed of happiness?
And the merciless man, the selfish prick
He got the better of the woman!
Why didn’t she get to grow?
Why didn’t she got her company?
And the man is now indulging
And the woman died; broken, defeated, so poorly.
The previous life
This life
The next life*,
There is no god
It’s just an excuse
The fainting souls hide their weaknesses in it
It’s cooked up; it’s fabricated
No one knows what’s there in the previous life
No one knows what’s there in this life
It’s impossible!
It’s never possible!
I don’t know god’s might
But I do know man’s might
Hitler killed the Jews like killing beasts
And what did the god do?
Nothing. The god did nothing
And in the Vietnam war
The guiltless people died in droves
The guiltless people were cut into pieces
And what did the god do?
If it’s not a made-up stuff
Why did the newborns die?
Why were they killed when their unmarried mothers were murdered?
Is this its business?
And when did the unmarried mother left her baby
In one corner of Lamphelpat, why was she silent?
And she is now happily married; but why?
If this is its business
If this thoughtless character is not a figment of imagination
If this is true then it is nobody but a sworn enemy
If this is true then god is our sworn enemy

Ain’t I baptised
Ain’t I got a religion
The mind makes their almighty
The story of god is a nice piece of fiction
Our aspirations are so abstract; our minds made them
Our aspirations have no shape
For me I worship life
If we don’t exist can there be god?
We exist and simply, the god exists
So we can think the god exists?
So we can think it’s no concoction?
The reality is humanity
Now is the only reality
Let me worship people
Let me toss away the gods
The freedom of the souls
The freedom of mankind
These are the only real things
Real things. Only these things.
The mind makes their almighty.


Translation notes
...................................................................................

Tangkhul: A Naga tribe living in the Indo-Burma border area occupying the Ukhrul district in Manipur, India and the Somra Tangkhul hills (Somra tract) in Upper Burma

Tangkhul hui: A Tangkhul dog, a breed locally known as sa fa

Iris: This perennial beautiful plant is locally known as kombirei and it is quite popular as well; and in the native tongue, the shades from blue-violet to violet are known as kombirei colours   

Ain’t I Baptised (Ei Laiming Loude): The title has been renamed for convenience. There is no Baptism in Hinduism, but a laiming louba ritual. Loude is loosely not taking

*: Some religion teaches the concept of reincarnation beside preaching about its lordly master

Lamphelpat: A district headquarter; also known for its irises


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