The King’s Command

I’ll close shop for translation with this last poem for the week! This is a translation of Pechimayum Kokngang’s Manipuri poem, Angambagi Yathang

The king has arrived
Our king has arrived
Arrange the contribution
Exchange the presentation
Make room for the Majesty’s leisure in the veranda
Make room, put on the cover 
Call all the beauties of the locality
Be blessed, with a royal service for the king
You, gun-slinging cops, barricade the road.  

Tonight Tomba the slave
With Leibaklei he has been as ever slavish
And they have been caught having sex—catch them,
They say it is consensual,
It is still promiscuous, catch them
Bind them and shove them inside a bag
Banish them to the land of the loi
—It is the king’s command; no one dare defy it.

In Kangpokpi, an outlander has been caught
He is a smuggler; he has been caught with contrabands
But he does show the minister’s approval paper
The policemen can only peer penetratingly
And thus the four trucks speed away
Arrest no thief—they are the minister’s foot soldiers.

A starving kid has stolen a pineapple piece
Catch! Catch the thief!
Get a thousand policemen
Catch him at any cost
Catch the devil
Tie his hands, tie his legs
Hit him in the knee
Catch the thief, thrash the devil
Try him in the court
He is a disgrace to the land
This is the king’s command
Remember this is the order of the god. 


* The loi are the outcast. In olden days, they were banished to faraway villages like Andro and Sugnu in the Imphal valley. Sugnu is mentioned in the original text but I have deleted it for translation convenience. Now, I would say, they are the most pure Meitei people, who have become a pathetic mixed breed elsewhere in the valley. Some of the pieces with the term on this blog:

The Unofficial National Anthem
On Changing the Faith

* Kangpokpi is a town in the Sadar Hills Autonomous District, located in northern Manipur.

Translated on 5 April 2015
From the anthology Akhannaba Manipuri Seireng
(Selected Manipuri Poems)
A collection published by Manipur Naharol Sahitya Samiti; first ed. 1975



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