During a function in Imphal, on 13 February 2021, the chief minister of Manipur, N Biren Singh, formally announced the first release of the comic book called Folktales of Mao, Maram and Poumai. The comic is based on folktales of three major tribes inhabiting the Senapati district of Imphal, Manipur – Mao, Maram and Poumai.
The 135-paged colour comic book is written by the current deputy commissioner of Senapati, Th Kirankumar. The book is a collection of 15 short stories consisting of seven folktales of Poumai, five of Maram and three of Mao.
In addition to Th Kirankumar, there were credible inputs provided by literature societies of the three major tribes. Th Kirankumar said that the comic book was written with the aim of not only preserving folktales of the communities but also to take the beautiful stories to other communities and regions.
It was formally released by Manipur chief minister N Biren Singh in the presence of vice-chancellor P Gunindro Singh of Manipur University of Culture at a hotel in Imphal.
The folktales include the songs of Pheshii Angowo, the song of Mari Asha and Old ladies’ reminiscence from Mao tribe and Maram tribe; Madukashii and Samuringdangpui II; Diba and Raba; M’ Bi and Raitiiba and N’ Kasung and Disunga. From the Poumai tribe, the comic book listed folktales of Godmother Chourou; The story of two daughters-in-law; Roh and Ronai; Magnificent cock; Chahcheo and his pillar; The story of two sisters and The selection of the King.
The book illustrates and captures the lifestyle, traditions and cultures of the tribal community through comic strips.
Speaking at the event, CM Biren Singh said that such books on folktales will recapture and revive the forgotten forefathers and bring oneness in society.
Lauding the team for having produced a book on folktales and preserving the culture, Singh said: “We must encourage more such books on folktales or folklores of different communities in the state to document the facts and history of our roots for our younger generation, so that they can revisit how our ancestors were co-existed peacefully.”
CM also suggested forming a dedicated committee to visit the interior parts of the state to document the dying folktales and history of the people for future reference.