Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 23, 1912.djvu/197

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MEITHEI LITERATURE.

BY T. C. HODSON. EAST LONDON COLLEGE.

(Read at Meeting, December 20th, 1911.)

I have for long had it in mind to examine Meithei literature, but it was, and still is, my purpose to examine it rather from the aspect of philology than from that of folklore. Dr. Grierson remarks[1] that the Manipuris are mentioned in the Shan chronicles as early as 777 A.D., and that their form of speech gives the impression of possessing a peculiarly archaic character. We know, too, from the same high authority,[2] that it sometimes agrees more closely with Burmese, and even with Tibetan, than with the Kuki-Chin dialects spoken all around it.

Mr. Damant[3] gives the following account of Meithei literature: — 

“The most important MS. is called the “Tākhelgnamba,”[4] and contains an account of the wars between Pamheiba, alias Garib-Naraaz, [Gharib Nawaz], king of Manipur, and the Rājā of Tiparah. The copy in my possession contains 45 leaves written on both sides. The next in importance is the “Samsokgnamba,”[5] which is a history of the war between Charairongbā and his son Pamhaiba of Manipur and the kings of Burma and Sumjok. It contains 36 leaves. The “Lānglol,” a short MS. of ten leaves only, is a treatise on morals, intermixed with proverbs and maxims, and would probably be interesting as throwing light on the customs of

  1. Linguistic Survey of India, vol. iii., part iii., p. 8.
  2. Loc. cit.
  3. Quoted in Linguistic Survey of India, vol. iii., part iii., p. 21.
  4. Takhel is Tippura; ngamba, to conquer.
  5. Sam sok is Sumjok, Upper Chindwin district.