Historical Keynotes on Bishnupriya Manipuri Language
- "There can be no reasonable doubt that a great Aryan
wave of very pure blood passed through Manipur into Burma in
pre historic time. I see traces of this in the finely cut
features seen now and then among the Manipuris" -
Gazetteer of Manipur by Captain E. W. Dun, Page 15.
- " A tribe known as Mayang speaks a mongrel form of
Assamese known by the same name..They are also known as 'Bishnupuria
Manipuris or Kalisa Manipuris" - Linguistic Survey of
India, 1891. Compiled by Sir G. A. Greirson, Vol V, Page 419
- "They (Mayangs) amongst themselves speak their own
language, which is dialact of Hindee" - An account of the
Valley of Manipore by Mc. Cullock, 1849.
- " There is,moreover, an Aryan dialect called Mayang
still spoken in Manipur, the headquarters of which are two or
three plain villages near Bishnupur " - Gait's History of
Assam by Shri Padmanath Vidyavinode,1908.
- "By degrees the Meiteis became dominant and that name
was appliled to the entire colony. It is highly probable that
these hordes oven-an a country that had been previously
occupied by people of Aryan blood known in Western India and
to the bards...The present population of Manipur includes a
tribe called Meiung who speak a language of Sanskrit
derivation they are now in a servile condition performing the
duties of grass-cutters to their conquerors" - Descriptive
Ethnology of Bengal by E.T. Dalton, 1872, page 48,49.
- " There is a also a degraded class called the Kalachya
or Bishnupuria ..They speak a language which is different from
that of the true Manipuris" - Assam Census Report by Gait.
- "Mayang,one of the language spoken in the polyglot
state of Manipur, May, however, be classed as a dialect of
this language" - Imperial Gazetteer of India, Vol I, 1907.
- " In 627 A.D. Khgenba introduced the Meitai Language as
court language in place of Bishnupriya or Kala-chaia
language."- The Background of Assamese culture by
Raj Mohan Nath,, page-87).
- "Among the manipuris there is community called Mayang
Kalichas who are more dark skinned than the Meiteis"
- Religion and Culture of Manipur by Dr. M. Kirti
- "It is quite probable that Khala-chais are the first
cultural race in possession of the Manipur valley, and they
were connected more with the neighboring kingdom of Kamrupa
than with other countries, and that is why their language is
more akin to Kamrupi" - The Background of Assamese culture
by R. M. Nath, 2nd edn. 1978, page 86.
- "Among the Kshatriyas there is a community known as
Vishnupriya( Vishnupuria) Manipuris." - Religious
development in Manipur in the 18th and 19th Century/ Dr M
Kirti singh, page 20
- ".. So. in Manipur in spite of Devanagari scripts which
the kala-chaias might have been using, the Meitai when they
came into power introduced the new scripts." -The
Background of Assamese culture by R. M. Nath, 2nd edn. 1978,
- " The Manipuris who have been Hinduised are
worshippers of Bishnu" - Sylhet District Gazetteer, 1970,
- " Manipuris are divided into two sections: Khalachaia
or Bishnupriya and Meitei" (English rendering from
original Bengali ) - Aranya Janapadey by Abdus Satter, 1974,
- " Bishnupuria Manipuris identifies themselves as
Ksatriyas; they are pure Vaishnavs; they do not even touches
wine or meat"(English rendering from original Bengali) -
Purbobongo O Assam by Shri Krishna Mohan Dhar, 1909, page
- " Except the Bengali speaking Hindus and Muslims,there
is two community in Barak valley called Bishnupriya Manipuri
and Meitei Manipuri. The difference of languages exists in
these communities." (English rendering from original
Bengali ) - Weekly Desh, june 19, 1989 , An article by Dr.
Dhirendra Narayan Majumdar.
- "Manipuri is another cast of this region. They are
divided into two tribes - Bishnupriya and Meitei."
(English rendering from original Bengali ) -Report of National
Aboriginal Roundtable Meeting, Dhaka, Page 32.
- "These people had Indo-Aryan features and called
themselves Bishnupriyas. Long before their exodus they had
lost control of Manipur to the rival clan of Meiteis. In their
adopted land their lives and limbs were safe; but their
language and culture began to lose ground against those of the
majorette. Meanwhile, the Meiteis in Manipur became vindictive
and imposed a de facto ban on Bishnupriya language and custom.
The Bishnupriya Manipuris were caught between a rock and a
hard place. Today, young Manipuris are no longer sure of their
cultural identity." -An Article By Syed Zainul Akmal Al-Mahmood
, Published in the Daily Star Weekend Magazine in the Jan 21st
- "The manipuris residing in Cachar district are divided
into two distinct Sub-groups, viz, Meithie and Bishnupriya"
- Letter of Commissioner for Linguistic minorities in India,
dtd 29 August,1973
- " The Bishnupriya are known as the Khala chais.They
were the first ruling race of Manipur." (English rendering
from original Bengali ) - Aranya Janapadey by Abdus Satter,
1974, page 297.
- " The Manipuris divided into three main groups -
Bishnupriya, Meitei and Pangans" (English rendering from
original Bengali ) - Moulvibazar Zelar Jonojibon by Prof
Rasamoy Mohanto, Page 86.
- " Probably most controversial class of people having no
homeland of their own, subsequently loosing their identities
are the Bishnupriya Manipuris" - Tribals and their Culture
in Manipur and Nagaland by G. K. Ghose. Page 169.
Manipuri denotes two linguistic groups:
Meitei and Bishnupriya Manipuri
Manipuris, from a linguistic point of view, are divided into two
groups, namely - the Meiteis and the Bishnupriyas. The Meiteis
entered Manipur from the east; their Language is of the
Tibeto-Burman group. The Bishnupriyas entered Manipur from the
west; their language is of the Indo-Aryan group. "Manipuris
are divided into two main tribes – the – khalachais, who call
themselves Bishnupriyas, are supposed to have been the first
cultural race and the Meitheis or Meetheis, who call themselves
real Manipuris are supposed to have been next immigrants."-
said Shri R. M. Nath in his Book The Background of Assamese
culture. In Linguistic Survey of India, 1891 Sir G. A.
Grierson recorded their Language as"Bishnupriya Manipuri". Sir
Grierson what he recorded in ‘Linguistic Survey of India’ Vol..
V, Part 1, is "A tribe known as Mayang speaks a Mongrel form of
Assamese by the same name. They are also known as Bishnupriya
Manipuri." Dr. Suniti kumar Catterji also calls the Bishnupriya
Manipuri (BPM) language simply "Bishnupriya" or "Mayang".But DR
KP sinha says, "Mayang" is a misnomer for this language. The
Bishnupriya Manipuris never called themselves as "Mayang".It is
term used by the Meiteis in a degrading sense to denote Indian
people outside Manipur. In Meitei, the "Mayang" means foreigner,
westerner, just as the Bishnupriya Manipuris called the Meiteis
"Khai", which stands for Thai or Tribe
meaning. It is, however, clear that both these two languages
were formed in the soil of Manipur.
Bishnupriya Manipuri - A language
originated in Manipur
Works of both Indian and European Scholars bear testimonies to
the existence of Bishnupriya Manipuri in Manipur in the earliest time. The "Khumal
Purana" Of Pandit Navakhendra Singh refers to the existence of Bishnupriya
Manipuri language in Manipur during the reign of Garib Nawaj. Pandit Navakhendra
states - " The main stream of Manipuri, the Aryan origin people, the khumal,
Moirang, Angam and Luwang who are following the Vedic cult from the epic ages
being the devotees of Lord Vishnu distinguish themselves from the Meitheis".
The language originated and developed in Manipur and was originally confined to
the surroundings of the Loktak Lake.
Other authorities such as An account of the valley of Manipore by Col. McCullock,
Descriptive Ethnology of Bengal by E. T. Dalton and the Linguistic Survey of
India by George Abraham Grierson mention that the language was in existence in
Manipur before the 19th century. Dr. Grierson calls the language as "Bishnupuriya
Manipuri", while some other writers call it simply "Bishnupriya". The principal
localities where this language was spoken are now known as Heirok, Mayang
Yamphal, Bishnupur, Khunan, Ningthankhong, Ngaikhong, Thamnapoxpi.
The " Manipuri" Question
post Sixties, with the power of the Manipur State behind them,
the Meitei clan has been waging an organized campaign to
discredit and disown the Bishnupriya counterparts. There have
been suggestions that Bishnupriya was never the language of
Manipur and Meitei is the "Real" Manipuri language. These
assertions are contradicted by historical and anthropological
evidence. Unfortunately some writers have repeated the
'Official' Manipuri line without thought or reason. For example,
Gait's - Assam Census Report states "There
is a also a degraded class called the Kalachya or Bishnupuria
..They speak a language which is different from that of the
true Manipuris". Now it is reasonable to ask what was
the basis of giving a linguistic a nomenclature like "True
Manipuris" or "False Manipuris".
The 1968 Language Bill passed by the Manipur Government making
Meitei (A kuki-chin word) synonymous to Manipuri (An
Aryan word) and the inclusion of Meitei language as the Manipuri
language in eight schedule of the Indian constitution by the
Indian Government was sufficient to damage the ethnical and
cultural identity of the Bishnupriya Manipuri speaking people
residing in Manipur, Assam and Tripura. The Bishnupriyas think that was completely unjustified to give the
nomenclature to Meitei as Manipuri, where in the Linguistic
Survey of India , the only basis of language classification Dr.
G.A. Grierson described the Bishnupriyas As "Bishnupriya
Manipuri". They think that is also illegal and irrelevant to
consider only the Meitei language as "Manipuri" language where,
in the statistics of School board, Cachar during British regime,
in the Census report of India 1961 and in the Census Report of
India 1971, the main heading "Manipuri" was sub-divided into
Meitei and Bishnupriya and the nomenclature "Bishnupriya
Manipuri" was strongly defended.
Places Where Bishnupriya Manipuri is
Bishnupriya Manipuri was
originally confined only to the surroundings of the Lake
Loktak in Manipur. The principal localities where this
language was spoken are now known as Khangabok, Heirok, Mayang
Yamphal, Bishnupur, khunan, Ningthankhong,
Ngakhong,Thamnapoxpi and so on. However, later a great
majority of speakers fled away from Manipur and took refuge in
Assam,Tripura, Sylhet and Cachar during eighteen and
nineteenth century due to internal conflicts among the prices
of Manipur and due to Burmese attack. Consequently, it was
difficult for the small number of Bishnupriyas who remained in
Manipur to retain their language in face of the impact of
Meitei, although Dr. G.A. Grierson, in 1891 found the
existence of a considerable number of speakers in two or three
villages near Bishnupur, locally known as Lamangdong.( LSI,
Vol -V, Page 419). This Language is now spoken in parts of
Assam, Tripura, Manipur( Jiribam Sub-division) in India ,in
Bangladesh, in Burma and other overseas countries.
Among the countries outside
India, Bangladesh has the major Bishnupriya Manipuri
population. The localities are Slipur, Madhavpur, Tilakpur (Nagar),
Kalaraibil, Bhanubil(Banughas), Guramara, Charapathari,
Baghbati, Baligaon, Teteigaon, Mahung, Hiramati, Bendaria,
Ghanashyampur, Chunarughat, Baram, Majergaon, Baluchar,
Lakhat, Rajbari, Machimpur(Sylhet city), Lamabazar, North
Tilakpur or Alipur, Guler Haour, Shimutala, Bamangaon,
Gobindabari, Bhandari, Shukkur, Ulla-gaon, Chaygaii,
Kalibari, Chaigaon, Fultali, East Tilakpur (Paligo),
Digalbhag etc. Besides, there are a considerable number of
the Bishnupriyas Manipuris living scatteredly in the local
headquarters cities like Kamalganj, Khuwaighat, Rangamati of
the CWttagoan Hill Tracts and also at Tezgaon, Manipuri-para
of Dacca, the capital city of Banglades.
There are a large number of
Bishnupriya Manipuri people settled in Assam ages ago,
particularly in the districts of Cachar,Karimganj and
Hailakandi. This people are counted as one of the major
group of people in Cachar and Karimganj districts.
i) NarsingpurPargona: T'he Bishnupriya Manipuri
village of the Narsingpur Pargona includes South
Bekirpar(Gudamghat or Panibhora) Rengti, Shantipur,
Bhatirgram, Khunou, T'uk Gossaipur, Ratanpur, Katakhal
(East), Katakhal (West), Narnita Nagar (South-East Katakhal),
Hingor Haour, Kala Haour, Rakhaltdla, Dulalgram and Malugram.
ii)MeherpurPargona: East Singari, West Singari,
Bhagatpur, Chandrapur, Rengti, Bhagadahar, Nuwalam, Kalinjar,
Mungor Dharam, Pithir Dharam, Chengcoorie and Kabirgang etc.
iii)JatrapurPargona: Srikona, Machughat or Ng@ongang,
Dutpatil or Durpatuli, Machiinpur, Aat Dabol, Rajnagar and
iv) Silchar city: Silchar, the district head quarter
of Cachar, Assam witnessed Bishnupriya Manipuri bases at
Bishnupur, Vivekananda Road, Jalupara, Police Lane, Reserve,
Itkhola, Malugram,Tikorbasti, Ranghirkhari, Ghunghur and
other parts of the city. Duwarbond has its Bishnupriya
Manipuri people there.
v) Bikrampur Pargona: Bikrainpur, Lakshmipur Sydpur,
Kalain, Baropuwa or Bhubaneshwar Nagar, Bihara: Tengaragang,
Burunga, Longhor, Bilorgang, Mohanpur, Sayaran and Dutpur .
In Hailakandi district, the population has a root at
Hailakandi town, Sunapur, Khunou, Kshumel collectively known
as Japirbond. Katakhal (Railway Jgn.), Nandirgang, Andurgang,
a part of Chengcoorie and Chungduwar are included in the
Karimganj district of Assam
has much more Bishnupriya Manipuri villages than that of
Cachar and Hailakandi. The thickly populated laociities of
the district are Garerbond, Ardpur, Kukitilla, ali,
Fechuakandi, Andhurgang, Amurkhal, Dhalibil, Panchd, Pechala,
Tingari, Betubari, Dullabchera , UHasnagar, Khiluwa, Fbon,
Aringtilla, B askaltitta, Chamtilla, East Krishnapur, West
Krishnapur, Gergoang, Rupa, Fetipat, Butuchera and
Bidyanagar at the Dullabcher zone of the district, while
Pratapgarh zone of the district has its Bishnupriya Manipuri
populated villages of Patherkandi, Rajargang, Kachubari,
Unam, Betarbon, Jrala, Katabari, Lakshmi Mamila, Bitorgol,
Kanai, Nuwagang, Bazarichara, Hatikhira, Bilbari, Khalibari,
SataraLokei, Burunga, Luwarpuwa, Shiborkhol or Shiborgol,
Betubari, Kehurgang, Rengti, Katabari, Seipargang, Soura
Lokei, Mambari, Pagang, Nalugang, Nalibari, Hingari,
Paruwagang, Tinokhal, Kehurgang, Barkaligang, Narayanpur and
Kholapar etc. Karimganj town, the district headquarter, had
also a small Bishnupriya Manipuris population. Pipala,
Rangamati,. Damchera, Uzan, Bali Pipala, Ishabeel and Nurkha
falls under Rangamati sub-area.
Guwahti, the State capital of Assam, it has a number of
Bishnupriya Manipuri population much more then the Meiteis.
They are residing at Maligaon, Sudarshanpur, Tetelia,
Hengrabari, Kahilipara, Chailha Nagar, Bamuni Maidan,
Beltola, Mmapara, Rehabari, Birbari, Dakshmin Gaon,
Kalapahar, Noonmati, Narengi, Basistha, Tarun nagar,
Shaktigarh, Rupnagar, Azara, Pandu, Mathuranagar, Motoria,
Choymal, Rajgarh road, Christianbasti, Ganeshguri, Jatia,
Nayanpur, South Sharamya, West Sharaniya, Katilakuchi,
Bakrapara and other places. Halfong town and its adjacent
places of N.C.Hills district of Assam has a considerable
Bishnupriya Manipuri population there. In Nowgaon district a
place named Laupam and in Suntipur district a village called
Majbat (Chatribari) has also a small Bishnupriya Manipuri
In Tripura, the Bishnupriya Manipuri population localities
may be divided into Dharmanagar sub-area, Kailasahar
sub-area, Kamaipur sub-area and West Tripura sub-area.
Dharmanagar sub-area consists with Bhagyapur, Ragana, West
Ragana, Huruwa, North-East Huruwa, East Huruwa, South Huruwa,
Chandrapur, Shanichera, Bhumihin Patty, Rajbari, Kherengjuri,
Joynagar, Nadiyapur, Dewchera, Ramnagar, Panisagar,
Sundibasa, Narendranagar, Radhekishorepur and Bainunia.
Kailasahar sub-area Bishnupriya Manipuri villages are Nidevi,
Assainbasti, Radhanagar, Krishnagar (Gandhari tilla),
Krishnanagar (imjhargang), Sripur, Kailasahar town, Paitur
Bazar (Padmar-Par), Tilakpur, Guldarpur, North Guldarpur,
Choudhurypara, Kirtantali, Bidyanagar, Ishabpur, Mashawli (Tilla),
Rajnagar, Banorgang, Kanchanbari, West Kanchanbari,
-North-East Kanchanbari, Manu, Betchara, East Betchara,
Natun. Bazar, Kanchanchara, Nepaltilla(Bazar), Indranagar,
Bhumlbin COlOney, Tmghari (Kathalchara), East Kawlftm, West
Kawai, Bhati Jalai, Uzan Jalai, Jalai, Bilaspur, Pechardahar,
Mohanpur, East Fultaii, West Fultali, Devipur, Dhanbilasb,
Jarafltali, Dalgoan and Guldarpur Nayapara--Kamaipur
sub-area Bishnupriya Manipuri populated villages are Abhanga,
Bar Lutma, Devichara, East Devichara9 Chankap, Bhumihin,
Halhali (Hal, Lutma Colony, Jainthum, Tilagaon, Mohanpur,
Rupaspur, Guwalmara and Gangwar. West tripura sub-area
Bishnupriya Manipuri villages are Khas Kalyanpur, Kuwai,
Kalkalia, Aga including Radhanagar, Abhynagar, Dhaleswar,
Banainalipur, Barduwali, Kasba Colony, Gopinagar and
In Meghalaya, it has also Bishnupriya Manipuri population
living scatteredly in the State. The localities are Forest
Colony, Pynthorumkhra, Mulki, Dhanksheti, Vishnupur,
Laitumkhra, Umpling, Oakland,
PoliceBazarAluGudam,Nongthymau,Assam Rifle, Happy Valley,
Tura, Langol, Gorampani, Nongpoh, Dawki, Cherapunjee,
Mawsynram, Khleriat, Jowai and Laldrhymbai.
In Myanmar Tbangdut, Mawa Kalewa and Bumnuk etc. are
the Bisbnupriya Manipuri localities. And in case of the
United States of America, Canada, Germany, Middle East and
Austria, there are very few Bishnupriya Manipuris recently
settled there for earning a living there.
using Bishnupriya Manipuri language
60,000 in Tripura
5,000 in Jiribam (Manipur)
12,000 in Ningthaukhong (Manipur)
10,000 in Bishnupur (Manipur)
2,000 in Meghalaya
1,000 in Arunachal Pradesh
60,000 in Bangladesh
150 in Nagaland
100 in Mizoram
100 in New Delhi
1,000 in Myanmar
2,000 in US, UK, Canada, Middle-East countries and other
are about 2,00,000 people living in Manipur, mainly in Khangabok, Heirok, Mayang
Yamphal, Bishnupur, Khunan, Ningthankhong,
Ngaikhong,Thamnapoxpi area, who speak Meitei but are known as
Bishnupriyas. And, these people, even now think that their
original language was Bishnupriya. Their facial feature and
dark complexion clearly indicate that they are immigrants from
Dialects of Bishnupriya Manipuri
Bishnupriya Manipuri has two dialects, namely -
(1) Rajar Gang ( Kings Village) and
(2) Madoi Gang ( Queens village ).
The Madoi Gang dialect also known as Leimanai and the Rajar Gang dialect, as Ningthounai. The term Leimanai derived from Leima (queen) + nai (attendant), and the word Ningthounai from Ningthou (king) + nai (attendant). The Madoi Gang dialect is was spoken probably in the Khangabok-Heirok area and the Rajar Gang dialect , in the Bishnupur Ningthankhong area of Manipur.
As regards to the origin of these two dialects, tradition says that once the queen of Manipur requested the king to give her a few village. The request was granted and in time the language of those villages developed in a different direction; the village in the possession of the queen were known as Madoi Gang or The villages of the Queen. The other villages remained in the possession of the king and known as Rajar Gang or The villages of the King.
These two dialects, however, cannot be located in distinct areas, but exists side by side in the same localities. The Madoi Gang dialect has received a greater number of Meitei words and the pronunciation also the influenced greatly by Meitei. Morphological difference between the two dialects is negligible, but from the pint of vocabulary, there are differences.
and Origin of Bishnupriya Manipuri
The Bishnupriya Manipuri Language comes under
the group of Indo-Aryan languages. The structure of the
language is undoubtedly of Indo-Aryan origin, but it also
retains some older sounds of medieval Meitei. The vocabulary
is influenced by many Indo-Aryan and Tibetan-Burmese terms.
There are many theories in regard to the source and origin of
Bishnupriya Manipuri. One theory holds that Bishnupriyas was
the product of those Meitei speakers who fled from Manipur and
took refuge in Assam, Tripura and Sylhet. But historical
account shows the existence of the language in Manipur before
13th century. Moreover it is not possible for the speakers of
Tibetan-Burmese language to adopt and Aryan tongue who took
shelter in distant places and in distinct environments. Dr.
K.P. Sinha was in the opinion that the language was originated
through Magadhi Prakrita. Some researchers and scholars in the
language disagree with him and point out their fingers towards
Maharastri and Souraseni Prakritas. Some scholars try to
establish its origin in the Nio-Prakrit language. However the
Souraseni, Maharastri and Magadhi languages and the
Tibeto-Burman languages have exerted their influence on the
language at different stage of development of the language.
Thus it has become a language that can absorb words from both
the Sanskrit and Kuki-Chin Languages. Due to the destruction
of the old records and literature of the language by the
Meitei Kings and Burmese rulers, one cannot trace out the
chronological development of the language. However from the
8th century inscription one can easily draw the conclusion
that the language had taken its shape during that period.
Sounds of Bishnupriya Manipuri
Thirty-five principal phonemes present in
Bishnupriya Manipuri of which eight vowel sounds, such as i,
e, ε, a, α, ∂, ̣ and
u; twenty-five consonant sounds such as h, p, b, t, d, ţ, ď,
?, ph, th, ţh,
kh, c∫, ∫δ, m, n, η, l, r, φ, s, ∫, ĥ and
and two semi vowels ŏ and ě. The vowel sounds can be
represented in a tabular form as follows:
Half-Close ( High-mid)
The consonant sounds can be
represented in a tabular form as follows:
Plosive with glottal
Affricate with glottal
The voice aspirates, such as as, bh, dh, gh
and jh never occur in this language. They are replaced by four
stops and an affricate with glottal closure, such as h,
b',d',g', z' etc. The -ch- sound is also not found and
it is pronounced as -s-.
Bishnupriya Manipuri Alphabets
The orthodox Bishnupriyas claim that they have
their own script that is Devanagari Scripts which was used to
write Bishnupriya language in pre historic days. Dr. M. Kiriti
singha says, -" It was 33 A.D. that written language really
began among the clans of Manipur specially among the Luwangs,
Angoms, Khumals and the Moirangs"(Religious development in
Manipur in 28th and 19th century, page-25). According to W.
Yamjao sing -" In the collection of coins there are a few
pieces of the 2nd century A.D. of the Christian era, its
legend is in the Devanagari scripts"( An Early History Of
Manipur, Page-127). Shri R. M. Nath concluded that -" In 1627
A.D. Khgenba introduced the Meitai Language as court language
in place of Bishnupriya or Kala-chaia language... in Manipur
in spite of Devanagari scripts which the kala-chaias might
have been using, the Meitai when they came into power
introduced the new scripts.(The Background of Assamese
After the adoption of new Vaishnavism of Chaitanya and
Shankardeva in the eighteen century they adopted 'Kata-Akshara'as
found in various records by Dr. Dinkar, a scholar of
international fame. This script is based on Purbi Lipi
(Eastern Sript) of the Brahmi script which is the source of
all the scripts in India. This script is available in the
writing of chronology of ancestors written on bamboo pieces
known as 'Tarapanar Chung'. However on induction of modern
education during the British period through the Bengali
language the Bishnupriya Manipuri writers began to use Purbi
script of Bengali edition with a little modification.
Bishnupriya Manipuri is written from left to right and top to
bottom, in the same manner as in English. Some of the
consonants can combine with one another to make a compound
spelling. Bishnupriya Manipuri alphabet is almost identical
with the Bengali alphabet along with a few more additional
Vowels: (a), (aa), (raswa i ), (dirgha
i ), (raswa u ),(dirgha u ), (raswa ri), (e), (ai), (o),(au)
Consonants: (ka), (kha), (ga), (gha), (nga), (cha),(chaa),
(barga ja), (jha), (nia), t'a),(th'a), (d'a), (dh'a), (mudhoinnya),
(ta),(tha), (da), (dha), (dantiya na), (pa),(pha),(ba), (bha),
(ma), (antasta ja),(antasta raa), (la), (waa ),(talebya
sha),(mudhoinnya sa), (dantya sa),(ha), (xia), (ra),(da bindu
ra),(antasta ya), (khandata), (anungswar),(bisharga), (chandra
Punctuation marks: daari(|), comma(,), colon(:),
semi-colon(;), question(?), exclaimation(!), hyphen(-),
Download Bishnupriya Manipuri
Magadhi Influence in Bishnupriya
According to Dr. K.P. Singha the Bishnupriya
Manipuri language is developed from the Magadhi Prakria and
ranks with Bengali, Assamese and Oriya. It is found from
observations that the language has retained dominant
characteristics of Magadhi.
ś, ş and s
are pronounced as - Ś, e.g.,
śeś (śeşa)... last, maiś (mahişa)... buffalo,
śabdhan(savadhana)... coution etc.
ks is pronounced
as -kkh, as in brikkha(vriksa)... tree.
The ending of
nominative singular of nouns ending in -a- is -e which becomes
-y or -ye, e.g., rame rabane lalpham korechila ... there was a
bettle between rama and ravana, chaubye guru aner... chauba
brings the cows.
The sibilants ś,
ş and s generally becomes -h- or elided etc. maha
(masa)... month, habi(sarvani)... all, manu (manusya)...
Pronouns and declensional and conjugational
endings seem to be same as or closely related to those of
Oriya, Bengali and Assamese. These forms of Oriya,
Bengali and Assamese are, on their parts, derived from Magadhi
Apabhramsa coming from the Magadhi Prakrita.
Sauraseni-Maharastri influence in
The Bishnupriya Manipuri language is highly influenced by the Sanskrit and Maharastri as well as Sauraseni Prakrits,
though some words of the Hindi language of Northern India. Sauraseni Prakrit
was colloquial language of the soldiers and the people of Kuru Panchaya and Mathsadesh including Hastina Indraprastha etc. All the characteristics of Mahararstri and Sauraseni Prakrits are exactly found in the BPM language as briefly furnished below -
- Words with inflection of duel numbers are almost nil in BPM. The verbal forms change following number, gender or the subjects as visible in the Vedic, Pali and Prakrit language. e.g.
1st person - Mi Jauriga ( I am going )
2nd Person - Ti Jarga ( You go )
3rd person - Ta Jarga ( He goes ),
Ta Jakga ( he
may go )
1st person - Ami Jiarga (We are going )
2nd Person - Tumi Jaraiga (Y ou go )
3rd person - Tanu Jitaraga (They go)
Tanu Jakaga (They may go)
- BPM people are very emient to utter dental sounds and also to speak any other language for the natural and hereditary sharpness of their tongue. The maximum uses of 'S' ( so) and its ( of so') becoming as 'H' (ho) sound amongst the sibilants are exactly reflected in BPM language. The following picture may classify the things -
Asti ( to be)
A'ste ( to exist toremain)
Suta ( Birth son)
Tistha (to remain )
Stha (to be remained)
Sv'lanker ( to start )
Moreover, Aseta', Aheta' ( in question) , Asil, Ahil, Ail ( in past) are also foundin same root As 'to be' supporting the above phonetic observation.
- Among the palatal contacts, the voiced plosive or tenue 'J' sound is often found in BPM as we find in both Prakrits e.g. Jonak raja' (moon), Jaram (birth), Jay ( victory), Jinga'ni ( overcome) etc.
- Like Mahararstri and Sauraseni Prakrits , there are maximum uses og 'H' sound in the places of aspirates and sibilants in the BPM language of course the voiced sounds are heard sometimes same as Sanskrit sounds and as respective voiced tenues. e.g.
Manusya ( man)
Sarva ( All)
Sadaya ( liberal)
Sarpa ( serpent)
Drs' ( to see)
Sobha ( Charming)
Verbs are found according to number,gender and person of the nominatives as in Brajabhasa. Marathi and Sanskrit as below -
In Bishnupriya Manipuri
- The non voiced tenues K.T.P sounds become voiced tenues g.d.b respectively in the BPM language as we observed in Sauraseni Prakrits -
Ta'ta ( Hon. Brother)
Ma'p ( Measurement)
- Out of the twenty prefixes, the BPM language highly concerns to the prefixes Sam, Onu, Aa, oup, ap, pari etc. just as the vedic language.
- On the contrary The BPM language is co-related to old Brajabuli and present Hindi language of norther and western India, having some of the very old words with same meanings and common expressions -
Mai ja'ta'hu ( I am going )
Mai kha'ta'hu ( I am eating)
Nika'lna ( to find out)
Ka'uli ( quarrel)
Ka'ka'li ( waist)
Pina' (to drink)
In such way, the Bishnupriya Manipuri language can be traced as an immediate development of the Sanskrit, Mahararstri and Sauraseni Prakrits in Manipur in the beginning stage of this era.
Meitei elements in Bishnupriya Manipuri
Bishnupriya retains the old eighteen sounds of
Meitei. Of them, there were three vowels, such as
α, i and u, thirteen consonants
such as p, t, k, ph, th, kh, c∫, m, n, ŋ, l, ∫,h and two semi
vowels, such as w and y. In later stage nine more sounds
added to Meitei but Bishnupriya is not concerned with them,
because the Bishnupriyas left Manipur during 1st part
of 19th century. That is why Bishnupriya retains the older
sounds of Meitei, whereas in Meitei itself the sound system
has under-gone various changes. Here is few examples in
relation to the phonology of Meitei element in Bishnupriya
Meitei -a- becomes -ā-
in Bishnupriya Manipuri, e.g., aketpa>āketpa, athoipa>āthoipā,
In some cases Meitei -a- becomes -i- and -e-
in Bishnupriya Manipuri, e.g.,
mayam>miyam, mayek>meyek, marak>merak etc.
Meitei -a- followed by -i- becomes -e-
in Bishnupriya Manipuri, e.g., maipa>meipa, laipham>leipham,
laisang>leisang, khaipok>kheipok etc.
Meitei -a- followed by -y- becomes -e-and
-y- generally pronounced as -e- in Bishnupriya Manipuri,
e.g., māykhum>meikhum, māykai>meikei etc.
becomes -ei-, e.g., itaima>iteima, kumai>kumei etc.
generally becomes -a- in Bishnupriya Manipuri, e.g., okpā>akpā,
koyet>kayat, koi>kai etc.
In many cases
Meitei -i-, -u-, -e-, -au-, remains same in Bishnupriya
Manipuri, e.g., itāo>itāo, urum>urum, ichel>ichel, unau>unau
In few case
Meitei -kh- becomes -h-, e.g., pakhangba>pahangpa, pakbra>pahara
In some cases -th-
becomes -t- and -d- in Bishnupriya Manipuri, e.g., pathap>patap,
sounds retains as the same, e.g., kankhu>kankhu, punci>punci,
thaci>thaci, matek>matek, khupak>khupak, sekpi>sekpi etc.
of Bishnupriya Manipuri
Dr. K.P. Sinha, a well known scholar of Boric valley has compiled an etymological dictionary of the Bishnupriya Manipuri language. In this dictionary, about 30,000 words of this language are entered. Of them from a rough calculation -
BPM is a formative language of the
plain people of Assam and Bengal
Some phoneticians have vaguely and partially
viewed the Bishnupriya Manipuri language as a resultant
language of Assamese, Bengali or Meitei language. But the superficial of the Magadhi Apabhramgsa on it is simply the resultant of the local Give and take principle due to long neighbored associations. Though there is a co-relation of the denotative words of the
Bishnupriya Manipuri language with those of the Assamese,
Bengali or Meitei languages for regional and periodical reasons, it does not mean that the original language is lost by the influence of the surrounding languages nor it reasonable to think that the
Bishnupriya Manipuri language is the formative language of the plain people of Assam, Bengal and Manipur as unwisely viewed by certain phoneticians; because the phonological and syntactical mainstream of the
Bishnupriya Manipuri language was never hampered and the same is even now with its distinct identity. Moreover, the plain people of Assam, Bengal and Manipur were perhaps not culturally, linguistically and politically so united ; nor so conscious that they
united might have formed a language like the Bishnupriya
Manipuri in the Valley of Manipur. So, this theory of some phoneticians and historians is very unscientific.
BPM is a dialect of any other language
Some scholars are inclined to call the Bishnupriya Manipuri language to to be a dialect of Bengali or Assamese which was truly irresponsible. Dr. Suniti kumar Chatterjee, a recognized Bangle phonetician, listed the BPM language to be a dialect of Bengali whereas, Dr. Maheswer Neog claimed it as a dialect of Assamese. Both being not keen on the matter, did not do justice to Bishnupriya Manipuri people and the language. Their assumptions later caused contradiction about the origin of Bishnupriya Manipuri language. But the assumptions were proved to be baseless, illogical and injustice according to scientific research and observation of morphology, vocables and phonology of BPM language-
Firstly, mere similarities of a few elements are not sufficient to prove that BPM is a dialect of one or that other language. Secondly, Dr. Chatterjee in his phonetic analysis, had used a peculiar version of Bishnupriya Manipuri language, which is much different from the original BPM language that is being spoken by the Bishnupriya Manipuri locality in Assam, Tripura, Manipur or Bangladesh . Lines like "Manu agor Puto Dugo asil...." are not syntactically and grammatically the correct form of BPM. Thirdly, There are a numerous dissimilarities between Bengali /Assamese and BPM such as –
- The difference in verbal forms according to difference in gender. e.g. He goes = Ta jarga, She goes = tei jeiriga.
- The difference in verbal forms according to difference in number. e.g. I am going = Mi Jauriga, We are going = Ami Jiarga.
- BPM has a few case affixes of its own, e.g. 3rd case ending "Lo" = with, 5th case ending "Rangto" =from, 7th case ending "Rang" = in .
- BPM has got a number of affixes, i.e., Pratyas which are unprsent in Bengali/ Assamese.
- BPM has developed a complete T'o form for the future tense, e.g. I shall do = Mi Kortou, He will do = Ta kortoi.
- BPM has got some distinct pronominal forms, e.g. You= Ti, I = Mi, He = Ta etc.
- The language has two distinct dialects.
- The vocabulary of Bishnupriya Manipuri includes more than 8,000 words which do not occur in Assamese or Bengali.
So, Bishnupriya Manipuri is a complete language itself and the theory of Bishnupriya Manipuri to be a dialect of another language is completely vogue, unwise and fantastic.
- Dr. K.P. Sinha / Bhasatatvar Ruprekha, Silchar,1977
- Dr. K.P. Sinha / An Etymological Dictionary of Bishnupriya
- Dr. K.P. Sinha / Bishnupriya Manipuri Language, Calcutta,
- Singha, Jagat Mohan & Singha, Birendra /The Bishnupriya
Manipuris &Their Language,Silchar, 1976
- Barun Kumar Sinha,Dept.Of English,S.S.College Hailakandi
/ Essay: Imarging Pattern of the Bisnupriya Manipury Society-
A Study in Cultural Identity
- G.K. Ghose / Tribals and Their Culture in Manipur and
- Raj Mohan Nath / The Background of Assamese Culture,
2nd Edn, 1978
- Singha,Mahendra Kumar / Prachin Manipurer Itihas,1965
- Bidhan Sinha / Cultural Heritage of North-East India,
- S.K. Chatterjee / Language and Literature of India,1963
- Edgar C. Polome / Society and Paleoculture
- Captain E.W. Dun / Gazetteer of Manipur,1885
- Sir G. A. Grierson / Linguistic Survey of India, Vol-3,1904
- Sir G. A. Grierson / Linguistic Survey of India, Vol-5,1903
- Vidyavinode, P. / History of Assam,1908
- Dr. M. Kirti Singh / developments in Manipur in the 18th
and 19th centuuy,1980
- Md. Abdus Sattar / Aronya Janapade, Dhaka,1972
- Sri Sena Singha / Prachinadhunik Samkhipta Manipurer Itihas