Seducing the Rain God is a collection comprising fourteen short storie, originally written in Bishnupriya Manipuri-enlisted by the UNESCO as an endangered language. Some stories have been translated into Assamese, Bengali, Kannada and English. Writers from Assam, Meghalaya, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh constitute the literary map of the somewhat secluded north-eastern part of India and provide a window to the world outside through their creations.
Bishnupriya Manipuri is an Indo-Aryan language. The speakers of this language, estimated to be half a million, mainly reside in some of the north-eastern states of India (Assam, Tripura and Manipur), Bangladesh and Myanmar. It is already a dead language in its place of origin at Bishnupur, Khangabok, Heirok and Ningthoukhang areas near Imphal, Manipur. The people migrated to Assam, Tripura and Bangladesh in different phases due to Burmese invasions and political unrest. The community had to struggle for ethnic identity for more than eight decades. Finally, it was resolved by the Supreme Court of India which gave a verdict in favour of the claimed identity of the speakers of this language as 'Bishnupriya Manipuri' on 8 March 2006.
The language was almost on the verge of extinction in the 19th century. However, with the revitalisation initiatives, Bishnupriya Manipuri has emerged as a strong voice from north-eastern India. The identity struggle spanning over eight decades created mass awareness among the speakers, lending vigour and vitality to the language. Creation of an etymological dictionary by eminent linguists helped to put the language on a strong footing.
Leading short story writer in Bishnupriya Manipuri - a little known indigenous language of the North-East-Smriti Kumar Sinha has published three collections. He has been working for the development and publicity of minor and endangered languages of the region over the last three decades.
A language is an encoding scheme for creative pursuits. Literary works in lesser-known dialects and minor languages are significant but endangered components of the vast literary wealth of India, which draws from more than 1600 languages and dialects. Recognition of quality works in minor and endangered languages adds to the creative wealth of a country and the author has been a major activist in this field.
Smriti Kumar Sinha received the Geetiswami Memorial Award (2010) instituted by POURl, a leading Manipuri socio-cultural organisation based in Bangladesh. He is currently Professor, Computer Science in Tezpur University, Assam.
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