CM N Biren Singh launched the comic book on folktales in Imphal on Saturday

Imphal: Manipur chief minister N Biren Singh on Saturday launched a comic book on folklores from Mao, Maram and Poumai tribes.

Likely to be the first-of-its-kind coloured comic book on tribal folktales in the state, the book is focuses on the younger age groups with an aim to help understand and develop a reading culture among children.

Speaking to EastMojo, deputy commissioner of Senapati district and the author of the book, Th Kirankumar, said 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 region.

Published by NE Brothers Entertainment Pvt. Ltd, Manipur, the comic book contains 15 folktales from three major tribes of Manipur, including Mao, Maram and Poumai tribes of Senapati district.

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 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 book 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.

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A cover of the comic book on folktales of Mao, Maram and Poumai

Highlighting issues of the learning process for children, DC Kirankumar said there is a huge deficit in the learning process for the children, as the textbooks are quite difficult, there is a shortage of teachers and sometimes children are unable to read.

“Keeping in mind that children love stories and love to read comic books even more, we combined these two using our existing folktales to promote our culture as well as help engage them in reading books,” he said.

The folktales, according to Kirankumar, were made available by the Literature Societies of Mao, Maram and Poumai (Poula) tribes as well as Maralui Karalimei Swijoikang (Maram Students’ Union).

“Without their contributions, we would have been quite challenging and difficult to achieve the target,” said Kirankumar, former director of the department of education (S). Earlier, he had also produced a comic textbook for Class 1-V students.

The author said similar comic books on folktales from other tribes and communities in the state are also being planned. He, however, lamented the lack of resources and time that the project demands.

According to Kirankumar, the comic book will also be introduced as supplementary book for schoolchildren.

“Apart from the school textbooks, parents buy certain books but those are not produced or published in Manipur. Because of this, we don’t have many books for children to read. So, if we have books of our own, then it will be more digestible to them,” he said.

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