THE IMASI FOUNDATION: PROTECTING LEGACY OF M.K. BINODINI DEVI

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 [Based on the interview of Somi Roy – Founder and Managing Trustee of IMASI: The Maharaj Kumari Devi Foundation after the Second M.K. Binodini Memorial Lecture at Candrakirti Auditorium on 6th Feb 2014.]

On the Imasi Foundation.

Our cultural foundation is composed of close friends, colleagues and collaborators of M.K. Binodini Devi. We have younger members, too, in our foundation. Our foundation will work on the practice of art and give value to various artists based on the notion of artistic integrity. 

On the annual events commemorating her birth anniversary. 

 Every year we focus on different aspects of M.K. Binodini’s life and work. Last year memorial lecture, “Cinema Across Cultures” was delivered by Samik Bandyopadhyay, the eminent theatre and film critic. This year we had Urvashi Butalia, Padma Shri and a Chevalier des Artes et des Lettres from the French Government. Zubaan Books that she founded has also published a collection of poems by Irom Sharmila. This year our event was on, shall we say, audio literature – not oral literature but literature that achieves its complete form by listening. 

On protecting M. K, Binodini Devi’s legacy

What we mean by legacy, as in protecting the legacy of M.K. Binodini Devi, is for our work to preserve the integrity of the past for future generations. We are forward-looking when we approach this. We hope to build a global reach through our work. When we have a nationally and internationally recognized speaker like Samik or Urvashi, we speak to the country as a whole and the foundation moves towards being a national and international platform for Manipur. 

On the new imprint of the foundation called Imasi Publications 

 We are also working on bringing out unpublished works of M.K. Binodini Devi, two or three books in the next few years. We want to bring to the public works that have not been published before. We are releasing what she wrote before she died.

The books of our Imasi Publications could be by her, but also about her, or by other writers working in the fields that she did. We want to build on the legacy of her work. Aribam Syam Sharma and Chongtham Kamala worked on the book ‘Isei Binodinigi’ which we released at this year’s event. It is very symbolic and historic for us. It was a real happy moment; an early milestone for our foundation.

On the foundation’s relationship with artists of Manipur

The creation of culture is a group activity – just as in filmmaking or theatre. M.K. Binodini Devi is as much a creation of her artistic collaborators, in the same way that she, in turn, created, inspired and collaborated with  them. 

Conservation of the work of artists, keeping the integrity intact, preserving what they said, how they said it, is of great importance. Distorting the original work or writings is not acceptable. We want to protect the originality of the work; conserve their artistic integrity. We think artists should be responsible to their own chosen art form.

We want artists – if they want to use work, image or name of M.K. Binodini Devi – we request them to take permission from IMASI – The Maharaj Kumari Binodini Foundation. So we can work with an entire community of artists, with whatever they choose to create.

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Photo Credit: The Imasi Foudation

On preservation and interpretation

An interpretation adds to a deeper understanding of meaning of the work, and of the art form. But if they are changed or interpreted in a way that does not show an understanding of the meaning of the work, and of and life, of an artist, but simply uses a well-known name or work, it becomes exploitation.

 Our foundation’s work is guided by M.K. Binodini Devi’s sense of beauty and love of people. Tamo Ratan Thiyam said at one of our meetings – “She loved beauty and she loved to do beautiful things. We must be guided by the spirit of her aesthetic and humanism.”

On the foundation’s future

We are only beginning to discover her; we are also learning. In the process of preserving we learn – and there are so many things to learn. We want her legacy to be a living legacy. We want to see whether we can do things well, and better. And we hope that what we do is done for the enrichment of culture. We do not want to make a museum piece out of her. We are making a living legacy so that we can all be part of this.

 BIBLIOGRAPHY OF M.K BINODINI DEVI

PUBLICATIONS

1

Nung’gairakta Chandramukhi (Chrysanthemum Among the Rocks, 1965)

Short Stories

2

Asangba Nongjaabi (Crimson Rainclouds, 1966)

Plays

3

Boro Saheb Ongbi Sanatombi (The Princess and the Political Agent, 1979)

Novel

4

Amasung Indrajit (And Indrajit, 1990)

Translation of the Bengali Play by Badal Sircar

5

O Mexico! Lamkoi Wari (2004)

Travelogue

6

Maharaj Churachandgi Imung (The Maharaja’s Household) 2009

Memior Essays

7

Isei Binodinigi (Songs of Binodini)

Edited by Aribam Syam Sharma , Chongtham Kamala; IMASI Publications, 2014.

 

FILM SCRIPTS (IN MANIPURI)

1

Olangthagee Wangmadasoo

Feature film, original screen play, 1980

2

Imagi Ningthem

Feature Film 1981

3

Paokhum Ama

Feature Film, 1981

4

Sangai, the Dancing Deer of Manipur

Documentary 1988

5

Ishanou

Feature film, Original Screenplay, 1990

6

Mayopheegee Macha

Feature film, 1994

7

La

Documentary, 1997

8

Thengmallabra Radha-manbi

Feature Film 1999

9

Asangba Nongjaabi

Television feature film 2003

10

Ngahaak Lambida

Short Feature 2006

11

Nangna Kappa Pakchade

Feature 2013

 

BIOGRAPHICAL DOCUMENTARY

Binodini: A Writer’s Life : Aribam Syam Sharma. Producer : Sahitya Akademi,India, 2001,45min. Manipuri with English Subtitles.

RADIO PLAYS

1

Baasi Marol Chumdaba

2

Imagi Ningthem

3

Imphal Kaaba

4

Jahaanara or Ketaabgi Segaikhraba Lamai

5

Kanaana Keithel Kaabini

6

Kaorabara Raas Saannabagi Ahingdo

7

Nandini

8

Nangna Kappa Pakchade

9

Ngaikho, Hingminakhisi

10

Sendrembi Cheishra

11

Shilpi, (later Asangba Nongjaabi)

12

Thengmallabara Radhamanbi

Adapted Radio Plays

1

Ahing Amagi Waari

Based on a story by Haobam Satyabati

2

Charaangnaraba Nung

Rabindranath Tagore’s Hungry Stones

3

Nongphaadok Laakpada

Based on Lamabam Biramani’s Atithi

BALLET SCRIPTS (IN MANIPURI)

1

Kong Hangoi

Children’s Ballet, 1971

2

Thoibi

Wildlife Ballet, 1971

3

Keibul Lamjao

Wildlife Ballet, 1984

4

Loktak Isei

Ecology Ballet, 1991

TRANSLATIONS BY BINODINI

1

Amasung Indrajit

Evam Indrajit, Badal Sircar

2

Solution X

Badal Sircar

3

Sakhangdaba Kayani

Koto Ajanare, Shankar

4

Charangnaraba Nung

Khudito Pashan, Rabindranath Tagore

5

Kama Kunti Sangbad

Rabindranath Tagore

6

28 Rabindra Sangeet

Rabindranath Tagore

SELECTED TRANSLATIONS OF BINODINI INTO ENGLISH

1

My Son, My Precious (Imagi Ningthem)

Cinewave, Calcutta 1981

2

One answer (Paokhum Ama)

Cinewave Calcutta 1984

3

My Little Friend ( Imphal Turel Itaamacha)

Sahitya Akademi Anthology, New Delhi 2005

4

A String of Beads (Chaarik Pareng, in The Grasshopper and Other stories)

Cambridge University Press, New Delhi, 2011

5

Crimson Rainclouds (Asangba Nongjaabi)

Thema Books, Calcutta 2012

6

The Maharaja’s Household (Maharaj Churachandgi Imung)

Forthcoming 2014

AWARDS

1

Nung’gairakta Chandramukhi, Jamini Sunder Guha Gold Medal, 1966

2

Padma Shri, 1976, returned 2001

3

Boro Saaheb Ongbi Sanatombi, Sahitya Akademi Award, 1979

4

Kamal Kumari National Award for Culture, 2002

5

Eminent Senior Writer Award, Sahitya Akademi, 2007

6

Lifetime Achievement Award, Manipur State Kala Akademi, 2011, posthumous

 

 

 

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