Me And My Manipuri Things

Theories about the origin of Bishnupriya Manipuri : Points and Counterpoints

Posted on: September 3, 2008

A language with written literature can rightly be called as independent language. Today Bishnupriya Manipuri is recognized as an independent language all over the world only because of gigantic efforts of our godly forefathers to safeguard our language from extinction through various literary activities. Otherwise, like the historical records of Manipur, the history of the language is a story of deprive and exile.

Curiously enough, there is no authority goes beyond 13th century except the rain-songs, proverbs and other folk literatures. Sir GA Grierson treats this language in his “Linguistic Survey of India”. He calls the language Mayang although he uses the term Bishnupuriya Manipuri. He also refers to the vocabulary of the language in Lieut-Col W McCullock’s “An Account of the Valley of Manipore and other languages” published as early as 1859. Considering the authorities and evidences it can be safely said that the Bishnupriya Manipuri language is originated in the land of Manipur long before the advent of Hinduism in this valley. As the speakers of Bishnupriya Manipuri (ইমার ঠার, as known to the speakers themselves) had their headquarters at Bishnupur, they were called Bishnupuriyas, i.e, the habitants of Bishnupur, and Bishnupriya is only contracted form of the term Bishnupuriya.

Linguistic study however, creates a little confusion about the origin and root of Bishnupriya Manipuri language. There are different stories from different sectors of people opposite to each other hence difficult to draw any synopsis, resulting in controversies. Dr K P Sinha, who has done considerable amount of researches on Bishnupriya Manipuri language, described four theories as believed by different section of people. Dr Sinha, in his work “The Bishnupriya Manipuris” (1975), also tried to analyze the theories critically with due logic and justification. On the other hand GK Gosh in his work “Tribal and their cultures in Manipur and Nagaland”(1982) putted forth six different theories on the origin of Bishnupriya Manipuri language. There are several other beliefs too. The diverse theories on the origin of Bishnupriya Manipuri are summarized as follows –

  • The Mahabharata Theory
  • Meitei-Origin theory
  • 18th Century theory
  • Bengali-Origin theory
  • Far-Eastern theory
  • Khala-Chai theory
  • Indo-Mongoloid theory


1. Sir G. A. Grierson, Linguistic Survey of India, Vol-3,19
2. Dr. K.P. Sinha, Bishnupriya Manipuri Language, Calcutta, 1981
3. G.K. Ghose, Tribals and Their Culture in Manipur and Nagaland,1982
4. Raj Mohan Nath, The Background of Assamese Culture, 2nd Edn, 1978
5. S S Tunga, Bengali & other Related Dialects of South Asia, New Delhi, 1995

To be continued….

20 Responses to "Theories about the origin of Bishnupriya Manipuri : Points and Counterpoints"

This going to be a commandable piece of work. The diversity of linguistics and their development always interested me.Keep the tempo up.

Good enough for us. But…

this may not be called as independent language. How a language immitate and borrowed scripts of assamese and bengali be called an Independent Language? Seems like group of selfish people misleading the pure world. SHAME SHAME…

Bishnupriya Manipuri mainly speaks combination of broken assamese, nagamese and manipuri(known meiteilon)….

they use work phang-nase which carries different meaning in manipuri… there are million such cases…

thus BISHNUPRIYA MANIPURI may be called as diluter of ORIGINAL MANIPURI.

hello tengbi gadha, a language doesnt need to have its own script, does it? do hindi, urdu, englosh has its own scripts?

every language can have elements of other languages. assamese has 80% vocabulary of bengali. go to assam and tell , they will deport your back to your mama’s cant.

bushnipriyas were captured by the meiteis for s. . . n nw they claim to be the original manipuris. . what a pity.

Mr tomba..don’t talk too much…I thing u don’t know nothing…Meitei is product of Amalgamation of 7 clans…

@tomba, the original/non-original thing is rubbish. who the f**k decides this? some bishnupriya’s find their descend with mahabharata doesnt mean its the view of the whole community. dont panic, all the mahabharatis will die with diarrheas very soon.

We the bishnupriyas must co-ordinate with each in order to develop ourselves. Why should we look back?We must lose heart.We must try our level-best to spread our culture and also our religious literature.LET us unite to acheive,anythings possible for our society.

yes, it’s a independent language !!

Tengbi u moron, u may not be knowing dat sanskrit is d mother of most of d indian languages. History says dat ours is a sanskrit originated language which is influenced by magadhi and maharastrian. And as script is concerned many of d indian languages like dogri, rajasthani, pahadi and most of d north eastern languages dont have their own scripts. so,think realize and den make a comment.

Tengbi u moron, u may not be knowing dat sanskrit is d mother of most of d indian languages. And as script is concerned many of d indian languages like dogri, rajasthani, pahadi and most of d north eastern languages dont have their own scripts. so,think realize and den make a comment.

Yes dear U did very well. We the Bishnupriyas have united 1st and then we have to go for a movement for our recognition as a modern Indian Language.

sumen sinha- as far as i know bm lang is close 2 bengali,assamese and sylheti. if bm were original inhabitant of manipur which is a very old civilisation their lang should be unique like telegu, tamil etc.and more close 2 sanskrit than the said langs unless a new theory is there that bengali,assamese,syheti originated from manipur. another point 2 be noted is bm people looks more like negros complexionwise which should not be if they were an ancient(more pure) aryan race remaining surounded by more than 200km of high mountain inhabited by fierce mongoloid tribes unless the Original aryans were a race with dark complexion. can smbdy explain these?

I don’t understand how you can say Bishnupriyas have a negro complexion. Not that I’m offended by it. Isn’t it possible that with time there happened to be miscegenation (mixing of different races). And there are people who are quite fair. So you can’t really question the purity of the ethnicity.

Word battling won’t give any result we in Mani pur live with diversity, structured with different language ,culture etc. N if someone willing to join us feel free,Histories r histories may b collection of theories n ideas of someone or group, but one must not lose the culture of respecting others. There r lots of modern techniques that might b helpful in settling such controversies. Even prehistoric things becomes alive in todays world n why one should stick to such so called theories. Truth always prevails.

bishnupriya claim to be decendent of arjun and chitra. please check the location manipur mentioned in mahabharata. mahendagiri mountain location.

“a man is known for the qualities he has” bishnupriya manipuris are the original manipuris and every one know it better, even you. so, we are the inhabitant of that clear.

please provide the archealogical and anthropological evidence which support the claim- bishnupriya are first settler of Manipur.

ওড়িয়া, বাংলা, অসমীয়া , বিষ্ণুপ্রিয়া মণিপুরী এই 4টি ভাষা প্রায় একই সময়ে উদ্ভূত হয়েছে। এই চারটি ভাষার বয়স সমান। বিষ্ণুপ্রিয়া মণিপুরীকে আর বেশিদিন বোকা বানানো যাবে না। থাকাত।

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