Monday, December 15, 2008

after the Vreak

after 7 days break, i return to my chair in Jamia. These 7 days were filled with many bad moments.
I remember doing nothing constructive or productive. I spent the days watching Movies, so many movies. some of them are four musketeers, hidalgo, the quick and the dead, Saw-1,2,3,4 , Oye lucky, Dasvidaniya.
And during these day, i received Ibopishak's book of poems which was sent by my band-mate Sachindananda Angom through Billie's Sister.
I find every single poems of Ibopishak is deadly awesome. my favourite line:
"Eigi punshi gi esei mallaba eigi kangkhal manungi segairaba kanda-gi lang-la singda palhoure" is from the poem "Eigi punshigee Esei"
The poem belongs to his poetry book "Apaiba Leichil (Flying Cloud)" which was published in 1969.

I played guitar lots, i think i have almost composed the whole song sequence of my rock opera during these day. But there are things that i want to forget soon.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Imphal Talkies

A short note about the making of Imphal Talkies (June 2008)

Composing music is easy i mean financially and physically, but recording music is a real job particularly in place like Imphal.
For poor guys in Imphal talkies who don’t have a guitar to strum in studio, they really have to run hard
to find guitar that too among the bullets and barrels of Kangleipak's armies.
we were often disturbed by IRB (Indian Reserved Battalion)and Manipuri commandos, we were stopped everyday at Minuthong and asked what all we were carrying even if they saw it was just a guitar(which have killed the fascists in case of Comrade Guthrie's Guitar)

Our financial supports will surprise you guys... i was damned sure that i had to record my music.. whether i had money or not....whether i had guitar or was the time i got some scholarships for my PhD. and my PhD title is "Cosmological Inflation and late time acceleration of universe"....and the scholarship really accelerated me to reach "the Shallow river studio"
I thank UGC (University Grant Commission) :)...i may get expelled for misusing their fund...this should be kept hush hush hush. And with a little help from many friends we finally emerged out as "Imphal Talkies" with eight recorded songs.

Why is it named Imphal Talkies?
There was this time movies were silent, when the voice became part of it ,,they were considered or called as talkies. In India talkies means movie hall/theatre (i dont know about other countries). Imphal talkies the band presents a speaking imphal/manipur.
Yes we have taken the name from the small movie theatre imphal talkies opp. Johnstone school which was called Rupmahal theatre in post Second World War. this theatre played a big role in shaping up contemporary Manipuri theatre. Many great plays of great playwrights like GC Tongbra were staged in Rupmahal Theatre. As we love heatre and inspired by old/contemporary Manipuri literature. We name the band as Imphal Talkies. The Band is also inspired by Beat Movement of America
Unfortunately there is no more Imphal Talkies now in Imphal. it has again become Rupmahal Theatre. now staging plays again. the last play i show was "Narsing" in Rupmahal Theatre.

Friday, December 5, 2008

The HOWLER howling

I saw the the best minds of my generation
destroyed by madness, starving hysterical
dragging themselves through the negro
streets at dawn looking for an angry fix
angelheaded hipsters burning for the ancient
heavenly connection to the starry dynamo
in the machinery of night.
(from Howl!)

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Loving King Crimson

Right now, I am addicted to King Crimson's sound. I have never come across such progressive sound. I believe this is what my ears were trying to listen too. Robert Fripp is a Genius.
And yes their album Beat speaks to me

Sunday, November 23, 2008

beat goes on

Few days back i read "on the road" by jack kerouac. I thought it would enlighten me as i heard a lot about it from great great readers and intellects. yes it did enlighten me but not as much as i expected. I would say the novel is just a celebration of America.
I wonder what would be today's America if Kerouac was Ernesto Guevara of the motorcycle diary.
After reading the novel i happened to look up Ginsberg's poetry America which is my favourite poem. i noticed the phrase "1400 miles per hour"
And you know what is it referring to? nothing other that Kerouac's "on the road"

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The Typewriter

He came down to this town
in one winter with a typewriter..
He was roped in an old shawl.
People said he rented a hut
in the middle of the field
next to the Hills...
His eyes were hiding..
Like he had seen many unseen things
he walked with his hands counting
he rarely walked out of his hut..
he was always a stranger
he was always a crazy chap
as they said he stayed awake whole night
with a strange noise
louder than the hustling
Of Spring leaves
Or fallen leaves of Autumn..
Gradually he became thin
Eventually his lip learn to smile
His uncomb hair became wilder
His look was nothing
better than the dying Oak Tree...
He seemed tired
Like he swam an Ocean,,,
The said He sounded a Sin to the town
for the children He was just a Clown be continued....

Friday, March 14, 2008

i dont know what to call this peice of shit

Someone says “Nights are always silent unless you make love” it is indeed true. But nights are always silent after sex too. And a silent night takes me anywhere. It often reminds me I am suffering in hundred ways. Yes! We have suffered like hell as we belong to Manipur , the jewel of India. Jewel is something a man or woman can posses and can do anything with it. Many rare cases in the history of mankind have happened inside this jewel of india, perhaps it is the reason why we are being called jewel, like Sharmila’s incident , Pebam Chitaranjan burning himself alive. If we belong to any sensitive part of this undemocratic world, there would have been so many great movies and singers and writers and activists. It will often lead them to Nobel prize, Oscar and any sort of prizes available. But we are just suffering! no one out of us are ready to celebrate our suffering, celebrate with anger celebrate with celluloid movies.

Or we are so damned comfortably numb to feel the pain, may be that’s why the film makers go to Rajasthan for a camel ride shooting in Jitendra’s favorite white suits. Our helplessness can be seen when we ride a bike in our own town. Once I rode my father’s Hero Honda CD 100 from khurai Chingangbam Leirak to Khoyathong, I was stopped by Manipuri commandos and asked every necessary questions and documents. I answered to them and show them every document they asked for. I remember by heart my driving license number my automobile number. If I could not answer them I would have got a slap or two. Finally they asked why did I wore a torn jeans, before I could answer, one of them put his finger inside the hole of my torn jeans and started pulling jeans to make my torn jeans worst. But I wore torn jeans because it has been with me for last six years. Even if I was fashion conscious, what was their right to tear it further. It hurt me it has made me furious inside. But I kept quiet with my brimming eyes helplessly watching them making fun out of my poverty.

This is the kind of freedom one feels driving or riding in the heart of Imphal city. Whom to blame? Whom to share? Whom to cry? Even in my friend circle there are people who doesn’t understand what was the situation? Whenever one say freedom it does not necessarily mean freedom from a state or country. It can be a freedom to ride your bike from Imphal to Moirang it can be of how you wear your jeans or how your wear you Sarong. But we have lost it. We suffer from both end. We are the slice of cucumber inside their political sandwich. I have a sense of belongingness that’s why I still wore that torn jeans, that’s why I still feel we have to fight against such act of barbarism or militarization. I know it is hard to fight, many of us has already been Sisyphus. Simply following what we have seen. Get married and earn and make love and die.

Even our intellectual society they speak jargon in their language, they publish books they attended seminar, they talk of rights but in their terms, it never reaches any grassroots where it is needed the most. They are like classical music. But what the suffering people need at the moment is rock and roll kind of music which breaks all norms of LAWS and RULES where it can be useful at the moment.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Short Film Blues

Insomnia has taken me quite further in life, quite ahead of my fellow comrades. Do I sound superior? No, I am being honest. My insomnia has led me to poetry land which once upon a time I thought impossible for me. I have ploughed the land and sowed the seed now I have eighty poems. You may find them sour or bitter. Oh “the grape is always sour” to the fox.

I always try deliberately to connect my poetry with my Land Manipur. Yes it is really deliberate. I don’t want to write about love and loneliness or about human complexity. I believe life is short so better focus on something important. I would like to do thousand things a day. But the sun won’t allow me that. So end up giving preference to what I prefer the most.

Now my preference at the moment is to make short film. It has been named “Poetry from the bank of Imphal River.” It is all about an insomniac guy. He is insomniac because he has become sensitive of the issues happening in Manipur. He has seen the world through films, poems and heard through music, and how people react to these kind issues. The film will show how he personally reacts to the issues in one sleepless nights. The issue which can be mentioned is AFSPA (1958) and how it has been ruling Manipur.

The crews of the film are Nilabeer Keisham(camera/editor), Victor (the protagonist/idea), Akhu (Music and script) and Sumitra ( thematic editor ). The film will use poems by Akhu and Victor.

The soundtracks of the short film will soon be recorded.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Loser's Dream

Much awaited scholarship for no-net PhD student has hit my bank account and makes my balance 45000rs. It is the scholarship for losers who can’t clear net, Jrf or anything. Now the time has come for the losers to be paid. So, guys! Don’t worry you will be paid too someday if u survive long enough broke.

I have survived enough with my torn VIP underwear. Once I only wore Jockey kind of underwear. So the great fucking God has heard my cry of hunger. And here the God is no one but UGC.

I believe I can still carry on my PhD without any fellowship or being loser in their frame of reference. But as I am getting some money I have already planned where to put it in. I am not buying bikes I am not taking my girl to dinner; I am just going to sing my songs. My composed songs have haunted me my nights so often that I end up writing poetry so many nights. And now people think I am an amateur poet.

My songs haunt me, dragging me to reality of music which no longer belongs to my spirit but to let it scream loud through speakers with amplified sounds. Yes! I have dreamt this dream with many friends. One friend I am proud to mention is Keisham NIlabeer. He has been with me since I picked up guitar in this rapists’ capital Delhi. He has tolerated many compositions I own. And I know he will tolerate me whole of my life. Another problem is I have 16 songs to record. 8 songs are in English which is completely experimental. You will find alternative rock, heavy metal, Dylan kind of stuffs and Poetry recital kind of songs. And few tracks I have planned to make them sing by my sister Riki (din). I don’t know how will people react to my songs. It excites me like hell. And 8 songs are Manipuri. I have composed some these songs five/six years back. They have been with so close and my friends can hum them anytime. They sometime hum it without acknowledging my presence. Is it an honor? Perhaps!

I would not like to end my life like Nick Drake. I am not a genius to sing or write or do physics. But I want things to be happened at right time. I don’t know who defines “right time.” But I would never like to postpone my recording session this time. I would die for it if it happens. Many told me it is not right time to do music before completing PhD and Blah Blah. I said fuck off. I got money I got songs all I need is few musicians and a great fucking studio to record it..

Ah!!!!!!! Finally I am going to listen to myself.

Friday, February 29, 2008

A Call for a Beat Generation, a Movement

Self Discovery:

It was winter of 2005, in a bar called “Sathee” somewhere near Pune University. I was sitting with a professor and some other Bengali PhD students. We were being loyal to the bar owner with a 750ml bottle of Royal Stag on the table. We got drunk soon after we lit our cigarettes as alcohol is good solvent for smoke. We talked of various issues in Physics; hardly had I spoken as I knew little about Physics compared to these scholars. I listened, observed every word. But when it came to music I was the one who spoke most of the time.

I noticed a habit in few Bengali guys that whenever they got drunk they will just close their eyes and recite Bengali poems mostly by Rabindranath Tagore. That day was not a different day for them as they were drunk like me; they closed their eyes and started reciting Gitanjali in Bengali “….Let My Country Awake….” So, I thought I will also recite a Manipuri poem in front of them. I was ready closing my eyes, raising my fist in the smoky air. I opened my mouth but nothing came out of it, not a word, not a sigh, not a hiss. So I pretended as if I was yawning, being bored with the Gitanjali recitals. Indeed I was bored. I don't like spiritual poems. I would have been very much excited if they were reciting Nazrul Islam’s poetry. So that night I came back drunk cursing myself for not remembering a single Manipuri poem. Even if I had remembered a line from “Madhavi” I would have recited it like a poem by Allen Ginsberg. I would have recited it so powerful that they would think I was reciting a protest poem or something like that. But unfortunately I ended up yawning and smoking the cigarettes till it burnt my fingers.

Intervention in Literary Circle:

After that night, every time I got drunk with fellow Manipuris I asked them to recite a poem in Manipuri.

But they were same like me. They ended up yawning getting bored with my questions. But we heard English poems even as heavy metal songs. For example, Coleridge's “Rime of the Ancient Mariner” has been sung by Iron Maiden. W H Auden's “As I walked out one evening” was used in the movie “Before Sunrise.” So each individual, at least of my generation, don't bother about our own literature. We are ready to read a poem by William Blake or T. S. Elliot, but not the poems which are rooted to our pain and agony. Yes! We do have poets who speak volumes of our sorrow and disturbed lives.

A verse from the Poet Thangjam Ibopishak's poem “I Want to Be Killed by an Indian Bullet*”;

Whatever it may be, if you must shoot me please shoot me with a gun made

in India. I don't want to die from a foreign bullet. You see, I love India very much.

That can never be. Your wish cannot be granted. Don't ever mention Bharat to us.

No other Irish or British poem can speak to us like the above verse does. But the poem is known only in literary circles, not to the public. So there lies a gap.

The Beat Generation:

Amusingly, the same problem had happened back in 1950s in America. But the difference is how people retaliate back to such problem. In 1950s, a group of American writers/poets emerged. This group of people was called Beat Generation. There theme is to reject the prevailing academic attitude to poetry. They felt poetry should be brought to the people. Moreover their theme was a rejection of the prevailing American middle-class values, the purposelessness of modern society and the need for withdrawal and protest. Whatever the beat writers/poets wrote, they read it out often to the accompaniment with Jazz (What an amazing recitation it must had been). Eventually, hippies and antiwar movement followed Beat Movement and led to the environmental movement.

Radical poet Allen Ginsberg (Beat Poet) said that essential effects of Beat Generation artistic movement could be categorized as

  • Spiritual liberation, sexual "revolution" or "liberation," i.e., gay liberation, somewhat catalyzing women's liberation, black liberation, Gray Panther activism.
  • Liberation of the word from censorship.
  • The evolution of rhythm and blues into rock and roll as a high art form, as evidenced by the Beatles, Bob Dylan, and other popular musicians influenced in the later fifties and sixties by Beat generation poets' and writers' works.
  • The spread of ecological consciousness, emphasized early on by Gary Snyder and Michael McClure, the notion of a "Fresh Planet."
  • Opposition to the military-industrial machine civilization, as emphasized in writings of Burroughs, Huncke, Ginsberg, and Kerouac.
  • Return to an appreciation of idiosyncrasy as against state regimentation.
  • Respect for land and indigenous peoples and creatures, as proclaimed by Kerouac in his slogan from On the Road 'The Earth is an Indian thing.’

So the Beat Generation was a real impact in American literature. They changed America. They changed the scenarios of American music. If they had not emerged in 1950s there may not have been bands/singers like Jefferson Airplane, Joan Baez, Country Joe and the Fish, Crosby Stills Nash and Young. Yes! These bands were heavily influenced by Beat Generation/Movement.

The recent phenomenon which struck my mind was the radical band “Rage Against the Machine” reciting Allen Ginsberg’s poetry “Hadda flash out in loud speaker”

Even if the Beat Movement was started to mean a revolution in American literature, they were heavily influenced by Walt Whitman (father of American literature), William Blake and Henry David Thoreau.

This shows that the Beat Movement kept the indigenous America in their minds and knew exactly how and where to hit the then contemporary literary landscape. The Beat Movement made a bridge between American literature and Rock n roll music. There could not be more beautiful synthesis than the movement had carved.

Back to Reality:

I am sorry to drag in this American stuff when my article is supposed to focus in Manipur. But we are imitating America’s Rock and Roll music. And we missed to imitate the most important part.

The truth is we have lost our shelters. We are the runaway children. We seem to enjoy being lost. Educated and rich ones are not bothered by our society and the ones who are concerned are poor. Their voices are silenced by someone who speaks for them. But there is a need of revolution to open our eyes.

Why are we defined as disturbed? We want a meaningful home. We will love peace.

We will love to hear Sharmila succeeding her struggle. We will love to read newspaper every morning without the pictures of gunned down youngsters. Blood-shed revolution is nowhere to make sense rather than losing our strength and diminishing the frequency of our bloodcurdling voices. And why lost a life that every mother sacrifices about.

We have not explored the power of music, poetry, painting and pen. All we need is a Beat Generation. Let’s fuse poetry and rock music, let’s fuse Meira Paibis and Alexandra, let’s fuse protest and blank canvases. Let’s not just paint or write for the sake of capturing human imagination. It is boring. We don’t have time to get bored. Our blood is getting warmer and warmer. Let us not miss any beats of our hearts. Let’s play guitar on the streets where the cops rule us with their Kalashnikovs. Let’s sing about Sharmila. Let’s write poetry of another December 12th.

And remember! A protest which lasts forever comes out only from the heart of creative woman or man.


* Translated from the Manipuri by Robin S. Ngangom. This poem was

censored out of a recent India International Centre publication on the Northeast edited by

Journalist/Development Expert/Mentor for the Region/World Bank Satellite Sanjoy Hazarika.

Poet Thangjam Ibopishak writes in Manipuri. He has published six volumes of poetry, three of which earned him some of the most prestigious awards in the state including the Manipur State Kala Akademi Award in 1986, the Jamini Sunder Guha Gold Medal in 1989, the First Jananeta Irabot Award in 1997 and the Ashangbam Minaketan Memorial Award in 2005. Ibopishak also won the Sahitya Akademi Award for poetry in 1997. He teaches Manipuri at the GP Women’s College in Imphal.