"Among many Lou Reed stands out for me for his outspokenness and his raw electric guitar sound. He is one of the most underrated American rockstar...And for past many months and till today Im hooked to Sigur Ros, Icelandic band, sung in Icelandic. Their music haunts me. What is great about this band is they toured all over the group with the Icelandic folk music singing in their mother tongue. After they toured all over the globe, they organised a series of unexpected and free concert for the Icelandic people just to give back what they had taked from iceland musically. And Ani d Franco is one great singer, songwriter and guitar player with whom i fall in love everyday despite her sexual orientation. And Yes Radiohead all the time. I travel with it and i will die with it"
Shri Biren : “Tangkhul Hui” was written around 1964-65. This was written when I was a student but was published after I became a teacher at the D.M. College. It was published in the college magazine and Naorem Khogen was the professor-in-charge of the magazine.
The Absurd Theatre has a lot of elements that can be called poetic or poetic vision. The Absurd Theatre was known for not having a beginning, a middle and an end. The immediate impulsive feelings and thoughts are imprinted on the Absurd Theatre. The process is followed by the sight of the images. Instead of the story, one can see the imagery, most importantly the construction of the poetic spirit and vision.
This is what I do as a poet and I am closer to being a poet than being a writer or a playwright. This is why most of my plays are closer to the poetic vision than the conventional dramatic structure. I became a playwright by virtue of being a poet...not because I know much about Absurd Theatre.
Around 1973, my works were mainly theatrical plays besides writing poetry. I joined Aryan Theatre and the company of Arambam Lokendra. That time Arambam Somorendra went underground. When I became active in theatre and writing plays, I did not get a chance to meet him. I met him after I became indisposed and he got amnesty.
From the late 1960s to 1970s and the publication of “Singnaba” (The Challenge), all have followed the trend I set out. After that I became really ill and have been not well for over 40 years.
Ronid: Did you continue writing during this phase?
Shri Biren: Yes. I wrote “Sanagee Keirak” (The Golden Ladder), “Mapal Naidabasida Ei”(I at the Edgeless Point) – I could not stop writing. I kept on writing. I am not exaggerating. If I did not continue writing, my pulse would have stopped running. I am so used to writing and if I do not write, I feel restless.
In the 1980s, theASEI LUP began criticizing our work. I did not feel hurt. I think they were doing a good job. Our works were termed Eurocentric. No doubt, my works must have been influenced by T.S. Eliot and I love T.S. Eliot's criticism and theories developed thereon. In his own words “Honestcriticism and sensitive appreciation is directed not upon the poets but upon the poetries”.
In my work, “Manipuri Sahityada Wakhanlon Khara” (Few Thoughts on Manipuri Literature), I quoted Eliot in the prologue. I am a literary critic too but I do not criticize by looking at who the writer or the poet is.
In my opinion, English literature inspires us but can not influence us. They call us Eurocentric may be because we drew inspiration from it.
Those poets of the 1980s are really good. The can be called “Nativists” who love the soil and the land. We are also nurtured by the very soil and if I do not locate myself in the Manipuri society, where will I be? If they say whatever I write do not belong to Manipur, I cannot accept that. My perspective and vision, however, may be based on Eurocentric vision. But what I in deed see is the Manipuri society.
And the new crop of poets are looking at tradition – for example Lanchenba's poem, “Hee Nagbu Hondeda”(Boat! you do not row) is inspired by theLai Haraoba festival. Memchoubi's poem “Nongthang Leima”(The Goddess of Lightening) is inspired by our forefathers' belief in the power of female deities. All their works possess a sense of patriotism.
Whereas we are more critical and do not easily get swayed by patriotism of any kind...as Thangjam Ibopishak's “Ei Manipurgeedamakta Seeningde” (I do not want to die for Manipur) says. If you say you love your land and its people, the people include those who are not worthy to be loved – people like who are used to corrupt means to make themselves rich and powerful. When I think of them, I get angry. But why won't anyone love the bountiful nature of Manipur.
After the 1980s, poets like Thoudam Netrajit, R.J. Meitei, Imojit Ningomba etc. Are doing good work.
Some of them like Lanchenba Meitei and Birendrajit Naorem are really erudite and talented.