Celebrating Kokborok Literature: A Glimpse into Agartala Book Fair 2024

By Pankaj Debbarma

February 29, 2024

Amidst the hustle and bustle of the Agartala Book Fair 2024, one corner stood out with its vibrant display of Kokborok literature. Here, among the rows of stalls and eager crowds, Kokborok literature flourished, offering a window into the rich cultural heritage and linguistic diversity of the Kokborok-speaking community. With a myriad of new releases from dedicated publishers, the fair provided an unparalleled opportunity to explore the multifaceted world of Kokborok literary expression.

Publisher diversity emerged as a notable highlight of the Kokborok literary landscape at the fair. Among the myriad stalls featuring Kokborok literature, around 10 dedicated Kokborok book publishers and a multitude of general book publishers showcased their latest releases. The presence of stalwart institutions like the Kokborok and Other Indigenous Language Department, TTAADC, and the Kokborok Sahitya Sabha added depth to this diverse array. However, it was striking that many of these dedicated Kokborok publishers operated without ISBNs, underscoring the grassroots nature of their literary endeavours. Nevertheless, their unwavering commitment to championing Kokborok language and culture resonated strongly through the breadth of literary offerings they presented.

The settings of the Agartala Book Fair 2024. Picture courtesy Biswanath Debbarma

Most readers and purchases were students, driven by their syllabus requirements, indicating the significance of Kokborok literature in educational contexts and its integration into the curriculum. This underscores the importance of vernacular literature in shaping young minds and preserving cultural heritage.

The new releases presented at the fair spanned a diverse array of genres and themes, offering something for every reader. Some of the new releases are listed below:

  • Ashit Debbarma
    • Srisitini khorang (Folksongs)
    • Homchang (Articles)
  • Biplab Debbarma
  • Nakhwraini Waying (Rhymes)
  • Yapri Baksa Himnai (Rhymes)
  • Biswajit Debbarma
    • Chokhani Khorang (Poems)
    • Langmani Khorang (Novel)
  • Dipra Kishore Debbarma
    • Kwtal Kothoma (Analysis)
    • Langmano yapharwi (Short stories)
  • Dr. Atul Debbarma
    • Mungkwrwi (Novel)
    • Dungur Baan (Novel)
  • Dr. Pritilata Debbarma
    • Koklop thong (Poems)
    • Kokborok kokno kuchuk beremo tisathanini samung humung (Article)
  • Lipika Debbarma
    • Paithakni mari (Short stories)
  • Nareshchandra Debbarma
    • Kokobork Basha Parikolpona (Analysis)
    • Chethuang (Analysis)
  • Padma Lochan Jamatia
    • Goraini Laibuma (History)
  • Paritosh Debbarma
    • Diyari (Poems)
  • Rabindra Kishore Debbarma
    • Kokborok Kokma tei Dal Berem Laibuma (Grammar Book)
  • Sabita Debbarma
    • Koktang bai Uamung-swimung (Rhymes)
    • Eng-eng kukai (Poems)
  • Sachlang Debbarma
    • Imangni Yarwng (Poems and Prose)
  • Samir Debbarma
    • Saichung (Poems)
  • Shibabrata Tripura
    • Khani kok (Rhymes)
  • Sunil Debbarma
    • Raibai (Novel)

These authors, among others, contributed to the rich tapestry of Kokborok literature with their diverse and captivating works. Through poetry, prose, novel and scholarly analysis, they offered insights into Kokborok culture, tradition, and identity, enriching the literary landscape and fostering a deeper appreciation for Kokborok language and heritage.

It is notable that most new releases were in Roman script, indicating efforts to make Kokborok literature more accessible to a wider audience. This reflects a pragmatic approach to language preservation and dissemination, recognizing the need to adapt to changing linguistic landscapes while preserving cultural identity.

The fair also highlighted the vital role of institutional support in nurturing Kokborok literature. Organizations like the Kokborok and Other Indigenous Language Department, TTAADC, and the Kokborok Sahitya Sabha provided essential resources and infrastructure for Kokborok writers, bringing out 15 and 4 new releases respectively. Through their advocacy efforts and community engagement, these institutions played a crucial role in promoting Kokborok literature and preserving cultural heritage for future generations.

To the young generations visiting the fair, consider this an invitation to immerse yourselves in the rich world of vernacular literature. Within the pages of Kokborok literature, treasures await discovery – stories that resonate with your heritage, poems that stir the soul, and insights that deepen understanding of identity and origin. Embrace the opportunity to explore Kokborok literature, as in doing so, you contribute to the preservation and celebration of a language and heritage that are uniquely yours.

Snippets of some dedicated Kokoborok literature publisher stalls and their new releases. Picture courtesy Biswanath Debbarma

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9 thoughts on “Celebrating Kokborok Literature: A Glimpse into Agartala Book Fair 2024”

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