Manipur: Tribal folk singer & traditional wedding dresser among recipients of Padma Awards


By Halley Nongmaithem


Tribal folk singer and musician, Rewben Mashangva and traditional wedding dresser, Hanjabam (O) Radhe Devi were both conferred the Padma Shri Award by the Government of India on January 25.

Mashangva, a 60-year-old tribal folk singer and traditional music instrument player, helped revive the Tangkhul tradition through his music.

Having been influenced by Bob Marley and Bob Dylan, Mashangva composed many songs by blending folk, blues and ballad, resulting in some of the finest tunes.

“Guru Rewben Mashangva, the well-known folk musician of Manipur has been devoting and contributing his entire life to the development of folk music of the Nagas,” a press release from the Government of Manipur read.

“Popularly known as the Bob Dylan of the Nagas or King of Naga folk-blues, Guru is the pioneer of Hao music. He weaves traditional melodies and lyrics; the long-forgotten folksongs of yore, with Blues music,” the release added.

Hanjabam (O) Radhe Devi

Meanwhile, Hanjabam (O) Radhe Devi, another recipient of the award, is a traditional wedding dresser known for her intricate dress designs.

“Working as a Potloi Setpi (wedding dresser) for the past 58 years, Radhe Devi has dressed over 1,000 brides during her lifetime,” the government press release stated.

“When not dressing brides in the colourful attires, she keeps herself busy by making costumes for the famous Khamba-Thoibi dances,” it added.

Both Padma Shri awardees from Manipur won the award under the arts and culture category 2021.

(Edited by Shankar Kumar Turha)