N. Khelchandra Singh

Born in 1920 at Imphal, Shri Ningthoukhongjam Khelchandra Singh is an authority on Manipur's culture who has made a significant contribution towards the preservation of Manipur’s performing arts. Educated at Cotton College, Guwahati, Shri Khelchandra Singh studied ancient Manipuri literature under traditional scholars of Manipur. Since his childhood, he has also cultivated SANGEET NATAK AKADEMI FELLOWS 30 the martial art of Thang-ta, his mentors in this discipline being Sorokhaibam Gopal Singh, R.K. Pheijaosana, R.K. Babusana, and Kharaibam Deva Singh. Shri Khelchandra Singh is today the seniormost exponent and teacher of the art, counting among his students several well-known Thang-ta practitioners of the present day. Shri Khelchandra Singh has written and published copiously on Manipur’s past, producing some thirty edited works on ancient literature, religion, royal lineages and warfare. He has facilitated access to the older source materials by rendering them into modern Manipuri, and has further prepared a dictionary of old Manipuri for the benefit of present-day scholars. Researchers in the field of Manipuri dance and music have drawn upon his valuable collection of manuscripts in these subjects. He has rendered much help to scholars as a Visiting Fellow (1973-80) at the Jawaharlal Nehru University Centre of Post-Graduate Studies in Imphal, and as Advisor (1980-84) to the Manipur State Archives. He has participated in several notable seminars, including the International Seminar on Theatre, Dance and Martial Arts (1987) organized by Padatik in Calcutta. For his service to Manipur’s arts and culture, Shri Khelchandra Singh was conferred the Padma Shri in 1980 and the Fellowship of the Manipur State Kala Akademi in 1987. He was honoured with the Fellowship of Sahitya Akademi in 1999. For his scholarship and contribution in the field of Indian art and culture, Shri N. Khelchandra Singh is elected Fellow of Sangeet Natak Akademi.