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Meetei Mayek: A Work in Progress | Neelakash Kshetrimayum | ATypI 2019 Tokyo

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Published on Sep 11, 2019

As a result of social and political changes in the early eighteenth century, Meetei Mayek (the indigenous script used in Manipur, a northeastern state of India) was replaced by the Bengali script for writing Meeteilon (the official language of Manipur). Nearly three hundred years later in 2005, this was reversed when Meetei Mayek was reinstated, marking the revival of the script —the resurrection of a lost identity. This presentation records the processes, research methodology, and experiences of the author as he attempts to contribute to the revival of Meetei Mayek. Investigations into the history of the script and the evolution of its letterforms lead to discussions on the relationship between script, typeface, and identity. Neelakash Kshetrimayum evaluates the future of Meetei Mayek—its scope and possibilities—and addresses the significant role new typefaces can play in its restoration. Finally, he reports on the contribution of various agencies, from local publishers to schools and universities, in their efforts to promote the script today.

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