Haobam Ongbi Ngangbi Devi
Born1 August 1924
Uripok Bachaspati Leikai, Imphal, Manipur, India
Died12 June 2014
Resting place21°06′11″N 72°27′51″E / 21.1030°N 72.4641°E / 21.1030; 72.4641
OccupationClassical dancer, musician
Spouse(s)Haobam Amuba Singh
Parent(s)Koijam Bokul Singh
AwardsPadma Shri
Government of Assam Birangana
Government of Manipur Gold Medal
Manipur State Kala Akademi Award
Nirtya Bhushan Award
Sangeet Natak Akademi Award
WebsiteOfficial web site

Haobam Ongbi Ngangbi Devi (1 August 1924 – 12 June 2014) was an Indian classical dancer and musician,[1] known for her expertise in the Manipuri Dance forms of Lai Haraoba and Raas.[2][3][4] In 2010, the Government of India awarded Haobam Ongbi Ngangbi Devi the Padma Shri, the fourth highest Indian civilian award.[5][6]


Lai haraoba
Lai haraoba

Haobam Ongbi Ngangbi Devi was born on 1 August 1924[2] at Uripok Bachaspati Leikai, Imphal in the Indian state of Manipur to Kijam Bokul Singh who was a locally known Sankirtan Pala[7] performer.[1] She started learning Manipuri dance and music from the age of five from Manipuri Sangeertan Sangh and debuted as an artiste at Jaipaiguri Festival, in Kolkata in 1930. She, later, studied Lai Haraoba, Raas and the ethnic dance forms of the hills under the tutelage of renowned teachers such as Guru Atomba Singh, Yumnam Ojah Natum Singh, Guru M. Amubi Singh,[8] and Ngangom Ojah Jugindro Singh during the period from 1932 till 1940.[2] She also learnt classical music from Ustad Meisnam Bidhu Singh and Chingakham Radhacharan Singh.[2][1]

Ngangbi Devi, known as the first classical singer from Manipur, started recording for the All India Radio and also sang playback for Mainu Pemcha, the first feature film attempted by Manipuri,[9] in 1948.[1] When Jawaharlal Nehru Manipur Dance Academy was established,[10] Ngangbi Devi was appointed as a faculty member in the departments of dance and music.[2] The Academy, an institution of moderate proportions in the beginning, grew over the years during Devi's tenure as a teacher of Lai Haraoba there.[11] She is reported to have researched on Lai Haraoba and is credited with preparing a syllabus for the institution. She also updated herself by continuing her studies at Lalit Kala Bhavan and worked as an actress for the Manipur Dramatic Union, Rupmahal Theatre and Aryan Theatre during the period from 1936 to 1945.[1]

Devi continued her work at the JNM Dance Academy where she rose in ranks to become the Head of the Department of Folk and Community Dance in 1966 and held the post of the vice principal of the Academy at the time of her retirement in 1985.[2][1] Devi, during her active years, has participated in various national and international occasions and festivals such as the Republic Day Folk Dance Festival, National Dance Festival and Inter State Cultural Exchange Programs.[1]

Ngambi Devi married Haobam Amuba Singh in 1941 and the couple had a son.[1] She died on 11 June 2014 at her residence Uripok Tourangbam Leikai, Imphal.[2]

Awards and recognitions

Ngangbi Devi, a recipient of Birangana title from the Government of Assam and a Gold Medal from the Government of Manipur, was awarded the Manipur State Kala Akademi Award in 1980.[2][1] Two years later, in 1985, Manipuri Sahitya Parishad honored her with the Nirtya Bhushan Award.[2][1] In 1993, she received the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award.[4] The Government of India included her, in 2010, in the Republic Day honours list for the civilian award of Padma Shri.[2][1][4]

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k "E Pao". E Pao. 23 April 2010. Retrieved 18 December 2014.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "Sangeet Natak Akademi". Sangeet Natak Akademi. 2014. Archived from the original on 19 December 2014. Retrieved 18 December 2014.
  3. ^ "Indian Express". Indian Express. 7 April 2010. Retrieved 18 December 2014.
  4. ^ a b c "India online". India online. 2014. Retrieved 18 December 2014.
  5. ^ "Padma Shri" (PDF). Padma Shri. 2014. Retrieved 11 November 2014.
  6. ^ "Economic Times". Economic Times. 2010. Retrieved 18 December 2014.
  7. ^ Jamini Devi (2010). Cultural History of Manipur: Sija Laioibi and the Maharas. Mittal Publications. p. 140. ISBN 9788183243421.
  8. ^ Chowdhurie, Tapati (12 June 2014). "A doer who was devotee". The Hindu. Retrieved 25 June 2018.
  9. ^ "Mainu Pemcha". E Pao. 2014. Retrieved 19 December 2014.
  10. ^ "JNMDA". Sangeet Natak Akademi. 2014. Archived from the original on 19 December 2014. Retrieved 19 December 2014.
  11. ^ "JNMDA faculty". Sangeet Natak Akademi. 2014. Archived from the original on 19 December 2014. Retrieved 19 December 2014.