Elangbam Nilakanta Singh was an Indian poet and critic, considered by many as one of the pioneers of modern Meitei literature. A recipient of the Sahitya Akademi Award in 1987, Nilakanta Singh was honored by the Government of India, in 2000, with the fourth highest Indian civilian award of Padma Shri. Elangbam Nilakanta Singh was born at Keisamthong Elangbam Leikai in the capital of the Indian state of Manipur on 4 October 1927 to Lakhi Devi and Elangbam Bokul Singh, a primary school teacher, as the eldest of their eight children. He did early schooling at Churachandpur and continued at Johnstone Higher Secondary School, Imphal from where he passed the matriculation in 1945. His pre university studies were at Murarichand College, Sylhet, in the present day Bangladesh and later, graduated in Arts (BA) from Gauhati University. He secured a post graduate degree of MA in Philosophy and LLB also from the same university.