The article is published on the birth anniversary of Dr KP Sinha.
By RK Rishikesh Sinha
I have read thousand times this article that was originally published in Kangla Online, a Manipur-based web portal. The article was one of the earliest pieces available in the Internet on Bishnupriya Manipuri. Today the original article is no more in the web world; however it is available here in this blog. I copied it knowing one day it will vanish.
The article is the short web version of the booklet “A Note on the Term Bishnupriya Manipuri” by Dr Kali Prasad Sinha. The first edition of the booklet was published in 25th May 1975. Its second edition appeared on 16 March 2014.
Here are the concluding sentences of the booklet:
If the Meiteis consider these factors with a liberal and sympathetic heart, they will find that the, Bishnupriyas love for the term 'Manipuri' is quite reasonable and that it is not a mere emotion. The Bishnupriyas have every right to use the term 'Manipuri'. If they are not allowed to do so, we shall have reasons to think that some subversive factors behind are at work. I think that if the Meitei intelligentsia comes forward with a considerate attitude, the problem will certainly be solved, and the brotherly feeling between the two sections will be regained.
Please read again the sentence: If they are not allowed to do so, we shall have reasons to think that some subversive factors behind are at work.
Recently with the volume of works that has come up by Rajiv Malhotra and reading all his books (1), I am proud that Dr KP Sinha was able to smell something fishy in the whole ‘Manipuri’ affair, but he was not able to diagnose and identify behind-the-scene work that was taking place. Today fortunately a circle of Indian academicians, Sanskrit scholars, Indologist, government, media and public intellectuals have come to know those nefarious designs and they are working endlessly to defeat this design. The infrastructure that went into building Dravidian and Dalit identity, the same was/is used to build ‘Manipuri’ chaos.
The question is: what are the subversive activities that Dr KP Sinha is mentioning in the booklet. Rajiv Malhotra in his books and in his lectures has very well elucidated this seditious plans. Let us see what KP Sinha was actually doing.
- that he was not only claiming the use of ‘Manipuri’ by Bishnupriya Manipuris; in doing so, he was against the monopoly and copyright use of ‘Manipuri’. In the Indic tradition, there is no copyright holder/ center of any cultural stuff. It is open, shareable, and for the benefit of humanity.
- he was fighting against the Western framework of understanding the Eastern culture and communities and dharma (read Indian civilization). The very notion of ‘real/ pure/ impure/ fake/ genuine/ high/ low Manipuris’, amounts to Islamic/ Western thought. The idea is not from the Hindu dharmic land. The cultural and spiritual matrix of Indian civilization is distinct from that of the West.
- He fought against a strand of western history writers/ researchers who go by written records and don’t consider any oral/ embodied knowledge in culture and custom as history. Indian jatis and institutions have never been history-centric due to the concept of divine metaphysics of Sanatana Dharma—it is beyond time and space -- but it is not the case with Islamic/ Christian practitioners (his or her understanding is history-based). One can observe how a Hindu describe Hindu Dharma and Christian/ Muslim discusses their religion. KP Sinha’s opponents might have been Hindus but they carried a Christian/ Islamic memory chip with ideology, frameworks, time and space.
Today when there is a new awakening in India that is challenging the ongoing westernization of the discourse about India and the intellectual machinery that produces it, the very field of Dr KP Sinha, the study of Sanskrit, has long been intruded, distorted, hijacked, poisoned by Sanskrit scholars since the days of Sir William Jones to the present time by Wendy Doniger and Sheldon Pollock. The research and study of Sanskrit has long been outsourced to western universities in America and Germany.
The battle for Sanskrit is taking place right in front of us. In the decades to come, in order to achieve its rightful stage in the world India as being the cradle of civilization, Sanskrit has to be asserted since the language has been the heartbeat of Indian civilization for several thousand years. It could even be said that sanskriti, the culture that arose from India, has Sanskrit embedded in its DNA. Put another way, Sanskrit provides the vocabulary in which the Indian civilization is encoded. Even those who do not explicitly use Sanskrit often draw upon its knowledge through means, such as philosophy, bhakti or meditation, or use another Indian language based on Sanskrit structures.
In the days to come, how we Bishnupriya Manipuris remember Dr KP Sinha’s life and work. More than by organising lectures and holding meetings and writing run-of-the-mill articles, it will happen by learning and mastering the Sanskrit language and reading the books written by Dr KP Sinha. In the days to come, like Yoga is cool today, the learning of Sanskrit would be considered cool and trendy. The Second Sanskrit Commission, appearances of Sanskrit news and discussion in Doordarshan, national/ international meetings on Sanskrit are some of the few visible direction to take India into a new world: India being the mother of civilization. And going through the list of works done by Dr KP Sinha, it is very easy to conclude that though he was well equipped with the modern tools his shraddha, bhakti and dhristi was rooted to this land of Sanskrit traditions and philosophies. To conclude, "some subversive factors behind are at work" mentioned by Dr KP Sinha was actually the use of Western/ Christian model of ideas and structures applied by Meitei Manipuri jati (supported by Government-Academic-Intellectuals-Media nexus) to the Bishnupriya Manipuri jati.
Breaking India: Western Interventions in Dravidian and Dalit Faultlines;
Being Different: An Indian Challenge to Western Universalism;
Indra's Net: Defending Hinduism's Philosophical Unity;
Battle for Sanskrit: Dead or Alive, Oppressive or Liberating, Political or Sacred?;
Academic Hinduphobia: A Critique of Wendy Doniger's Erotic School of Indology