Wednesday, 31 October 2007

Amar Sinha: An IITian Journey from Bilbari to Paris

By Ranita Sinha, Kolkata

One day on an usual visit to a Bishnupriya Manipuri house, my eyes fell on a book. A small thin white coloured book with the title- “ From Bilbari to Paris - Professional Biography of an IITian”. The book is written by Upasana Sinha.

Amidst curiosity I picked up the book and started reading it. It was about Sri Amar Sinha, a Bishnupriya Manipuri IITian in the 50's. I got so thrilled after reading the book that i thought of sharing what ever little I can with all of you. As I believe, like me most of us are not aware of this jewel of our community. We all know what Indian Institute Technology is all about, and what the status it carries in India and abroad.

But before writing about Sri Amar Sinha, I would like to write a few lines about Smt. Upasana Sinha, the author. Upasana Sinha, wife of Sri Deepak Sinha and eldest daughter-in-law of Sri Dilip Sinha and Smt. Promila Sinha of Kailashar, Tripura is a faculty in the Department of Chemistry, Nagaland University. She joined Nagaland University in the year 2003 after completing her Ph.D in Chemistry from IIT, Guwahati. She wrote this biography when she went to visit her maternal uncle-in-law, Sri Amar Sinha in Madrid, Spain in January 2005.

Sri Pramod Kumar Sinha, father of Amar Sinha was a police officer during the British regime. Among his eight children, Amar Sinha was the second. He was an origin of village Bilbari of Patherkandi in Karimganj district, Assam. As Sri Promod Sinha was transferred to different places during his service tenure, in the year 1937 Amar Sinha was born at Kamalpur, a place some distance away from Guwahati. Amar Sinha was fondly called Godon by his family members.

Amar Sinha started his school life from Guwahati. As his father had a transferable job he had to change lot of schools. He studied in Guwahati, Rangia, Bilbari, Sylhet (Bangladesh), Dharmanagar and Shillong. He passed out his matriculation examination from Jail Road Bengali High School in the first division. Then he joined St. Edmund's College, Shillong and passed out I.Sc course acquiring the 39th position in the whole of Assam in the year 1953. After that he enrolled for B.Sc ( Physics, Chemistry, Maths) but did not complete it as he joined the Indian Institute of Technology at Kharagpur, the oldest and the first IIT.

Amar Sinha had to face restrictions from his father to procure his IIT degree; because he wanted his son to complete his B.Sc first and also because they were not rich enough to support his studies. But it was Amar Sinha's childhood dream to study engineering from IIT Kharagpur. So, he moved ahead to fulfil his dream and in the mean time the scholarship he was getting after matriculation was enhanced and thus he did not find any monetary problems.

As Amar Sinha was an inborn talent he did not find any difficulty in completing the course. He completed the course attaining a first class. During the time his course was in progress he appeared at an interview at Deheradun Military Academy to join as an electro mechanical engineer. He was selected and was supposed to join after completing his course. But after his course he did not join the job because he wanted to study further and he knew very well that once he joins the military service he would not be able to continue his studies. He rather preferred to join as a Lecturer in Assam Engineering College.

He enjoyed the first year of his teaching career in Assam Engineering College. But he was a professionally adventurous person and from the second year he started feeling bore. He desperately wanted a change in his job. In the mean time he saw two advertisements in the newspaper- one was the French Government Fellowship for practical training in engineering and the other was for pilot officer in Indian Air Force. He applied for both and was selected for both the positions. As his family wanted him to go to France so he resigned from Assam Engineering College and headed for France.

In the year 1961 he set sail for Europe. He first flew from Guwahati to Calcutta by Indian Airlines and from Calcutta to Paris by Air France. After reaching Paris, all the students were sent to Besaan Besacou University for two months to learn the French language. After that all the students were asked to decide which degree they wanted to pursue. Amar Sinha wanted to do a doctorate degree but for that he had to leave Paris and he did not wanted to leave Paris. So, he rather joined the Institute Superior des Materio et Constructio Mechanic for a Masters Degree in Mechanical Engineering. The course got over in the year 1963.

After the course was over Amar Sinha was ready to come back to India. Before coming back he went to watch a movie named Aimez Brahms filmed in Paris. The film showed all the beautiful sights of Paris and he fell in love with the beauty and made up his mind to stay back.

Amar Sinha joined a French Company as a design engineer in the year 1963. There he was not given routine job but was given new problems all the time and he enjoyed it. But as it was mentioned earlier that he was a professional hunger, he was not satisfied with what he was doing. So, he left the job and joined Renault France in April 1964 and served there till 1968. In 1969 Renault Engineering Company created the 'Systems Economics' Department and Amar Sinha with two colleagues jointly headed the department. There Amar Sinha's team had developed a public transport system which was partly bus and partly train. The train part was automatic and it functions without a driver. The transport system could not be made fully automatic as people would get scared when they would see an automobile moving without any driver, especially at night. This transport system is still seen in the streets of Ville Nouvell D'evry, a town near Paris.

Than in the year 1969 he resigned from Renault Paris and joined Renault Spain and he shifted his base from Paris to Spain. In the mean time he was busy with other assignments too – like engine project in Algiers and Venezuela, design of public transport system in France, purchasing inventory system of Renault in Spain, projects for setting up of machine tool factories in Thailand and Malaysia etc. All this assignments took place between 1969 to 1974. Amar Sinha was the proud designer of Renault 18. In November 1973, his brain child Renault 18 was launched in Spain.

But Amar Sinha's professional journey was not smooth at all. At every step he faced restrictions from his colleagues. But he was a born winner. So, he never looked back and achieved whatever he wanted to achieve. Amar Sinha retired from Renault Spain in the nineties as one of the directors of the company.

This biography does not say much about Amar Sinha's personal life. It only mentions that he was married to Nermin and has two children - Ela and Arun and they stay in Madrid. Wife Nermin has her own business. Their daughter Ela is married to a well-established dentist, Paco and has two lovely children Borcha and Alexandra. Son Arun works for a water sports company which is based in Spain, Portugal and France and is married to lawyer Ana.

Thus, it is a small effort from my part to introduce you all with a Bishnupriya Manipuri IITian who went all the way from Bilbari to Paris to fulfil his dream. I thank Upasana for writing such a lovely piece and allow us to know about such a talented person of our community.

Tuesday, 23 October 2007

I saw a Bishnupriya Manipuri Ragpicker ...and I ..

By Ranita Sinha, Kolkata

One fine winter afternoon in Ballygunge, Kolkata, two years back, at around 2 o’ clock, me and my daughter were returning after seeing a doctor. We were walking along the footpath to go to the bus stop. My daughter was insisting for a packet of potato chips. Since she was not well, I, promised her to provide her one the next day. But she was adamant to had one. At that time I saw a rag picker passing us. I all of a sudden told my daughter in Bishnupriya Manipuri language: “ archa bosta alla go, chips khaeile doriya niya jitoiga”( look a rag picker, if you have chips he will take you along with him). Though my daughter cannot speak our language but she understands it very well. So, those words were enough to stop her.

The rag picker was of medium height of age around 35-40 years. His complexion was whitish yet he looked dark because of dart all over him. He wore a torn out black and white stripped trouser and a brown sweater and torn out canvas shoe put by defense personal. He also put a red holy band on his head. He carried a dirty gunny bag on his right shoulder.

When I uttered those words to my daughter, the rag picker looked at me and smiled, as if he knew what I said. His smile made me wonder if he understood my language. Then I came to the conclusion that he might be mentally imbalanced. But he was looking backward again and again at us. I felt a bit awkward and I hurried and passed him. The moment I passed him he uttered a few words which made me feel as if blood oozing out of my nerves. The rag picker said in Bishnupriya Manipuri language: “ ‘o’ emma aine, baat kheik, bokhane moilu”( ‘oh! Dear, come lets have food, I am hungry). Hearing this I could not walk. It seemed as if I loosed all my strength. Because, I always had a strong belief that though our Bishnupriya Manipuri Community is a poor community still we do not have beggars, rickshaw pullers and rag pickers. But his words shattered my belief.

The rag picker passed us and sat on the footpath a few yards away from us. He was still looking at me again and again and smiling. My eyes could not believe what I saw. I was not able to board any bus. I just starred at him and lots of queries were lingering in my thought. I thought of asking him which village he belonged, how come he reached Kolkata, where he stayed in Kolkata. I was about to ask him but all of a sudden a thought crossed my mind. I thought as he seemed mentally ill, what would happen, if, after talking to me he follows us, as my husband was out of town. So, without giving a second thought I boarded a bus.

In the bus I took a seat by the window. I looked out and saw the rag picker looking at me, as if asking me, not to leave him alone. His smiling face all of a sudden became tensed. The bus moved and I looked back and saw the rag picker still looking at me. After some time he was no more visible. But after going a few kilometers away, I felt as if my sense came back. I wondered what I have done. I asked the bus driver to stop the bus and got down in a hurry and took a taxi and went to the place where the rag picker was sitting. But to my surprise he was not there. I searched him here and there for quite sometime but could not find him. Tears rolled down my eyes and I could not stop myself sobbing.

After some time I took another bus and proceeded towards home. I was still thinking about the rag picker. I regretted of not asking him anything, I regretted of not giving him anything to eat, I regretted of not helping a Bishnupriya Manipuri, I regretted of leaving my Bishnupriya Manipuri brother helpless among strangers in an unknown land.

I, till date, regret of my biggest mistake of my life and wish some day the rag picker comes in front of me a bring me out of the sin I committed by ignoring him in an unknown land.

Rishikesh Sinha added: I don't have words to add anything to this post. I am tongue -tied and feeling heavy with emotions thinking about the ragpicker. It is not that he was a ragpicker that is haunting me, but what were the circumstances led him to plunge into this profession and thats also in an alien land which is clotting me from inside.

Sunday, 21 October 2007

Now "Bishnupriya Manipuri" in You Tube

I failed to stop myself jotting down my instant feelings when my eyes saw the first uploaded videos of Bishnupriya Manipuri in the Google’s You Tube. I was happy literally like a child. Like the Bishnupriya Manipuri Language page in the, presence of our community in this Broadcast Yourself site is of great importance.

Now we are not only available in the internet in the form of text but in the form of vedios. Those who are interested in our community, can now have the options to understand the Bishnupriya Manipuri community much better and in much better medium. It will definitely give a new insight in the understanding of the community.

The credit of uploading the first Bishnupriya Manipuri vedios in the You Tube goes to Mr. Uttam Singha. I don’t know about others how they are taking the news, but in personal front I am feeling proud of him. Speaking the truth, it was in my mind to upload something related to Bishnupriya Manipuri in the You Tube. But anyway I am feeling proud of him.

You can view his uploaded vedio by clicking here. Leave comments on his vedios here . You can subscribe to his vedios even. I am subscribing to his vedios. But not now since my PC is in a very pathetic condition. I aspect more vedios coming up from him.

Thursday, 18 October 2007

Khuttei: Symbol of Bishnupriya Manipuri

By Ranita Sinha, Kolkata, India

Khuttei (towel) can rightly be denoted as the trademark of a Bishnupriya Manipuri. It is an inseparable part of a Bishnupriya Manipuri house. It has a distinctive feature of its own. The texture of a Bishnupriya Manipuri house is not complete without a khuttei put in the courtyard to dry in the sun.

Khutteis are mainly used by the male members of the Bishnupriya Manipuri family to wrap around as a dhoti or lungi at home. It is also used by the male and female lot to dry their body and hair. It is very convenient to use as it is very light and does not take time to dry.

Khutteis in earlier days were weaved at every Bishnupriya Manipuri house by the female members for their own use. At present, as khutteis are available in the market; many houses have stopped weaving at home and soon this custom of weaving khutteis is loosing its popularity. But for many it has become the source of income. As our khutteis are convenient to use, it is in demand not only among Bishnupriya Manipuri's but also among other communities. Now a days weaving of khutteis is prevalent only among those who think of earning by selling it and those who cannot afford to buy and the rest prefer to buy from the market.

Bishnupriya Manipuri Khutteis are of different colours such as ranga (red), mahong (pink), napu (orange), basonta (yellow), hawaiya (florescent yellow), tanwalang (parrot green), nil (blue), sanglel (bottle green), khoiyari (coffee), jaroli (violet) etc. the khutei are weaved and given a fixed texture. A khuttai has a border of an inch or two on both sides of the length. The body is again given the structure of small boxes mixing the above colours.

The Khutai of Bishnupriya Manipuries are again of different length and sizes. Sare panch atti (7 feet 7inches length) and sare chari atti ( 6 feet 3 inches length) are used by the males to wear. Teen atti ( 4 feet 3 inches) Khutteis are used by both the male and the female lot to dry their body, face and hair.

Bishnupriya Manipuri khuttai are made by a fixed procedure. The instruments used for weaving a khutei are – tereng, terengor jang, natua, jatar, laltum, yepu, gulli, haal, langchak, jaka, singkak, pacheng, chena, bow, gilla etc.

To start with the procedure to weave a khuttei, firstly the threads (luri) is weaved and it is washed and starched and put in the sun to dry. After the threads are dried it is rolled finely using a tareng, jatar and laltum. After that, depending on the number of khutteis to be weaved, the threads are stretched at an open area and given the basic structure using konnapa, chena, gulli and pacheng. Then the stretched threads are gently rolled and put on the weaving machine (haal) and thus it is ready to get weaved. The weaving is done by using a weaving shuttle(langchak). After this lengthy procedure it takes three to four hours to complete a khuttei.

Khutteis also plays an important role in the Bishnupriya Manipuri religious ceremonies. Khutteis are gifted to the Isalpa (singer), Dakulla and Palla (musicians) to perform in marriage and shrada ceremonies, popularly known as “dahina”. Khuttei is also used to wipe the feet of the groom by the bride's younger brother during a marriage ceremony.

Thus, khuttei plays an important social role in the life of a Bishnupriya Manipuri. In many cases it happens that after seeing a khuttei put to dry in the sun, we come in contact with people of our community in foreign land.

Has it ever happened that you saw a khuttei and you come to the conclusion – yes, this is a Bishnupriya Manipuri house. Do tell and do comment.

Tuesday, 16 October 2007

boisterous, bad


boisterous - wild and noisy

The dressing room atmosphere became boisterous with the arrival of the team manager.


WRONG: I don't understand how she could treat him so bad.

CORRECT: I don't understand how she could treat him so badly.

GRAMMAR: When we want to say “how”, we normally use an adverb. Most adverbs end in “ly”.

Friday, 12 October 2007

A Brief Biography of Sri Kunjo Singha

By Ranita Sinha, Kolkata
Sri Kunjo Singha
Sri Kunjo Singha, one of the renowned names in the field of Bishnupriya Manipuri dance, is one of the most dazzling and talented disciple of Guru Bipin Singh. He is a very renowned teacher of Manipuri dance and drum dancing, and has reached the peaks and heights of it.

Born on 31st Dec 1951, Kunjo Singha was the youngest amongst five siblings - one sister and four brothers. As he lost his father Late Shri Sangam Singha and mother Late Smt. Tambi Devi at an early age, he could not continue his studies and thought of mastering in the art of Lathi Khela. But Pandit Vijay Mukherjee ( Rashdari) asked Sri Kunjo Singha to get training of Manipuri Dance and thus he started his initial training from Pandit Vijay Mukherjee.

Once Guru Bipin Singh, on one of his usual visit to his village (Singari) asked Shri Bangshi Singha (Dakula) to arrange a Bishnupriya Manipuri boy to accompany him to Manipur, who would help him in his daily chores and also to get training in Manipuri Dance. Bangshi Singha recommended Sri Kunja Singha's name and thus he accompanied Guru Bipin Singh to Manipur at the age of nineteen and thus started the formation of the life of a legendary in Manipuri Dance.

After six years of rigorous training, Sri Kunjo Singha earned the title of “Visharad” in the year 1976. It was the consequence of hard, sincere and dedicated training of six years. Along with Manipuri Dance he has a very deep versatility and specialization in drum dancing. After attaining 'Visharad' he shifted his base from Manipur to Kolkata (then Calcutta) along with Guruji.

Sri Kunjo Singha started stage performance in the year 1977 and since than he paved his way to different tours in various parts of India. After that he not only performed in Indian stages but also performed in foreign countries including France, Russia and Italy along with the world famous Jhaveri sisters and carved a niche in the name of fame at a very short span. (Article on Jhaveri sisters in the Hindu)

In the year 1987, he went to Holland, Canada and Thailand with the Bengal Service Society. In the year 1997 i.e. on the 50th year of Indian Independence he was invited as an Indian Embassy to Burma and over and above he was given the golden opportunity to perform there. Again he visited Sweden via London in the year 1999, along with the troop of Manipuri Nartanalaya to perform Mridanga and Dhol Chalan under the I.C.C.R. Organisation.

Sri Kunjo Singha, though a Bishnupriya Manipuri and hailed from Silchar, he is very much attached to the land of Bengal. Thus in the year 1983 he rejected the post of Dance Lecturer in Khairaghar Indira University, Madhya Pradesh. Again after six months he joined Kala Mandir, Patna as a Dance Lecturer but left the job after three months and returned to Kolkata. After returning from Patna Sri Kunjo Singha joined Rabindra Bharati University and served there as a part time teacher for seven long years (1986-92) but ultimately in the year 1993 his post as a dance teacher was made permanent and he is still there and is very popular among the students.

Sri Kunjo Singha is the Founder Director of Manipuri Nartanalaya and is the Founder of Manipuri Nartanangam.

Above his professional life Sri Kunjo Singha has a personal life too. His family comprises of his wife and a twelve years old daughter. He got married on 14th of August 1983 to Meera Singha, daughter of Late Sri Rajkumar Singha and Smt. Tombi Sena Devi of village Singari, Silchar. Smt. Meera Singha is also a prominent dancer. His daughter Miss Konkona Singha is a student of Seventh Standard and is a talented and renowned name in the field of Manipuri Dance. She at this tender age has the capability of making the audience cry with her performance. Konkona gave her first stage performance at the age of four and a half year.

Sri Kunjo Singha says that there is no end to learning and he says he feels till date that he has lot more to learn.

Sri Sri Bhubaneshwar Sadhu Thakur

By Ranita Sinha, Kolkata

Sri Sri Bhubaneshwar Thakur, the great saint of the Bishnupriya Manipuri Community was born on 26th October, 1871, in a remote village of Cachar district called Baropua in the state of Assam. He was born to a Xatriya Manipuri family. His father Sri Sanatan Pandit was a Sanskrit teacher and mother Srimati Malati Devi, a house wife.

Sadhu Baba from his childhood was indifferent to all worldly happenings. He was engrossed in chanting the name of Lord Krishna. Along with other students of his age, Sadhu Baba started taking lessons of grammar and other spiritual literature from his father. At a very young age he lost his mother but he was brought up with utmost love and care by his step mother.

At the age of eighteen, Sadhu baba lost his father, so, to continue his spiritual education under the guidance of Rajpandit Mineshwas Swarbabhwam Bhattacherjee, he went to Tripura. But within one year he made up his mind to visit all the holy places and as such he took permission from his Guruji and set out to fulfill his desire. Within four years, with the grace of Lord Govinda, Sadhu Baba visited all the holy places and reached Vrindavana.

There he took Diksha from Shrila Krishnadas Vaivaigya Thakur. During his stay in Vrindavana, Sadhu Baba was loved and respected by all. Seeing his devotion towards Lord Krishna and the Bhagavat Gita, Sadhu Baba was given the title of ‘Thakur’ by his Guru at a meeting of the Vaishnavas.

Few years later sadhu Baba came to the dream land of Shri Radha Rani, Nawadeep. Here seeing his pure Vaishnav attire and his devotion towards Lord Krishna, Sadhu Baba was allowed to stay in Shri Govinda Mandir. There he led his life eating whatever little he had by begging. He stayed in the mandir and served the Lord for 25 long years and with the help of the Vaishnavas of different other communities Sadhu Baba accumulated eighty thousand rupees and renovated the Mandir with marble stone. There he had lots of pupils who came to learn about spiritual literature and his devotional songs were liked by all.

But there were some people who were against Sadhu Baba’s teachings and his devotional songs. But Sadhu Baba did not give up. He took help from the Pandits of Vrindavana and published a book named ‘Sri Sri Hariram Mongol’, where his teachings and devotional songs were said to be true. But still due to the rude behavior of the people who were against him, Sadhu Thakur one day decided to leave Nawadeep and proceed towards Vrindavana and was waiting in the railway station for the train.

At that time, Lord Krishna ordered Sri Krishna Dutta, a resident of Nawadeep, in his dreams to stop Sadhu Thakur from leaving Nawadeep. Sri Krishna Dutta went to the station and narrated the whole story to Sadhu Baba and brought him back and donated a piece of land and asked Sadhu Baba to establish Sri Sri Radha Krishna Mandir there. Later with the help of devotees that visited the mandir Sadhu Baba, within a short span of four years, established Shri Shri Radha Govinda Jew Mandir, popularly known as Govindobari. The Bishnupriya Manipuri Community also helped Sadhu Thakur a lot to establish the mandir.

On 17th July 1940, Sri Sri Bhubaneshwar sadhu Thakur left for heavenly abode while chanting the name of Lord Krishna, at the age of sixty nine. Till date the daily puja rituals of Sri Sri Radha Govinda Jew Mandir is done following the terms and conditions laid down by Sadhu Thakur.

Dear Reader these writing may not be upto the mark. It is just an effort from my part. It is a drop in the ocean. So, please feel free to point out any error so that it can be rectified.

Photo: Sri Sri Bhubaneshwar Thakur by bipulsarma2003

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Thursday, 11 October 2007

Tushar Sinha - Sa Re Ga Ma Pa participant

Zee TV's Sa Re Ga Ma Pa, the musical extravaganza show, is in the final leg of its Hero Honda Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Challenge 2007 edition. Three contestants - Aneek Dhar, Amanat Ali, and Raja Hasan are in the fray to capture the title. Music lovers as well as the participants knows the cult status the Sa Re Ga Ma Pa carry.

Unlike the Indian Idol, Sa Re Ga Ma the oldest musical show in the Indian satellte television, has produced singers of highest talent and capability. Avdhoot Guptey, Shreya Ghoshal, Sanjeevani Bhelande, and Kunal Ganjawala are some of the names that have their roots deep into the show. You would be thinking what Sa Re Ga Ma Pa has to do with this blog devoted to Bishnupriya Manipuri.

Those who have closely watched the programme knows what relation the show has with the Bishnupriya Manipuri people. It is to be mentioned the show is considered as the ticket to enter the studios of Bollywood, the maya nagri.

Tushar Sinha, a Bishnupriya Manipuri boy was one of the participants in the show who entered in the top 24 list of candidates. Which is indeed a show of mettle on the part of Tushar. To be selected and noticed in the life-taking like competition of Sa Re Ga Ma Pa is perhaps a certificate of Tushar's singing talent. He carries a mellifluous voice and a impeccable style (hair style).

Though his stint in the show was short and was voted out. His singing talent was appreciated in front of the best music directors of the Hindi film industry, and of course in front of the whole nation. Fan of Shah Rukh Khan, Tushar Sinha (I will ask him how many times he has seen the latest Khan flick Chak De India) was offered by his mentor Himesh Reshammiya to sing for one his upcoming movie. If Himesh's offer does carry a weight, not to mention the rest would go down the pages of history.

He hails from Silchar, Cachar, Assam. His favorite actor is none other than Big B Amitabh Bachchan.

Friends, all related materials in this post has been taken from the Internet. I request if someone could add more lines associated with him mentioning about his parent's name, schooling and from which village he belongs to. Not to forget photographs are always wah..wah..Niyam Hoba.

Related articles:

The comeback of Tushar Sinha [Sunday, 27 September 2009]

Search Tushar Sinha, the Zee TV Sa-Re-Ga-Ma-Pa singer [Wednesday, 16 September 2009]

Monday, 8 October 2007

A brief profile of Bimal Sinha

By RK Rishikesh Sinha

It came as a tragic news for all Bishnupriya Manipuri people in Tripura, as well as in the neighbouring state of Assam, when the then Health and Urban Development Minister Bimal Sinha and his younger brother Bidyut Sinha were gunned down by the militants of the outlawed National Liberation Front of Tripura (NLFT).

His killing immediately created a voidness, a voidness that cannot be filled up in the whatever Bishnupriya Manipuria community political aspiration it has. The Frontline on Apr. 11 - 24, 1998 wrote: "He had apparently been targeted because he was popular among the tribal people of Kamalpur and had organised them to resist the NLFT's campaign of violence."

Of his messiah like stature that Bimal Sinha came to the citadel of Tripura politics not once but five times as a elected member from the Kamalpur tribal belt. He started his political career as a general secretary of a college union that was controlled by the Students Federation of India (SFI).

His political acumen was polished and given shape and groomed when he came in contact with Marxist leader Nripen Chakraborty, a member of the CPI(M) since 1970. He was one of the founders of the Communist movement in Tripura. He along with the late Dasrath Deb, laid the foundations of a strong Communist movement in the State. He died on Dec 26, 2004. [Communist Party of India (Marxist)article on Nripen Chakraborty]

Bimal Sinha became a member of the party's State Committee in 1978. He later became Deputy Speaker and then Speaker of the Assembly. He was not only living a life of a politician, more than that he was a poet and a novelist. He directed a Kokborok-language film, Longthorai. Based on one of his five novels, the film deals with the life of the tribal people in the Longthorai hills.

Moreover, he will be remembered for bringing the TNV to the mainstream politics. TNV participated in elections as an ally of the Congress(I).

After he was shot dead, the Hindu reported: "A 24-hour Statewide bandh was called on April 1 to protest against the killing of Bimal Sinha. It evoked a total response."

The same national daily also added: Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee, in a message condemning the killing, said violence had no place in a civilised society. In a message to the Tripura Government, West Bengal Chief Minister Jyoti Basu condemned the murder and expressed concern over the rise of secessionist and extremist forces in Tripura.

"Tripura Chief Minister Manik Sarkar requested Union Home Minister L.K. Advani to send adequate security forces to Tripura. It was decided that 22 companies of the Central Reserve Police Force, which were withdrawn from the State last month for election duty in Jammu and Kashmir, would be sent back to the State, quoted the paper.

Friends, if you find any information related to Late Bimal Sinha. Do send. So that a comprehensive profile of his life can be made.

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Courtesy: Frontline

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Sunday, 7 October 2007

Boat!..No, there is a Bridge, a concrete Bridge


While going to my village Mohanpur, taking the Masimpur-Rani feri route, you will see a bridge, a long concrete bridge. It was not what today it looks. It had a history of its own. And those who have been to the Bishnupriya Manipuri villages like Baropua, Pithir Gang, Bihara, Tehngara Gang, Burunga etc..they know how their travel changed with the dynamics of the river.

Since childhood, I don’t know how many times I have taken this route. At first with my father as my companion, and as time passed by I started going alone. And from here my memories start taking wings. Well, it is not that I don’t carry any impression of those days I as a child used to go along with mother and father. It had an altogether surge of feelings associated with it.

I remember, after getting down from the bus my father used to give one rupee coin or lesser denomination per person to a manned bamboo check post. And the same was repeated by each traveller – giving a fee to the manned bamboo check post. The word “check post” would be wrong and inapproprite since there was not a single policeman in and around the bank of the river. Moreover, there was not a barricade on the bank of the river instead it had a rope of jute crisscrossing the kutcha path.

To cross the river, we used to have boats waiting. And it used to come as a primary mode of communication for all travellers. The bus on which we had travelled used to remain there. And all travellers after crossing the river had to board bus to get to their destination. Now, when the bridge is built and it is in the transporation condition, I think of those people for whom boat was their primary source of income and livelihood. What alternative profession they would have taken? Do you know?

And there was a period when the bus used to go along with the passengers on a big iron lounge. I had travelled once or thrice. It was a motorized boat. Next came, I don’t have word to express its name; it had a look of two boats joined together.
That was the intricacy of my travelogue which has etched in one corner of my mind. Last time when I went there I found there was no man in the check post with a jute rope collecting denomiantion of 1 rupee. It was missing and so was the bank which which once had a lively market with shops selling toffees, biscuits and what not. A bridge has taken place of the boat.

This time, the fear of how to get into the other side of the river, no doubt was missing, but I was missing also the little tension and little bit of communication I had while crossing the river. The bridge has made the road straight and so is my journey of thoughts. Now, when I have started earning my bread and butter and there is money in my purse I don’t see the man in the check post. It has vanished as nothing was there before. I don’t know – what I would see in my next visit. Will there be any sign of civilization that once had its existence in this same bank? It has to be seen.

Friends if you take this route; stop there for a moment and see the whole surrounding. It was once full of activities. Please don’t take the Silchar-Badarpur-Kalain route to visit my place.

Friday, 5 October 2007

Virtues of being a Bishnupriya Manipuri

By RKHL Sinha, New Delhi

My all early days memories dates back to early fifties, and here is one which I still cherish and it is somewhere deep inside my consciousness, and it will remain ever. The Bishnupriya Manipuri’s society, and not to mention my birthplace Mohanpur, was brimming with activities. There was a sense of unity, dedication, devotion, and it was visible, amongst all villagers.

These virtues were driving everyone from an individual, to individual house, to neighbourhood houses, to the whole village and later extending it to the neighbouring villages. And the same enthusiasm can be said about the Bishnupriya Manipuri community as a whole. This driving force, I believe, was preparing the framework of the coming generation.

The bonding amongst the villagers could be seen in the agricultural field. In those days agriculture was the primary source of livelihood of the Bishnupriya Manipuri community. During the agricultural season neighbours extending helping hands to their neighbouring houses was a common phenomenon. This gesture of assistance or say amity, if I am not wrong, was instrumental in infusing dignity of labour to the community member.

The women folk of the village played an important role at the time of reaping and harvesting of corps. Before the arrival of reaping and harvesting of the corps, they used to assemble and form a group that to render services in the paddy fields. The group served one purpose: each member got benefits turn-by-turn in a stipulated assigned period commencing from 7.30 AM to 12 AM.

Their presence in the field reverberate the whole feeza and that too in the early morning with their devotional songs. The collective echo of the songs seemed so sweet that it still rings in my ears. For me the songs were something that inspires us to do arduous task in the fields.

At evening the atmosphere of the village was found full of devotion. Men used to be at temple to offer Arati to God Sri Radha Krishna. Those who were eager to learn religious songs (Eshalpa), playing Mridanga (Dulak), Duwar and recitation of religious books (Leric Thipa) used to assemble at the houses of the respective Gurus and learn the nuances of the field.

Apart from performing religious celebration, an individual family dedicates Naam Yagya namely Sandhya Naam and Adibas with the help of numbers of Eshalpa, Dakula and Duwar of the community. The Naam mainly observes the peace of soul of departed heavenly fore fathers.

The Sandhya Naam used to start from early in the morning and finished at sun set continuously without any break. One time vegetarian meal was prepared by dozen of Brahmin offered to every devotee. In this occasion the host got tremendous help from villagers.

For Adibas, the Naam Sandya was started from evening and finished at next day sun set with the help of sufficient numbers of Eshalpa, Dakula and Duwar. Two times vegetarian meal was offered to every devotee. The attendance of devotees was much more than the Sandya Naam and hence the expenditure so incurred was very high to decorate the celebration in all respects.

Now coming to the present scenario, unfortunately, the enriched heredity of our Bishnupriya Manipuri community is rapidly proceeding towards its comma, for which every one should get awake well in advance and should render their good service for the cause of community, its culture.

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Tuesday, 2 October 2007

You Tube Bishnupriya Manipuri Dance

Rishikesh Sinha, New Delhi

Not to mention Bishnupriya Manipuri Status in Google is big ZERO. So, one cannot expect Bishnupriya Manipuri video to appear in You Tube or in Google video.

But thanks to somanymustaches who has uploaded the Manipuri dance in the You Tube.

Meanwhile let us enjoy his uploaded video.

Let us hope next time we have our own Bishnupriya Manipuri video content!!

Bishnupriya Manipuri Culture

RKHL Sinha, New Delhi

We, Bishnupriya Manipuri community people are Vaisnavities, our heart is soft, and it is so soft that the religious lyrics of Lord Sri Krishna and Sri Chaitanya Mohaprabhu bring tears in our eyes. That is what we witness in the plays of Raslila, Bhagavad Gita, in the recitation of the Ramayana and in the Mahabharata as well as in other religious functions of the community.

Every community has their own rule and conducts, so we have. The unique sitting arrangement and the components that are involved in any social gathering as well as in the other cultural gathering are as follows:

Kirtanmapu: He is person wearing a pagri is authorised to allot respective sit for Brahmins, Rajkumar, Kshatriyas, women folks, Sainyasis and Sadhus. One of the sit is permanently reserved for the Goddiswar, the respected Brahmin empowered by the community. The special sit is followed by a Gaddi covered with white bed sheet and pillow. Nobody is allowed to occupy the Gaddi except the designated pious Brahmin.The Kirtanmapu preferred to sit in the front.

Panasaberi: The function of Panaseberi is to take care of the devotees by offering them with Leichandan and pan supari from time to time.

Kholpumfum: A pious elder person who offers water on legs of pious elder devotees and Sadhus.

Bhandari: A designated righteous person is responsible for preparing food stuffs. Nobody is allowed to disturb his professional work.

I feel proud that the level of grandeur that is being followed religiously in any social gathering is unparalleled to any other communities. Efforts must be there to keep it intact before it becomes one of the extinct practices.

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Monday, 1 October 2007

Bishnupriya Manipuri community in early 1950's

RKHL Sinha, New Delhi

I remember, in the early 1950’s the social structure of Bishnupriya Manipuri community was full of agony and frustration. People were fighting tooth and nail for livelihood; and the so called education which works as the fulcrum to uplift the stairs of social reforms, was no where peeping into the doors of the community. As a result the means of survival was fully depended on the physical power given by every member of the family irrespective of gender in the paddy field. Agriculture was the only source of livelihood and earning.

It is worth to mention, in those times the impact of religion was quite visible in the way people used to conduct themselves “untouchability” (to say) to food, drink and shelter.

It is due to the so called “untouchability” that people of the community were not able to encash the fruit of education. The level of communication with other communities was limited and closely guarded. There was a lack of cross pollination of ideas that usually takes place when any community comes in contact with other communities.

You can say the Bishnupriya Manipuri community as a whole was much like a lonely island where there is no ferry facility to transport people and resources. We were living in such a island that was sinking in the sea of developments.

So, young people, deprived of the education added with unemployment and poverty, were compelled to break the untouchability, and they started enrolling in Army and in the para military forces. In this way they not only broke untouchability but saved themselves from the attack of the abject poverty that was lingering on them and in the whole community.

Now, I suppose all those people who were the ‘first’ to become fauzis/ jawans were instrumental in opening the closed door of our community, making a bridge between the luxury of the present generation and their ignoble past.

Had they not enrolled in the Army and other related services, their sons (the present generation) would not have the pomposity that they are enjoying now? Moreover, how the community as a whole would have taken the jolt of the extreme poverty? Just think about it.

What shape the community would have taken if they hadn’t enrolled in the Army and in the para military services? If I am not wrong the strong presence that we witness now in the villages, where from every house there is one or two fauzi would not have taken place? What do you think about it? Do comment.
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