Thursday, 29 November 2007

Bangladesh Bishnupriya Manipuri people celebrates Maha-Ras

On Saturday, 24-11-2007, the Bishnupriya Manipuri people in Bangladesh celebrated the principal festival and the foremost annual cultural event Maha-Ras in a grand way and with great enthusiasm.

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Tuesday, 27 November 2007

Sri Sri Bhubaneshwar Sadhuthakur's 137 Birth Celebration in Pune and Mumbai

Bishnupriya Manipuri people living in Pune and Mumbai, like in other parts of the country, celebrated Sri Sri Bhubaneshwar Sadhuthakur's Janmo Mahotsav with devotion and with religiosity.

By Rebati Mohan Sinha

The 1st celebration of Akhil Bharitiya Sri Sri Bhubaneshwar Sadhuthakur's Janmo Mahotsav (137th Birth Aniversary) was solemnized in Pune at Range Hill, Anand Bhavan on 10th, 11th of November 2007. Bishnupriya Manipuri people from all over India specially from Delhi, Mumbai, Assam, Tripura, Ahmedabad and Kolkata participated in the celebration with great enthusiasm.

The celebration marked devoted men and women in traditional attires

In Mumbai, the same was held at New Airport Colony, Santacruz Mumbai.

Related stories:
Delhi Bishupriya Manipuri celebrated Bhubaneshwar Sadhu Thakur's Abhirbhab Tithi

Sri Sri Bhubaneshwar Sadhu Thakur

Mileau of the Sadhu Thakur Abhirbab Tithee

Kolkata Bishnupriya Manipuri celebrated Bhubaneshwar Sadhu ThakurAbhirbhab Tithi


Saturday, 24 November 2007

Raasleela: The Grand Bishnupriya Manipuri Festival

The Bishnupriya Manipuri people celebrates Durga Puja, and other festivals like Janmastami, Holi, and Sankranti with much fanfare and excitement. On the line of it, the community has its own festivals like Raasleela, Rathyatra, Merameri and door-to-door-begging as a part of Dolyatra.

By BN Sinha, New Delhi

Sri Krishna Raasleela is observed with great fanfare and enthusiasm in almost every Bishnupriya Manipuri village in Assam and Tripura. BM community is known to be the worshiper of Lord Krishna.

Rathyatra is one of the major festivals that BM community observes. Every BM individual is well acquainted with the terms like Raasdhari, Sutradhari, Duar, Mathang etc. which are the integral characters of Raasyatra apart from Krishna, Radha and Gopis. Raasyatra generally falls on the fullmoon of the Kartik month of Saka calender which is better known as Raaspurnima.

This year it falls on the Saturday 24th Nov. In order to perform Raasleela, the rehearsals generally take place much before the D day. All the participants are well dressed with traditional Polais and with Nupurs and gold ornaments etc. The program usually starts in the late evening and whole night Sri Krishna Raasleela is performed with beautiful dances and songs.

The corollary of Raasleela is so strong that every Bishnupriya Manipuri can croon at least few lines: “ kini kini baje, nupuro runu jhunu baje” or “ kalindi pulin bone kunjo bone sajo re”. Furthermore they might be aware of a dance step like “ ghintein -ta kkhit-ta ddhin-ta”. The program finally ends with Sri Krishna-Radha jugal aarati. And on that special day the participants are considered as real gods rather than mere artists.

Raasleela is definitely the most important festival the BM community observes. But the intensity is certainly plummeting day by day as there is dearth of disciples of dakula, eshalpa, raasdhari, sutadhari, etc. Though the reason for scarcity is not only the lack of interest in the youngsters; there are other inevitable reasons also like employment opportunities etc.

Futhermore, it not very clear to the BM community that which is our major festival, the one like Teej to Punabis, Durga puja to Bengalies and Chhat puja to the Biharies as Rathyatra is also celebrated as a major festival specially in the areas like Patharkandi, Dullabhchherra, the regions of Kushiyara valley .

Though Durgapuja is celebrated by the urban BMs of Silchar and Tripura nevertheless other festivals are also celebrated with great excitement like Janmastami, Holi , Sankranti etc. not to mention a special BM youth fest Merameri which takes place on the eve of Makar Sankranti. There are other typical BM customs like begging door to door as a part of Dolyatra,and the customary play of Dosh pochis after the Chaitra Sankranti.

It is a known fact that in the era of GSM , Orkut , Beyonce and T20, BM community has also started finding itself compatible to the emerging cosmopolitan culture of
India wherein occasions like New Year and Valentines Day are celebrated with much fanfare and enthusiasm irrespective of caste and community and modern BMs are also familiar with the Ricky Martins, Enrique Igliciouses, Norah Jhons and Shakiras notwithstanding the BM Gen-X also have not forgotten to compose and sing songs which says
“ aaho aaho amar emare mingal korik,
jaat hanore habihane tuliya goje korik”


Thursday, 22 November 2007

Bishnupriya Manipuri Vs Bodo

Using their stratagic location as a bargaining chip, Bodo people got everything that any community in India could demand for. Do we have any such bargaining chip or ...?

By BN Sinha, New Delhi

We all know that the population of Bishnupriya Manipuri community is sprinkled all across in the northeastern part of India, its concentration is higher in Barak Valley of Assam and in the state of Tripura; the community can also be found in the few districts of Bangladesh like Shyllet etc.

Though there is no statistical census mentioning the total population of the community, it is approximated the figure would be 30 Lakh who are based in Cachar, Karimgunj, Hailakandi, Kailasahar, Dharmanagar, Kamalpur etc.

Despite having a strong cultural and ethnical background, literacy rate not lesser in comparison to other tribes, and being academically OK ; nevertheless we stand nowhere in the political scenario of India. The reason may be that we are geographically scattered and not strategically located like the tribal community, the Bodos.

In comparison to Bodos , though they have an edge to be termed as Schedule Tribes, the whole community nowhere stand in front of Bishnupriya Manipuri community with respect to academics, technical, art and culture etc.

Of the fact that the population of the tribe Bodo would be hardly 25-30 Lakh in totality, it is their strategic presence in the entry and exit areas of the north eastern part of India, that have fetched them every necessary components to enrich and consolidate their community, which the BM community is deprived of.

The only passage for all the seven states of north east India is through the southern part of Assam, which we call it Lower Assam, presently the Bodoland consisting of four districts - Kokrajhar, Chirang, Baska and Udalguri – that has made all the difference, difference in the bargaining power that the Bishnupriya Manipuri community, perhaps, does not enjoy.

Nevertheless, till date Bodos have a very low literacy rate and all the commercial establishments are dominated by other communities like Bengali and Marwaris. Even the lingua- franka of the region is Bengali.

Taking the advantage of their geographical location they have done every bid to get the political benefits and finally an autonomous territory of their own called Bodoland Territorial Council [BTC]; however it came with no lesser price. Their movement saw active participation from the ABSU ( All Bodo Students Union), and with the insurgent groups like NDFB ( National Democratic Front of Bodoland) and BLT ( Bodo Liberation Tigers) etc.

Names like Upen Brahma, Premsing Brahma, S K Basumatary are all heroes of their movement. Being chief of BTC, Mr Hagrama Mahilary is doing every bid to develop his own community and territory with the help of their Lok Sabha MP [Member of Parliament] Mr Samsuma Basumatry in the center.

It is a known fact that the present coalition govt. of Assam headed by Congress was formed with the support of 22 MLAs of Bodo Peoples Progressive Front ( H), so they had a good bargain in return to get Ms Pramila Rani Brahma and Mr Chandan Brahma as Cabinet Ministers.

An interesting point is that in the field of academic development of Bodoland and the Bodo community as a whole, significant unforgettable contribution of Bishnupriya Manipuri community present in that territory has been marked upon.

Prof R.N.Sinha , Principal of Science College, Kokrajhar, Sunil Sinha, SDO and few other academicians like Roopak Sinha etc. are the few prominent names whose contribution to the development of Bodo community is noteworthy. And it is these people’s stronghold in the BTC authority which helped them to get one of eminent Bishnupriya Manipuri, Dr Ranjit Sinha , Director of the Indian Council for Social Science Research (ICSSR) as the Advisor to the chief of BTC.

It is worth to mention that decade back the Bodo community was way behind the Bishnupriya Manipuri community in every spheres of life but in the present scenario we stand nowhere in comparison to them. And it is certainly of their geographical advantage which they liquidated upon in a very smart and with proper strategy.

Had we, the Bishnupriya Manipuri community also been blessed with the strategic location like the Bodo community, than the story would have been different, and would have taken an another path. So to turn the table on our side, to our benefit we must search for a "strength" that we have, and should be used tactically. It has to be find out and must be worked upon - What strength do you have?

On a cerebral trance a song comes in my mind composed by an unknown BM poet…
Teipang jonome kiya jorom oilu , manur loge manna nuailu..
aar te probhu jorom naainga , esaade kopal thiyoiya.


Tuesday, 20 November 2007

Look! a five-battery torch

We looked here and there to find if anybody had left it by mistake. But there was no one. Seeing all this my whole body started shivering, I was not able to utter a single word, of fear or of excitement, I don’t know.

By Ranita Sinha, Kolkata

Way back in the year 1996 me, my sister and my parents went to visit our relatives 
at our parental village, Tinokhal in Patherkandi, Assam. It was in the month of January. Those days there was a saying that Lord Shiva, Durga and Ganesha emerged at a farmer's house at a village called Nuagang.

I am not a person, who believes in superstitions or ghosts or such things. I was not able to believe what I heard. But people from far and wide were coming to have a glimpse of the miracle. Curious to know the whole thing, I asked one of my cousin to take me there. He instantly refused saying that it was quite far and we had to walk more than 5 Kms, up and down. But I somehow convinced him.

That evening at around 6 o'clock, me, my sister and three of my cousins set out for the adventure. To reach the village there was no other way than walk along a narrow road by the river Longai.It was a kuccha road where one side lies the river and the other side vast paddy fields; miles and miles away there was no sign of human habitat. Moreover, it was dark and chilled. We did not even carry a torch light with us.

While we were walking along, we were so tired and we even could not walk fast as it 
was very dark. That time I told to one of my cousins mockingly " Dada ajikar Durga Ema ago huttume go oilete, path gor hadigor maje panch batterier torch ago dok banai" (Dada, if at all today's Durga Ma is real let her provide us with a five battery torch). Hearing my words all of us had a big laugh.

Anyway after walking for more than one and half hours we reached the house of the farmer. We saw lots of people who came to have a look of the deities. Before entering the house we were asked to wash our hands and feet. When we entered the house we saw three beds in a room. Upon the beds three different structures were formed with paddy. The people present there told us that the structures were formed itself. Some of the people present there, showed us which structure was of Lord Shiva, Durga and Ganesha. But truly speaking we could not understand anything. Still we bowed with full devotion and started our back journey.

While walking back we were busy enquiring each other if anybody was able to make out the structures but none of us had the answer. All of a sudden one of my cousins said "Look! a five-battery torch". The torch was lying on the middle of the road. We all got stunned, as it seemed as if my wish had come true. We looked here and there to find if anybody had left it by mistake. But there was no one. Seeing all this my whole body started shivering, I was not able to utter a single word, of fear or of excitement, I don’t know.

After sometime I asked my cousins to take the torch along with us. But they laughed at me and said that I was crazy to talk like that. They said that while picking the torch, if somebody would come and claim it we would be embarrassed. I somehow got convinced with what they said and resumed our back journey.

But all the way back I was thinking- was that a sign which Durga Mata wanted to show me that she does exist? Was it a blessing of Durga Mata which I left behind? Or were my cousins right that somebody might have left it behind by mistake? Whatever may be the questions, I did not get the answer as yet.


Sunday, 18 November 2007

Bishnupriya Manipuri people in Tripura

How correct is Barak valley being connoted as the cultural and political hub of the Bishnupriya Manipuri when Bishnupriya Manipuri people living in Tripura are way ahead in every respect to their counterparts in the Silchar region. It's a big question, an intriquing question.

By BN Sinha, New Delhi

Being a Silcharite and also a Bishnupriya Manipuri of Barak Valley, it is quite obvious to share the same thread with the fellow BMs of Tripura. From the very childhood days we were quite familiar with the names of the places like Kailasahar, Dharmanagar etc. With the same note every non-Tripurian Bishnupriya Manipuri certainly shares the same thread linked to Tripura.

We have also been seeing a sea of talents from Tripura as we see meritorious BM Tripurian topping in various institutions of North East like Cotton College, National Institute of Technology [NIT] – Silchar, Gurucharan Charan [GC] College, Gauhati Medical Colloge [GMC], Sichar Medical College [SMC], and also in other universities. I personally witnessed many as I had few BM friends from Tripura who again happened to be stars in their respective fields.

There is always a belief in BMs of other parts of the country that Tripura BMs are more advanced and are always few steps ahead in every spheres of life: education, politics, beaurocracy, medicine etc.

Names like Bimal Sinha, Amar Sinha, Bonomali Sinha, Ashok Sinha are all synonymous with fame and success; interestingly all belonged to the Bishnupriya Manipuri community of Tripura.

It was Tripura which had produced first Bishnupriya Manipuri civil servant, IITians way back in sixties, especially when there were handful of graduates in the community as a whole.

Coming to the present scenario we can see many BM fellows of Tripura making their presence felt in top MNCs and many in PSUs like Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Ltd.[ONGC], Indian Oil Corporation [IOC] etc. Most of them are settled abroad and also there are many promising Bishnupriya Manipuri youth talents of Tripura in every cities and various varsities of India pursuing higher studies in Management, IT, Engineering etc.

Their success is highly commendable; the Bishnupriya community as a whole is proud of BMs of Tripura. To the contrast of BMs of Assam, they never had to face the political hostility and isolation rather they always enjoyed the geo-political advantage having a significant number of population percentage. We all know that the Bishnupriya Manipuri language was introduced in primary education in Tripura much earlier than it came into effect in Assam.

No doubt, BMs living in Barak valley and in other regions of the coubtry have contributed and marked success in their respective chosen fields but collectively speaking to the benchmark of population percentage their success ratio doesn’t come as per to the success stories written by BMs of Tripura.

Despite registering a stronghold in every spheres of life, are we witnessing a negligible contribution towards the community in order to enrich and consolidate its culture, literature, art, music etc…. from Tripurian BMs….???

Why Silchar is considered as the cultural and political hub of Bishnupriya Manipuri community when maximum number of bigwigs are there in Tripura? And where participation of Bishnupriya Manipuri people in politics, education and in government formation is an established fact where as it is still a utopian dream for Bishnupriya Manipuri people living in Assam. Making the whole story short - Why Cachar and Karimgunj witness as many Mahamels as compared to Tripura?

Is it an un answered question in my mind?…. or do I need to enlighten my knowledge and information????…I don’t know…..

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Friday, 16 November 2007

First among Equals

By Ranita Sinha, Kolkata

Our Bishnupriya Manipuri community is gaining momentum steadily. Now, the parents do not think twice or hesitate to spend money to provide their children a better life and better education. Now, both the boy and the girl child is given the same priority. The parents are ever ready to send their children to far off places to gain better education and a better job opportunity. For this reason, now Bishnupriya Manipuri people are seen in every city of India as well as abroad.

Most of the students like migratory birds go out for higher studies and in search of better jobs opportunities, because of this they tend to stay away from their cosy home. Everybody do not want to stay away from home, while some voluntarily take the decision to settle outside, but the bottom line is that they have to stay away from home, for a better livelihood.

Most of the Bishnupriya Manipuri villages have developed. Most of the houses are well build with all modern amenities. The parents are seen to be proudly depicting the success story of their children. They are happy to see their children flourishing in life. They feel proud when their so called "Executive" son goes home in vacation.

It is necessary for any community to break free its territory and walk forward in the path of development and progress. Now, since our community is accepting it in a bulk manner, unemployment problem is diminishing day by day. Now, most of the people of other community come to know about a community called Bishnupriya Manipuri, which to them did not even exist.

Our youngsters are seen in top companies and in better positions. They are seen in IT, Pharma, Media, automobiles etc. They are seen in MNCs and also gaining fame abroad. It is really very nice to hear the success story of many. Every success story of every successful Bishnupriya Manipuri is exclusive because whatever our community people achieve is due to hard work and perseverance. We do not have anybody to back us.

When it is giving pleasure to see our community people mainly youngsters doing better in life and making a space under the sun, yet it is a concern to see the villages diminishing its young population. Most of the villages are seen minus youngsters.

Thursday, 15 November 2007

To be or not to be....

By Suroshree Sinha, New Delhi

To a lot of Bishnupriya Manipuri, the fight of being called a "Manipuri" or being denied the same is not uncommon.

Everyone remembers the court cases, the fights, the disliking...but very few people know that there was a time when people were ordered to burn down whatever available information and proof that a community named " Bishnupriya Manipuri" ever existed. They demolished our Mandirs and killed our people.

It was a fight for existance, a fight to make the world sit up and take notice.

In this time of darkness came a person with a ray of hope, Sri Dasharath Deb ( Barman) the first and probably the last Tribal Chief Minister of Tripura, who once said that he has two friends, one a Metei, and another a Bishnupriya Manipuri. The Metei's never called themselves Manipuri at that time. They called themselves " Metei", It was the Bishnupriya Manipuri that proudly called themselves " Manipuri". I cannot deny the existance of the Bishnupriya Manipuries" or else my bossom friend would not exist at all.

This acted as the first milestone that a tribe called the Bishnupriya Manipuri existed came to limelight and people noticed of it. Otherwise there were people who said the Bishnupriya Manipuri language was a detoriated dilect of Bengali.

My Great Grand Father Sri Kirti Chandra Singha

The establishment of a High School for boys in Kailasheher, Tripura has its history related to a family. Suroshree Sinha reveals.

Sri Kirti Chandra Singha, a resident of Ichappur, Kailasheher was a lawyer during the regime of Radha Kishore Manikkaya Bahadur. He had an intense urge in him to provide proper education to the Bishnupriya Manipuri boys . So, he approached the Maharaja and requested him to open a High School for Boys in Kailasheher.

The Maharaja after hearing his plea, asked Kirti Babu in a ridiculed tone if he wanted the school to provide schooling to his sons. But in return Kirti Babu bowed and replied that he had no sons till date. But since Maharaja uttered the word "son"; Kirti Babu said that he was sure that he would be blessed with a son. Hearing this, the Maharaja got so impressed with the thought that a man who did not have any sons was fighting for a boys school. Thus the boys school was established in Kailasheher. The Maharaja also wished that Kirti Babu be blessed with a son.

Interestingly, after the school was opened Kirti Babu was blessed with two sons - Sri Nilkanta Sinha and Sri Amar Sinha after four daughters. Sri Nilkanta Sinha became the Director Manpower Planning, Govt of Tripura and Sri Amar Sinha the Additional Chief Secretary, Tripura goverment.

There was a song written after Kirti Babu, his friends and associates : "Kirti Babu e, Tanu Babu e..Diyogoi Phiral haan...naugo....tartariya..." which was voiced and sung by famous Gokul Kirtani.

He later became renowned as "Kirti ukil".

Thus this is a brief story of Sri Kirti Chandra Sinha, his contribution to the field of education and to the upliftment of the society as a whole. I thought this would be just a way to pay homage to a great person who incidentally was my Great Grand Father. I am the Grand Daughter of his first son Sri Nilkanta Sinha.

Tuesday, 13 November 2007

Kolkata Bishnupriya Manipuri celebrated Bhubaneshwar Sadhu ThakurAbhirbhab Tithi

By Ranita Sinha, Kolkata

The All Kolkata Bishnupriya Manipuri Society celebrated the 137th Abhirbhab Tithi of Sri Sri Bhubaneshwar Sadhu Thakur in a simple yet traditional way. The Tithi was observed on 10th of Nov 2007(a day in advance due to some unavoidable circumstances). The venue being the premise of Sri Brojo Kishore Sinha, Tegoria, Dum Dum.

It was the third consecutive year, the Bishnupriya Manipuri of Kolkata were celebrating the utsab. Though this year the turn out of people were less (most of the families being out of station for some reason or the other), yet it was celebrated with full devotion and enthusiasm. A member from Durgapur also attended the occasion despite the pain he had to take for driving six hours (up and down) all alone.

Most of the members, both male and female were in their traditional attire (Chakchabi and Inafi and Kurta Pyjama) and not to forget the most sacred 'Nungsha' on their forehead. And the most important thing is that, all the people were wearing a broad smile on their face.

The occasion started with the Brahmin chanting the puja mantras and the people present there singing the Arati songs. Then the Dakula and Isalpa performed some of the traditional songs and everyone participated with whatever little bit of knowledge they have. Then the prasadam was served – khechuri, labra, bainong bhaji, papad, tomato chatni and misti dahi.

It was a soothing experience to the eyes to watch all the community people, gather in an alien land, in a pure traditional way to celebrate the occasion keeping aside all the hectic schedule; which gives an impression that though we are away from our mother land yet we did not forget our culture as yet. Many non Bishnupriya Manipuri
people also marked the occasion. The occasion ended with the Senda Arati.

The occasion became a success because of the major selfless effort taken by Sri Brojo Kishore Sinha(our beloved DamDamar Kaka). Our(Bishnupriya Manipuries of Kolkata), heartiest thanks to him to make possible, the occasion a success.

Monday, 12 November 2007

Mileau of the Sadhu Thakur Abhirbab Tithee

By BN Sinha, New Delhi

The area, Palam, is one of the most congested places in Delhi, specially the colonies like Manglapuri and Rajnagar are densely populated. It took me at least one and half hour to locate and reach the place and the venue, the Arya Samaj Temple, Rajnagar – II, Palam, Delhi where in we, all the Bishnupriya Manipuri of Delhi have celebrated the 118th Abhirbab Tithee of Sri Sri Bhubaneswar Sadhuthakur.

It was a sense of excitement and ecstasy which started rolling over much before the D-day and because of which no body felt the heat of the traffic and the narrow roads, which leads to the venue.

It was a typical Bishnupriya Manipuri function. As usual people started gathering an hour late from the time of assembly. At 10-30 AM it seemed like, because of the Indo–Pak ODI at Kanpur the function will witness a low turnout, but as time proceeded, the whole venue was packed up with our Beyapa- Beibunies.

As usual there were no formal invitation, as in Delhi very less BM people are in contact with each other; nevertheless the turnout was quite remarkable. Though there is a crude committee for the purpose but hats off to MR. C.M.Sinha, Mr. Janmojoy Sinha and few others; whose bold initiative has finally brought the fruit.

The committee members were hardly 8-10 in numbers but the other non members were also excited and were busy to do their bit of help in order to make the program successful, as if all were members by virtue of birth in BM community as said by Mr. Milap Sinha , the treasurer.

A nostalgia was running on the air through out the day as there were BM songs with Dakula and Isalpa. Most ladies were with Chaksabi- Inafi and gents were with Feicham –Khuttei.etc.; last but not the least a prominent Nangsa was in everybody’s face. It was an awesome atmosphere as if we were not in Delhi, the capital but in a remote village in Baromuni, Silchar.

The program witnessed eminent BM personalities like DR.Ranjit Sinha, Director ICSSR and Ms Rakhi Sinha, Commandant CRPF and also other shining youngsters of BM community in Delhi.

Though the Bandara took place quite late but no low-feelings on people's face was seen, as all were engrossed in talking in BM language. The chime of Dhak-Kartal was on the air, making the whole atmosphere a holy and a clear sense of a typical BM malthep.

The program finally ended late in the evening with a promise among the members to acquire a land for making a Sadhuthakur Ashram in Delhi. All the attendants were requested to contribute the trust Bishnupriya Manipuri Nagarik Samity, Delhi for Sadhu Thakur's Ashram.

Few people have already started contributing financially as per their convenience and most have promised to give a big donation for the holy purpose, which certainly shows a ray of hope for the fulfilment of the dream to construct a “ Sri Sri Bhubaneshwar Sadhuthakur Ashram” in Delhi, provided all those promises in public are not broken……..

Lets keep the finger crossed and hope for the best.

Delhi Bishupriya Manipuri celebrated Bhubaneshwar Sadhu Thakur's Abhirbhab Tithi

Rishikesh Sinha, New Delhi

The Bishnupriya Manipuri people residing in Delhi observed the Sri Sri Bhubaneshwar Sadhu Thakur Abhirbhab Tithi held at Arya Samaj Mandir, Dwarka (Mangla Puri) with full religious faith and gusto. The day witnessed active participation from the members of the community as they attended in full strength to make the Tithi successful and memorable.

Photo: Jyotirmoy Sinha

For Bishnupriya Manipuri Delhites, the day came as a great relief from the house-office and again home cyclical life, as a Diwali gift; and for many a meeting place with their distant near and dear relatives and acquaintances. Especially for women, since the day coincided with the Bhai Dhuj and the Government of Delhi had made free travel in the state run buses, it came as a double bonus: meeting with their own people that is without bearing any cost plus attending the Tithi.

The day started with the oral presentation of life and work of Sri Sri Bhubaneshwar Thakur and his influence to the enrichment of the Bishnupriya Manipuri community. The oral presentations were done by Mr. Chandra Mohan Sinha and Mr. Janmejoy Sinha.

People presented there were busy unravelling the online identities of many, in return exchanging their true name and identities. And for many the day came as a common place to meet their Kumbh ke mele me bichre relatives, colleagues and friends. Thus it turned out to be a place where all people know each other, if not by name but by their faces.

The day was also marked with the singing of the religious songs. It was followed up with the unveiling of the plans of the Bishnupriya Manipuri Nagarik Samity Delhi / NCR to acquire a land to make a temple where all the Bishnupriya Manipuri’s religious activities could be done. Furthermore, the resolution adopted in the Executive Committee meeting held on 6 May, 2007 to open a Saving Bank account with the State Bank of India, Palam Branch was unveiled.

According to the resolution, the aforementioned account will be operated by any two of the office bearers: Dr. Nirmalya Sinha, General Secretary; Mr Prabin Sinha, Treasurer; Mr Chandra Mohan Sinha, Executive Member; Mr Janmejoy Sinha, Executive Member.

The Bishnupriya Manipuri Nagarik Samity Delhi / NCR in this auspicious day came out with the Memorandum of Association, its aims and objectives, the list of the names in the Governing Body, rules and regulation and power and duties of the office bearers.

Moreover, all those present in the venue gave a patient ear to the words of Ms Rakhi Sinha, Commandant, CRPF [Central Reserve Police Force] and Mr Ranjit Sinha, Member, Standing Committee, Bureau of Police Research and Development, Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India; he is also the Advisor of Bodoland Territorial Council, Kokrajhar and the Director of ICSSR [Indian Council of Social Science Research].

The day ended with a grand feast. All those who attended the Tithi were happy with the grand scale the arrangement was done, the surrounding which was full of fun and frolic and with the charged up milieu of camaraderie. For a day, the whole environ gave a feeling that we are in our own village, in midst of our own Bishnupriya Manipuri people.

Saturday, 10 November 2007

Learn Bishnupriya Manipuri Language : A Grand Project

By RK Rishikesh Sinha, New Delhi

It is through the language tool that we communicate with each other, and we communicate with the other people. Language gives us the power of articulation, power of expression, also it helps us to understand other people's culture, custom, and ethics.

And the same applies to us. There must be an window where other people can peep into and learn our mother tongue, understand much better way our culture, customs and our history.

Well, where we all can give a cursory glance of the meaning of the words, sentences that we have long forgotten; moreover, where we can check which words are not being used, it has become obsolete with the passage of time.

By doing so, we will not only be able to know the difference of language being spoken in different parts of the Bishnupriya Manipuri community; nevertheless we will be able to appreciate how much enriched and vivid is our mother tongue.

Here in this blog, an initiative has been taken to digitalised our mother tongue, the Bishnupriya Manipuri language. Though it is a grand project, mammoth in size, demanding collaboration in every level; it can be done and completed - that much confidence we all have. Contribute.

If the form below is not opening, please click here

Thursday, 8 November 2007

Bishnupriya Manipuri Women Status: Past and the Present

By Ranita Sinha, Kolkata

Fifteen years back the Bishnupriya Manipuri villages wore a very plain and simple look. The houses were mainly kutcha, most of the villages had no electricity, no telephone, no cooking gas connection etc. Every house hold had a kitchen garden where all necessary herbs and vegetables were grown. And above all the tradition of joint family was prevalent.The female members of the Bishnupriya Manipuri families had a very tough time. They would wake up early in the morning. Once awoke, what on earth they did not do?. Kol darani, gor mankol hurani baro lepani, uthan baro khatang hurani, phuti doni, darou pherani, dhan banani, choul tekani, pani bujani, rua ruani, phuti bunani, darour jit bat radani etc. They hardly got time to take rest.

At that period of time, when we used to go to the village to visit our relatives, we always felt the warmth. They seemed very cheerful and full of life. They always bore a wide smile on their face.

But now after a span of fifteen to twenty years, the scenario of village life has changed completely. Myself being married, feel that as daughters-in-law of the present era, we do not do ten percent of the house hold chores in comparison to the amount of work the ladies used to do twenty years back.

Now, each and every village house is no more kutcha. Every house has electricity, a telephone, running water, a color television, and above all a motor bike for the son who is yet to complete his high school. Now, food in villages are no more cooked in the chulha, as every house has an LPG connection. And most commonly seen is that most of the house has two to three kitchens, as now no one prefers to stay in a joint family.

Thanks to modern facilities, the ladies of so called rigid Bishnupriya Manipuri community breathe a sigh of relief. They no more have to do all the tiring jobs. Most of the houses have at least two orderlies to help them out with the washing and cleaning part. Now they get time to take rest have a chat with the neighbors, to have a chat with their near and dear ones over the telephone. At leisure time they prefer to watch the daily soaps in the television. Now a days, most of the houses, do not have the kitchen garden anymore, since all the necessary items are now available in the nearby village market.

Now, when all the necessary modern facilities are available in the Bishnupriya Manipuri houses, they lack the warmth, the hospitality they used to have. Now a days, the village life is no more simple. Life has become more complex there. Every one is busy competing with one another. Every one is busy learning the art of earning more money. Life has become materialistic.

Few days back, one of my cousin brother’s, who came to visit us said to me -“ Didi, now if you visit anybodies house in our village at evening time, you will no more find the warmth. You will not find anybody to speak to, because they are engrossed watching the K-series soaps. They are more interested in knowing what will happen to Tulsi(Kyunki Saans Bhi kabhi bahu thi) or Parvati(kahani ghar ghar ki) rather than the fact that you have gone to visit them after so long. The emotions you are talking of are no more there”.

Now, I feel and think, think very hard, whether this present materialistic era where everybody is having a tireless life, but are forgetting to enjoy life is better or the era twenty years back where everybody worked so hard to have a livelihood, still were warm, full of emotions, cordial, and hospitable was better. I am just bound to think and think………

Gokulananda Gitiswami - a dramatist, a poet, a social reformer

Gokulananda Gitiswami was a versatile genius, he was a dramatist, a poet, a wandering minstrel and above all a social reformer. His life bears testimony to all these high qualities of head and heart which can be found only in few gifted persons. Now, the million dollar question is - how many of us in the Bishnupriya Manipuri knows him, and his contribution to the community.

Gokulananda was born on 26th November, 1886, at the Village of Madhabpur of Bhanugach ( in that time Bhanubil pargana) of Bangladesh. Click here to Read more.[dont click at the below Read more!]

Tuesday, 6 November 2007

In the name of change?

By BN Sinha, New Delhi

Everything changes, continuously; nothing remains as it is, even from one moment to the next. There is a constant transition taking place in ecology, orbital positions, geo-political system and in every domain; and the same can be witnessed in our living style, food habits, attire etc. Literally speaking, everything is in a state of transition with respect to time.

With the passage of time, transition is being witnessd in every demography, in every society of a country. But the pace is definitely more in the countries that registers a consistent rapid economic growth, especially in a country like India.

May it be urban or rural, today’s India as a whole is quite different from the India of the pre liberalization era. A radical change has been noticed in every aspect of an Indian after we welcomed the economic liberalization and globalization in the 90's.

Bishnupriya Manipuri community as a whole is also not exempted from the effect. It was quite a common belief in our community that we can count the number of Doctors , Engineers, Academicians and established persons residing in cities of India and abroad. Though it’s a fact that there are limited number of persons who kissed the success in their respective fields and we believe we know all of them. But things are changing rapidly. BM guys no longer wait for the sarkari chaakuri any more after graduation. Many of us don’t know that BM guys are in MNCs like Mittals, KPMG, Price Waterhouse, Mckinsey, TCS, Oracle, Adobe and many. Our guys are also making their presence felt in other field of operation like Media, Finance, Economics etc in India and abroad.

Our food habits are also changing with time. The urban coterie is quite familiar with Mc Donalds, KFC , TGIF , Subways etc., they can now differentiate between Lebanese and Thai foods. They are also aware of the fact that Bordeaux is a red wine brand and also a name of a city in Germany, White Mischief a vodka and Chivas Regal a whiskey. Though paltoi and erolpa still remains our favorite but due to dearth of availability in cities , the burger – pizza- noodle culture gradually replacing the old food habits. Can we remember when last we had an “Amulir Erolpa” or an “Useir khar” or some “Tokpa Ninkam” as salad???

The change is not limited to food habits, it is also noticed in other fronts like naming of new born children. Now , names like Rahul, Rehan, Sayan, Sweta, Simran have taken place of Raghavendra, Manoranjan, Satyabrata, Madhumita, Sumatibala etc. Few are one step ahead to name their kids as Dicky, Henry, Michael, Olivia, Jeniffer, Daizy etc.

Now, all these names - Borachauba, Papuloong, Moiangsena, Numitsena, Kunjolata, Babasena etc are on the “expired” names list. Now we can see one Moirangsena’s grandson as Dicky …and we are not surprised.

All the changes in the community are definitely inevitable and for the betterment of civilization.

But are we going to miss those names like Kartiksena, Kusumkumari, Gokulchand etc .a twenty odd years down the line? God Knows!!

Sunday, 4 November 2007

Diaspora feelings

By BN Sinha, New Delhi

Almost half a decade back in my early work life. I used to admire a lot to one of my reporting boss who was an affluent Punjabi of Delhi who was having uncountable properties in posh Delhi colonies like Vasant Vihar and NFC etc. He was a BITS Pillanian, wife a Vice President in a Citibank.

He had a love marriage that took place in UK. Their love story bloomed when he used to visit his brother’s place, who happened to be a renowned doctor in UK. His father was then the director of Defence Research and Development Organisation [DRDO]. He had his kids studying in Modern School and G D Goenka, both the most expensive educational institute in India. In a word he was a complete successful person in life in every aspect.

All these information about my ex boss are just to portray how established he was in his life. Despite all he was very down to earth and didn’t have any snobbishness, ostentations or arrogance nature like a typical Delhite has.

The most interesting part is that instead of all this he never threw any tantrum rather he has the culture in his house like a typical Punjabi family of Ludhiana. The love and respect and care for each other in the family was exemplary. He used to visit UK every now and then and every time he returns from UK, the only complaint he used to make is that the British Punjabis more correctly speak the Punjabi language and also follow the traditional and religious customs as compared to the Punjabis of India.

I could not really able to digest his allegations until I personally experienced the same with my own community. Yes my own Bishnupriya Manipuri community. The Bishnupriya Manipuri Diaspora is much concerned and sincere about the traditional customs of the community as compared to the BM brothers of traditional BM territories like Barak Valley and Tripura.

Until Bishnupriya Manipuri language was allowed in 8th schedule for primary education, it seemed some traditional customary activities used to take place like gathering into community temples ( Maltheps) for Khechuri paali, kapak paali, apakpar divas, baronor dou, purijeleir bandara etc. But off late all these activities have been plummeted all of a sudden as if it is the adverse effect of the booming Indian economy.

If a person who is out of the core Bishnupriya Manipuri society for years and make a visit to those places with the same perception, he would definitely feel a clout. All have changed as the suburban villagers hardly speak Bishnupriya Manipuri language and for youngsters to go to community gathering like in kechuri paali in maltheps is a big NO NO.( as I have already written in one of my earlier post. Read Urban BM village

On the other hand the BM diaspora who are out of the core society are much concerned about all the related issues of the community and also the customs. Rathyatra/ paali etc are regularly observed in places like Kolkata, Delhi, Bangalore , Guwahati etc. Many other community get together also takes place time to time so also some brave initiative like establishment of Sadhuthakur Ashram in Delhi?????

Yes !! we are celebrating Sri Sri Bhubaneswar Sadhu Thakur abhirbhab tithi on 11th Nov in Delhi…. And…..

Friday, 2 November 2007

OBC tag and its nuances

By Ranita Sinha, Kolkata

Indian citizens are categorized into four different groups – General, Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, Other Backward Classes, and there is More Other Backward Classes. Well, there are more categorisations in the name of xyz name.

Our Bishnupriya Manipuri community falls under the Other Backward Class Category. There is a debate going on in the whole country with the issue of providing 27% reservation to OBC candidates in Central services and now proposed-to-introduce in the Centrally-funded educational institutions. But does this reservation help we Bishnupriya Manipuris in any way.

It is a big issue. I am not sure about what others feel but at least for me its a big issue. I feel humiliated to use the category name OBC, along with my name. But people would say if it helps anybody procure a better life, why not grab the opportunity.

Now, the million dollar question is, did any Bishnupriya Manipuri ever got a better opportunity after using the category name OBC in their resume?. Or is it just that we use it because we have seen our parents and elder brothers and sisters use it or is it just that we are asked to give a tick mark in the box next to the OBC category from the first day we fill up any form, it has become a habit.

Now, my question is, if at all we are not getting the benefits; why are we writing 'OBC' in bold letters along with our name?. Did anybody ever think on this issue? I always think and feel humiliated to use it. Because I was deprived being in this category.

I also used to write OBC in the category section in all my admission forms, like any other Bishnupriya Manipuri student. After procuring a First Division in my Metriculation examination, I submitted my admission forms in two reputed colleges of Guwahati - Handique Girls' College and Cotton College.

I always wanted to study in Cotton College. But I had a inner worry in my mind, as I felt, the marks I secured were not up to the mark. But everyone said that as I applied in the Arts stream and that I was in OBC category, I need not worry.

On the day of the admission, me and my father reached the Cotton College Administrative Building much before time. After half an hour the admission procedure started. The students were called one by one by their names along with their total marks.

When my turn was coming closer, I was a little tensed and excited too. My total marks were 560. But all of a sudden when the marks reached 566, there was an announcement that the admission procedure has been stopped and that it will be resumed after completing the OBC category was over.

I was quite sure to get an admission as the general category marks reached 566 and I being in the OBC category was six marks away from it. So, I was a bit relaxed. The admission procedure for the OBC category was started. But to my surprise it started from the candidates who secured 674. Anyways, the procedure continued and it reached 561.

A boy securing 561 was called and I also slowly and steadily started to move towards the dais, as the next turn was mine. But all of a sudden there was another announcement that the admission procedure for OBC category was complete and that they were going to resume the admission procedure for the general category once more . Hearing this I climbed up the dais and talked to the management that if the general category's admission is resumed again why could not I be given the admission, as my marks met the criteria.

But they very bluntly told that it was not possible since I submitted the form in the OBC category and that the reserved quota was filled up. I tried a lot to convince them but in vein. I had to return back with a broken heart. My dream of studying in Cotton College remained unfulfilled by one single marks. I regretted for submitting my form in the OBC category.

For many days I could not fetch me out of this incident. Though I got admitted in handique Girls' College, another most reputed colleges of Guwahati, yet I could not concentrate on my studies. I kept on thinking, if the students who secured better marks would have applied in the general category, I would have been admitted.

I also thought, as we are given the tag of backward class, how come the students from general category who secured lesser marks than us were admitted. In what ways is the Government helping us giving us a big tag - Other Backward Classes. But this incident made a deep impact in my life and hence forth I promised to myself not to use the word OBC along with my name anymore and after that I never used it once.

Now, whoever is reading this article might be thinking that its a one sided story. But the intension of writing this article is not to mislead anybody but it is an urge to know if any Bishnupriya Manipuri got benefited using the OBC category name. If the answer is yes (5% being benefited) than its worth using it but if its a big NO NO than it needs a serious thought. So, please let us know if anybody is benefited or may be humiliated, being in the OBC category.

Amar Ela: Bishnupriya Manipuri songs and music

By BN Sinha,New Delhi

We all are grown up with a belief that we Bishnupriya Manipuri community are quite enriched with art, culture and dogmas. Though its still a debate on who actually possess the great Manipuri Dance, we or the Meiteis of Manipur. Every community has their own literature , so also its music and compositions.

Even the Bishnupriya Manipuri diaspora, who are out of touch with the core society activities for more than decades like me are still having a great sense of euphoric feel for the implausible mellow compositions by the legendary personalities like SJ Motilal Sinha, DR. K.P Sinha, Suronath Sinha and many more. It can be termed as the golden era for the Bishnupriya Manipuri music and literature when the evolution of great compositions took place.

We can never forget few songs like “ Punnyo tirtho manipur maati , monimoyee mor ema” by Sj Golap Babu Sinha and “ Janam janame more diya petheis hunar monipure, janam laloileo dhuligo koredis more loktakor pare” by Pt. Motilal Sinha. Lots of other evergreen Bishnupriya Manipuri songs like “ Bulouri mi maanu bisareiya”, Suror bhubane tore mi denar moto nei, aaji tor janar dine”, Aar more ti ningsing naish, aji ti pahure jaga mor purana kotha” etc. also had been created on that golden era. It was in the eighties when our Bhasha Andolan was at its pinnacle.

Many poets came up with detesting and rebellious poems so also poems which are profound, sublime and also melancholic. I still can remember a monthly magazine named “ Nua Ela” by Mr Shivendra Sinha . Other literary activities also had been noticed in “ Tripua Che”.

It was definitely a revolution of Bishnupriya Manipuri literature. I can still remember the “Bishnupriya Manipuri Mahalaya” by Sh Suronath Sinha and “Bishnupriya Manipuri Rakhuwal”. We also cannot forget the contribution of Kujolata who once considered as The Lata of our community.

Days went on…and after the martyrdom of the great Sudeshna the momentum started losing its pace and all kind of cultural activities also got inhibited. However, the corollary was so strong that non Bishnupriya Manipuri community people also started showing interest in Bishnupriya Manipuri music. It is always nostalgic to remember the musical album by the then great Rising Orchestra of Silchar which had rocked the whole community in the ninties. It would be injustice to forget the contribution of Mr. Bidhan Laskar S/o Bhanu Laskar and Mr. Mriganko Goswami.

I still remember the then hit BM song “ Taar yaari eta jebakao mone aaher” by Mriganko Goswami and “Dhukkhor asar boithahan” by Bidhan Laskar. It can be considered as the aftermath of the revolution in the ninties. People were quite sincere about the community culture and literature. People like Sh Biresh Sinha, M K Sinha, Lakhindra Sinha, Meena Kumari Sinha, Usha Sinha, Adhir Sinha also have added contribution to enrich the Bishnupriya Manipuri music.

As we moved towards the GSM and Orkut era….a long pause has been felt until recently a band with a young group of talents have come up with the album “Mingal”. All the compositions of the particular album are terrific especially the songs “ Monor Malati” and “ Tor ahir ma mi houpon dehesu”.

It seemed like a professional band. Hats off to the guys for their great work despite all hurdles….especially in the days when all are engrossed with remixes and copycats…

A new virgin composition is really commendable. These boys has definitely made an effort to carry on the Bishnupriya Manipuri musical legacy …. They deserve a high recognition and appreciation and more as I strongly believe they are highly influenced and motivated by the great composition of Elton Jhon

Candle In The Wind”….
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