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"Bishnupriya" - Prefix or Suffix

Mr.Raj (in a comment in the article - Bishnupriya Manipuri and Basmati) wants to know the development pertaining to prefix/suffix of Bishnupriya Manipuri. Let us see whether I could dwell on these two words for a while. First of all, there should`nt be any doubt in our minds whether we are Manipuris or not, because our ancestors came from Manipur, even my grandfather was heard talking in Meitei language. Now let us face the facts…at the beginning of sixties (1960), in colleges at Silchar we were known as Manipuris, even we had celebrated first religious function, Saraswati Puja at ‘Gol Digir Paar’, Premtola, Silchar, by both communities - Meitei and Bishnupriya. There was no identity crisis at all, at that time. We had maintained cordial relation with them.

When the Union Backward Commission came in to being in 1995, we had represented our caste, Manipuri to it`s branch at state capital, Guwahati, as Bishnupriya Manipuri, prefixing the word ‘Bishnupriya’ and it was accepted by the State Commission; but our brethren, Meitei Community were not happy and went to High Court against the decision on suffix of word Manipuri, the verdict was given in our favour. Then they went to the Supreme Court, where again the verdict was in our favour. The Government of Manipur also went to Supreme Court; but the ruling was same. Now I hope, it will be cleared to all of us.

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  1. Sir, to be frank I am not convinced by the article - it came up something like - you-told-me-i-listened.

    nothing substantial, very usual. i think u would have devoted the article on the journey from commission to high court, to supreme court - how it was done. it would have been amazing reading, and very good stuff for the future and for myself.
    but ..............

  2. I am still confused whether the term Bishnupriya Manipuri represents the ethnicity or the language. Is it not good enough to call our language as Bishnupriya and the community as Bishnupriya Manipuri. After all the Meiteis call their language as Meiteilon and the community as Manipuri. Just to make my point more clear, I would like to relate it with an example. The Chinese primarily speaks Mandarin and Cantonese and contrary to popular belief they do not speak Chinese because there is no such language as Chinese. The term Chinese only represents the ethnic background.

    Can anybody please throw light on the issue or atleast guide me with the relevant weblink where I get the answers.

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. Pink Floyd’s observation deserves a discussion here…

    As far as I know, both the Meiteis and Bishnupriyas in the past were identified as Manipuris and they have been living with a very close relationship as an undivided community. But the problems started when the term 'manipuri' had been taken synonymous for 'meitei' by the Govt. of Manipur during the post 60’s. The Bishnupriyas outside Manipur wanted to associate their language with Manipur, not with Assam, Tripura or Bangladesh – because by culture and direct history they are attached to Manipur. … So the term “Bishnupriya Manipuri” is introduced to distinguish themselves and their language from 'Meitei'. It is not Linguistic resolution, rather a political stand born out of the insecure feeling that their cultural identity will at stake if the term "manipuri" is dropped or deleted from their language, because according to India’s language policy - a race is called after the language it speaks and vice versa. Still Sir G.A. Grierson’s “Linguistic Survey of India” is the only basis of India’s ethnic
    classification and language policy.

    The suggestion of naming the people as Bishnupriya Manipuri and the language as Bishnupriya hadn't worked that way in the past too. Here is a part of a letter by the inspector of schools, C.D.C. slchar, -

    vide letter to D.C. Cachar Silchar, No. 5651, dated 24.8.78

    With reference to your Memo no. SCMS 7/73/38-A dtd 21.8.78. on the subject stated above I have the honour to state that the people speaking Bishnupriya Language are regarded as Manipuris and so far as educational concessions are concerned, their children are enjoying the same benefit given by the Govt. to the O.B.C. Manipuri pupils. If these Bishnupriya Language speaking people are regarded as Manipuris it would be essential to suffix or prefix the word 'Manipuri' to the word 'Bishnupriya language', because a race is called after the language it speaks and vice versa, e.g., the people speaking Bengali language are the Bengalee and so on.

    So, if the Bishnupriya language speaking people are regarded as manipuris the word 'Manipuri' will have to be suffixed or prfixed to the word 'Bishnupriya' to safeguard the identity of the race. If the Language is called 'Bishnupriya' the race will be also Bishnupriya and would lose its identity as Manipuris. But, practically the people speaking 'Bishnupriya Language' are also called as the Manipuris.

    M. C. Das
    inspector of schools,
    C.D.C. silchar

    So, Manipuri language bill 1968 which had made the term “Meitei” synonymous to “Manipuri” is the main reason behind prefixing/suffixing the term Bishnupriya” with “Manipuri”.

    For more information please visit the links- Manipuri



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