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An Introspection

I consider myself a decent Bishnupriya Manipuri; I speak the language, follow rituals whenever and however possible. My idea of contributing my community was limited to be an ambassador, a representative of my community; do good in what I’m doing. With every recognition comes my identity and then I would be probably introducing myself as a proud Bishnupriya. But the big question is, is that enough?? By Prabal Atreya

I am an average person with decent EQ, attitude, geo-politico-socio-cultural awareness (and all such termsJ) and doing so-so in my career blended with motivation. I’ve had pretty decent upbringing and exposure, my parents being rich on their own knowledge base and very active on the social front. They always offered to get me the best of our culture; probably I shied away deep inside. But I’ve got pretty decent amount of resources to expand my horizons overall, to say so. I think I speak my mother language pretty well, understand the rituals and practices, and abide by those. I would expect a call from my mom on every auspicious day- “Baba! Aaji niramish kheis”, “Ee haptaat gore giya dou homa ditangai, ti upeit to dou homadis”. (I stay away from my parents). Now why so much of self promotion? I’m coming there.

You know, this was all part of the root cause analysis that I was talking about. If I had a very normal background so to say, then why don’t I have enough reasons to talk and write about in the community where everybody is trying to contribute? Even I wanted to participate, but why am I not confident about certain things. Why don’t I have the facts and figures in place to discuss things? Why don’t I have sufficient information about the student unions, Mahasabha, their highs and the lows? Why did not I read upon any Bisnupriya Manipuri author, poet; I did have enough time.

Why can’t I appreciate the poem that a certain Mr. Jyotirmoy has scripted? I fairly understood the language, then what was missing in me. Why can’t I write in Bishnupriya Manipuri the way Santosh comments with the proper language? Why can’t I be as proficient as Henryy Da like his Bishnupriya Manipuri equals to his 1st and 2nd language? Why don’t I know about the impact of our student unions, its geographical presence etc? Do I make a sincere effort to spell check the Bishnupriya Manipuri that I speak or write, the way I’m doing while I’m writing this piece? I used to score pretty decently in history during my formative years and most importantly the interest was there. Then why don’t I have sufficient insights in the history of Bishnupriya Manipuri, its revolutionary period, the Martyr’s, and so on, the origin of Rajar gaon and Madoigaon apart from the mere difference in language; bits and pieces would be an understatement for me. Why don’t I have so much of conviction to write like Mr.Rishikesh does? For he surely believes in what he has known and many more.

I’m sure this kind of questions would have come up in many among us. I tried to get an answer for many of these. Got few answers, many in ‘ifs and buts’ and a lot in ‘maybe/maynotbe’. I thought I knew my language; the flow of thought was clear, speech clear. But when I read all of these, I still feel I’m missing some things. Although I speak the language like any other person in Silchar would. I got an answer, probably it’s the same difference between Lingo and Language is. But I could have been abreast with Bishnupriya Manipuri literature. Then there were answers like- “I guess I was not inquisitive enough to know”. Others like “No! Maybe I was interested but I had to prioritize on other aspects of my personal developments”. Sometimes like- “I wanted to know but I did not have the ready-made resources in place to know more about it. There’s one answer though which I got instantly- “If I don’t know so many things, then how can I be confident to write and speak in the way I would have liked to!!” All my thoughts revolved around in a vicious circle.

I consider myself a decent Bishnupriya Manipuri; I speak the language, follow rituals whenever and however possible. My idea of contributing my community was limited to be an ambassador, a representative of my community; do good in what I’m doing and getting recognized as a Bishnupriya Manipuri who did well in his domain. With every recognition comes my identity and then I would be probably introducing myself as a proud Bishnupriya. But the big question is, is that enough?? I’ll keep doing the things that I have been doing. My next generation would clearly be devoid of the misses I had; on top of it, there is this huge task of knowledge transfer which is never 100%. They would, at some point of time, even after I inject the right genes and strength to survive, would have many of these basic questions. To talk of the worst, my family would be loosing out on my cultural heritage generation after generation. And I have no choice but to be accountable for the blunder that I’ve done and still continuing.

Cultural heritage won’t remain the same, it is bound to change. But here’s the catch; the difference between good and bad is the same as expansion and extinction of a culture. Variety of inter-related circumstances acts as catalysts- like a change in economics leading to change in social structure and then hit the cultural part. But we preserve our cultural base, restore it and then pass it on to the next. How do we do that? This is the question that looms around the human race. Many in the world thought about it, gone thru successfully by and large and few who failed as well.

But I’m sure it was possible for them because they all had a collective vision. I’m sure they had this undying hunger in them to be identified and counted among the rest as a community notwithstanding their individual aspirations and success. I’m sure they must have had collectively chosen the right leader among themselves to represent, manage and stand for the cause (Henryy Da’s point on Choosing the right leaders, very true). I’m sure they would have established accountability along with their planning. I believe they would have taken lessons from the past but not included them into the discussion table for further criticism. And most importantly, they could not have done it without the efforts of the people at large. A leader is as good as his men, they say!

I sincerely feel any step intended for socio-cultural awareness makes a difference. I would like to thank all the Bishnupriya Manipuri netizens for having thought of this and going on so well. I would like to applaud for Rishikesh (bear with me, Sir! Am late for the showJ) for having initiated this forum. As I said in a comment, we now need to look ahead. I’m sure we’ll touch upon many of the things mentioned earlier on this passage as we go ahead in the year on a positive note. Also, making it reach out to as many as possible. Let’s be on a platform so that we all can echo the voices and have the sentiments flowing within us!

“Giri-Githaani- Bhul truti thaila khoma kore dibaang”. This footer note is a sorry statement of the same inconfident guy! :)

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  1. Prabal.
    Good thoughts. Good words.
    Keep it up.

  2. Very good to read... Keep it up Prabal...

  3. A question which is not been answered for everyone of us...

    I'd try to answer with one simple sentence...It's evolution and we all miss something or the other with passage of time...An example for instance...I heard that Martial Arts Teachers from Shaolin Temple or for that matter any other ones teach everything to their students except one trick which he keeps for himself...Same with cultures...With the passage of next gen, some aspects go missing...No one can help it...

    Just the thought of being a BM and trying to follow the cultures is good enough when you know that you can't follow every minute details of our culture...

  4. Prabal has raised many questions which we do not have any answers and I pesonally felt the extinction. One example is we are a group of fifteen to twenty friends back in Silchar and out of them only one person know how to carry out the aftermath of death till the person is cremated. Kudos to Prabal for taking out issues which we know but we never discussed.


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