Thursday, 31 December 2009

Hojak Oik, a Bishnupriya Manipuri film, to release in January 2010


Prabir Sinha, Guwahati

"Hojak Oik", a Bishnupriya Manipuri VCD Film, produced by PR Production, is slated to be released in January next year.

The film throws light on the problem of unemployment and its consequences that compel the unemployed youth of the villages to leave their native place and rush to the towns for livelihood. Their strife to conform themselves to the new conditions, new lifestyle and indulge in the other activities.

The story and producer of the film is Parimal Singha; the creative by Rita Singha and directed by Asutosh Singha (Ravi). In the Lead roles are Kamal Sinha (Actor) and Pankhi Das( Actress), Ashutosh Sinha (Ravi), Gopal Sinha (Kala Babu) & Niranjan Sinha as comedian.

Parimal Singha and his film production team appeals to the Bishnupriya Manipuri people living in India and abroad to give their full support and co-operation for the success of the film. Any query & suggestion please contact 09435108177.

Sunday, 27 December 2009

Gopidas Sinha included in the Assam Linguistic Minorities Development Board

GUWAHATI, Dec 25 – Gopidas Sinha, chief adviser of Bishnupriya Manipuri Language Teachers’ Association and Development Council, Assam has been included as one of the members of the Assam Linguistic Minorities Development Board under Welfare of Minority and Development Department, an official notification stated.

Courtesy: The Assam Tribune (December 25, 2009)

Wednesday, 23 December 2009

When Spring Visits The Land Of Dance And Music

By Karunamay Sinha

Yes, you’ve rightly guessed it. It is Manipur. If it was Christian missionaries that transformed Mizoram into modernity, it was the last lag of the great Vaishnavite movement of medieval India that reshaped Manipur. Buddhism and Vaishnavism are two religious entities in India that had engaged in works resembling missionary activity. Unlike Christian missionaries, however, Vaishnav missionaries did not entirely banish old practices and traditions. One can thus get to see delightful coexistence of refined Hindu practices and pre-Hindu traditions existing side by side in Manipur.

As to the spring festivities in Manipur, one is at a loss where to start. The feel of this space is that of pre-Hindu, pre-Buddhist, pre-Islam, pre-Christian, animistic, pagan or other beliefs and traditions. But you cannot exclude the fervour of Holi while extolling the mood of spring in Manipur. The celebration of this ubiquitous, essentially Hindu Indian festival attains a very remarkable Northeastern character in Manipur. Did you know, for instance, Holi is celebrated in Manipur over five days? Did you know the last day of Holi is celebrated here with mud and not coloured powder (abir)? The fervour and life-force associated with Manipuri Holi compels me to give it a place alongside other traditional Northeastern spring festivals.

On the first day of Holi, the Manipuris build a hut much in the shape of a Manipuri temple. All the village boys and some guiding elders take part in making this hut in the fields. A few months before Holi, they observe a ritual of hoisting flags at each house on a sacred day, a day on which Hari or Vishnu wakes up from his sleep. These flags remain hoisted till the day of Holi. On the day of Holi, boys collect the flags together with their poles from each house of the village. The bamboo poles and thatch contributed by the villagers are the materials out of which the hut is made. In the evening, in a romantic moonlit setting, the villagers gather there, sing songs and offer prayers. Prasadom contributed by the village women is distributed among the people. Then the hut is set on fire. Real celebrations of young blood begin the moment fire is put to the hut. Girls try to flee the spot fearing youths who had been waiting for the moment to chase them and rub them with abir. A watchful eye can capitalize on the moment to tell which boy of the village is after which girl. For the blossoming dreams of budding youths find in this an opportune moment to erupt and rush forward breaking all inhibitions and confines. Even for the girls it gives an opportunity to understand their possible suitors. For often, it is at this moment of erupting spring that a girl gets to know for the first time which boy of the village is interested in her or is cherishing romantic dreams about her. Romances blossom on the glowing faces of the youngsters – glowing because of the huge fire around which they are experiencing the upwelling of emotions, the chemical changes that are taking place inside them. Hardly can there be a moment in any part of the world, in any kind of festivity that can match the power of blossoming romance in young minds as can the brief and precise moment of burning the makeshift hut on the moonlit evening of the first day of Holi in a Manipuri village.

Once the celebrations are kicked off by putting a makeshift hut on fire, Manipuri Holi can take all shapes. Youngsters can be trusted to indulge in all kinds of pranks. What the village belles need to do is to always remain alert. For over the next five days, any kind of incursion into their private domain may occur at any given moment. Begging from door to door during the five days of Holi for realizing a public purpose, say construction of a temple or buying some necessary instruments for one community hall is a common practice among the Manipuries. Groups of people dancing and singing Holi songs make the tour of the neighbourhood. Small children, coloured in myriad hues, are also seen begging from door to door to attain their private goals. But the most atypical of all this is the group formed by two or three scheming youths. Sinister-looking groups of rakish youths roam around in shifty steps to hunt down girls of their target. They are prowlers in the guise of beggars, looking for the right moment to pounce upon their prey.

The task for them is exceptionally challenging if the girl they have targeted happens to be from a somewhat conservative family. Holi is the only time they can make use of to reach out to such objects of their desire. If the girl is found alone in the house, or not formidably protected, these prowling youths have a field day. And there is no time restriction. Any time is Holi time during these five days. It is considered uncivil and unbecoming of a man with a true Manipuri spirit to raise a hue and cry about the escapades of Holi-ing youths. At high noon, during the hectic moments of tidying away things at sunset or at the dead of night – Holi beggars may turn up at your door any time.

The last day of Holi is meant for merrymaking with mud. Instead of coloured powder or abir, they rub mud on one another. It is the most unsafe of all the Holi days. The youth seem to cross all borders on this day. High-spirited youths form marauding gangs that set out with unshakable determination to muddy all girls of the village. The beautiful ones, the snooty ones and the ones from class-conscious conservative families happen to be their special targets. When the ravenous gang appear in the neighbourhood, unmarried girls run amok looking for the safest and most unreachable places to hide themselves. Usually rice bins, hayricks, bamboo clusters behind the house and other places of such irrelevance are chosen for hiding. But there seem to be no places that can elude the imaginativeness of the youths. Traditions and experiences have taught them where to go and haul out the hiding girl. The moment they reach the house of the girl, the mother or an aunt or a little brother informs them with a radiating smile that the maiden of the family has gone somewhere, and they do not know where. The smile on their faces is symptomatic enough to convey the message that they know where the girl is hiding. But resolute as they are, the youths take it upon themselves to find out where the girl is. It is beneath their dignity to plead with them to tell the girl’s whereabouts.

In most cases, the mud-spattered holi-ing youths hit the big time hauling out the hiding girl from most unexpected of places and give her a mudbath. The girl is sure to hurl abuses at the youths, particularly the ones who were instrumental in breaking the secret codes. Sometimes clever girls manage to give the youths’ gang the slip. After a long search, the valiant youths begin to assume a crestfallen look. Their movements become slow and mechanical. Looking at their fallen jaws, some guardian of the family orders the girl to come out. But the girl had not been so innovative in hiding herself to give away so easily. The youths by then have stopped their search and are about to leave accepting defeat. At this, one from the girl’s family tips them off with the wink of an eye. It is then zealous time for the less chivalrous. For true heroes aren’t interested in making a catch with someone else coming to their aid. However, after the tip-off there follow a few minutes of surreptitious movements and then there is an explosion of hilarity. The youths are back in their elements again.

The girl escaping the marauding gang of holi-ing youths isn’t a good thing, after all. The village youths may develop a feeling of immunity towards a girl who remained out of their reach. The parents and guardians of the girl know this better. So they come to the aid of the village youths when they fail to locate her.

Holi is only the preview of springtime celebrations in Manipur. Beginning with this, there commences a series of celebrations that almost overlap one another. Besides the Northeasterner’s innate urge to express illimitable joy at the approach of spring, there is the historic event of Hinduization of the land that contributed to the origination of so many festivities. Holi is the most authentic influence of Hinduization. But the Manipuris have Northeastern-ized it in a befitting manner. The irrepressible spirit of the untamed Northeasterner has seeped into the celebrations and given it a lively expression unknown to the mainlanders.

Holi has some crazy faces in some parts of the country. In Barsana, Vrindavan, holi takes the shape of a battle with the womenfolk beating armoured holi-ers. There is a place in Madhya Pradesh where people of two villages take long preparations to fight it out when Holi comes with a war cry. In Rajasthan, Holi takes an unusually mad face in an otherwise sleepy, conservative setting. But none can come anywhere near Holi celebrations of the Manipuris as far as the unrestrained flow of youthfulness is concerned. Until a few years ago, it wasn’t an unusual sight in the Manipuri inhabited areas of Assam and Tripura if one came across non-Manipuris taking it as a serious offence when Holi-ing Manipuri youths attacked passenger buses plying through their areas. Even today, drivers prefer to remain off road when it is Holi time and they have to drive their vehicles past a Manipuri village. With the passage of time, however, the unruliness on the part of Holi-ing Manipuri youths has diminished, but collecting (read extorting) petty amounts from vehicle drivers and passersby for undisclosed ends has emerged as a modern way of celebrating one of the most innocently cheerful celebrations of the Manipuris.

Close on the heels of Holi comes Thabal Chongba. A celebration purely for the young blood. On a moonlit night, the unmarried young men and maidens of the village assemble in a field and dance away till late into the night. The celebrations are very simple and down-to-earth. Girls and boys stand in a big circle, hold hands and dance away jumpingly at the bit of the drum, throwing their legs. Beginning from the full moon day, this dancing spree continues for about fourteen days.

What corresponds to Bihu in Manipur is Bishu or cherowba (Bishnupriyas call it Bishu while Meiteis call it Cherowba), again a Hindu festivity like Holi. This New-year celebration in Manipur involves all kinds of playfulness for which Manipuries are specifically known. Yes, the Manipuri ways of high jinks are known for their extremity and sometimes oddity to most other peoples, particularly non-Northeasterners. They are said to be more full-of-life, vivacious than many other peoples in the world. All Northeasterners are jolly and fun-loving. But the Manipuris excel in matters of lighthearted playfulness. Bishu is the time when they let lose the blizzards of their playfulness. There has to be the nightlong games of dos-pochish or Nikon (pasha in Mahabharat-ian terms) for five nights uninterruptedly. And in true Mahabharat-ian spirit. The youths form groups in the evening and with a flashlight visit every household to marshal the village belles one by one. Then in a house they assemble and play pasha all night. Several types of collective as well as private bets are placed. There’s a kind of midnight break in the nightlong game. At dead of night, all the boys and girls go out to steal milk – that is, go to the cow sheds of people in the neighbourhood and milk cows. This milk is meant for a slap-up meal at the end of the game.

It is a tradition among Manipuri woman to allow or even help with money their husbands who are fond of gambling. Addicted gamblers for whom wives are terror incarnates, find this time suitable for fulfilling their gambling aspirations without having to lie to their wives or being reprimanded by them.

However, as I said, spring celebrations overlap each other in Manipur. In the middle of all these, the Manipuris also have to play kang or kangshannaba (Bishnupriya Manipuris call it ghilla). Several tribes in the Northeast play this indoor game in different ways. But no other tribe is so fascinated by this game as the Manipuris are. Ghilla is a kind of disk-like seed of a wild plant, about one and a half inch in radius. Ace ghilla players use ghillas made of wood, ivory or even horns of buffalo and their ghillas are much bigger in size. Playing of the game begins at Sajibu Cherowba(meitei) or Bishu (Bishnupriya), and continues up to the new moon of Ashadha(June-July). The game has so profound a place among quite a few ethnic groups in the region that this national game of the Manipuris deserves special consideration from a different angle.

Another unique thing performed by the Manipuris during spring is lai-harouba, a pre-Hindu tradition of pleasing the gods with songs and dances. It is the one most in keeping with the traditional spring celebrations of the Northeast. In the accompaniment of pena, a traditional string instrument, men and women dance gracefully to offer their obeisance and thankfulness to gods before they start on the new farming season. However, the most intriguing springtime observance in Manipur is that of invoking rain-showers.

Image Coutesy

Monday, 21 December 2009

Mahasabha moves Gogoi with demands


By a Staff Reporter

GUWAHATI, Dec 20: The general meeting of the Nikhil Bishnupriya Manipuri Mahasabha (NBMM), greater Guwahati branch, urged Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi to immediately issue a separate notification for inclusion of the Bishnupriya Manipuris in the list of Other Backward Communities (OBCs) by honouring the verdicts of the Gauhati High Court and the Supreme Court towards that end, immediate recommendation by the State Government to the Central Government for telecasting and broadcasting of Bishnupriya Manipuri programmes in Doordarshan and All India Radio (AIR) respectively, immediate grant of Bishnupriya Manipuri Development Council etc.

Other demands of the NBMM are appointment of Bishnupriya Manipuri language teachers in all primary schools where the language has been implemented as per government norms and also appointment of Bishnupriya Manipuri sub-inspector of schools as per the last government advertisement for effective supervision of teaching of the language and inclusion of the Bishnupriya Manipuri community in the Linguistic Minority Development Board of Assam.

The Mahasabha threatened the State Government that if the demands of the community were not fulfilled, the community will resort to a vigorous agitation.

Courtesy: The Sentinel (December 20, 2009)

Today is Ninthoapa (Monday)

What next?

Geetiswami remembered

By our Staff Reporter

GUWAHATI, Dec 20: The 113th birth anniversary of Gokulananda Geetiswami, an alternative media mogul, was observed with a day-long function at Silpgram in Guwahati by the Gokulananda Geetiswami Kalakristi Kendra today. The programme started with the flag hoisting by celebration committee president RK Chandrakanta Singha.

Noted Manipuri dance exponent Guru Sashi Kumar Singha was felicitated at the function that was graced by MLA Kartik Sena Sinha as the special guest of honour. Bishnupriya Manipuri Writers’ Forum (BMWF) president DILS Lakshmindra Sinha and others were also present at the programme. Convenor of the programme Jitendra Kumar Singha delivered the welcome address.

Courtesy: The Sentinel (December 20, 2009)

Today is Ninthoapa (Monday)

Saturday, 19 December 2009

ASJSM executive meet on December 24


By our Staff Reporter

GUWAHATI, Dec 18: Asom Sanmilita Janagusthiya Sahitya Mancha (ASJSM), an umbrella organization of various Janagusthiya Sahitya Sabhas, will organize an urgent executive meeting on December 24, next at the Dhemaji bus stand.

ASJSM president Pushpa Gogoi has requested the president and secretaries and the members of the Boro, Mising, Tiwa, Rabha, Manipuri, Bishnupriya Manipuris, Dimasa, Karbi, Deuri, Tai, Sar Chapari Sahitya Sabha, Nepali Sahitya Parishad, Nepali Sahitya Sabha, Axom Xahitya Xabha to attend the meeting.

Gogoi stated that the accommodation and lodging of all the members will be taken care of by him. He further said, in the meeting, government apathy towards various tribal groups will be discussed. He also said the motive of the meeting is to work out a solution to problem and requested all the members to assemble at the scheduled place by December 23.

Courtesy: The Sentinel (December 18, 2009)

Today is Thanksha (Saturday)

What next?

Friday, 18 December 2009

Byatikram releases 17 books


By our Staff Reporter

GUWAHATI, Dec 17: Byatikram, a publication house, today inked a record in the ongoing 11th North East Book Fair at Chandamari Field in Guwahati today by releasing as many as 17 books on the same forum. The books were released by litterateurs and intellectuals like Anima Guha, Anuradha Sarma Pujari, Rita Choudhury, Rani Gohain, Professor Amalendu Chakravarty, Maini Mahanta, Bishnupriya Manipuri Writers’ Forum president DILS Lakshmindra Sinha, Gautam Bandopadhyay, Lumding College Principal Ashok Pal, Axom Xahitya Xabha president Ronbong Terang and others.

So far, Byatikram has published Bengali, Assamese, English, Manipuri and Bishnupriya Manipuri books. Releasing a Bishnupriya Manipuri book, Sija, Bishnupriya Manipuri Writers’ Forum (BMWF) president DILS Lakshmindra Sinha said longevity of any literature depends much on its human appeal. He said poetry is a garland of words that create a vivid picture in the minds of readers.

DILS Sinha further said: “In the movement of development of the indigenous literatures in the Northeast, many Bishnupriya Manipuri writers have contributed their best. Poet Santosh Sinha has the depth and zeal to be among what could best be termed as the frontrunners of downstream poets and writers in the Bishnupriya Manipuri literature.”

Courtesy: The Sentinel (December 17, 2009)

Today is Erei (Friday)

What next?

Friday, 11 December 2009 in 2009


By RK Rishikesh Sinha, New Delhi

What was the health of the site in the year 2009? Statistically speaking, over 31, 000 pages of the site were opened by 16, 000 visits of the readers.

Indian readers accounts for 77.77 per cent of the total readership of the site. Followed up by the United States (7.39 %), United Arab Emirates (3.44 %), United Kingdom (1.54 %), Bahrain (1.19 %) …

Besides these, in countries like Bangladesh, Canada, Australia, Poland, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Sweden, Qatar, and Oman, the site has sizable population of Bishnupriya Manipuri readers.

However, there are readers from Norway, Spain and Hong Kong, about them it is very difficult to conclude whether they are Bishnupriya Manipuri or are those who are interested to the Bishnupriya Manipuri topics that the site is devoted to.

Readers from these countries – what do they do in the site – is interesting.

Analyzing deeper into the statistics, readers from Norway are the one who are leaps and bounds above the rest of the readers of the site with respect to average time spent on this site. They open the site for hours continuously! Whereas the average time spent by Indians is 4 minutes, the Norway readers spent more than 1 hour on this site.

What actually they do on the site? Though the visits come from Oslo, the capital of Norway, the pages of the site that are being opened are quite interesting. The readers are not voracious with each and every posts published here, the pages that were selected and read with penchant are: Is it right time for our social organizations to go online? and Let us help each other.

Are the readers from Norway Bishnupriya Manipuris or not? It is difficult to say. Whoever he or she was – if cookies to be believed – there has not been any visit after October 11, 2009 (he or she has been frantic in the initial months of the year 2009). What happened to him or her? God knows.

These are countries : Tunisia, Czech Republic, South Africa, Myanmar [Burma], Egypt, Jamaica, Morocco, Nigeria, Tanzania, Serbia, Burkina Faso, Croatia, and Rwanda, from where readers have visited the site and spent ample amount of time reading few of the articles. The readers are not Bishnupriya Manipuris.

The article on which readers spent maximum amount of time is Rasa Dance performed by Bishnupriya Manipuri community in Delhi on 18 January 2009. Total 35 minutes.

This was a short interesting glimpse of the site in this year. Let us see what it shows up the next year. What shape does it take?

Today is Erei (Friday)

What next?

Sunday, 6 December 2009

Women Awareness and Empowerment


(The article published in the Souvenir "SMARANIKA" on the occasion of the 113th Birth Anniversary of Gokulananda Geetiswami by the Guwahati Gokulananda Geetiswami Jonmoutsav Celebration Committee)

By Pratibha Sinha, Guwahati

Woman” in other words – the counterpart of man with equal mental faculty, the embodiment of love and affection, play a great part in the progress of a family, community, society & ultimately the country. The mental and physical contact of women with life is much more lasting and comprehensive than that of men. Woman is the magnificent creation of god, a multi faceted personality with the power of benevolence, adjustability, integrity and tolerance irrespective of caste, community, religion, nation etc.

In our society, each individual have the basic human right to utilize his or her own thoughts and ideas. But it is a matter of irony that in reality each one of us hardly gets any opportunity to display our own individual ideas. Especially the women, half of the society’s population are often being sidelined from taking any important decision. Apart from that women themselves are still ignorant about their own rights and policy formulated especially for them. For past many years, Indian women have suffered in the hands of the men folk under defined norms of society, social customs & traditions specially framed for women, faced extreme levels of exploitation and have been looked down upon as inferior sections of the society. But thanks to the help of feminists and other reformists whose efforts have enabled the women to uplift themselves by shedding their domestic tag. They have eventually managed to challenge and overcome the social and economic exploitation. Modern women have become very conscious of their rights, and empowering the women, as a whole has become a new motto of the world around.

Although the educated women belonging to the economically middle and upper middle classes are marching forward, yet those belonging to the economically lower classes and backward or rural areas are still lagging behind to know their basic rights and still uneducated. The cases of domestic violence & crimes on women are on the rise abruptly because of ignorance about presence of laws & legislations to help them to resolve their domestic problems & violence and safeguard their rights & privileges.

Although the country’s constitution says- women are legal citizens of the country and have equal rights with men but women are still powerless & unskilled as compared with their male counterparts and still mistreated inside and outside the home. Their existence as women on the globe is still to be realized. Hence, the need of the hour is to empower these underpowered sections of our society. Those women who are in an advantageous position should come forward to help their co-partners taking along with the male counterparts of the society. The first step in this connection is to empower the women folk by making them aware about their basic rights like political, social, legal and their reproductive rights and making them skilled to make themselves self-dependent economically.

The modern concept of “Women Empowerment” means full development of women to enable them to realize their full potential, enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedom by women on equal basis with men in all spheres – political, economic, social, cultural and civil, equal access to participation and decision making of women in social, political and economic life of the nation, equal access to women to health care, quality education at all levels, career and vocational guidance, employment, equal remuneration, occupational health and safety, social security and public office etc., strengthening legal systems aimed at elimination of all forms of discrimination against women, changing societal attitudes and community practices by active participation and involvement of both men and women, elimination of discrimination and all forms of violence against women and the girl child; and building and strengthening partnerships with civil society, particularly women’s organizations.

In the year 2001, the Government of India declared the year 2001 as ‘Women’s Empowerment Year’ to focus on a vision where men & women are same in every aspect of life. Women’s empowerment cannot take place unless women come together and decide to self-empower themselves. Apart from that men should come forward with broader mind and participate in the move with equal acceptance, interference and personal involvement in the process of empowerment & progress of women in the long run. The provisions of the Constitution of India granting equality to women in various spheres creates the legal framework within which the “Department of Women & Child Development” set up in the year 1985 as a part of the Ministry of Human Resource Development functions for holistic development of women and children. In addition, the Government of India has brought about specific legislation to protect and safeguard the rights of women. Women can demand their rights & privileges and empower themselves with the help of various policies, acts and policies framed for women, when they found obstacles in their self-progress in the normal process.

Some of the major policies and schemes undertaken by the Government of India and Department of Women and Child Development for welfare and empowerment of women are as under:-

i. National Commission for Women (NCW) - set up in January 1992
ii. SwayamSiddha (IWEP)
iii. Swadhar (amended on 25.09.2002)
iv. Rashtriya Mahila Kosh (RMK) - A National Credit Fund set up in March, 1993
v. National Nutrition Policy (NNP), 1993
vi. Mahila Samriddhi Yojana(MSY) – launched in October 1993
vii. Indira Mahila Yojana (IMY)- launched in 1995
viii. Balika Samriddhi Yojana (BSY) – launched in 2nd October 1997)
ix. Support to Training and Employment Programme(STEP) for women - launched in 1987 (re-amended on 20.10.2005)
x. Norwegian Agency for International Development also known as “Swawlamban” or 'Training -cum - Employment -cum- Production Centres'
xi. Kishori Shakti Yojana (KSY)
xii. Socio-Economic Programme(SEP)- implemented by the Central Social Welfare Board (CSWB)
xiii. "Distance Education for Women's Development & Empowerment" jointly undertaken by the Department of Women & Child Development, Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) and Indian Satellite Research Organisation (ISRO).
xiv. Education Work For Prevention Of Atrocities Against Women- started in 1982

Important Social Legislations implemented in the safeguard of women’s right by the Government of India are – (1) (Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, (2)The Special Marriage Act, 1954, (3) Hindu Succession Act, 1956, (4) Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act, 1956, (5) The Child Marriage Restraint (Amendment) Act, 1976, (6) The Factories Act, 1948, Mines Act, 1952 and Plantation Labour Act, 1951, (7) The Employee State Insurance Act, 1948, (8) The Maternity Benefits Act, 1961, (9) The Factories (Amendment) Act, 1976 , (10) The Equal Remuneration Act, 1976, (11) The Contract Labour (Regulation and Abortion) Act, 1976, (12) The Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971, (13) The Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961, (14) The Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act, 1986, (15) Amendments to Criminal Laws, (16) Family Courts, (17)Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition) Act, 1986, (18) The Commission on Sati (Prevention) Act, 1987, (19) Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act,2005, (Came into Force on 26/10/2006), (20) The Protection of Women against Sexual Harassment At Work Place Bill,2007, (21) National Commission for Women Act (set up in 1992)

Today it is realized that so long as women of the country are not uplifted and granted equal status with men in all walks of life – political, social, economic, domestic, educational etc, a society or a country could neither progress nor make any significant advance in any field. Now, with the encouragement of co-education, women are marching side by side with men in every walk of life and education is the tool that helps in creating awareness about different aspects, rights & privileges. Women are actually proving to be academically better and socially more active. When we come across the results of competitive examinations in all India civil services and Indian universities we can note that women capture most of the merit seats. Women are making sustained efforts to scale the leaders of social progress by dint of their zeal and dynamism and also contributing extensively towards the social transformation and building of the nation. Stating on the condition of women folk, Swami Vivekananda said –

“It is very difficult to understand why in this country [India] so much difference is made between men and women, whereas the Vedanta declares that one and the same conscious Self is present in all beings. You always criticize the women, but say what have you done for their uplift? Writing down Smritis etc., and binding them by hard rules, the men have turned the women into manufacturing machines! If you do not raise the women, who are living embodiment of the Divine Mother, don’t think that you have any other way to rise.”

To make the woman empowered, they should be educated and skilled in different professions either in the service sector or business sector or entrepreneurship. Women should be skilled and trained to enable them to run their own micro enterprises in different trades like Textile Design and Printing, Garment Manufacturing Technology, Jewellery Design and Manufacturing, Commercial Art/ Graphic Design, Interior Design and Display, Home Science, Nursery and Primary Teachers Training, Modern Office Management/ SP, Beauty Culture and Hair Dressing, Marketing, Advertising and PR, Journalism and Mass Media, Tourism and Ticketing, Aviation and Hospitality Management Arts & Crafts, Business Management, Information Technology/ Computers etc. Women should keep themselves well-informed, updated and make their fellow-women folk in rural and backward areas aware about all information related to the above trades, acts, policies etc. framed for their overall development.

"STREE SHAKTI PURASKAR" - Recognize achievements of Women

Five National Awards of Rs.1.00 lakhs along with a citation each to be known as "Stree Shakti Puraskar" have been instituted in recognition of achievements of individual women in the field of social development, who have triumphed over difficult circumstances and have fought for and established the rights of women in various fields viz. support and rehabilitation of women and children in especially difficult circumstances such as destitute women, widows, old aged and disabled women and victims of atrocities and conflicts . Also, achievements of women who have worked in the areas of education, health, agriculture and rural industry, protection of forests and environment and those who have created awareness and consciousness on women's issues through arts and media would be recognized and awarded by the Government.

These awards are given in the name of the eminent women personalities in the Indian history, who are famous for their personal courage and integrity - Devi Ahilya Bai Holkar, Kanngi, Mata Jijabai, Rani Gaidenlou Zeliang and Rani Lakshmi Bai. The Department of Women and Child Development invites nominations for the awards from Non-Governmental Organisations, Women Development Corporations, National and State level Commissions for Women etc. through the State Governments and Union Territory Administration. The awards are presented in New Delhi on the occasion of International Women's Day i.e. 8th March.

Bishnupriya Manipuri Women

When we talk about the present status of women from Bishnupriya Manipuri community, fortunately, these days we can note that Bishnupriya Manipuri women are shining in the fields of education, because the society and the families equally give them the rights of education. Nowadays we can find lots of Bishnupriya Manipuri women are proving their excellence as professionals like Teachers, Doctors, Lawyers, Executives, Writers, Artists or Social workers. Though we come across many educated & successful women in our community in cities and towns but still the overall condition of women’s life in villages & towns are still worse and not developed either in their domestic life or economically. Ignorant or illiterate or unskilled women in villages & towns are still there in large numbers. They need to be awakened and introduced with their rights and their role in the society through education, Mahila Samities, Self-help groups, NGOs, educated responsible person of the community or society etc. Initiatives have to be taken to make the women empowered & skilled in different trades suitable for women as mentioned above, voluntary arrangement of training-cum-workshop in various trade, follow-up of different national empowerment schemes & policies framed for women to help with financial assistance & other privileges. Also the women have to make aware about their basic rights & privileges available so that they can demand and avail their individual rights with authority.

In reality, women folk are still suffering a lot in our present society & community in the absence of real analysis of their problems and having the knowledge of their psychology to formulate appropriate law by the government and by enlightening the moral and religious binding to the public. Unless women are not empowered and are not allowed to act equally with the male counterparts, the overall progress and development of the community is hardly to achieve. Geetiswami Gokulananda, the social reformer and philosopher of Bishnupriya Manipuri also expressed his deep concern on the poor conditions of women in the society and raised his voice for their upliftment & development. His respect for women and deep concern for women can be noted from his written lines as under:-

“Juge juge cheita jelai jingesita
Shoktite Bhobani Bidyai Binapani
Dhairiate Dhoroni Bhoktite Brojo Gopini
Auter ongsho kala oiya paahurlai nijor shokti”

On the 113th birth anniversary of Geetiswami Gokulananda, I pay my due homage to him with due respect and honour remembering his contribution for the upliftment of Bishnupriya Manipuri community and the women folk concerned, his advices & reformative thoughts left behind him. Let his contributions inspire all of us to move ahead & work unitedly to fulfill all his unfulfilled dreams for the development & upliftment of the community as well as the upliftment of the poor condition of community’s women.

In his memory, I take the opportunity to write on the status of women in society, rights & privileges of women and different policies & schemes framed for the empowerment of women in different fields. Unless half the society’s population i.e. women are not kept healthy, then we cannot get a healthy society as a whole. The status of women in India has been subject to many great changes over the past few millennia irrespective of caste, community or religion. From a largely unknown status in ancient times to till today, to the promotion of equal rights by many reformers, the history of women in India has been eventful.

Today is Lamboishing (Sunday)

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Friday, 4 December 2009

Of cultural cops & dress code


Brojendra Kumar Sinha

(Translated from Bishnupriya Manipuri by Ramlal Sinha)

When the Bishnupriya Manipuri writers run short of ideas and topics, they simply turn cultural cops and appeal to the girls of the community through their write-ups to be strict on preservation of culture of the community by strictly adhering to Bishnupriya Manipuri attires, as if the onus of preserving the culture of the community is that of girls or women only, not of the men folk. This essentially means that the men can wear any kind of dresses and do whatever they like, and that has nothing to do with the culture of the community.

Be that as it may, if the girls of the community are coerced into strictly adhering to the indigenous Bishnupriya Manipuri dresses, what dresses will the cultural cops prescribe for them? Should they prescribe leisa (fringe hair cut prevalent among the Bishnupriya Manipuri girls in yestercenturies), rings in ears and yaaberuni (a piece of cloth that had been worn by girls of the community in the chest instead of blouse) to go to colleges and offices? What would be the dresses for married women? Should the community members ask them not to wear blouse, but angaaluri (a mekhala-like cloth worn by the women of the community) up to the upper chest to go to offices and cinema? In fact, the way the women of the community wear aangaaluri, blouse, enaafi (chadar) nowadays is in conformity with the fashion of the times. Gone are the days when married Bishnupriya Manipuri women couldn't stain their hair-parting line with vermilion. Those who dared to use vermilion had to face taunts from their fellow members - naatakir kapaale sindurar foota/ baautaa policar madhurar gotaa (the vermilion that dazzles in the forehead of a fashionable woman provokes the lust of peripatetic policemen). But now, one can't think of a married Bishnupriya Manipuri woman without vermilion in her forehead. Why? Not to speak of those living in urban areas, Bishnupriya Manipuri women residing in far-flung interior areas too wear shalwar kamij, jeans, maxis and the like. Who can predict what fashion will follow in the days ahead? Women with long hair, porcupine spines (sedar kata) pierced through their hair buns and flowers on ears are scenes of yore. Boys' cut being the order of the day among the modern women, days are not far when devout listeners (audience) will be a confused lot for not being able to create a vivid picture in their minds when the esulpaas (singers) of the community will sing songs describing the plait (beni) of legendary Sriradha.

Fashion thy name is change. In Khajuraho and Ajanta, the upper bodies of girls were bare. The concept of dress and fashion of women has been constantly being redefined, regardless of the frowns among the aged. Japanese girl children were made to wear iron shoes in order to keep their feet smaller. Now Japanese girls wear European dresses. In the Padung area of Myanmar, long neck of girls was considered a sign of beauty, and which was why girls were made to wear brass rings in their necks. At the time of the Renainssance, a law was enacted barring the commoners from following the fashion of aristocrats. In 1418, women in France wore hair in such a high bun that the doors of Visine Fort had to be redesigned with increased heights. During the Tudor period, dress code for unmarried girls was quite different from that of married women as was the case in the Bishnupriya Manipuri community in yestercenturies. That nude Archimedes ran amok by shouting "eureka eureka" wasn't the behaviour of an absent-minded scientist is buttressed by the fact that nudity was a male fashion at that time. In Greece, remaining nude was a practice while jogging. Australian swimming champion Annette Kellerman was arrested in Boston Sea coast in the USA in 1909 for wearing a swimming costume that stuck to her body tightly. The US police considered the dress obscene as her shoulder up to the hands and the portion below the knees were bare. Nowadays males shy away when they see the dresses of women. In fact, both males and females have no way out but to accept the fashion and taste of the times.

The onus of preservation of the culture of a community lies not only on females, the males of the community too have to contribute to the cause. Male Bishnupriya Manipuris should go to offices wearing eraafis (a kind of indigenously-woven gamosas) and kaataalurir aachaalaa (a shawl woven with indigenously-spun cotton thread) for the sake of their culture!

Courtesy: The Sentinel 

Today is Erei (Friday)

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Thursday, 3 December 2009

A Decade Ago


(Here are two news items that published sourced from UNI on Bimal Sinha a decade ago)

Sinha was a leading litterateur

April 1, 1998

Bimal Sinha, Tripura's health minister who was killed by tribal militants in the state on Tuesday, was also one of the front-ranking writers of the state. He had eight books, both in Bengali and Bishnupriya Manipuri languages, to his credit.

Sinha could speak in six different languages, though his mother tongue was Manipuri. He was vice-president of the former Ganatantrik Lekhak Shilpi Sangha.

Among his wellknown books were Karachi to Longtarai, Alor Thikana, Satyer Aloke, Longtarai, Takhaparar Itikatha, Pourei, Monaiham.

Tripura's first feature film was based on his novel Longtarai.


Tripura minister killed in ambush

March 31, 1998

Tripura Health Minister Bimal Sinha and one of his younger brothers, Bidyut, were killed in an ambush by suspected National Liberation Front of Tripura guerillas at Abhanga under Kamalpur subdivision in Dhalai district on Tuesday morning.

This is the first time in the state's history that a minister has fallen prey to the militants's bullets.

According to official sources, the militants fired random shots from sophisticated weapons soon after the minister got down from his car at about 1130 hours on the Kamalpur-Ambassa road. Sinha died on the spot. He was 50.

Another brother of the slain minister, Bikram, a contractor, was abducted by suspected NLFT militants just before the February 16 assembly and Lok Sabha election in the state and was released only today.

The situation in Kamalpur and other parts of Dhalai was stated to be very tense. Security measures have been tightened to prevent any untoward incidents.


Today is Shakolsher (Thursday)

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Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Sa Re Ga Ma Pa singer Tushar Sinha releases album Maya

Pratibha Sinha, Guwahati

The talented singer Tushar Arjun Sinha aka Tushar Sinha who appeared in ZEE TV’s famous reality show Sa-Re-Ga-Ma-Pa has released an audio album of Bishnupriya Manipuri modern songs “Maya.”

Produced by him, Maya will be marketed by Assam BIG Music. The album consists of 7-modern songs. One song of the album is dedicated to Sudeshna, and another on Bhubaneshwar Sadhu Thakur.

Supporting female singers who gave their voice in the album with Tushar are Tarulata and Anamika. Lyrics of songs by Tushar Arjun, Rajib and Anamika. Music arranged by Manash Bhagawati, Bablu, Sekhar Goswami and Deepkesh.

The album was released on the occasion of 113 birth anniversary celebration of Gokulananda Geetiswami at Silpagram organized by Geetiswami Gokulananda Jayanti Udjaypon Samiti, Guwahati. Shri Hemkanti Sinha, Chief Guest of the occassion, released the album.

CDs will be available at contact No.9864621620.

Fill in the form to place your order here


The comeback of Tushar Sinha

Today is Imsha Imsha (Wednesday)

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Bishnupriya Manipuris are better educated than the average Bangladeshi: Report



Bishnupriya Manipuris of Bangladesh “are generally better educated than the average Bangladeshi. Nearly all children go to school, with a very high percentage taking the secondary school certificate (SSC) examination, and their level of literacy in Bangla is very high,” states a survey carried out by SIL International, Bangladesh.

The 100-page report gives a glimpse of the status of the 20,000 to 40,000 Bishnupriya Manipuri population living in Bangladesh: The language proficiency they have on both Bishnupriya Manipuri and Bangla, about their two main dialects 1) Rajar Gang (or king’s-village speech), and 2) Madoi Gang (or queen’s-village speech). The study also touches upon the areas and districts where the community is concentrated. It gives an insightful read to every Bishnupriya Manipuri living in India and in Bangladesh.

In Bangladesh, almost all of the Bishnupriya (Manipuri) live in the flat farmlands of Sylhet division, mainly in Moulvibazar district. They also reside in a few villages in the other three districts of Sylhet division. The vast majority of Bishnupriya villages are easily accessible by a combination of public buses and/or rickshaws, as they are quite close to main roads and towns, the report states.

In the preparation of the report, the authors Amy Kim and Seung Kim have extensively used the informative web pages created by Ashim Kumar Singha.

The report cites that the Bishnupriya Manipuris in Bangladesh have a strong attachment to the traditions of the past and a deep desire to appropriate the trends of the present. As a minority community, the Bishnupriya (Manipuris) seem to have an innate sense that both are vital for their standing in the world in the future.

Full Report

Today is Imsha Imsha (Wednesday)

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

A1 Paramic Production to produce Hojak Oik



Pratibha Sinha, Guwahati

A1 Paramic Production is going to produce a movie “Hojak Oik”.

The film is basically about the problems and situations arise due to the socio-economic changes in a village. The story presents the life-style of the people in a Bishnupriya Manipuri village and the culture, traditions and customs they follow.

‘Hojak Oik’ throws light on the serious problem of unemployment and its consequences that compel the unemployed youths of the village to leave their native place for towns in the search of livelihood. The story further highlights their struggle in a new environment among unknown people to establish themselves; their strife to conform themselves to the new conditions. In the meantime, how they adapt new life style and indulge in the other activities.

The producer of the film is Rita Sinha. The story of the film is written by Porimal Sinha and Rita Sinha. The film will be directed by Porimal Sinha. Porimal Sinha hails from Kailasahar(Tripura) and presently residing at Guwahati(Assam).

Porimal Sinha and his film production team appeals to the Bishnupriya Manipuri people all around the world and specially the Bishnupriya Manipuris from Tripura to give thier full support and co-operation in making the film. Suggestions and advice from people is invited in this context. Interested person may contact Porimal Sinha for any query or for giving any suggestion related to the film in his contact number-09435042567.

Today is Leipakpa (Tuesday)
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