Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Ambubachi Mela at Kamakhya temple, Guwahati, starts on 22 June

By Pratibha Sinha, Guwahati

Lakhs of pilgrims from across the country as well as abroad have started thronging the Kamakhya temple atop the Nilachal Hills, seat of Shakti worship, for the popular Ambubachi Mela, which started on 22nd June, 2010. The auspicious moment of Ambubachi starts at 5:34:06 pm on June 22 and the temple door is closed to the devotees at 4 pm and will end on June 26 at 5:57:46 am and the temple door will open for the devotees at 7.30 am. It will close again at 3.30 pm on account of the lunar eclipse. According to Press Release, “For the first time in 100 years, a lunar eclipse will coincide with the Ambubachi. So after opening, the temple door will be again closed early”.

The Ambubachi Mela is also known as Ameti or Tantric fertility festival as it is closely associated with Tantric Shakti cult prevalent in eastern parts of India. It is said that some Tantric Babas make their public appearances only during these four days who remain in seclusion throughout the year. Every year lakhs of pilgrims, starting from Sadhus to householders, Sanyasins, black clad Aghoras, the Khade-babas, the Baul or singing minstrels of West Bengal, intellectual and folk Tantriks, Sadhus and Sadhvis with long matted hair etc. from all over India, come to Guwahati to observe this festival. Even foreigners from abroad come to seek blessings of mother Kamakhya. In these mela hundreds of small stalls of puja materials, idols, religious books, gift items, sweet stalls etc can be seen.

The temple authorities along with the district administration have made all arrangements to ensure that the devotees face no problem during their visit. It is seen that numbers of volunteers, NCC, Scouts & Guides are active in helping the pilgrims by guiding, offering water, food, necessary supports & maintain discipline in the temple during these days along with tight security arrangements. Many local authorities like NGOs, Selp Help Groups, Local people are taking this opportunities to extend service by offering free foods & water to the devotees and pilgrims during these 4 days at different nearby areas and even in the temple.

More photos on Ambubachi Mela

Visit to Shillong


I spent my bihu holidays in Shillong. I went to Shillong with my parents. We hired a car from Paltanbazar. We reached Shillong at 12.30 pm. We stayed at my uncle’s house in Shillong. I was happy to meet my cousins there, namely Amit, Sumit and Ashish Sinha. They were also very happy to meet us.

Shillong is the most popular tourist place. It is an exciting beautiful hill station and Shillong is also known as ‘Scotland of the East’. There are many beautiful places to see there. The next day we went to see the popular places in Shillong. First we went to the Lady Hydari Park, it is behind the Civil Hospital and in the park a mini-zoo is also there. There was a great rush at the ticket window. My father bought three tickets and we entered the park. We saw many animals there. They looked very scary. Then we went to see the Wards Lake located in the heart of the city. We enjoyed boating in the lake. There is a small Botanical Garden next to the lake. Next we went to see Elephant Falls and Shillong view point. We visited almost all the important places in Shillong. On the third day we went to Police Bazar and Bora Bazar. There were big crowds in the market. We bought many things from the market. On the fourth day we went to Cherrapunjee, officially known as Sohra. There are many viewpoints and places of Tourist interest in Cherrapunjee. They are Sohra Market, Ram Krishna Mission Musuem, Nohkalikai Waterfalls, Living root bridge, Dain-Thlen Falls, Mawsmai Cave, etc.

We visited Nohkalikai Falls (view point) – the 4th waterfalls in the world fields and the highest in Meghalaya. Mawsmai Cave -- where I got a great experience of caving and then we went to Khoh Ramhah. It is also known as ‘Motrop’ and we sat under a tree and ate food there.

We were all enjoyed to see the places in Cherrapunjee.

The memory of the beautiful sights of Shillong and Cherrapunjee are still in my mind.

-- Ritwick Sinha
Class-IV, Section-A
Roll No- 61.
Don Bosco Senior Secondary School, Guwahati.

Manipuri Dance - A Spiritual Exercise

Manipuri is one of the six classical dance styles of India, the others being Bharata-natyam, Kathak, Kathakali, Kuchipudi, and Orissi. It is indigenous to Manipur, the north-eastern state of India and the indigenous people of this valley were said to be the dance-expert Gandharva as mentioned in the epic Ramayana, Mahabharata and other religious scriptures.

Manipuri dance is purely religious and its aim is a spiritual experience. Development of music and dance has through religious festivals and daily activities of the Manipuri people. Not only is dance a medium of worship and enjoyment, a door to the divine, but indispensable for all socio-cultural ceremonies. From the religious point of view and from the artistic angle of vision, Manipuri Classical Form of dance is claimed to be one on the most chestiest, modest, softest and mildest but the most meaningful dances of the world.

The most obliging aspect of Manipuri culture is that, it has retained the ancient ritual based dances and folk dances along with the later developed classical Manipuri dance style. Among the classical categories, ‘Ras Leela’ - a highly evolved dance drama, choreographed on ‘Vaishnavite Padavalis’ composed by mainly eminent Bengali poets and some Manipuri Gurus, is the highest expression of artistic genius, devotion and excellence of the Manipuris.

The history of Manipur says that different clans of the Indo-Vedic and Mongoloid people lived side by side in Manipur for centuries. Now it assembled in her the major folks of the east and the west - the Meiteis and the Bishnupriya Manipuris. Orthodox Bishnupriya Manipuris consider themselves to be the genuine Vedic decent, who according to them, came to Manipur valley from Dvaraka and Hastinapura, just after the Mahabharata war, which happening before the 9th century B.C. as generally accepted by modern research. The Meitheis, on the other hand, differentiate themselves as Mongoloid group of people. But some orthodox Meiteis believe that they are the descendants of group of people coming from Mithila (Videha) which is the eastern frontier of Aryan culture for a long time.

Referring to the people of Manipur E.T. Dalton in his book “Descriptive Ethnology of Bengal”, states that, “ ..And, this hordes overrun a country (Manipur) that has been previously occupied by the people of Aryan blood known in the western India and to the Bards.” Also while explaining the appearance of the Manipuris, Dr. R. Brown says “ although the general facial characteristics of the Mannipurie are of Mongolian type, there is great diversity of features among them, some of them showing regularly approaching the Aryan type” (Imperial gazetteer of India, 1908, Vol 17, page 126).

So certainly there was a bulk of Vedic people from the north-west of India had entered into Manipur valley in the pre-Christian era. Ancient temples like the Vishnu temple of Bishnupur, Govindajiew temple in Imphal, the Kohima stone, old palaces and other related buildings and structures provide us little more historical information. G. E.Geraini, in his work, Researches on Ptolemy’s Geography, indicated the establishment of an Indo-Vedic state by the Bishnupriya Manipuris in the remote period in Manipur. He states, “From the Brahmaputra and Manipur to the Tonkin gulf, we can trace a continuous string of petty states ruled by those scions of the ksatriyo race, using the Sanskrit or Pali language in official documents and inscriptions, buildings, temples and monuments of old Hindu style and employing Brahmin priests at the propitiatory ceremonies connected with the court, and the state”.

The other race in Manipur, the Meiteis, moved in from Chinese territory and this is reflected in the name. Meitei means, in Chinese, ‘people of this country’ i.e., Chinese territory. “It is quite probable that the Kalachaias are the first cultural race in possession of the Manipur valley,” wrote Rajmohan Nath in’ The Background of Assamese Culture’. R.M. Nath also held that- “The Meiteis were the later immigrants.” The Meiteis brought with them the experience and momentum of an ancient civilization. They probably had superiority in numbers and gradually they gained ascendancy. Manipuri folklore tells of an adventurer named Poireiton who came from the ‘land of death’ and taught the locals many wonderful things. This mythical figure may have been an enterprising Meitei. It is also possible that Poireiton wasn’t a single person. It may have been a common name for the early settlers.

It is evident by a number of sources that China supplied some earlier racial elements that attributed to the development of the Indo-Chinese culture in Assam. The Accounts of Shung Shu (420 -479 AD) recorded the Chinese’s subduation of Manipur valley, and also establishment of their suzerainty over Kapily valley which is to be located in modern Nagaon. Referring to the Chinese or Mongolian racial elements in the Manipur valley, Arther Pelliot (Deux Itineraries) stated that the Chinese invaded the valley in about 700 AD The Chinese called the people of the valley as Khalachas, i.e. the son of the wide lake( Loktak) and described them as highly civilized. Interestingly, the Meiteis of the Mongolian stock and late comers to Manipur used to call the Bishnupriya Manipuri as Khalachaya. ET Dalton held that by degrees the Meiteis became more powerful in Manipur. It encouraged them to introduce matrimonial relations with the indigenous people undoubtedly with the Vedic Aryan people, and it now merged into totally a new origin, i.e. Indo-Mongoloid Culture.

However, as mentioned in the Meitei sacred scriptures and texts, a most comprehensive dance form popularly known as Lai-haraoba mirrors the pre-Vaishnavite culture and other types of solo, duet, group, etc., within its body.

Lai-Haraoba (Merry Festival of the Deities) is the festival of the recollection of the creation stories played by all these deities with the first origin of this universe and evolution of the plants and animals through the will of Atiya Shidaba, the Supreme God of the Meitei sanamahi’s. (Agencies)

Courtesy: The Sentinel (23 June, 2010)
Image: Shailesh Johar

Friday, 18 June 2010

Rodali Award 2009-10 presented to Ravi Sinha

By Pratibha Sinha, Guwahati

Actor Ravi Sinha (Asutosh) was awarded the prestigious Rodali Special Award 2009-2010 for his role “Captain Kumardhane” in the Bishnupriya Manipuri VCD film Paritraan produced by L.L.Production.

Prafulla Kumar Mohanta, former Chief Minister of Assam was the Chief Guest of the award function. Other guests who graced the award ceremony were Assamese film director Munna Ahmed, Chetana Das, Angurlata, Akash Deep, Vranti Medhi, Madhurima Chowdhury and many others.

Total 100 awardees were presented with the Rodali Award under different categories viz. VCD, Theatre, Assamese TV Serial and Special Award.

The ‘Best VCD’ award went to Assamese VCD “Aimoni”,  “Best Singer” to Zubeen Garg,  ‘Best Actor’ to Ravi Sharma. Aimy Baruah begged the ‘Best Actress’ award, and Munna Ahmed the ‘Best Director’, Jayanta Nath the “Best Music Director”, and Chetana Das the ‘Best Commedian’.

Rodali Award (VCD) is a state-level (Assam) award function organised by Rodali Cultural Organisation of Guwahati. In its 5th year of inception, Rodali Award was presented to the best talented artists, directors, producers, singers based on the VCD produced and released during the year. This award function is also organised on national level.

The award was presented in a glittering event held at Guwahati on May 24, 2010.

Links of related article published earlier –
1. Asutosh Sinha

Sunday, 13 June 2010

My father, poem by Ritwick Sinha

My father
Ritwick Sinha, Class-IV,
Don Bosco Sr. Sec. School, Guwahati.

My father is the head of our family.
He is my role model.
He is a kind person.
He is greatly dedicated to us.
He always suggests and defends us.
He cannot see anybody in trouble.
He is always ready to help others.
He is always there, when I am in difficulty.
He helps me to do my homework.
My father feels proud of my triumph.
I am really proud of my father.

Sunday, 6 June 2010

Proposal to form Anchalik Committee of Parichalan Samiti at Pune

A meeting was held at Vishrant Wadi, Pune on 3rd June 2010 to finalize the formation of a first Anchalik Committee of Shri Shri Radhamadhavjiu Mandir Seva Parichalan Samiti at Pune. The attendees also had discussion upon various issues pertaining to administration of the Mandir.

The Mandir administration is not following proper maintenance of inventories, account books, etc.

The meeting was chaired by Dilip Sinha form Tripura, the Organizing Secretary of Radhamadhavjiu Mandir Seva Parichalan Samiti. People present in the meeting from Mumbai are : Rebati Mohan Sinha, Parimal Sinha, Ranju Sinha, Bibhulal Sinha, Mohitosh Sinha, Bobby Sinha, Bhanumati Sinha; and from Pune : Ramsena Sinha, Col. Nani Kumar Sinha, Pradip Kumar Sinha, Benu Sinha, Suchitra Sinha, Kanti Sinha, Mala Sinha. Paritosh Sinha from Kailashahar, Tripura was the special invitee.

Ramsena Sinha, the convener of the meeting and the senior most member from Pune expressed that within few months the committee would be formed and would intimate the authority accordingly. In the meeting Rebati Mohan Sinha (Mumbai) briefed about the present situation of Yatri Nivas at the premises of Radhamadhav Mandir, Radhakunda, Mathura. The construction of Yatri Nivas has been stalled due to changing of Sevait, he said.

The meeting was continued next day, the 4th June, although most of Mumbai people could not stay back. Paritosh Sinha suggested formation of Central Committee and other related matters of mass interest.

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

Ensure withdrawal of Manipur Blockade: Bishnuprira Manipuris

Guwahati May 29: The Nikhil Bishnupriya Manipuri Mahasabha (NBMM) the apex body of the Bishnupriya Manipuris of India and abroad, urged the centre to intervene and ensure withdrawal of the economic blockade to Manipur where life has become miserable due to acute shortage of food, medicines, petrol and other commodities.

Talking to The Sentinel over telephone from Silchar, NBMM secretary General Uday Sinha said: “The Centre needs to act to rescue the people of Manipur from the acute shortage of essential commodities. Depriving the people of a state of essential commodities by imposing such a blockade goes against social harmony, and the Centre shouldn’t allowed such an injustice to happen”. Manipur continues to reel under an acute food crisis following the indefinite econonomic blockade enforce by various Naga groups to protest the Manipur Government’s decision not to allow NSCN-IM leader Muivah to visit his birth place. Hundreds of Trucks carrying essential and medicines were stranded in the adjoining State of Nagaland with protestors laying siege on National Highway 39 the main lifeline to Manipur. Several hospitals have stopped routine Surgeries due to a dearth of Oxygen cylinders.

Source: The Sentinel, Sunday 30th May 2010.
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