Sunday, 31 July 2011

ON THE TERM 'BISHNUPRIYA MANIPURI'

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By: Dr. K. P. Sinha
[This is one of the oldest articles in the Internet written by Dr. K.P. Sinha (1937-2011) for Kangla Online.]

1. Controversy between the Meiteis and the Bishnupriyas:

There has been a great controversy between the Bishnupriyas and the on the use of the nomenclature 'Bishnupriya Manipuri' to identify the Bishnupriyas and their language. According to the Meiteis they are the 'real Manipuris' inhabiting the land of Manipur from centuries before Christ, while the Bishnupriyas are the descendants of some Bengalese who entered the land only a few centuries back. Accordingly, the Meiteis call the Bishnupriyas (Mayang's, i.e., 'foreigners' or 'westerners' and hold that the Bishnupriyas should not use the term 'Manipuri' either before or after the term 'Bishnupriya' to identify themselves and their language. This issue has been taken for discussion here.

It should be noted that the Bishnupriyas also, quite contrary to the view of the Meiteis, hold that, they are the 'real Manipuris' inhabiting the land from the time of the Mahabharata War and that the Meiteis are the descendants of some immigrants from the surrounding hills. The Bishnupriyas, accordingly, call the Meiteis 'Khai's, i.e., 'the people of the Chinese group' and hold that the Meiteis should not use the term 'Manipuri' to identify themselves, and their language.

Thus, the people of each of these two sections try to identify themselves as the real Manipuris and regard those of the other section as non-Manipuris. In this encounter, the Bishnupriyas have been -put in a disadvantageous position because of the fact that their language is now extinct in Manipur and that the Govt. of India has recognized the Meitei language as 'Manipuri'. Some Bishnupriyas are even now against the use of the term 'Manipuri' to denote the 'Meiteis' or 'Meitei language'. But the Bishnupriyas in general are not so much against the use of the term 'Manipuri' in the sense of 'Meitei' as for the defense of the use of the term 'Manipuri' either as a 'Prefix or as a suffix-along with the term 'Bishnupriya.

2. The Concepts of 'Manipur' and 'Manipuri'

Historians without any prejudice will agree that the concepts of 'Manipur' and 'Manipuri' are not very old. No old record of Manipur has retained these names. It is quite lively that the land was known as Manipur towards the 17ch century, and the people were called Manipuris after that time. Formerly, the present Manipur was divided into small territories occupied by different clans, such as, the Khumals, the Moirangs, the Angoms, the Ningthoujas(Meiteis) and the Luangs, and the different territories 'were known by the names of the respective clans. The people of these clans used to identify themselves and their languages by the names of their respective clans. Towards the 15th century A.D,, the Meiteis occupied all the territories and established a sovereign kingdom which was known to the Meiteis as 'Mcitei Leipik' or 'the land of the Meiteis'. As a result of this Meiteisation, the languages of the different clans got intermixed and consequently the modern Meitei language was formed. In other words the Meitei language, as it is understood today, was formed after the 15th century A.D.

The Bishnupriyas were living in the valley of Manipur from centuries before the period of Meiteisation. A full discussion on the controversies on this point will lead us a long way off. To avoid this at present, this much can be said that, the Meiteis call the Bishnupriyas 'Mayang' and the history of the Mayangs in Manipur goes back to the 7th century A. D. That does not mean that the Bishnupriya language, as it is understood today, is the language of these Mayangs of the 7th or the 8th century. Bishnupriya is a New Indo-Aryan and most, as such, it could not be formed before the 11th or 12th century A.D. It can, however be said that the Bishnupriya Language is a developed form of, or somehow related to, the language of those immigrants who entered Manipur before the 12th and 13th centurey A.D., The Mayangs or Bishnupriyas in Manipur spoke different forms of Late Middle Indo-Aryan or Apabhrangsa, of which Eastern Magadhi was pre-dominant. And the present form of Bishnupri!ya language, as it is understood today, was formed towards the 14th and the 15th centuries as a result of the mixture of those different dialects of Indo-Aryan and Meitei.

We may summarize the position thus: First, the different clans of the Mongoloid people and the Mayangs or Bishnupriyas were living side- by side in Manipur for centuries before the 15ch century. Secondly, the Meitei language was formed after the 15th century A.D., and the Bishnupriya, language was formed towards the 15th century A.D. both on the soil of Manipur. On the other hand, the term 'Manipur' was attributed to the land, in all Probability, after this period, i.e., towards the 17th century when the land was on way to full Aryanisation, in consequence whereof the term 'Manipuri' was attributed to the people of Manipur. So, when the terms of 'Manipur' and 'Manipuri' came into use, both the Meiteis and the Bishnupriyas had 'equal right' to them. And, practically, people of both these sections used these two terms, i.e., 'Manipur' and 'Manipuri', without any reservation to identify their land and themselves respectively.

3. Formation of a Homogeneous Culture:

Culturally, the Meiteis and the Bishnupriyas cannot be distinguished from each other. As to religion, it goes without saying that these two sections have formed a unique religion. The Bishnupriyas accepted all the prominent gods of the Meiteis, namely, Saralel, Pahanpa, Senamahi, Apokpa and others, just as the Meiteis adopted numerous Hindu gods. At the next step, when the Vaishnavism of Sri Caitanya entered Manipur, people of both these sections. excepting a very few, adopted the religion. This religion 'brought a radical change in the Manipuri society, and both the Meiteis and the Bishnupriyas were equally influenced by it. As a result, they developed a homogeneous culture, and the concept of one community grew among them.

This can be testified by the fact that there was no bar to matrimonial relation between the two sections. A girl of any section could formally be stated into the other section without any propitiation. Even now, members of theses two sections jointly take part in religious and social feasts and ceremonies. 'Kirtana' and Raslila, the greatest features of Manipuri culture, have got equal, prominence in both the sections. Members of both the sections equally take part in them, and equally feel proud for them. Artists of any section participate with equal status and with a feeling of kinship in the kirtana's of the other section. Marriage, dress,, ornaments and others are all common to both the sections. Thus, it is clear that the Meiteis and the Bishnupriyas have formed a homogeneous culture.

The only impediment is, as ill luck would have it, the difference of language. The Meitei language is of the Tibeto-Burman group, whereas the Bishnupriya is of the Indo-Aryan group. In Manipur, there is no problem, because the Bishnupriyas living there have adopted Meitei as their mother tongue. But the Bishnupriyas who had to leave Manipur before the final unification, have retained their language outside the land. Yet, none can deny the fact that these two sections are culturally one.

4. Conventional use of the Terms "Bishnupriya', 'Meitei' and 'Manipuri' and present situation

Any person without prejudice will agree that no person belonging to any of these two sections uses the term 'Manipuri' to introduce himself and his language to one of the other section. People of both the sections simply use the terms 'Meitei' and 'Bishnupriya' for the purpose. It is only when they want to identify themselves and their language to one of any other community that they use the term 'Manipuri'. Both the sections with equal force use this term; any section never monopolized it. And, to be frank, the Meiteis are more in favor of the term 'Meitei'. They call their land 'Meitei Leipik', their dance 'Meitei jagoi', their language 'Meitei' and so on. In the Calcutta University also their language was recognized as 'Meitei (Manipuri)'.

The Bishnupriyas, on the other hand, are more in favor of the term 'Manipuri'. Even a few years back, a Bishnupriya would identify himself as a 'Manipuri, not as a 'Bishnupriya'. In pursuance of their tradition, they call themselves and their language 'Manipuri' even now, and use the term 'Bishnupriya' to distinguish either from 'Meitei, just as the Meiteis use the term 'Manipuri' to identify themselves and their language and the term 'Meitei' to distinguish either from 'Bishnupriya'.

5. Probable solution of the conflict

To summarize the whole position -
(1) Both the Bishnupriyas and the Meiteis were inhabiting Manipur side by side for centuries,
(2) Both Meitei language and Bishnupriya language were formed on the soil of Manipur some five or six hundred years ago,
(3) Both the sections have a common stock of culture and,
(4) Both the sections use the term 'Manipuri' in common to identify themselves.

So, the solution would have been to use the terms 'Meitei Manipuri' for 'Meitei' and 'Bishnupriya Manipuri' for 'Bishnupriya' respectively. But the course of events has changed the position. I have nothing to say against the use of the term 'Manipuri' for 'Meitei', but be finds no reason why the Bishnupriyas should not be allowed to use the term 'Manipuri' along with the differentia 'Bishnupriya'.

The tradition behind the term 'Manipuri' is embedded in the hearts of the Bishnupriyas. They are proud of the Manipuri culture, its dance, Kirtana, dress etc. If, in spite of all this, they are not allowed to use the term 'Manipuri' to identify themselves and their language, they will be cut off from the mainstream of the culture and civilization of Manipur, of which they feel so proud.

If the Meiteis consider these factors with a liberal and sympathetic heart, they will find that the, Bishnupriyas love for the term 'Manipuri' is quite reasonable and that it is not a mere emotion. The Bishnupriyas have every right to use the term 'Manipuri'. If they are not allowed to do so, we shall have reasons to think that some subversive factors behind are at work. I think that if the Meitei intelligentsia comes forward with a considerate attitude, the problem will certainly be solved, and the brotherly fee-ling between the two sections will be regained.

Dr. K. P. Sinha
M.A., Ph.D., D. LIT,
Reader, Sanskrit Department
University of Guahati
India

Mobile Phone

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“Should students be allowed to carry Cell phones to school?”
Ritwick Sinha
Class-V
Don Bosco Sr. Sec. School, Guwahati.

Image: http://www.engadget.com

There are many positive and negative effects. Students can be in touch with their parents to know their whereabouts and students can easily reach their parents in case of emergency. But, in my view students should not be allowed to carry mobiles to school. Ringing tones and message alerts distracts the whole class. Even if a student sets his mobile phone in silent mode, he/she cannot pay attention to the lessons taught in the class. Students may also waste their valuable time by playing games in the mobile phones. As there is internet connection in the mobile phones nowadays, students may cheat in the exams. So, students should not be allowed to carry mobile phones to school.

Saturday, 30 July 2011

Memoir of a fauji uncle

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Personal Jottings
By RK Rishikesh Sinha

INDIA-PAKISTAN INTERNATIONAL BORDER SECURITY
An Indian Border Security Force (BSF) soldier
Image:Jaipal

Coming to our home daily and narrating interesting stories of his life experiences to us, made my memory laden with knowledge of socio-geo-political scenario of his times and I feel today, those ‘stories’ were the first lessons in the field of history, geography, political science and international relations for me.

I was at the beginning of my teenage when he started visiting our home in Kashmir. Today, if someone comes daily, it might be taken as harassment and intrusion to ones daily life and wastage of time. But those days and time was different. People were more social and guests would be welcomed heartily. Treating guests with hospitality was the daily ritual that people would love to follow.

He was a Bishnupriya Manipuri hailed from Rajagaon, Patharkandi (Assam, INDIA). He was a siphahi in BSF. Though he couldn’t get promotion as he told us with great amusement, “my service record is full of red mark; my activities were not appreciable, once I had bitten an officer also, though my salary is higher than my senior ranks”. He remained a sipahi for his entire service tenure and I don’t think he ever regretted for that. He was the unique personality who followed his instincts and led a carefree fauji life.

When he met us, only two years of his service were left. So he had already spent prime time of his life and that is in the Force. He was a short heighted elderly man, but his physical stature and energy was still matchable with a new recruit. Many times, while going to school I saw him carrying sack of 1 quintal coal without a flinch. Even at that age his scalp was full of black, thick and straight hair.

Kashmir Issue
security in indian kashmir.
Kashmir under seize
Image: Sajjad 

He would come at around 8.30-9.00 at evening. At that time, we didn’t have any means of recreation, only one PHILIPS tape recorder cum radio which was the only source of entertainment that we have. The campus was small; only two BSF families (including us) were residing in the periphery of the campus. There were many vacant beautiful civilian houses without any owner. Few houses had only old persons as their lone survivors who used to look after those houses. And we also lived in one of such houses. We were home arrested and lived in a blanket of security; we can’t go ‘outside’ at will as “mahol” (environment) was full of fear.

I didn’t remember how his story telling would get start. But whenever, he enters our house (we kept our door open all the time so knocking was not needed), I remember we three brothers would get prepared hurriedly to talk with him and eagerly sit around him to listen his amusing stories under very dim voltage. We were new and totally unaware with the activities prevailing in the tense environment of Kashmir. At the time of his coming to our house, sounds of gunshots used to echo the entire atmosphere and it was a daily happening. We used to enquire him inquisitively about the firing, he would answer, “it is Kashmir’s Diwali!”.

When we asked: Why firing takes place for such a long duration (as it starts in evening and ends at dead midnight)? His answer was hilarious, “because the terrorist just push the trigger and goes to sleep; we also do the same. They start the firing, we also the start the firing. And when they feel asleep; they go to sleep. And we also go to sleep.”

His answer sounded to us absurd, but after spending few years I learnt that he was right and it was seemed to me as if there was a good mutual understanding between the two parties regarding their daily routine engagement.

He also told us in one of his visits, the story of Kashmir from 1948 to 1990. He was not happy with his earlier visits (pre-terrorism period) in the valley. He was of the opinion that Kashmiris themselves were responsible for their present state of mess.

I don’t know his name because we used to call him ‘Uncle’.

We used to ask very silly questions like: who are stronger? (as our mind used to swing only between big and tiny, large and small)— the terrorist of Kashmir or terrorist of Mizoram and Nagaland (as we had come to know that he also served in Mizoram and Nagaland). What is the level of duty for a soldier in these states?
In a soldierly tone, he used to quip — Kashmiri militants are cowards, they fire from school, religious places, taking children and women as shields. The weather and environment is tough there in Mizoram and Nagaland. Lot of precautions and preparations goes just to fight the climate.
His experiences and anecdotes on Kashmir filled me with enough stuff, which later in my life and still thrills me to know more about on the Kashmir issue — its status from the days of Mughal period to the present time, and the whole gamut of associated issues (from the perspective of history, theory of nation-state and international relations) that are related to the valley.

Interestingly, my uncle had a ‘two-minute’ solution; following it the Kashmir problem could be solved.

Liberation War of Bangladesh
Freedom Fighters of Bangladesh,1971
Image: Tusher 

My uncle was a very old fauji. If I remember correctly, before the inception of BSF, he was in different Indian force. And he had participated in the Liberation War of Bangladesh. We three brothers got goosebumps whenever we heard his heroic adventures, tales of war horrors done in Bangladesh. 

He narrated that he was a member of Mukti Bahini. At day time, he used to espionage the activities of Pakistani Army by going near to the Pakistani Army camps as a fisherman and gave training to the Bengali fighters. At night, he and his comrades used to launch attack. What he saw in the Pakistani Army morchas, the world knows …the barbaric acts the army of a country had done on its own people, women…
He told: Pakistani Army was frightened of Khukri force. (I still wonder what was the Khukri force he was referring to?)

Their platoon got stuck for three days somewhere in Bangladesh, due to heavy resistance from the Pakistani Army.

After patiently hearing his Bangladesh story, we asked how Bangladesh border is today.

He said: It is very difficult, very difficult to guard in comparison to the Indo-Pakistan border. All the terrains and mountains are on our side, and plain fields are on the Bangladesh side, he said musingly.
It’s been decades, we have left Kashmir. But still there is an urge in me to remain updated to the developments taking place in the country. I found the issues related to Chakma and Bihari muslims in Bangladesh very touchy. Topics on Grameen Bank, mobile banking, and bloggers activities, are some of the stuff that I really love to read.

Today
As time went by, we got busy with studies, and soon we bought a television and started spending time watching it, and lost interest in his stories (which were more or less getting repeated but without any change in facts).

There were a lot other juicy topics the uncle shared with us. Now, I find that my interest and tastes goes only to those topics that he used to tell us in the bone-chilling wintry evenings in Kashmir. Today, after many years I feel those stories were not mere stories; in fact they were lessons about India, Kashmir, Pakistan, and Bangladesh, and the world surrounding us.

Where would one find such a teacher? A teacher who had participated in the real theatre of war and politics.

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Assam Teachers Eligibility Test (TET) Pattern, Syllabus, Books—A Presentation

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Here is a brief presentation on the Assam Teachers Eligibility Test (TET) 2011. The state has recently declared that applicants who intend to be a teacher in government and private schools have to clear the Teachers Eligibility Test (TET) Assam.

Contents

Who are eligible?
TET Assam Exam Pattern
Teachers Eligibility Test (TET) Assam syllabus
TET Assam Exam Date
TET Assam Exam Books




Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Bishnupriya bodies call for consensus on the formation of development council

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Special Correspondent

SILCHAR, July 25: The Nikhil Bishnupriya Manipuri Students’ Union (NBMSU) and Bishnupriya Manipuri Gana Sangram Parishad (BMGSP), subimitted a memorandum Monday to the Minister of Welfare of Plain-tribes and Backward Classes of Assam on Monday through the Deputy Commissioner of Cachar to activate the Bishnupriya Manipuri Development Council in the interest of the community.

Both the organizations since have been campaigning for the introduction of Bishnupriya Manipuri language and socio-economic development of this backward community. On16 March, 1966, a teenaged girl Sudeshna became martyr during 501 hour railway blockade agitation called by the organizations which led the Government of Assam to give OBC status to the community. The organizations’ continuous movement culminated in the introduction of the Bishnupriya Language in the schools on June 2, 1999. It was also their long struggle and movement which resulted in the creation of the Bishnupriya Manipuri Development Council for the development of the backward community. It was possible with the active help of the Mahasabha and the then MLA of Patharkandi, Kartik Sena Sinha.

Both the organizations urged upon the minister concerned not to entertain any piecemeal proposal from any other organization separately. The memorandum was signed by Anil Krishna Rajkumar,

President NBMSU, and Subal Sinha, Chairman BMGSP, as well as other office bearers of both the organizations.

Courtesy: The Sentinel 

Indira, India honoured

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By RK Rishikesh Sinha

Indira Gandhi
A new chapter has been added to the Indo-Bangla relationship on July 25. Bangladesh conferred Bangladesh Swadhinata Sammanona on Indira Gandhi posthumously for her “outstanding contribution” to the country's independence from Pakistan.

Though belatedly, the present government led by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, has taken a historic step by recognizing India’s role in the formation of Bangladesh. The then Prime Minister of India, Indira Gandhi’s personal and political role to help millions of fleeing Bangladeshi people by opening Indian borders, providing economic aid and shelter, besides sending army to fight against Pakistani army, and finally giving a nation-statehood status to Bangladesh in the world map, is undeniable. However, during the period of 40-year of Independence of Bangladesh, its successive governments have done “calculative distortions …[of] India's role in the war … and [made] Indira Gandhi… the main villain. [Haroon Habib, Bangladesh salutes Indira Gandhi, July 24, 2011, The Hindu]

Haroon Habib has rightly said that Sheikh Hasina, daughter of Bangladesh's slain founding father, took up the challenge of setting the history straight.

Unfortunately, since 1971, many issues have emerged between the two neighbouring countries. First, there have been bitter border skirmishes, and it is still taking place in the 4095 km long border, that includes 180 km of river line. Second, illegal infiltration of Bangladeshis in the Indian soil; and third, Bangladesh’s role and support to the northeastern terrorist organisation. However, in the Indian sub-continent, India with its geographical area, population, GDP, military strength, and its role in international politics, is being taken as regional hegemon. A reason cited for acrimony towards India. 

Furthermore, Bangladesh government decision to build a memorial in honour of the Indian soldiers who died in the 1971 war is befitting and appropriate since government is susceptible to change of stance, but people’s memories and perceptions are not.

Sunday, 24 July 2011

Where the rains dance

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Debasish Sinha suggests a holiday in Cherrapunjee to experience the beauty of the monsoon landscape.

Meghalaya
Surrounded by evergreen forests! Clouds for canopy! Clouds ro-mancing the hills! 12646.8 mm average annual rainfall! Dense fog for a few minutes! Set amidst the lush green hills and murmuring streams, Cherrapunjee or Sohra – as is locally known – is an ideal retreat for the denizens of the concrete jungle to beat the heat. Nothing can be more enjoyable than to spend a couple of days during the summer in the wettest place on Earth. Despite having lost top spot as the place experiencing the highest rainfall, it is still considered as the most preferred eco-friendly destination. Its breathtaking landscape, the mystical clouds and heavy monsoon rains over the mountains make it a truly beautiful corner in North East India to enjoy the Indian monsoons.

The monsoon magic at the mesmeric Cherrapunjee is due to the moisture laden monsoon winds from the Bay of Bengal, which strike against physical barriers by way of mountains, which, on reaching higher altitudes, condense and pour down as rains. During the monsoons, it’s a chilling, misty experience with the sight of numerous waterfalls coming alive by the roadside hill slopes. Fog plays hide and seek, covering the entire surrounding area, making it invisible for a few minutes at regular intervals. The best thing to do when visibility is low is to move forward very cautiously, with fog lights switched on.

Cherrapunjee has been a tourist destination since the days of the British, but the infrastructure then was not so good as now. Earlier, tourists used to halt at Shillong and come to Cherrapunjee to enjoy the attractions here and return to Shillong the same day.

Ilapynsuk Diengdoh, a daughter of the soil and owner of the Coniferous Resort, who was inspired by her husband, Borsha Singh Dkhar, to open the resort here, says, “People should come to Cherrapunjee to see the mystical clouds which kiss the hills, the lush green plateaus with cascading waterfalls and experience the serene atmosphere. It is a perfect destination for tourists during the monsoon season. There are now a couple of places to stay here and Coniferous Resort is probably the best, considering its strategic location, which is just near the Sohra town and is equidistant from all the notable tourist spots.”

Cherrapunjee is full of tourist attractions. These include:

Mawkdok Valley View:
Duwan Singh Syiem Bridge
While coming from Shillong, don’t take the road towards the left. It leads to Dawki/Mawlynnong. Go right instead and drive uphill to reach the beautiful Duwan Singh Syiem Bridge – as it is locally known, at the ‘Mawkdok Viewing Point’. Here you get a panoromic view of the lush, green mountains. A little way down the slope, the government has built a viewing spot for a better view of the flat-topped high mountains and to enjoy the misty atmosphere. The landscape from here abruptly changes as one journeys between picturesque deep gorges.

Sa-i-Mika Park:
About three kilometres before reaching Sohra town, a road to the right leads to the Sa-i-Mika Park, which lies on the way to Dain-Thlen falls. Sa-i-Mika Park, with its pristine surroundings, covers an area of 69 acres, offering accommodation and a host of activities that attracts tourists. Here barbecues, bonfires, tour guides, traditional Khasi dance, local cuisine and drinks are arranged on demand. One can also opt for a homestay in one of the villages, to experience life with a typical Khasi family.

Dain-Thlen Falls:
Almost four kilometres away from the the Sa-i-Mika Park, the road leads to the beautiful Dain-Thlen Falls. This ride through lush green and often rocky mountains has its own serene charm, with a river flowing by the roadside. Natural rock carvings draw visitors to see the waterfalls. One has to be careful and hold on the guardrails to avoid slipping.




Noh-Kalikai Falls:

Considered to be the fourth highest in India, about 1,099 ft high, the Noh-Kalikai Falls is a plunge type, single drop waterfall. From the Sohra point the signboards indicate the way to the Noh-Kalikai Falls. A hauntingly beautiful waterfall, it cascades down from the top of the gorge to the mystic, deep green pool below. Don’t get disappointed when the clouds cover the entire area, making the waterfall totally invisible, because after a few minutes they will move away and the waterfall will be visible again. There are various stalls for having tea and snacks but it is costly. Take a walk around and feel the quiet charm of the place. It is truly a photographer’s paradise.

Eco Park:
Towards the south of the Sohra market, almost three kilometres away, the Meghalaya Government has established a large park called ‘Eco Park’ on the plateau, which hosts several hybrid and indigenous orchids in the Green House donated by the Shillong Agri-Horticultural Society. The Eco Park is surrounded by small hillocks and plains – with a beautiful mountain view, a deep waterfall and a small dam. The park also offers a breathtaking view of the distant Sylhet plains of neighbouring Bangladesh.

Mawsmai Cave:
A few kilometres away from the Eco Park, turn right from the point where lies the Mawsmai village. Here, one comes across the monoliths which are rock carved pillars almost six to eight metres in height, two metres in breadth and 0.46 metres in thickness. Monoliths are said to be associated with the establishment of Nartiang as the second hill capital as well as the principal market of the kingdom. They are the most significant symbolic wonders of the megalithic or monolithic culture in the country as a whole and have also been declared as monuments of national importance. The route passes through grasslands surrounded by forests, ending in a clearing. From here, a concrete pathway through the jungle leads up to the main cave entrance. This cave is fully lighted and one can enter through one entrance and exit from the other. The cave remains wet inside throughout the year.



Noh-Sngithiang Falls or Mawsmai Falls:


Almost one kilometre south of Mawsmai village, the road leads to the Noh-Sngithiang or Mawsmai or the Seven Sister falls. This is a segmented type, single drop waterfall about 1,033 ft high and considered as the fifth highest waterfall in India. It is situated in a south-westerly position and gets illuminated by the sun from dawn to sunset. The vibrant colours of the setting sun on the waterfalls make it beautiful to behold. For the safety and security of tourists, the Meghalaya Government has constructed concrete barricades on the edges of the mountains, all along the roadside. Clouds playing hide and seek are a common feature here. A resort is nearing completion near this particular point to attract tourists for a stay here.

Thangkharang Park:
The road from Noh-Sngithiang falls leads to the Thangkharang Park, which is managed and well-maintained by the Meghalaya Forest Department. There are many rare and exotic orchids and some rare species of plants endemic to the area. A panoramic view of the plains of Bangladesh is clearly visible on a clear day from the well-constructed viewing spot there. One can also get a glimpse of the imposing Kynrem falls cascading down majestically in three stages.

The Living Root Bridges:
The ‘Living Root Bridges’ are a sight to behold. They are suspension bridges made of living tree roots of some Indian rubber tree species growing alongside the gap to be bridged. The roots used in one of these bridges are about 18 inches broad and about six inches thick. There are examples of root bridges with a span of over 100 feet. These bridges are being used daily by the people living in these villages around Cherrapunjee. The bridges take ten to 15 years to become fully functional. They keep growing in strength day by day. The roots are naturally self-renewing and self-strengthening, as the component roots grow thicker. These bridges usually have base spans numbering more than two. There are also two protective railing spans. These root bridges are so strong that some of them can carry 50 or more people at a time. One has two bridges – stacked one over the other, and hence termed, ‘Umshiang Double Decker Root Bridge,’ named after the stream over which the bridge has been built.


The Cherrapunjee Holiday Resort — the first-ever resort built around Cherrapunjee — is near the place where the trek to the living root bridge (single decker) started. It has played host to many domestic and international tourists, owing to its scenic beauty and serene location.

A few other spots like the Rama Krishna Mission Museum, the Don Bosco Shrine, the first Presbyterian Church, tombs of Welsh missionaries, the Anglican Cemetery, the David Scott Memorial – the monument to David Scott (British Administrator in NE India, 1802-31), the Riat Mawiew – Green Canyon of Cherrapunjee, the Cherrapunjee Meteorological Observatory, the Kynrem waterfalls, etc., can be explored in Cherrapunjee.

Cherrapunjee is indeed a unique place in North East India, where one can find unexpected treasures of bountiful Nature. Above all, it is a destination easy on the pocket.
– don_guw@yahoo.co.in

Courtesy: The Assam Tribune Sunday Reading 24 July 2011

Friday, 22 July 2011

From the archive: Need To Broadcast Programmes In Bishnupriya

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Lok Sabha Debate

Need To Broadcast Programmes In Bishnupriya ... on 10 March, 2005
Title: Need to broadcast programmes in Bishnupriya Manipuri langauge by AIR and Doordarshan centres at Silchar in Assam.

SHRI LALIT MOHAN SUKLABAIDYA (KARIMGANJ): ‘Bishnupriya Manipuri’ – a linguistic minority community – constitutes a sizeable portion of the population of Assam and Tripura. The approximate population of the community only in Barak valley districts exceed 3 lakhs besides a substantial number in other adjoining areas.

‘Bishnupriya Manipuri’ with their very rich cultural heritage specially in their classical dance and music have been further enriched by being included in the Indian mainstream in the form of dance, music and drama. They greatly contribute to the richness and variety of Indian culture. The Bishnupriya Manipuris Gurus played a significant part in propagating the Indian Manipuri Dance since long throughout the world.

As an outcome of prolonged struggle by the community, the Government of India, vide its Notification No. 13/73-B-(P) dated 29.4.1975 issued by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, New Delhi, was pleased to decide in principle to introduce broadcasting through AIR daily programmes of 15 minute ‘Bishnupriya’ through AIR, Silchar in 1975.

However, the community failed to welcome the decision because of non-inclusion of ‘Manipuri’ being suffix with ‘Bishnupriya’ although it has been corroborated in the Census Report of 1981 and onwards. The Government of Tripura and Assam have already introduced Bishnupriya Manipuri language in 1995 and 2001 respectively in elementary level of education.

I request the Hon’ble Minister of Information and Broadcasting to take suitable action for broadcasting programmes in Bishnupriya Manipuri language through AIR and Doordarshan centrs at Silchar in Assam.

Courtesy: indiankanoon

From the archive: K. Kumardhan Singh vs Union Of India

1 comments
K. Kumardhan Singh vs Union Of India (Uoi) And Ors. on 9 April, 1999
Equivalent citations: AIR 2000 Gau 50
Author: Patnaik
Bench: A Patnaik, D Biswas
JUDGMENT

Patnaik, J.

1. This is a public interest litigation filed by the petitioner who belongs to the Manipuri community and who speaks Manipuri language. The relevant facts briefly are that by a notification dated 27-11-75, the Government of Assam published a list of Other Backward Classes in the State of Assam who would be entitled to reservation in public services. Against serial 13 of the said list published by the notification dated 27-11-75 "Manipuri including Manipuri Brahmins and Manipuri Muslims" were mentioned as an Other Backward Class. On 16-11-92, the judgment of the Supreme Court in Indra Sawhney v. Union of India was delivered. B.P. Jeevan Reddy, J. delivering the majority judgment held in para 117 of the judgment as reported in AIR 1993 SC 477 that there ought to be a permanent body, in the nature of a Commission or Tribunal, to which complaints of wrong inclusion or non-inclusion of groups, classes and sections in the lists of Other Backward Classes could be made and which would tender its advice/opinion to the Government, and accordingly directed that such body be constituted both at Central level and at the level of the States within four months. Pursuant to the said directions, at the Central level the National Commission for Backward Classes Act, 1993 was made by the Parliament under which the Central Government was to constitute a body to be known as National Commission for Backward Classes to examine the requests for inclusion of any class of citizens as a backward class in the lists and hear complaints of over-inclusion or under-inclusion of any backward class in such list and tender such advice to the Central Government as it deemed appropriate. Similarly, at the State level, the Assam Backward Classes Commission Act, 1993 (for short, "the Assam Act") was enacted by the Assam Legislative Assembly under which the Assam Backward Classes Commission was to be constituted to examine the requests for inclusion of any class or classes of citizens as backward class in the lists and hear complaints of over-inclusion or under-inclusion of any backward class in such lists and tender such advice to the Government as it deemed appropriate. Under the said Assam Act, the Assam Backward Classes Commission was constituted and the said Commission examined a complaint relating to non-inclusion of 'Bishnupriya Manipurl' in serial-13 of the list of Other Backward Classes as notified by notification dated 27-11-75 of the Government of Assam and by its order dated 29-9-95 in Case No. 1/94 recommended that serial-13 of the said list be amended so as to include Bishnupriya Manipuri as part of the Manipuri community. On the said recommendation of the Assam Backward Classes Commission, the Government of Assam in the Department of Welfare of Plains Tribes & Backward Classes issued a corrigendum dated 18-3-96 to serial-13 of the list as notified by the notification dated 27-11-75 stating that serial No. 13 would read as follows :

"Manipuri including Bishnupriya Manipuri, Manipuri Brahmins and Manipuri Muslims."

Aggrieved, the petitioner has filed this writ petition under Article 226 of the Constitution praying for a declaration that the Assam Act is unconstitutional and praying for an order quashing the aforesaid corrigendum dated 18-3-96 issued by the Government of Assam as well as (he order dated 29-9-95 of the Assam Backward Classes Commission in case No. 1/94. The petitioner has further prayed for a declaration that Manipuri language or community is in no way connected with Bishnupriya Manipuri community and for a direction restraining the respondents to use the word 'Manipuri' as prefix or suffix to the word 'Bishnupriya' for any purpose and for restraining the State of Assam to include Bishnupriya Manipuri or Bishnupriya in serial 13 of the list of the Other Backward Classes as notified by the notification dated 27-1 J-75.

2. At the hearing, Mr. B. K. Das, Jearned counsel for the petitioner, submitted that the power to legislate relating to identifica-tion of backward classes is with the Union Parliament and not with the State Legislature. He contended that Entry 41 ofList-II of the Seventh Schedule to the Constitution empowered a State Legislature to make a law relating to State Public Services but the impugned Assam Act is not a legislation on public services of the State of Assam. It is a legislation for identification of backward classes and as no Entry in List-11 or List-111 of the Seventh Schedule to the Constitution relates to identification of backward classes, law relating to identification of backward classes can only be made by the Union Parliament in exercise of its residuary power under Article 248 of the Constitution or under Entry-97 of List-I of the Seventh Schedule to the Constitution. Mr. Das argued in the alternative that para-117 of the majority judgment of B.P. Jeevan Reddy, J. as reported in AIR 1993 SC 477 would show that the Backward Classes Commission was to be created under Article 16(4) read with Article 340 of the Constitution for the purpose of identifying and specifying the backward classes of citizens in whose favour reservations were to be provided and under Article 340 of the Constitution it is the President of India who has the power to appoint a Commission to investigate the conditions of backward classes and not the State Legislature of a State. The impugned Assam Act has been made by the State Legislature for constituting a Commission for identifying the backward classes contrary to the directions of the Supreme Court in the aforesaid majority Judgment of the Supreme Court in the case of Indra Sawhncy v. Union of India, (AIR 1993 SC 477) (supra) and the provisions of Article 340 of the Constitution. Mr. Das further contended that in any case the Union Parliament has already made the National Commission for Backward Classes Act, 1993, and the said Act makes detailed provisions with regard to constitution of National Commission for Backward Classes by the Central Government and for examination of requests for inclusion of any class of citizens as a backward class in the lists and hear complaints of over-inclusion or under-inclusion of any backward class in such lists and tender such advice to the Central Government as it deems appropriate. The said Central Act made by the Union Parliament there/ore covers the entire field relating to identification of backward classes and relating to inclusion of any class of citizens as a backward class in the lists as well as their over-inclusion or under-inchision in such lists. According to Mr. Das, since the aforesaid Central Act occupies the entire field for identification of backward classes and their inclusion, over-inclusion or under-inclusion in the lists, the State Legislature cannot make a law on the very same field and the impugned Assam Act is repugnant to the aforesaid Central Act. He submitted that Article 254 of the Constitution made it clear that a law made by the Legislature of a State which was repugnant to the provision of law made by the Union Parliament was void to the extent of such repugnancy. Mr. M. Singh, learned counsel appearing for respondent No. 5 adopted the aforesaid submissions.

3. Mr. P. G. Barna, learned Advocate General, State of Assam, on the other hand, submitted that under Entry-41 of List-II of the Seventh Schedule to the Constitution, the State Legislature has exclusive power to make law relating to State Public Services. He also referred to Entry-45 of List-III of the Seventh Schedule to the Constitution whereunder both the State Legislatures and the Union Parliament have concurrent power to make law relating to enquiries and statistics for the purpose of any of the matters specified in List-II or List-III of the Seventh Schedule to the Constitution. He argued that a reading of the impugned Assam Act would show that the domain and the purpose of the Act was reservation in State Public Services and for the purpose of such reservation a Commission for Backward Classes was to be constituted to enquire and find out as to which were the backward classes which would be granted reservation in the public services of the State. According to Mr. Barua, learned Advocate General, the impugned Assam Act is really an Act made by the State Legislature in exercise of its power under Entry-41 of List-II read with Entry-45 of List-Ill of the Seventh Schedule to the Constitution and cannot be held to be ultra vires. Mr. N. Dutta and Mr. B. Singha, learned counsel appearing for respondent No. 9, adopted the aforesaid submissions of Mr. Barua.

4. Since the impugned Assam Act was enacted pursuant to the directions of the Supreme Court in the case of Indra Sawhney v. Union of India, AIR 1993 SC 477, the said paragraph-117 is quoted hereinbelow :--

"Desirability of a permanent statutory body to examine complaints of over-inclusion / under- inclusion.

117. We are of the considered view that there ought to be a permanent body, in the nature of a Commission or Tribunal, to which complaints of wrong inclusion or non-inclusion of groups, classes and sections in the lists of Other Backward Classes can be made. Such body must be empowered to examine complaints of the said nature and pass appropriate orders. Its advice/ opinion should ordinarily be binding upon the Government. Where, however, the Government does not agree with its recommendation, it must record its reasons therefor. Even if any new class/group is proposed to be included among the other backward classes, such matter must also be referred to the said body in the first instance and action taken on the basis of its recommendation. The body must be composed of experts in the field, both official and non-official, and must be vested with the necessary powers to make a proper and effective inquiry. It is equally desirable that each State constitutes such a body, which step would go a long way in redressing genuine grievances. Such a body can be created under Clause (4) of Article 16 itself- or under Article 16(4) read with Article 340 - as a concomitant of the power to identify arid specify backward class of citizens, in whose favour reservations are to be provided. We direct that such a body be constituted both at Central level and at the level of the States within four months from today. They should become immediately operational and be in a position to entertain and examine forthwith complaints and matters of the nature aforementioned, if any, received. It should be open to the Government of India and the respective State Governments to devise the procedure to be followed by such body. The body or bodies so created can also be consulted in the matter of periodic revision of lists of O.B.Cs. As suggested by Chandrachud, C.J. In Vasanth Kumar, AIR 1985 SC 1495, there should be a periodic revision of these lists to exclude those who have ceased to be backward or for inclusion of new classes, as the case may be."

The aforesaid observations and the directions of the Supreme Court would show that the body to examine complaints of Wrong inclusion or non-inclusion of groups, classes and sections in the lists of Other Backward Classes should be created under Clause (4) of Article 16 it self or under Article 16(4) read with Article 340 as a concomitant of the power to identify and specify backward class of citizens in whose favour reservations were to be provided.

5. Clause (4) of Article 16 of the Constitution provides that nothing in Article 16 shall prevent the State from making any provision for the reservation of appointments or posts in favour of any backward class of citizens which, in the opinion of the State, is not adequately represented in the services under the State. Thus complaints of wrong inclusion or non-inclusion of groups, classes and sections in the lists of Other Backward Classes were to be examined by the body to be created under Clause (4) of Article 16 of the Constitution for the purpose of providing for reservation of appointments or posts tn favour of any backward class of citizens which was not adequately represented in the services under the State. The object of the impugned Assam Act made pursuant to the aforesaid directions of the Supreme Court in the aforesaid para 117 of the Judgment in the case of Indra Sawhney v. Union of India, (AIR 1993 SC 477) (supra) was to create a statutory body for examining complaints of wrong inclusion or non-inclusion of groups, classes and sections in the lists of Other Backward Classes for the purpose of making provisions for reservation of appointments or posts in favour of such groups, classes and sections in the services under the State and not for any other purpose. This would also be evident from the preamble of the impugned Assam Act which is to the following effect :

"Whereas it is expedient to provide for the constitution of a Commission for Backward Classes other than the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes to streamline and rationalise the procedure for inclusion or over-inclusion of any class or classes of citizens in the list of Backward Classes including More Other Backward Classes to provide reservation of vacancies in services and posts for the members of socially and economically backward sections of the society and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto."

The preamble of the impugned Assam Act would show that the object of the said Assam Act is to provide reservation of vacancies in services and posts for the members of so- cially and economically backward sections of the society and for matters connected therewith and incidental thereto. The impugned Assam Act therefore was in pith and substance a legislation in respect of State Public Services and relatable to Entry 41 of List II of the Seventh Schedule to the Constitution. Article 246(3) of the Constitution states that the Legislature of any State has exclusive power to make laws for such State or any part thereof with respect to any of the matters enumerated in List-II of the Seventh Schedule to the Constitution. Thus, the State Legislature had the exclusive power under the said Article 246(3) of the Constitution to make the impugned Assam Act relating to reservation for other backward classes in the Public Services under the State of Assam.

6. Further, in the observations of the Supreme Court in para 117 of the judgment in the case of Indra Sawhney (supra), quoted above, it was made clear that the body to examine complaints of wrong inclusion or non-inclusion of groups, classes and sections in the lists of Other Backward Classes should be created either under Clause (4) of Article 16 itself or under Article 16(4) read with Article 342 as a concomitant of the power to identify and specify backward class of citizens, in whose favour reservations were to be provided..Such a body thus can be created under Clause (4) of Article 16 itself either by an executive order or by law. When such a body is created under Clause (4) of Article 16 itself by law, such law obviously has to be passed by the Parliament or the State Legislature in accordance with its power as enumerated in Article 246 and Article 309 of the Constitution. Since the impugned Assam Act has been made by the State Legislature of Assam in accordance with its exclusive power under Article 246(3) and Article 309 of the Constitution, the impugned Assam Act is within the legislative competence of the State Legislature of Assam and is not contrary to the directions of the Supreme Court in para 117 of the judgment in the case of Indra Sawhney, (AIR 1993 SC 477) (supra) as contended by Mr. Das, learned counsel for the petitioner. The argument of Mr. Das, learned counsel for the petitioner, that a body to examine complaints of wrong inclusion or non-inclusion of groups, classes and sections in the lists of Other Backward Classes could be created only under Article 340 of the Constitution as per the direction of the Supreme Court would have been relevant if the Supreme Court had held that such a body could not be created under Clause (4) of Article 16 itself but only under Article 16(4) read with Article 340. Moreover, under Article 340 of the Constitution, the President of India has the power to appoint a Commission to investigate the conditions of socially and educationally backward classes within the territory of India and the difficulties under which they labour and to make recommendations as to steps that should be taken by the Union or any State to remove such difficulties and to improve their condition. Such a Commission appointed by the President may also investigate the conditions of socially and economically backward classes in a State and identify and specify the backward classes of citizens in whose favour reservations are to be provided. But this does not mean that only a Commission appointed by the President under Article 340 of the Constitution can examine the complaints of wrong inclusion or non-inclusion of groups, classes and sections in the lists of Backward Classes of citizens for the purpose of providing reservation of vacancies in services and posts under the State. A Stale can create a body either by an executive order or by lawunder Clause (4) of Article 16 of the Constitution to examine complaints of wrong inclusion or non-inclusion of groups, classes and sections in the lists of Other Backward Classes for the purpose of providing reservation in the public services under the State. The contention of Mr. Das therefore that the impugned Assam Act is ultra vires Article 340 of the Constitution has no merit.

7. Since we have held that the impugned Assam Act is an Act in pith and substance in respect of State Public Services under Entry 41 of List II of the Seventh Schedule to the Constitution and that the State Legislature of Assam had exclusive power under Article 246(3) of the Constitution to make a law in respect of the matters enumerated in List II of the Seventh Schedule to the Constitution, the argument of Mr. Das, learned counsel for the petitioner, that the Impugned Assam Act is an Act in respect of a residuary matter falling under Entry 97 of List I of the Seventh Schedule to the Constitution falls to the ground. Entry 97 of List I and Article 248(1) of the Constitution confers exclusive power on the Parliament to make any law with respect to any matter not enumerated in the concurrent list or State List. Since the impugned Assam Act is a law in respect of State Public Services as enumerated in Entry 41 of List II of the Seventh Schedule to the Constitution, Parliament does not have the exclusive power under the said Entry 97 of List I of the Seventh Schedule to the Constitution or under the said Article 248(1) of the Constitution in respect of the matter on which the impugned Assam Act has been made.

8. We now come to the submission of Mr. Das, learned counsel for the petitioner, that the National Commission for Backward Classes Act, 1993 made by the Parliament has also made provisions for examination of requests for inclusion of any class of citizens as a Backward Class in the lists and for hearing complaints of over-inclusion or un-der-inclusion of any backward class in such lists by a Commission and that the said Central Act covers the entire field which the impugned Assam Act intends to cover and that the impugned Assam Act is therefore repugnant to the said Central Act and is void under Article 254 of the Constitution. Article 254 of the Constitution is quoted herein-below :

"254. Inconsistency between laws made by Parliament and laws made by the Legislatures of States.-

(1) if any provision of a law made by the Legislature of a State is repugnant to any provision of a law made by Parliament which Parliament is competent to enact, or to any provision of an existing law with respect to one of the matters enumerated in the Concurrent List, then subject to the provisions of Clause (2), the law made by Parliament, whether passed before or after the law made by the Legislature of such State, or, as the case may be, the existing law, shall prevail and the law made by the Legislature of the State shall, to the extent of the repugnancy, be void.

(2) Where a law made by the Legislature of a State with respect to one of the matters enumerated in the Concurrent List contains any provision repugnant to the provisions of an earlier law made1 by Parliament or an existing law with respect to that matter, then, the law so made by the Legislature of such State shall, if it has been reserved for the consideration of the President and has received his assent, prevail in the State :

Provided that nothing in this clause shall prevent Parliament from enacting at any time any law with respect to the same matter including a law adding to, amending, varying or repealing the law so made by the Legislature of the State."

A bare reading of the aforesaid provisions of Article 254 of the Constitution would show that it relates in laws made by the Parliament and the Stale Legislatures in respect of any of the matters enumerated in Union and Concurrent Lists and it provides under what circumstances a law made by the Parliament in respect of a matter in the Concurrent List will prevail over a law made by a State Legislature in respect of such matter in the Concurrent List and under what circumstances a law made by such State Legislature in respect of a matter in the Concurrent List will prevail over the law made by the Parliament in the Concurrent List. Thus, the repugnancy that is indicated in Article 254 of the Constitution is between a law made by the Parliament and a law made by a State Legislature in respect of a matter in the Union or Concurrent List and not in respect of a matter in the State List (List II of the Seventh Schedule to the Constitution). This is because, under Article 246(3) of the Constitution, the Legislature of a State has exclusive power to make law for such State or any part thereof with respect to any of the matters enumerated in the State List (List II). Since we have held that the impugned Assam Act is in respect of a matter enumerated in Entry 41 of the State List (List II), Article 254 of the Constitution does not apply to the impugned Assam Act. I-n our considered opinion, the State Legislature of Assam had the exclusive power under Article 246(3) of the Constitution to make the impugned Assam Act in respect of State Public Services in the State of Assam as indicated in Entry 41 of List II of the Seventh Schedule to the Constitution, and the impugned Assam Act could not be held to be void on the ground that it was repugnant to the provisions of the National Commission for Backward Classes Act, 1993 made by the Union Parliament.

9. It was next submitted by Mr. B. K. Das, learned counsel for the petitioner, that the recommendation of the Assam Backward Classes Commission in its order dated 29-9-95 recommending that Serial 13 of the List of the Other Backward Classes as notified by notification dated 27-11-75 be amended so as to include Bishnupriya Manipuri as part of the Manipuri community was arbitrary inasmuch as the said Commission did not follow the criteria laid down by the Supreme Court in paragraph 700 of its judgment in Indra Sawhney v. Union of India as reported in AIR 1993 SC 477. He argued that in the said para 700 of its judgment, the Supreme Court laid down that criteria such as

occu-pation-cum-social-cum-educational-cum-economlc criteria may be adopted for identifying a group or collectivity which was not adequately represented in public services in the State and in favour of which reservation in public services of the State should be made under Article 16(4) of the Constitution, but the said criteria were not followed by the Assam Backward Classes Commission as would be evident from its order dated 29-9-95 in case No. 1/94. He further contended that since the Bishnupriya community was distinct from the Manipuri community, the Assam Backward Classes Commission had no jurisdiction under the impugned Assam Act to recommend inclusion of the Bishnupriya community with the Manipuri community in Serial 13 of the List of the Other Backward Classes notified by notification dated 27-1-75. Mr. Das vehemently argued that the origin of Manipuri community is Tibeto-Burman and the language is Metei while the origin of Bishnupriya community is Indo-Aryan and the language is Bishnupriya. Mr. Das submitted that it is for this reason that according to the petitioner the members of Bishnupriya community are not Manipuri and the Bishnupriya community cannot be included with the Manipuri community and the Court should not only quash the impugned recommendation of the Assam Backward Classes Commission in its order dated 29-9-95 and the corrigendum dated 18-3-96 to Serial 13 issued by the Government of Assam in the department of Welfare of Plains Tribes and Backward Classes on the basis of the said recommendation, but also declare that the Bishnupriya community should not either prefix or suffix the word 'Manipuri' along with the word Bishnupriya. Mr. M. Singh, learned counsel appearing for respondent No. 5, State of Manipur, supported the said contentions of Mr. B. K. Das, learned counsel for the petitioner, and submitted that the Manipur Legislative Assembly has adopted a resolution requesting the Chief Minister of Assam not to suffix or prefix 'Manipuri' to the word 'Bishnupriya' as it would affect the cultural identity of the Manipuri community. He further pointed out that the Commissioner for Linguistic Minorities in India has turned down the request for adding the word 'Manipuri' after 'Bishnupriya' and the decision was taken after taking into consideration the fact thai the Manipuri and the Bismiupnya were two distinct languages, Manipuri belonging to Kuki-Chin group of Tibeto-Burman family of languages and the Bishnupriya to Indo-Aryan group of languages. Mr. Singh further pointed out that in the Census of India 1971, Manipuri and Bishnupriya. are classified Into two different communities. According to Mr. Singh, Mince the Manipuri community and the Bishnupriya community have been separately classified by different statutory authorities, the Assam Backward Classes Commission and the Government of Assam had no jurisdiction to alter such classificalion made by the statutory authorities.

10. Mr. P. G. Baruah, learned Advocate General,-Assam, submitted that the impugned corrigendum dated 18-3-96 to Serial 13 of the List as notified by the notification dated 27-11-75 has been issued on the basis of the recommendation of the Assam Backward Classes Commission in its impugned order dated 29-9-95. Mr. Baruah however did not make any submission on the justification of the recommendation of the Assam Backward Classes Commission for inclusion of "Bishnupriya Manipuri" with Manipuri community in Serial-13 of the List of the Other Backward Classes notified by the notification dated 27-11-75. Mr. B. Singha, learned counsel for the respondent 9 stated that the respondent No. 9 has no objection if Bishnupriya Manipuri community is placed under serial separate from serial No. 13 of the List of Other Backward Classes for the purpose of reservation in public services in the State of Assam. But he pointed out by referring to page 20 of a publication of the Nikhil Bishnupriya Manipuri Sahitya Parish ad titled "Manlpuris" that the people speaking Manipuri and Bishnupriya languages in the State of Assam are regarded as Manipuris and the word 'Manipuri' will have to be prefixed or suffixed to the word 'Bishnupriya' to safeguard the Identity of the race. He further argued that the petitioner and the respondent No, 5, State of Manipur, taking advantage of an incorrect description in the Census report have sought to identify the Manipuri com-munity with people speaking Metei language. According to Mr. Singha, people speaking Bishnupriya language also belong to Manipuri community and no declaration can be issued by this Court that the word Manipuri cannot be suffixed or prefixed to the word Bishpuriya Mr N. Dutta who also appeared for respondcm No. a submitted that the Court in exercise of its power under Article 226 of the Constitution cannot decide the issue as to whether Bishnupriya community is part of the Manipuri community and can therefore prefix or suffix the word Manipuri with the word Bishnupriya. He pointed out that the Court does not have the expertise or the knowledge to decide this intricate and sensitive issue. He relied on a decision of this Court in the case of Konsaba Ibochou v. State of Manipur, 1998 (1) Gauhati LT 1.

11. In para 700 of the judgment of the Supreme Courtin the case of Indra Sawhney, (AIR 1993 SC 477) (supra), the conclusions of the Supreme Court in the said judgment have been summed up and it has been held, inter alia, that identification of a group or collectivity by any criteria other than caste such as

occupation-cum-social-cum-edu-cational-Cum-economic criteria ending in caste may not be invalid. In the said conclusions the Supreme Court however observed that the group or collectivity so identified must be one which was not adequately represented in the public services because Inadequate representation in the services was the sine qua non for the exercise of the power under Article 16(4). For identification of a group or collectivity on the basis of

occupa-tion-cum-social-cum-educatlonal-cum-eco-nomic criteria which was not adequately represented in the public services of the State, the Supreme Court observed in para 117 of its said judgment quoted above that each State should create a body and such body should examine complaints of wrong inclusion or non-inclusion of groups, classes and sections in the lists of Other Backward Classes, and the advice/opinion given by such body should ordinarily be binding on the Government and where the Government does not agree with its recommendation it must record its reason therefor. Pursuant to the aforesaid judgment of the Supreme Court in the case of Indra Sawhney (supra), the impugned Assam Act was enacted providing for constitution of the Assam Backward Classes Commission, Section 9 of the im-pugned Assam Act is quoted herebelow :

"FUNCTIONS AND POWERS OF THE COMMISSION.

9 (1) The Commission shall examine requests for inclusion of any class of citizens as a backward class in the lists and hear complaints of over-inclusion or order in-clusion of any backward class in such lists and tender such advice to the Government as it deems appropriate.

(2) The advice of the Commission shall ordinarily be binding upon the Government".

Thus the functions of the Assam Backward Classes Commission under Section 9 (1) of the impugned Assam Act quoted above was to examine requests for inclusion of any class of citizens as a backward class in the lists and hear complaints of over inclusion or under inclusion of any backward class in such lists and tender such advice to the Government as it deemed appropriate. The limited function and role of the Assam Backward Classes Commission under Section 9 (1) of the impugned Assam Act read with the aforesaid judgment of the Supreme Court in the case of Indra Sawhney, (AIR 1993 SC 477) (supra) as discussed above was to identify a group or collectivity on the basis of occupation-cum-social-cum-educational-cum-economic criteria and to find out as to whether a backward class so identified was or was not adequately represented in the public services of the State of Assam. Oil a reading of the impugned order dated 29-9-95 of the Assam Backward Classes Commission in case No. 1/94, we find that the Commission has recorded a finding that the Bishnupriya Manipurls were treated as an Other Backward Class of Assam since 12-9-61 and had been enjoying the privileges granted to Other Backward Classes. Bishnupriya Manipuris therefore had been treated as a backward class for the purpose of reservation in public services in the State of Assam since 1961. The Assam Backward Classes Commission was therefore well within its jurisdiction to recommend Bishnupriya Manipuris as an Other Backward Class for the purpose of reservation in public services in the .State of Assam under Article 16(4) of the Constitution. But in the impugned order dated 29-9-95, the Assam Backward Classes Commission has gone further and held that both people speaking Metei language and people speaking Bishnupriya language belong to the same culture and identified themselves as Manipuri and after having recorded this finding recommended that Bishnupriya Manipuri should be included with Manipuri in Serial 13 of the Lists of Other Backward Classes as notified by notification dated 27-11-75. Relevant extracts from the impugned order dated 29-9-95 of the Assam Backward Classes Commission are quoted herein-below :

".....Therefore, the position thus stands that the different clans of the Mangoloid people and the Mayangs/Bishnupriyas lived side by side in Manipur for centuries before 15th Century. The Meitei Language was formed after 15th century AD and the Bishnupriya Language was formed towards the 15th Century AD, both on the soil of Manipur. The 'Manipuri' was attributed to the land, in all probability, after this period, i.e. towards the 17th century when the land was on way to full Aryanisation, in consequence whereof the 'Manipuri' was attributed to the people of Manipur. Therefore, the terms 'Manipur' and Manipuris have been in useby both the Meiteis and the Bishnupriyas commonly with equal right to them; and, practically, people of both these clans used these two terms 'Manipur' and 'Manipuris' without any reservation to identify their land and themselves respectively. In Assam since long past, both the Meiteis and the Bishnupriyas had common recognition and identify as 'Manipuri' without any reservation and they have been maintaining their recognition/identity as such for all practical purposes. But the Meitei section of people follow their language identifying as 'Manipuri language' whereas the Bishnupriya section of people follow their Language identifying as 'Bishnupriya Manipuri Language'.

The Bishnupriya in Assam, since their inception of Migration (before 1806 and 1829 AD also thereafter) from Manipur, had with them their fully developed language called 'Bishnupriya Manipuri' and commonly/ordinarily kept in use for all purposes till date. Since that time the Manipuri People of Bishnupriya section in Assam identified them as Bishnupriya Manipuri with their Language 'Bishnupriya Manipuri' which were commonly recognised in Assam without any reservation for all practical purposes. This is a settled position.

The terms Manipuri or Manipuris in Assam include the Meiteis, Bishnupriyas and Manipuri Muslims. Majority of them had settled in the District of Cachar (old) and the rest are scatteredly living in other part of Assam. The culture of both the sections are uniform in all respects. Their Kirtan, Raslila, dance, Music, customaiy dress, food habit, living style, marriage and Sradha System and all other socio-cultural formalities are homogeneous. The only difference between the Meitei and Bishnupriya is linguistic point of view. The Meiteis follow the Manipuri language, whereas the Bishnupriyas follow the Bishnupriya Manipuri Language. But in reality both the sections of people strictly identify themselves as Manipuri. This is a settled position......"

A reading of the aforesaid extracts from the impugned order dated 29-9-95 of the Assam Backward Classes Commission would show that the Assam Backward Classes Commission had itself found some differences in the origin and the language between the people speaking Metei language and calling themselves Manipuris and the people speaking Bishnupriya language and calling themselves Bishnupriya Manipuris. The Commission once having found that there were some differences between the two communities should not have treated the two communities as one and the same and should have confined itself only to its limited function of identifying the community speaking Bishnupriya language as an other backward class for the purpose of reservation in the public services in the State of Assam and should have recommended its inclusion in the list of Other Backward Classes to the State Government and should not have recommended inclusion of the Bishnupriya Manipuri along with the Manipuri in Serial 13 of the Lists of Other Backward Classes as notified by the notiilcation dated 27-11-75. The impugned order dated 29-9-95 of the Assam Backward Classes Commission in so far as it recommended inclusion of Bishnupriya Manipuris in Serial 13 of the Lists of Other Backward Classes as notified by notification dated 27-11-75 of the Government of Assam is therefore liable to be quashed.

12. The fact however remains that the people in Assam speaking Bishnupriya language call themselves as Bishnupriya Manipuris and are under the firm belief that they are part of Manipuri community and that the word 'Manipuri' should be prefixed or suffixed to the word 'Bishnupriya' while describing themselves. This Court in exercise of its power under Article 226 of the Constitution cannot issue a declaration that the word 'Manipuri' cannot be prefixed or suffixed to the word 'Bishnupriya'. This is because, the dispute between the two communities on this issue is riot a dispute which relates to reservation in favour of Other Backward Classes under Article 16(4) of the Constitution in public services in the State of Assam. Moreover, adjudication of the dispute will require a study into the origin, history and culture of the two communities and the Court exercising powers under Article 226 of the Constitution is ill-equipped and ill-suited to decide this intricate dispute. We are therefore not inclined to issue a declaration that the word 'Manipuri' can-nol be used as a suffix or prefix to the word 'Bishnupriya'.

13. For the reasons stated above, we quash the impugned order dated 29-9-95 of the Assam Backward Classes Commission in so far as it recommends inclusion of Bishnupriya Manipuri along with Manipuri in Serial No. 13 of the List of Other Backward Classes and the impugned corrigendum dated 18-3-96 issued by the Government of Assam on the basis of the said recommendation and direct that Bishnupriya Manipuri will be included in the List of Other Backward Classes as notified by the notification dated 27-11-75 of the Government of Assam under a serial separate from Serial 13 of the said List for the purpose of reservation in public services in the State of Assam under Article 16(4) of the Constitution. Considering however the facts and circumstances of the case, we make no order as to costs. Order accordingly.

Courtesy: indiankanoon.org
Facebook: Bishnupriya Manipuri Discussion Forum

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Teenaged girl killed after rape

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Tension erupted over the rape and murder of a 14-year-old student of Nepaltilla HS School in North Tripura last night.

Police said the culprit was identified as Sajal Sarkar(18), a construction worker, but he was yet to be arrested despite a massive search.

According to report, the victims family had gone to Rath Yatra festival along with neighbours leaving her alone in the house. On the way back home, the girl's father saw Sajal nearby and found her dead inside.

A medical test established that she was strangled after rape.

Courtesy: webindia123.com

A Minor Girl Raped, Killed Tripura Police Press Release

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

A Minor Girl Raped, Killed

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On 08-07-2011 before 1500 hours at any time one Sajal Sarkar (18) S/O Arun Sarkar of Durbasha Khola, PS-Nepaltilla criminally entered the house of Sankar Sinha at Bhumihin Colony (about 1 ½ km North from PS) and committed rape upon her minor daughter while she was alone at home. After committing rape Sajal Sarkar killed her by strangulation with a napkin and fled away. Nepaltilla PS staff visited the PO and arranged for post mortem examination of the dead body of the victim. Efforts are on to arrest accused Sajal Sarkar. 

Taken from Facebook forum: Bishnupriya Manipuri Discussion Forum
(Victim's name deleted)
Source: Tripura Police Press Release

IF ONLY...

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By Prabal Atreya

I would like to start off this column with my deepest condolences for the lost lives and injured lots in the LATEST Mumbai carnage; may Almighty provide strength during this time of crisis to the family members of the victims. Just a day after the blasts, I was having a regular conference call with my business partner sitting in US, and he started off the discussion with a condolence note and asked me about the ground situation there in Mumbai. I, in a quick response, based on what is shown by our very RESPONSIBLE media, described him a brief and ended up saying that “Mumbaikars are known for their resilient characters and they would bounce back to normalcy in a day or two” with a very casual tone. And then we continued with the regular stuff. But then, just after the call, as I replayed the discussion, something bothered me. With the casual tone and the content of what I said, saw me rating myself very low in my moral ME. It also reflected the attitude I possess for lost human lives, maybe because it happened with someone else and not with me. But then, when I put my thoughts a little deeper on to the victim’s families, I went into a more emotional crisis. Perhaps like me, many others in this country, rest of the country to be very correct, began to assume that Mumbai roads are bound to have traces of RDX, Ammonium Nitrate and Nitro-glycerine, among others. That this might just be a part of life for a Mumbaikar and we all have to deal with it, and offer our condemnation and condolences every time and move on with our respective lives.

As expected, the political gimmick started with verbal stone pelting on the government from its opponents. Media got into action. Social Networking sites did not lag behind, with the high emotions running among FBians and Twitteratti, expressing themselves in their destructive best. Some again glorified the event with being the birthday of Ajmal Kasab (which BTW, is totally untrue) and ran campaigns like ‘Hang Kasab’ all over again. Mr.Arnab Goswami skinned out each of the spokesperson of different political parties. Padmashri Barkha Dutt, with her drenched self, covered the aftermath in rain, with utmost flair doing justice of why she is an awardee from the Commonwealth Broadcasting Association, from ground zero Zaveri Bazaar. Then there’s Mr. Pritish Nandy, whom I closely follow, started bashing the government, covering all aspects of leadership, not even sparing the Rajas and Marans, well acknowledged by readers (going by the comments given) in one of his regular columns. Although I disagree on many counts on this occasion, I don’t blame him, the discussions about terrorism and security are so dynamic in approach that it just dabbles around almost all aspects of governance. At this moment when I’m writing this piece is when the country is witnessing a blame-game on communal terrorism by the two leading parties of the nation, Mr. Digvijay Singh being the frontrunner.

I hail from the state of Assam, which had witnessed mass home grown terrorist activities in the 80s and 90s, which is a different subject matter altogether, but understand the lifelong pain it gives to families of victims. Although from the lower part of Assam which is less prone to such actions, I still consider it more dangerous, considering the porous borders with Bangladesh it shares, within close proximity. Recent intelligence reports does talks about terrorists flocking in both from our eastern and western neighbours through this channel, staying in these areas, meeting and planning, and then dispersing throughout the whole country to perform their gruesome acts. And while I talk about Assam and for all the wrong reasons it is known to the rest of the world, please understand that IT IS NO MORE A TERRORIST STATE, and if anyone wants to, please check the numbers and dates on recent incidents and apply intelligence. I’m currently in Bangalore, for the last 11 years, have been witnessing the Green City turning into an IT City, love just about everything that this city gave me. While the city had witnessed few low intensity blasts and mostly bomb scares, the day is not too far when Bangloreans would share similar fear factors like Mumbaikars.

Terrorism is genuinely a reality. But the question is, whether we just accept the fact and move on with life? Whether we talk about resilience and character of people bouncing back to life aftermath and keep applauding the fact? Is it enough by just blaming the ruling government? Would we just regret intelligence (or no) failure of our country and only talk of collaborations with global intel agencies? That we keep portraying our vulnerability to the external forces unknown to us? Or we’d play the Hindu/Muslim communal terrorism card just like our political class? Would the strategic experts talk about port mortems and not about designing new methodologies? And we the people just bash the people in power in our everyday ‘chai’breaks, SN sites, blogs?

IF ONLY. If only the government, in fact all future governments, put together immediate short-term and long- term goals on terrorism and security, not to forget the timeliness associated to be reviewed and met. If only there could be separate and sufficient allocation of funds for internal security separate from defence funds, regularly seen in annual budgets. If only, we could expedite all pending and future requests on ammos and accessories associated with internal securities, anything from CCTV to sniper rifles. If only, we could strengthen the BSF; educate and exercise greater polity among commoners sharing borders and beyond not to encourage infiltration. If only, the right and the left wing (and if I may add, the south wing, given the world of coalition govt. we live in) unites in decision support on these matters with the ruling party for the security of the same people they represent. If only, the chemical manufacturers and their distribution channels are more vigilant on their processes from raw materials to finished goods. If only, we have better disaster management groups, not to take away the fact there were tall claims being made about better management on this occasion. If only, telecommunication cos. follow the right ethics in their sales functions and improve their R&D functions (considering that now terrorists manage themselves in VoIPs like Skype which cannot be tracked, considering the amount of data storage Indian users produce). If only, the legal system expedites pending cases (point noted though from Mr.Moily who, before leaving his ministry recently, conceded about significant improvement in this area) giving priority in such cases, and sending across the message of zero tolerance to the intended audience. If only, we the common people understand that putting hold on the dialogue process with our western neighbour is not the solution to terrorism. If only, we the people be more vigilant on our surroundings, use that 8MP camera on our mobiles to capture suspected behaviours around; be more knowledgeable about people staying around us within our busy lives. If only, we start treating people without any communal bias and taboo. If only, we the commoners could extract the best meaning from the everyday food for thought provided by our very democratic media, and participate and educate everyone around in terms of terrorism and security issues. And the many IF ONLYs.

If only, we the people of this country realise that it is not just for a government to tackle, an opposition to gag, an NSA to strategize, a BSF to perform his duty, an NSG to manage an attack, an ATS to investigate, medicos equipped to handle emergency, a common man to pray and move on; but a collective effort of each and every individual to fight against terrorism in our individual capacity.
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