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Bishnupriya Manipuris recall Pocha Ojha

By our Staff Reporter

Pocha Ojha
GUWAHATI, June 27: The 74th birth anniversary of Geeta Ratna Ojha Brajakumar Sinha was celebrated with a day-long programme at Radha-Madhab Sebashram, Maligaon in Guwahati on Sunday. The programme was organized by the Nikhil Bishnupriya Manipuri Sanskriti Parishad (NBMSP) and the Bishnupriya Manipuri Writers’ Forum (BMWF). The programmes included songs of Ojha Brajakumar Sinha (Pocha Ojha) and a lively discussion on his contribution in the Bishnupriya Manipuri culture, language and vaishnavite literature.

Former Patharkandi MLA Kartik Sena Sinha who attended the function as the chief guest, litterateur DILS Lakshmindra Sinha, advocate Biswa Prasad Sinha, artist Sunil Sinha, film director Hirendra Sinha, BMDC deputy chairman Banabir Sinha, dance teacher Gopinath Sinha and others spoke on the occasion. Most of the speakers were of the opinion that Pocha Ojha had created a distinct style (gharaana) of his own in the kirtanango songs in the Bishnupriya Manipuri culture.

The former MLA declared that the Bishnupriya Manipuri Development Council (BMDC) would extend Rs 86 lakh for the development of the Radha-Madhab Sebashram at Maligaon in Guwahati. He regretted that instead of putting pressure on the State Government for maximum allocation of funds for the BMDC in the forthcoming annual Budget of the Assam Government, the leaders of a few Bishnupriya Manipuri organizations were putting hurdles before the BMDC. “This is unfortunate,” the former MLA said, and assured the organizers of the birth anniversary celebration of Pocha Ojha that he would take initiative to observe the birthday of the great artiste in a befitting manner from next year. When the president of the function, advocate Bimalesh Sinha, wanted to know about the functioning of the BMDC, the former MLA said: “The Council has a fairly reticulated network of committees and subcommittees at the district, subdivision and other levels so that the benefits can percolate to the grassroots-level people in the Bishnupriya community.”

Taking part in the discussion, Col (retd) Bijoy Sinha was all praise for Pocha Ojha who devoted his life for the welfare and development of the Bishnupriya Manipuri language and culture. Col (retd) Sinha regretted that a large number of Bishnupriya Manipuri Kirtananga singers were yet to shift from the Brajabuli-Bengali lyrics of songs to Bishnupriya Manipuri language, the survival of which is at stake due to prolonged nonuse in most of the religious rites and rituals.

“Though Pocha Ojha passed away on May 18, 2010, he is still alive among the Bishnupriya Manipuris as he could successfully impose ‘life’ in his self-composed kirtanango songs (verses) that are sung by the present day kirtanango singers in the length and breadth of the Bishnupriya Manipuri community in India and Bangladesh,” one of the speakers said, and added: “Among the Bishnupriya Manipuris, Pocha Ojha is immortal, and should remain so.” The capacity crowed was kept mesmerized by singers Bina Sinha, Sarojini Sinha and Kiron Sinha.

Pocha Ojha was born on June 14, 1937 at Krishnanagar in Durlabcherra in Karimganj district. He was brilliant as a student but could go for higher education due to poverty. He was a teacher by profession, and his life was fully devoted for the development of the Bishnupriya Manipuri culture and language. He had received the Geeta Ratna Award from the Nikhil Bishnupriya Manipuri Mahasabha (NBMM).

Courtesy: The Sentinel

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