Wednesday, 24 August 2011

An unsung dance guru

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By Ramlal Sinha

Guru Hari Charan Singha
At the age of 78 with perforated eardrums (due to old age), he still browses through books and writes day in day out as he is determined to write a complete book on Classical Manipuri dance and music including all its aspects and forms. His yet-to-be accomplished mission prevents one from terming this period of his life as a fag-end as he is very much on the job for which he had dedicated his entire life. He is crystal clear when he says: "Throughout my over 50 years of teaching, I badly felt the necessity of a complete book on classical Manipuri dance and music. I don't want students pursuing this classical dance form to suffer any more."

The great personality I am talking about is Meghalaya Day-cum-U-Tirhot Sing Award winner Guru Hari Charan Singha who had made deep inroad into his life-long teaching & research of Manipuri dance. In an interview with The Sentinel at his rented residence at Lower Nongrim Hills in Shillong on July 25, 2011, the Guru couldn't hide the unhappiness latent in him in so far as recognition is concerned. Responding to a question, he said that the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award continued to elude him despite repeated assurance to him from political circles in Meghalaya. "After all, it’s political backing that makes things done nowadays," the septuagenarian dance guru said. The achievement he thinks worthwhile in his life-long contribution for the propagation and research of Manipuri dance is the North Eastern Dance Academy, Shillong that he had established as the founder principal. Now his daughter Sovya Sinha is the principal of the Academy.

Following is an excerpt of the one-to-one:

Ramlal Sinha (RLS): Guruji, can you give a glimpse of your preliminary academic career that propelled you as a Nrityacharya (dance guru)?

Guru Hari Charan Singha (GHCS): Born at Singari on the outskirts of Silchar town in Cachar district in Assam on June 29, 1934, I had my primary education at Silchar. My father was late Krishnadhan Singha and mother was late Krishna Devi. At the age of 14, I was trained as a Manipuri dancer under the guidance of Guru Senarik Rajkumar, a professor of Manipuri dance at Shantiniketan, Calcutta. I also underwent music (vocal) at Silchar Sangeet Vidyalaya from 1954-57. I came to Shillong in August 1957 to propagate classical Manipuri dance and associated myself with the Bangiyo Sahitya Parishad, Shillong. My first demonstration of Manipuri dance was at St. Anthony's College, Shillong in the All Assam Inter-College Music Conference. It was followed by another programme in 1958 at Raj Bhavan, Shillong where little kids performed a Manipuri dance number before the then Assam Governor late Faizal Ali.

RLS: Other than great Guru Senarik Rajkumar, who else were your gurus?

GHCS: Life took a turn for the better in 1961 when I had secured higher scholarship from the Government of India for advance training in classical Manipuri dance and music at Imphal under great Guru late H Atamba Singha. After completion of my training I was conferred with the title Guru by many prominent gurus of Manipur, and the Union Ministry of Scientific Research and Cultural Affairs issued me a scholar's certificate in 1963.

RLS: Can you tell us bbout your professional life?

GHS: From 1964-88, I was attached with many English educational and music institutions, like Pine Mount Government Girls' School, Shillong; Loreto Convent, Shillong; St. Mary's Convent, Shillong; St. Joseph's Convent, Shillong; SWA Music College, Shillong; Shillong Music College, Shillong; to name a few. In 1971, I was appointed as a Manipuri dance teacher at Banasthali Vidyapith in Rajasthan, but I had to come back to Shillong as I failed to acclimatize myself in Rajasthan. In 1980, I was appointed as an examiner and question paper setter in Manipuri dance by Bhatkhande Sangeet Vidyapith, Lucknow. Again in 1985, I was appointed as an examiner and question paper setter by the Banasthali Vidyapith, Rajasthan (Deemed University). In 1997, I was appointed as a visiting professor of Bhatkhande Music College, Lucknow and Dehradun from 1999-2000. From 2001 onwards, I was an examiner and paper setter in Manipuri dance at Bhatkhande Sangeet Sansthan (Deemed University), Lucknow. From 1999-2002, I had been attached to a few educational institutions to teach Manipuri dance in Dehradun. Some of them are Seven Oaks School, Gahri Cantt, Jaswant Higher Secondary School, Pestle Weed College, Children's Academy, Govind Garh and Welm Girls' School. However, not being able to adapt myself with the climatic condition there I had to come back to Shillong.

RLS: Give an account of your remarkable performances on the stage.

GHCS: Stage performances by me and my students were many. Some of the remarkable ones among them were the dance number presented by me and my party at the SAARC Summit held at Shillong State Central Library Auditorium under the chairmanship of the then Prime Minister of India Rajib Gandhi on May 8,1986. From 1991-95, myself and my party had been performing Manipuri dance in the Cultural Integration Nite at Raj Bhavan in Shillong when Shri Madhukar Dighe had headed the gubernatorial office. Many of my students took active part in both state and national cultural meets and competitions, and brought laurels to Meghalaya. On July 20, 1997, I presented a dance in the cultural function organized to honour the then Prime Minister IK Gujral.

RLS: Any achievements in the form of awards?

GHCS: I received the Meghalaya Day-cum-U-Tirot Singh Award from the Government of Meghalaya on August 15, 1993. The Nikhil Bishnupriya Manipuri Mahasabha, Assam honoured me with Nartan Kanti Award in 1997. However, the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award or Padmashree continued to be elusive. You know, I don't have the political push for such an award.

RLS: Any mission at hand at this age?

GHCS: Yes, age is to bar when one has the willpower. I am working hard to publish a complete book on Manipuri dance authored by me. Throughout my life as a classical Manipuri dance student, teacher and researcher, I badly felt the need of a complete book of the dance form. I don't want the next generation of Manipuri dance students face the same problem.

RLS: How is the North East Dance Academy going on?

GHCS: My daughters have been doing a wonderful job as the Principal and teachers of the Academy. They have a good number of students. They are dedicated to the job.

RLS: In what ways classical Manipuri dance is different from other classical dances of India?

GHCS: Manipuri dance is quite distinct from other Indian dance forms, mainly because of its graceful fluid movement of the body. The traditional Manipuri dance style embodies delicate, lyrical and graceful movements. The aim is to make rounded movements and avoid any jerks, sharp edges or straight lines. All these give the dance form an undulating and soft appearance. However, behind this outwardly soft impression there lies a tough regime of body control. Unlike in other dance forms, a Manipuri dancer's feet never strike the ground hard as this has a telling effect on the delicate flow of body movement. Everytime the dancer puts down his or her feet, even during vigorous steps; it is the front part of the feet that touches the ground. The ankle and the knee are effectively used as shock absorbers. The face is placid and without any exaggerated expression. The facial expression is subtle. The costume of Manipuri dance is unique.

RLS: A brief account of Guru-shisya parampara vis-a-vis Manipuri dance?

GHCS: Guru-shisya parampara is still alive in Manipuri culture. Guru, in Manipuri parlance, is no less important than God. A shisya serves his guru in all aspects and gets guru kripa (blessings). I had been to Manipur and served my guru, late Guru Atamba Singha. It's his profound blessings that made me a guru today.

RLS: Can you recall a few of your students?

GHCS: Meghalaya Minister in-charge of Urban Development Ampareen Lyngdoh, Professor Tony Gill, Padamaja Sinha (Rubi) are a few of my former students.

The meeting has brought to light the fact that our country is blessed with gems like Guru Hari Charan Singha, who, with their knowledge and expertise, can add more splendour to the ever-growing Indian culture. Yet such talents are unsung, unappreciated and sometimes tend to fade away in the distant memory lanes only as a name to be remembered.

Courtesy: The Sentinel

Friday, 19 August 2011

BMFA for probe into large-scale malpractices

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Special Correspondent

SILCHAR, Aug 17: Bishnupriya Manipuri Farmers’ Association (BMFA), Cachar district, has demanded inquiry into large scale malpractices involved in the selection of beneficiaries for distribution of government grant in aid provided to Bishnupriya Manipuri Development Council in a memorandum addressed to the Minister of WPT and BC, Guwahati, and submitted through the Deputy Commissioner of Cachar on Tuesday. The catalogue of allegations as detailed by the president Ranjit Sinha of the Association included the government fund to the council to take up socio-economic development works.

Besides, the memorandum alleges that under this grant in aid, beneficiaries were selected showing different schemes without making any announcement in this regard in the local media in accordance with the government guidelines. This violation of the norms deprived a large number of people belonging to below poverty line from availing themselves of the grant. The selection list, it further points out, includes persons of APL as eligible for the benefits. Considering the seriousness of the anomalies specified, the Association secretary Ajit Sinha has impressed upon the minister concerned to cause and inquiry through the Deputy Commissioners of Cachar, Karimganj, Hailakandi and Kamrup since similar irregularities have taken place in other districts under the jurisdiction of the Council.

In yet another memorandum to the Additional Deputy Commissioner, Development, Cachar, Bishnupriya Manipuri Farmers’ Association has alleged the apathy of the banks towards the disposal of kisan credit cards proposals for around 100 farmers sponsored by the district agriculture officer. The proposals have been lying without any consideration since the date of their submission with banks on August 1, 2011. The crop season is passing out, but the farmers are yet to get the kisan credit cards. The memorandum farther points out that the Government of India, RBI and NABARD have clear instructions to increase the KCC coverage to which the banks have taken a negative stand. It calls for immediate action and disposal of the credit card proposals.

Courtesy: The Sentinel 

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

BMWF to hold international Bishnupriya Manipuri literary meet

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By our Staff Reporter

GUWAHATI, Aug 16: The Bishnupriya Manipuri Writers’ Forum (BMWF), Guwahati, has decided to hold the International Bishnupriya Manipuri Literary and Cultural Festival in Guwahati in September this year. The decision was taken at the general meeting of the Forum held on August 15, 2011 with its president and noted writer DILS Lakshmindra Sinha in the chair. The meeting was hosted by Forum’s advisor Advocate Bimalesh Sinha.

According to BMWF acting general secretary Sanjib Sinha, the two-day international festival will be participated by a number of litterateurs and a drama troupe from Bangladesh, besides writers and artistes from Tripura and Assam. The Forum has decided to meet again on August 21, 2011 in order to form the reception committee for the festival.

BMWF’s acting general secretary further said: “The meeting had a detailed discussion on various issues concerning the Bishnupriya Manipuri community. In a resolution taken at the meeting, the Forum has thanked Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi for reappointing former MLA Kartik Sena Sinha as the Chairman of the Bishnupriya Manipuri Development Council (BMDC) after his resignation from the post before the recent Assembly elections in the State. The Forum feels that the move on the part of the Chief Minister has put the BMDC back on track in so far as the development of the Bishnupriya Manipuri community is concerned. The Forum has also demanded of the State Government to fill in the vacant posts of executive members in the BMDC and to make the council a 25-member body. The Forum has felt that the Budgetary allocation for the BMDC made in the Annual Budget 2011-12 of the State is too meagre an amount. The Forum has demanded of the State Government to enhance Budgetary allocation for the BMDC considering the backwardness of the Bishnupriya Manipuri community. The Forum has raised yet another demand that Rs 100 core of the Rs 1,000-crore special package announced by the State Government for the Barak Valley districts of Assam should be earmarked for the Bishnupriya Manipuri community that has a sizeable population in the valley.”

According to Sanjib Sinha, the Forum had a detailed discussion on the setting up of a printing press of the Forum with assistance from the BMDC.

Courtesy: The Sentinel 

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

India's Got Talent: Tushar gets another chance

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Tushar Arjun
Mera nam hein Tushar Arjun, mein Gauhati se hu” said playback singer from Assam Tushar Arjun in Colors TV programme India's Got Talent Season 3. Donning a jeans and a trendy T-shirt with gamocha around his head, Tushar Arjun appeared in front of celebrity judges Dharmendra, Kiran Kher, and Sonali Bendre.

He seemed to be very pleasing with his smile and started singing the hit Hindi song of Rahat Fateh Ali Khan “Tu na jaane aas paas hai khuda” from the movie Anjaana Anjaani, a Hindi romantic film directed by Siddharth Anand, starring Ranbir Kapoor, Priyanka Chopra and Zayed Khan. [Watch Tushar Arjun Performance in India's Got Talent Season 3]



Though he failed to give justice to the Hindi song, his Assamese song was well appreciated by the judges and the public alike. Tushar broke out into tears when Kiran Kher while replying to Sonali Bendre’s observation that children perform better than him, said ‘baccho mein confidence hota hein,…zindagi ne unhe thokre nahi mari hoti hein. Sayad!’

Son of Tamal Babu Sinha and Aparna Sinha of Assam, Tushar came into limelight with his appearance in Zee TV’s reality singing talent show Sa-Re-Ga-Ma-Pa in 2007.

Pursuing his singing passion, Tushar has come a long way from his first stint in Sa-Re-Ga-Ma-Pa to making his mark in the Assamese movie industry. He also appeared in Sony Television's X factor. He has given many popular Assamese numbers like Kasam Sai, tenekoi beka koi, and I love you. Tushar has also sung many songs in his mother tongue Bishnupriya Manipuri. Maya, Premor Ithou, and Dasho Avatar are some of his work.

Photo: Facebook 

Sunday, 7 August 2011

Our ancestors were great

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By RK Rishikesh Sinha
(views are personal)

The greatest advent of the 21st century is that all and sundry Ram, Shyam, Jodhu, Modhu questions, criticise, likes, and comments relentlessly. However, in this cacophony, things become distasteful when he or she fails to respect the intellect of our ancestors.

You and I have heard; even read innumerable times, that due to our ancestors inherent problems like dola-doli, lack of unity, weak role in the then political set up, lack of historical records, we the Bishnupriya 
Manipuris, are counted in the backward community bracket in India.

In opposite to it, in this hullabaloo, we forget that it is due to our ancestors’ farsightedness, ingenuity, and intellect, that we, the Bishnupriya Manipuris, are still thriving (‘existing’) and progressing. It is only due to their better understanding of the time in which they lived, that today I am writing, and you are reading this piece. Things get more bizarre and painful, when the comparison parameter is used. “So and so community is here….we are here……..”. (I am refraining from mentioning those communities. Since chances are there that the article would go wrong)

Yes, we’re living in the 21st century, we are impatient, we seek instant gratification; we need success and recognition at a click of button. But somewhere, before using the statistical tool, we miss, forget, even failed to decipher the grand message (say information) that they were passing through generation.

For a moment, if we imagine from the period when our forefathers left present-day Manipur and settled in different parts of the Indian sub-continent to till today. It is astonishing, and it is full of amazement:

(1) how they managed their affairs to the host regions (as we were new to that particular region and population);

(2) how they maintained relationship with the then political set up;

(3) how they faced the social and political upheavals and the stand they took (we all know that the region saw many social and political changes)

Not to mention, if we doubt on their intellect and decisions today (just saying that there is no history and proof stuff); imagine, their one wrong step (again repeating “one wrong step”) would have either made us defunct (there are many communities which falls in this category) or strangulated (there are again many communities which falls in this category). But today, we find they were smart, and were ahead of times. They were great, and no proof is required for that. All the decisions/ stands that they took were correct. They definitely had inherent mechanism/ knowledge of seeing things and interpreting it, and taking actions on it.

To the historical stuff, that we people and others claim that we as a community don’t have volume of historical contents, they failed to mention the ignorance on their part of their ancestors if they were rulers and kings of the then period. To put it bluntly, they were not like British soldiers scientist who ‘mapped’ the Indian sub-continent before their endeavour, and they were also not like the Arabs and the Chinese (they brought many traditions to the writings of history). Still, to my amazement, there exist a government website, which mentions agriculture, horticulture, poultry and livestock, i.e., all possible information, but not the statistics of Bishnupriya Manipuri population!

To conclude, things were very well managed by our ancestors (include our immediate older generation), they never took drastic, erratic, and wrong decisions. Had they taken any wrong decision, the result would have been in front of us. Unfortunately, there is not any. 

Linguistic minority group

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By RK Rishikesh Sinha
(Opinions are personal)

The linguistic and ethnic minorities occupy a significant place in democracy. Their empowerment in terms of participation in political processes, ability to avail of the distributive justice, security, freedom, equality, etc., is indicative of level of success of a democracy. And north-east India, which have been witnessing the political movements for self-determination — autonomy movements, secessionist movements, insurgencies — assume special significance. In this context, Bishnupriya Manipuri group, whose population is smaller in comparison to the other majority group both in Assam and Tripura, is a case in point— as members of the group doesn’t speak the language of majority in both the states, lack the power of political mobilization, and fear extinction of their cultural and linguistic identity.

In the mainstream India, where north-east struggles to find a place, the state and affairs of the linguistic minority, the Bishnupriya Manipuri, to get highlighted is beyond imagination. Since decades, the population has been subjected to structural violence, as the majority community with their access to goods, resources, economic and political opportunities, has created undue advantage into the very social, political and economic systems that govern the society and the state.

The members of the community find itself in a catch-22 situation since unlike the politics of the ethnic majorities; the politics of this group does not take the form of formidable political parties or effective political mobilization. Whatever grievances they have, it is expressed in the form of being discriminated against in terms of right to get elected (members of the community to get elected in both Assam and Tripura assemblies is not a rule, but an exception), get jobs, and enjoy basic rights. Except the provisions for setting up the cultural and linguistic institutions, (like any linguistic minorities) the Bishnupriya Manipuri community, do not enjoy any protection.

Things get grim, when the political parties (both regional and national), which are pillars in the democratic set-up, do not take up the concerns of the Bishnupriya Manipuris discontentment. Chances are there that fear and aspirations of the community is being termed ‘imaginary’, from the majority perspective.

Saturday, 6 August 2011

NBMSU and BMSP are not Bishnupriya Manipuri bodies

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By Rebati Mohan Sinha

To the news report, “Bishnupriya Manipuri bodies NBMSU & BMSP call for Consensus on formation of BMDC”, I reserve some opinions. Since the BMDC came into being and this group did not get even a membership in the ten-member committee, they are now desperate and running from pillars to post for their own benefit, even they went and shook their hands with their rivals like Mahasabha. 

Although nothing was written about consensus in this news item and at the same time NBMSU and BMSP cannot be termed as Bishnupriya Manipuri bodies as they claimed. These, so-called organizations never had even their Annual General Meeting (AGM) any time with an Audited Report, and simply managed by a very few individuals, namely Shri Anil Krishna Rajkumar, Shri Gopidas Sinha, Shri Sameer Sinha and Shri Subal Sinha.

During the year 2010 and first half of 2011, their names were never been appeared in print media, due to BMDC’s ongoing feud. Now, they have raised again their heads with the same old fabricated stories, even they are now-a-days propagating unity among other NGOs for the purpose of being in the lime light.

Why are they not following the proper channel i.e., the members of Assam Linguistic Minority Development Council, Shri Gopidas Sinha and Dr. Debendra Kumar Sinha? The Govt. of Assam had notified their names by a gazette. They are the persons nominated from our community. The memorandum should have been submitted to either of them instead of D.C of Cachar.

About a month back the same paper carried a similar news “ Bishnupriya Manipuri Linguistic Minority Development Council presses for Education Welfare Community,” whereas such organization by this name does not in our Bishnupriya Manipuri society. Being a member of ALMDC, why did Gopidas Sinha submit the memorandum to Chief Minister of Assam instead of placing it in the meeting of his ALMDC as per protocol? It is nothing but gaining of cheap popularity.

This group always claims that Sudeshna Sinha is their martyr. I would like to ask them, where were they on that fateful day, when she was fired upon? Why did this group along with others (youngsters) go underground instead of intensifying the agitation? Till to date, there has not been any FIR, lodged against the police. As there was no FIR lodged against them on that day, they (police) became more arrogant and started arresting innocent unemployed and school/college going students and put them in jail. There was no compensation granted to bereaved family of Sudeshna, except some amount initially offered by D.C of Karimganj District for her last rite. Only the consolation the bereaved family had got so far was their daughter’s martyrdom, conferred by these organisations like NBMM, NBMSU that did not do any thing for the family.

There are two organizations by the same name, “Nikhil Bishnupriya Manipuri Student Union” operating from same place i.e., Silchar. It is not understood why are these organisations are prefixing ‘Nikhil’, means ‘World’ before Bishnupriya, where as their operating area is not even beyond Barak Valley! One union is headed by Anil Krishna Rajkumar, (50 +yrs of age) and other one is by Mr. G Rajkumar. Whether these Unions are even registered bodies or not, bit doubtful.

Thursday, 4 August 2011

Achievement

2 comments
Ritwick Sinha
Children's Corner

Ritwick Sinha, a student of class-V, Don Bosco Senior Secondary School, Guwahati, has bagged the third rank in Assam in the 4th International Mathematics Olympiad (IMO) organized by the Science Olympiad Foundation. With an international rank of 338 in the Maths Olympiad held in 2010-11, he was awarded a medal, a certificate of appreciation and a T-shirt with the organiser’s logo. He is the son of Ramendu Sinha and Rina Rani Sinha.

BMDC completes one year in office!

7 comments
By Rebati Mohan Sinha

Bishnupriya Manipuri Development Council (BMDC) celebrated year’s achievements on July 31st, 2011 at Srilo Bhubaneswar Sadhuthakur sevashram at Tarapur, Silchar. The Chairman could not attend it. The Vice Chairman presided over the meeting. The ADC with his concerned officials took part in the celebration. About 2.5 crore worth items were distributed, including items distributed in Guwahati. The items are : Auto Rickshaws — 65, Sewing machines  214, and cash amount given to some woman groups, individuals(Ishalpa/Dakula) and to some Mandirs. 

Is it a long or short-term planning? Can we presume that it is a rural-based development scheme which Govt. has approved? I think, time is not ripe to think about down-trodden farmers, who are below poverty line. In my earlier article, I have enquired whether these proud owners of the sewing machines have been trained or not? It is known fact that tailoring as an occupation in villages is not profitable, because people mostly go for readymade garments. The fund allocation is from Centre 75%, State 25%, so the state Govt. officials are very much prompt in disbursing.

However, there are few questions that are still unanswered and needed to be attended. 

#1. It has to be agreed that the Govt. of Assam with a suitable legislation was to constitute the council with satellite areas of BM villages with people living there; but so far there is no Gazette Notification, although the adhoc committee has already been constituted with 10+2 members by notification. When will the Govt. notify these villages?
#2. Let people know the development plan submitted by the Council, on which it said that an amount has been allotted.
#3. Let the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), signed between Govt. and NBMM, be made public so that we shall come to know whether our all long pending demands/aspirations included in it or not.
#4. What is the tenure of the present adhoc committee? What is the preparation going on for the holding of election?
#5. What will be the status of BMDC?
#6. What is the organizational structure?
#7. Will BMDC have control over Govt. officers and staff connected to it?
#8. Where is the Act or bylaw to run the Council, let it be made public?
#9. When will Govt. provide necessary one time financial assistance for development of administration infrastructure in the newly created HQtrs and Sub divisional HQtrs?
#10. What is the present status of land measuring about 3 bighas allotted in Guwahati?

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Mahasabha's role in the formation of Bishnupriya Manipuri Development Council

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Role of the Mahasabha in the Formation of the Bishnupriya Manipuri Development Council
(Documentary)
Part I
Uday sinha
Secretary General
NBMM

A brief history of the community

Bishnupriya Manipuris a linguistic minority community are mostly living in large section of rural areas in Assam and Tripura. The Bishnupriya Manipuris trace their ancestry to the Aryans, who flocked to Manipur in hordes in pre historic time and stretched even to adjoining Myanmar. Most of them left Manipur during the period of religious and political upheaval in the state of Manipur in early 18th centuries. Apart from Barak Valley of southern Assam and North Tripura, the Bishnupriya Manipuri now settle in Sylhet district of Bangladesh and different parts of India and abroad.

Agriculture is the mainstay of their livelihood. Women weave fine and rough cloth of various designs and take part in agriculture. The community’s mother tongue is Bishnupriya Manipuri.

The Nikhil Bishnupriya Manipuri Mahasabha (A Brief History of Mahsabha 1932-2009) is the socio-cultural body of the community, its head Quarter being at Silchar. Since its inception in 1932 it has mobilized its resources for the development of the community & since early sixties the Mahasabha has been untiringly endeavoring to implement the 7 point charter of Demands and is striving hard to ensure all round development because the community is confronted with serious problem of proverty, unemployment, social and economic disparities and regional imbalances.

Background
Bishnupriya Manipuri Development Council will be an organ of the Bishnupriya Manipuris by the Bishnupriya Manipuris and for the Bishnupriya Manipuris, inhabiting in different districts, particularly in the Barak Valley of Assam. The council is being proposed to be set up against the backdrop of prolonged discrimination, swindling and beguilement by administration at the State and the Centre and also from their local agents irrespective of jersey, colours and also bureaucrats at apex level in both the state and central level, as a result of which this community still remains submerged with economic underdevelopment, landless due to abnormal extension of urban area in the agricultural land, lack of education, health hazards, acute unemployment, poorest infrastructure facilities, un-utilization / underutilization of natural resources, utterly low per-capita income, lack of proper industrial development specially primitive method of cultivation, humiliating attitude of nationalized Banks and also total corrupted socio-political devices etc. even after sixty years of Indian Independence. Needless to say that there is a cry for demanding establishment of Bishnupriya Manipuri Territorial Council demanded by a section of the community. But the apex body of the community favours for establishing the Bishnupriya Manipuri Development Council for all round development of the community. Since the Bishnupriya Manipuri are not evenly distributed in the state they can never be brought under territorial council as such their all round development is not possible under such territorial council. A satellite council like the Development Council will ensure all round development of the community.

A brief note on the establishment of Bishnupriya Manipuri Development Council

Keeping with the aforesaid circumstances in view, the proposal for formation of Bishnupriya Manipuri Development Council was mooted in the World Conference of the Nikhil Bishnupriya Manipuri Mahasabha which received thundering applause of the Bishnupriya Manipuri delegates present in the said World Conference of Assam, Tripura, Manipur, Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, various parts of India and abroad held at Sri Sri Sadhutakur Sewashram Community Hall on 23rd and 24th September 2003.

On the day of the open session of the World Conference where a galaxy of dignitaries who took sit on the dias where Sri Sumon Chattapadhyay, Executive Editor Ananda Bazar Patrika, Kolkata, Sri Dinesh Prashad Goala, Hon’ble Minister for PHE as Chief Guest, Sri Sontosh Mohan Deb, MP, New Delh, Special Chief Guest, Sri Gautam Roy, Hon’ble Minister for Social Welfare, Assam, Sri Misbahul Islam, Hon’ble Minister for Co-operation Assam, Sri Kabindra Purkayastha, Hon’ble Minister For Tele Communication Govt. of India. Sri Atin Das , Journalist, Prof Santanu Ghose, Journalist, Sri Taimur Raja Choudhury, Jounalist, Sri Nitish Bhattacherjee, President, Borak Upatyaka Banga Sahitya Sammelon, Hailakandi, Prof Dipankar Moral representative of Assam Sahitya Sabha, Sri Naba Sabkata, the Vice Presdent of Nepali Sahitya Sabha and Deputy Registrar of Human Right Commission Assam, Sri Utton Chand Borman, President Dimasa Sahitya Parishad, and other dignitaries of Bishnupriya Manipuri’s. In their presence Dr.Debendra Kr. Sinha, the President of the Mahasabha read out the resolutions adopted for the establishment of Development Council along with other demands passed in the presidium of the open session chaired by i) Sri Chandra Kanta Sinha, Retd IRS ii) Sri Gopinath Sinha, iii) Prof Birendra Kr. Sinha iii) Smti Sukhajyoti Sinha, MA (Double) BT, LLB.

The text of the resolution No-6 for establishment of the Development Council adopted in the World Conference is as follows:-
Resolution No- 6.
“This World Conference of the Nikhil Bishnupriya Manipuri Mahasabha draws the attention of the Govt. of Assam and Central Govt. towards the urgent need for establishment of the Development Council for all round development of the community and for which the Mahasabha the apex body of the Bishnupriya Manipuri community be declared as the Development Council bestowing all powers and facilities of District Council in it”.

The above resolution along with other demands which were pending for long time were duly submitted to the Govt. of Assam, Tripura and Central Govt.

On 21.01.2004 the minutes of the meeting was drawn between the Govt. of Assam and the representative of the Mahasabha at Dispur under the chairmanship of Sri Pankaj Bora, Hon’ble Minister, Education Department, Sri Dinesh Prosad Goala, Hon’ble Minister for PHE Assam, Sri L.N. Tamuly. IAS, Secretary Education, Md Mahasin Ali, Director Elementary Education, Assam. The representative of the Mahasabha, Student Union mentioned (as Annexure –I).

The discussions were held in a very positive and cordial atmosphere and the resolution no 09 adopted regarding Bishnupriya Manipuri Development Council as follows:-

Resolution No- 9.“It has been agreed to examine the feasibility of declaring Bishnupriya Manipuri Development Council for all round development of the Bishnupriya Manipuri community”.
Sri L.N. Tamuly IAS the Secretary Education Govt. Of Assam Vide his letter No- A (i) E 154/95/ Pt-11/226 dated Dispur the 24th May 2004 communicated to Sri Uday Sinha, General Secretary, Mahasabha informed that the demand of the Mahasabha discussed in the meeting was under the consideration of the Govt. ( Annexure- II).

On 15.12.2004 a delegation of Nikhil Bishnupriya Manipuri Mahasabha led by Dr. D.K.Sinha, The president, Mahasabha, Prof Monoranjan Sinha, Ex President Nikhil Bishnupriya Manipuri Mahasabha, Dr. Ranadhir Rajkumar, Sri Uday Sinha General Secretary, Nikhil Bishnupriya Manipuri Mahasabha, Sri Biresh Ranjan Sinha, Guwahati, Sri Govinda Rajkumar, President Student Union, met Sri Tarun Gogoi, Hon’ble Chief Minister of Assam, at Assembly house, Janata Bhawan, Dispur along with Sri Dinesh Prasad Goala, Hon’ble Minister for Law, Sri Rafiqul Islam, Hon’ble Minister for Home, Sri Gautam Roy, Hon’ble Minister for Social welfare Assam, and discussion was held regarding various longstanding demands, along with establishment of Development Council for immediate fulfillment. A memorandum was submitted to the Hon’ble Chief Minister and others Ministers too (Annexure – III report appeared in Various Newspaper).

On 24th November 2005 a delegation of the Mahasabha comprising Dr. D.K.Sinha the president Nikhil Bishnupriya Manipuri Mahasabha, Working President Sri Chandra Kanta Sinha, Retd IRS, Sri Gopinath Sinha, Sri Sundar Mukherjee, Sri Rebati Mohan Sinha, Mumbai, Sri Uday Sinha General Secretary, Mahasabha, Dr. Sushanta Sinha, General Secretary, Sri Nilkanta Sinha, President NBMM Tripura State, Sri Subal Sinha, Tripura proceeded to New Delhi, A Dharna was organized at Jantor Mantor, New Delhi where more then 100 Delhi based Students & Mahasabha activities mainly Sri Kajal Sinha, Haridas Sinha, Dr Nirmalya Sinha, Biswajit Sinha, Rajkumar Hrishikesh Sinha, and others participated in the Dharna. Sri Karnendu Bhattacherjee, MP Rajya Sabha, Sri Lalit Mohan Suklabaidya, MP, Sri Hamid Raja, MP Janata Dal from Bihar met with the satyagrahis and delivered their speech in favour of the Mahasabha’s demands. At 1 PM two messengers from the Prime Ministers office informed the leaders of the Mahasabha to call off Dharna and held discussion with Prime Minister, Principal Secretary at Prime Minister Office. A memorandum was also submitted to the Prime Minister office where the demands were establishment of Bishnupriya Manipuri Development Council, special economic package for the North-eastern region, introduction of Bishnupriya Manipuri programme in AIR / Doordarsan etc (annexure IV).

On 07th December 2005 the Ministry of Development of North-Eastern Region, Bigyan Bhawan, New Delhi informed the Mahasabha from the Prime Ministers office Sri Sajal Mitra, Director issued letters to various department incharge DONER for taking necessary action thereof.

On 13th January 2005 a delegation of the Mahasabha met Sri Digvijoy singh, General Secretary AICC(I) and Bhubaneswar Kalita , President APCC (I) at Circuit House, Silchar, discussion held with regarding establishment of Bishnupriya Manipuri Development Council and a member for proposed Assam Legislative Council ( upper house) from the Bishnupriya Manipuri community. Both of them assured delegates that they would extend their support to the demand of the Mahasabha. (Annexure V).

On 12th July 2005 Sri Santosh Mohan Deb, Honble Miniter for Heavy Industries Govt. of India, wrote a DO letter No 755 MOS / HI & PE/ U/VIP/6/2005 to Sri Tarun Gogoi, Hon’ble Chief Minster of Assam requesting for favour of establishment of Bishnupriya Manipuri Development Council along with other demands. ( Annexure VI).

On 30.09.2005, A Dharna was organized jointly by the Mahasabha, Andolan Parishad, Student Union and Mahila Samiti in front of Office of the Deputy Commissioner, Cachar and a memorandum was submitted to the Chief Minister of Assam though the Deputy Commissioner, ( Annexure VII).

On 15.06.2006 the Mahasabha vide its Letter No NBMM-3/corr/06./106 dated 15.06.2006 wrote to Sri Tarun Gogoi, Hon’ble Chief Minister of Assam and Sri Santosh Mohan Deb recalling Mahasabha’s various demands including establishment of development council.

The Hon’ble Chief Minister of Assam by his DO letter No CMO-1/2000/1807/ July 13th 2006 acknowledged the forwarding of the Sri S.M.Deb regarding demand of the Mahasabha. (Annexure IX).

On 26th October 2007 a delegation of the Mahasabha met with Hon’ble Chief Minister Sri Tarun Gogoi at Silchar Circuit House for meeting up the demands. (Annexure X).

On 07.02.2007 Mahasabha in collaboration with Andolan Parishad, staged Dharna infront of the Deputy Commissioners Office, Cachar, for fulfillment of longstanding demands of the Mahasabha. (Annexure XI).

The Deputy Secretary to the Govt. of Assam, Pensions Grievance Department vide his letter No P&G- 108/2005/103 dated Dispur 11.012 .2007 informed the Mahasabha that the above Memorandum was forwarded to the Political Department , CM, Chief Secretary etc for taking action as per demand of the Mahasabha. ( Annexure XII).

On 20.12.2007 The Mahasabha vide its letter No NBMM/3/corr/07/26 dt 20.12.2007 wrote a letter Sri Tarun Gogoi, Chief Minister of Assam reiterating the demand for establishment of Bishnupriya Manipuri Development Council with a copy forwarded to all concerned including Minister for WPT & BC and also its was stated with deep and anguish that other linguistic Minority groups of Assam eg Koch, Rava, Tewa and other communities of Assam were favoured with establishment of Development Council, but the demand of the Bishnupriya Manipuri Development Council was ignored hence the Mahasabha again requested to take immediate action in its favour of . Copy of the letter was forwarded to Sri Santosh Mohan Deb, Hon’ble Minister of Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises DO letter. (Annexure XIII).

In response the Hon’ble Chief Minister of Assam vide its DO letter No CMO/2008/131 dt Dispur communicated to Sri Santosh Mohan Deb, regarding the letter of the Mahasabha. ( Annexure XIV).

On 03.02.2008, the Central Executive meeting of the Mahasabha held at Silchar unanimously resolved to organize a peaceful indefinite relay Dharna at the Last Gate, Dispur during Budget Assembly Session.

On 04.03.2008, the Nikhil Bishnupriya Manipuri Mahasabha, Nikhil Bishnupriya Manipuri Students Union, Greater Guwahati Branch, Guwahati, Bishnupriya Manipuri Mahila Samiti, Bishnupriya Manipuri Andolan Parishad, jointly organized indefinite relay demonstration at Dispur last gate during Budget Session of the Assam Assembly from 04.03.2008 at 9 A.M. on 05.03.2008 the Opposition leaders of defferent political parties of the Assam Assembly, AIUDF Chief Sri Badaruddin Ajmol, AGP Chief Brindaban Goswami, Sri Chandra Mohan Patwari, Sri Nurul Islam and Sri Durga Das Boro met with 200 demonstrators hailing from different parts of Guwahati and delivered their speech in favour of legitimate demands of the Mahasabha and assured to extend their active co-operation for fulfillment of the demands . Leaders who led the demonstration were Sri Bishwaprasad Sinha, General Secretary Andolan Parishad, Greater Guwahati Branch, Sri Ashotosh Sinha, General Secretary, Sanskriti Parishad, Dils Lakhindra Sinha, General Secretary Sahitya Parishad, senior citizen Sri Dhansena Sinha, Retd DSP, Smti Sukhajyoti Sinha, Retd DAEO, Sri Sachi Kumar Sinha, Sri Khelendra Kr. Sinha, Sri Sankha Sinha, Secretary Students Union, Greater Guwahati from Central committee of Mahasabha, Sri Uday Sinha, Secreatry General, and Sri Umakanta Sinha, General Secretary Bishnupriya Manipuri Andolan Parishad, Slchar attended in the Dharna. On 03rd day of 06.03.2008 Sri Dinesh Prasad Goala, Hon’ble Minister for Urban Development requested agitation leaders to call off Dharna and assured on behalf of the Govt. that the Govt. of Assam is keenly interested to solve the problem. (Annexure XV, XVI, XVII, XVIII, XIX).

On 11.04.2008 a representation of Mahasabha vide letter no NBMM 3/corr/08/121 dt Guwahati 11.04.2008 submitted to Bhubeneswar Kalita, President AICC (I) for immediate recommendation for setting up Development Council.
(Annexure XIX A).

On 08.05.2008 A delegation of the Mahasabha Sanskriti Parishad, Sahitya Parishad, Students Union proceeded to New Delhi for organization of New Delhi Mahasabha, Sanskriti Parishad, Sahitya Parishad, Students Union. A memorandum was submitted to the Secretary P.M office and Sri Manisankar Ayar, Hon’ble Minister for Development of N.E New Delhi for establishment of Development Council.
(Annexure XX).

On 22.11.2009 a delegation of the Mahasabha met Sri Himanta Biswa Sarma, Hon’ble Minister for Health Services, Assam during his visit to Barak Valley at Silchar Circuit House and submitted a memorandum regarding setting up of Bishnupriya Manipuri Development Council for all round community Development.

On 07.09.2009 Nikhil Bishnupriya Manipuri Mahasabha and Andolan Parishad jointly staged demonstration in front of the Deputy Commissioner, Cachar from 10.30 AM to 2 PM. A memorandum was submitted to the Chief Minister of Assam and concerned Ministers through the Deputy Commissioner, Cachar for immediate fulfillment of longstanding demands and Establishment of Development Council also inclusion of members of the Linguistic Minority Development Council of Asom constituted by the Govt. of Assam recently.
(Annexure XXI,XXII,XXIII,XXIV).

On 15.12.2009 a reminder letter no NBMM-3/corr/09/09/110 dt 15.12.09 sent to Sri Tarun Gogoi Hon’ble Chief Minister of Assam and Smti Promila Rani Bramha, Hon’ble Minister for WPT & BC Assam for immediate action as per our letter ………………………..

On 21.012.2009 for delaying tactics of the Govt. the Mahasabha sent an ultimatum to Govt. of Assam to the effect that if the Govt. failed to fulfill the demand of the Mahasabha within the 31st December 2009 there will be vigorous agitation in the Barak Valley. The Mahasabha directed all the Anchalic committees, State Committees, Andolan Parishad, Students Union, Bishnupriya Manipuri Ex-servicemen Association, Mahila Samiti, to send ultimatum, message to Dispur. On the day of 21st December 2009 Anchalic Committees of Silchar, Meherpur, Kalain, Bikrampur, Narsingpur, Singla, Pratapgorh, Diphu, Jorhat, Tinsukia, Guwahati including Andolan Parishad, Students Union, Mahila Samiti sent floods of Memorandums through fax to the CM.
(Annexure XXV, XXVI).

On 06.01.2010 A delegation of the Mahasabha led by Sri Uday Sinha, Secretary General, along with Sri Sankha Sinha, General Secretary Yuba Parishad, Guwahati, Sri Biresh Ranjan Sinha, Working President met Smti Promila Rani Bramha, and the Secretary WPT & BC Department discussed about the Development Council and OBC notification.

On 07.01.2010 A delegation of the Mahasabha, led by Sri Uday Sinha, Secretary General, Sri Bishwaprasad Sinha, Advocate, Assam state Committee, Sri Sankha Sinha, General Secretary Yuba Parishad, Guwahati, Sri Pradip Sinha, Member Yuba Parishad, Sri Ashotosh Sinha, General Secretary, Sanskriti Parishad, Sri Ramsena Sinha, Member, Mahasabha, Sri Samarjit Sinha, Secretary Mahasabha Central Committee, Sri Lucky Rajkumar, social worker, Sri Madhu Sinha, Guwahati, Biresh Ranjan Sinha, Working President Sahitya parishad and executive members of NBMM of the greater Guwahati branch met Dr Nazrul Islam Hon’ble Minister for Minority Development Department Govt. of Assam, and submited a memorandum for inclusion of another member in the Linguistic Minority Development board of Assam. The delegation met with Parliamentary Secretary ( Finace) Assam, Sri Dinesh Prasad Goala, Hon’ble Minister for Urban Development Assam, and discussed about the formation of Bishnupriya Manipuri Development Council.

In response to the Mahasabha letter no NBMM-3/corr/ 09/109 dated 02.012.2009 addressed to Hon’ble Chief Minister of Assam requesting make a discussion with the Mahasabha a date was fixed on 06.01.2010 but the date was postponed due to his sudden trip to Delhi. He entrusted Sri D.P Goala, Hon’ble Minister for Urban Development to take necessary action and intimate result to him after his arrival.

On 11.01.2010 a provisional list of member proposing Dr. D.K.Sinha, as the Chairman of the Bishnupriya Manipuri Development Council was submitted to Chief Minister of Assam and to Smti Promila Rani Bramha, Hon’ble Minister for WPT & BC Department and other concerned authorities vide letter no NBMM-3/corr/ …/

On 22.01.2010 as per a Govt. gazette notification WMD 20/49/Pt-01/41 the Governor of Assam included Dr.D.K.Sinha, the President of the Mahasabha as a member of the Linguistic Minority Development Board of Assam.

On 25.01.2010 a rumour was floated by self interest persons to the effect that Gazette notification of the Bishnupriya Manipuri Development Council is going to be made immediately which later proved to be false. During the same time their were several maneuvers as to who will become the chairman of the proposed Bishnupriya Manipuri Development Council. The tussle was between Sri B.S.Sinha Advocate & K.S.Sinha the then MLA. The Secretary General informed that the decision of the chairman would be taken on 31.01.2010 executive meeting of NBMM.

On 31.01.2010 an emergent meeting of Central Executive Committee meeting of Mahasabha held at Sri Sri Bhubaneswar Sadhuthakur Community Hall. In the meeting was discussed regarding organization of the Mahasabha at the state capital Guwahati & resolved to holding a meeting of the Central General Assembly of the Mahasabha at Guwahati to pressurize the Govt. for fulfillment of longstanding demands of the Mahasabha and also approved the list of the members of the Bishnupriya Manipuri Development Council submitted earlier.

On 18.02.2010 the Mahasabha headed by Dr. D.K.Sinha, President NBMM and Secretary General U Sinha met the Honble CM Assam to extended formal invitation for attending open session as Chief Guest of the Central General Assembly held at Guwahati on 27.02.2010 . A brief discussion was made regarding formation of the Bishnupriya Manipuri Development Council.
In pursuance of the resolution adopted in the Central Executive Meeting on 31.01.2010. the Meeting of the Central General Assembly of the Mahasabha first ever held at Dispur Rudra Singh Sports complex. In the open session Sri Gautam Roy, Hon’ble Minister for Border & Excise who represented the Govt. of Assam, Sri Akon Borah, Sri Bijoy Krishna Nath, Chairman of the Linguistic Minority Board of Assam and other dignitaries also attended the open session. The copy of the resolution was submitted to Hon’ble Minster Sri Gautam Roy on behalf of the Govt. of Assam.

On 21.03.2010 Sri K.S.Sinha the then MLA telephonically requested the Mahasabha Secretary General and the President Dr.D.K.Sinha, President NBMM to the effect that if he is made chairman of the proposed Bishnupriya Manipuri Development Council he may enter into to negotiation with the Govt. of Assam specially in view of ensuing Rajya Sabha Election which will be held on 26.03.2010. In response to his request the office bearers of the Mahasabha met at the resident of the Ex President Mahasabha Sri M.R.Sinha, Bakatpur, where Dr.D.K.Sinha, President, Sri C.K.Sinha, Working President, Sri U.Sinha, Secretary General, Dr.Prabhat Sinha, General Secretary Mahasabha and Sri Swapan Sinha and others were present. After threadbare discussion it was decided that Sri K.S.Sinha MLA may be the chairman of the Bishnupriya Manipuri Development Council but others members are to be decided by the Mahasabha. Accordingly E-mail massage was sent to him. While discussion on this point was going on the then MLA, Sri K.S.Sinha made a telephonic call to Dr.D.K.Sinha, President Mahasabha and requested to have some telephonic discussion with the then Hon’ble Minister for Health Sri Himanta Biswa Sarma, who advised the Mahasabha to visit to Dispur with a delegation. A delegation lead by President Mahasabha Dr. D.K.Sinha met the Hon’ble CM in Assam, and other Cabinet Ministers on 24.0.3. 2010. Discussion was very fruitful and Mahasabha was assured that Bishnupriya Manipuri Development Council will be established shortly and necessary gazette notification will be issued soon.

The date 25.03.2010 is a remarkable day in the history of the Bishnupriya Manipuri Community. Sri Himanta Biswa Sarma the then Hon’ble Minister for Health and the spokesman of the Govt. of Assam formally declared the Establishment of Bishnupriya Manipuri Development Council in Assam in the floor of Assembly along with the Development Council of Nath, Jogi and Maimal Community.

After announcement of the same, Sri K.S.Sinha the then MLA was warmly felicitated by Mahasabha in different places. However unfortunately Sri K.S.Sinha did not keep his promise of holding discussion with the Mahasabha regarding the selection of other members of the Bishnupriya Manipuri Development Council. He selected the members as per his own choice and formed the Council with the members of his choice The Mahasabha gracefully accepted the position and decided to wait and watch the functioning of the Council.
(ANNEXURE)

****Annexure are not enclosed due to space factor.
History of Mahasabha (1932-2009)

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