Monday, 26 September 2011

Manipuri Theatre to celebrate 15th anniversary

Staff Correspondent

Manipuri Theatre, a troupe that aims to popularise Manipuri performing arts and culture across the country, will celebrate its 15th anniversary through a daylong programme on September 23 at the Experimental Theatre Hall, Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy in Dhaka. The Maulvibazar-based troupe will stage its most recent play “Kohe Birangana”, while invited troupe Manipuri Natpala Shilpi Shangstha will stage a demonstration of the indigenous performing art form, Manipuri Natpala.

Seasoned theatre personality Mamunur Rashid will be present as chief guest at the inaugural programme.

Manipuri Natpala usually narrates the akhyan (story) of Radha, Krishna with a strong essence of Vaishnavism. Incorporating traditional Manipuri dance and music, the performance features local instruments such as mridanga, dhol and kartal. The pala will be directed by noted artiste of the genre, Bidhan Chandra Sinha. The pala will feature eleven performers.

“Kohe Birangana” has been written and directed by Shubhashish Sinha, chief of Manipuri Theatre. The play is based on Michael Madhusudan Dutt's “Birangona Kabyo”.

“Birangona Kabyo” features the agonies of major female characters from the epic “Mahabharat”. “Birangona Kabyo” has 11 verses, from which Shubhashish has adapted four for his play. The play features stories of Shakuntala, Draupadi, Dushala and Jona.

The play has been written and is performed in a lyrical form known as 'poyar'. Jyoti Sinha plays the four characters. It will be the 25th show of the play.

During its 15-year journey, Manipuri Theatre has produced 27 plays. Some of its notable productions are “Shri Krishna Kirtan”, “Dhajo Mestorir Maron”, “Ingal Andhar Pala” and “Kohe Birangana”. Apart from theatre productions, the troupe regularly holds shows featuring traditional performing arts such as Raas Leela, Natpala, Rakhal Raas etc. The troupe has also published a journal -- “Manipuri Theatre Potrika”.

Courtesy: The Daily Star [September 22, 2011]

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Importance of Being a Bishnupriya Manipuri

By RK Rishikesh Sinha

Have you ever been benefited being a ‘Bishnupriya Manipuri’? In many incidents it has helped me.

#1. This incident occurred when we were in Kashmir. I went to my school to receive my Class 12 school passing certificate after few months. My school was situated inside the Air Force campus. The Army jawan was not allowing me to go inside despite seeing me getting down from a fauji vehicle. No matter how much I tried to persuade him. He was adamant on his decision. He seemed to me a new guard, asking me stupid questions. “Do you have your identity card?...Where is your school dress?...From which state are you?...” I answered him all the questions but he didn’t allow me. That very moment, another guard who was inside the bunker, said in a heavy voice, “Bishnupriya Manipuri log acche log hote hein, jaane do ‘bache ko’!”. The guard allowed me to enter. Finally I got my passing certificate.

#2. In Assam: It was the time when the situation was delicate because of Bihari-Assamese tension. I was travelling in a bus. Near the Gauhati Univesity campus, a group of 15-20 Assamese students of GU were checking the buses and were harassing the Bihari travelers. The bus in which I was travelling, two Bihari travelers were bitten red and blue. We all got down from the bus; one person from the mob asked my name. (I made my mind quickly, if they ask my name which sounds like a Bihari name; I will say my correct name in Hindi and not in Assamese, as they will very easily catch me with my broken Assamese accent!) I said, “My name is Rishikesh Sinha and I am a Bishnupriya Manipuri, if you doubt, come to the department’’. I was spared.

#3. In New Delhi: In my last job, one evening at around 7 PM, our office phone rang. That day, everybody had left the office except my boss, a peon and me. I picked up the phone. It was from the Prime Minister Office (PMO), and the person sought some policy papers to be given to PMO immediately, as next day there was to be an important meeting. I informed my boss. Boss asked me to go with the documents. As it was too late for me to go home, I suggested peon’s name, but boss didn’t agree. He said, “Man, it is PMO office. Tight security area. He will not be able to clear first security ring”. I went immediately. I was well aware that the security would be more tight at this night time. When I reached there, the guard asked me about my credentials …Name…from where I have came, proof, whom to meet…good part to all of my answers was that I was giving additional information like “I am a Bishnupriya Manipuri and I am from Assam”, and “we had been in Kashmir”…blah…blah. I knew once a jawan gets correct information, he would like to spent more time to kill his lonely duty time. I didn’t show any urgency and flowed with his conversation. He started asking me about my salary and all unrelated queries. ..In between, another jawan came and repeated the same questions….again I dropped my additional information. After keenly listening to my answers, he said to other guard, “Arrey! Yeh wo 'Sinha' sahab nahin hein, unka ‘granhi’ (a typical fauji word which means ‘of the same language, area’) hein…” and showed me the way. While coming back from the PMO office, I thought, really nobody would have done this job, except me and I being Bishnupriya Manipuri.

Courtesy: Facebook (Bishnupriya Manipuri Discussion Forum)

Monday, 12 September 2011

Scholar’s film on Tagore and Bishnupriya Manipuri

Special Correspondent

SILCHAR, Sept 11: The visit of Rabindranath Tagore to Sylhet was a historical event which produced a long-lasting impulse on his creative endeavour. It was November 6, 1919 when the great poet, dramatist and novelist visited the Bishnupriya Manipuri village of Machimpur, not far away from the town situated on the bank of river Surma. The Bishnupriya Manipuris celebrated his Nobel Award by felicitating him and according him tumultuous ovation. Manipuri dances were performed to make the visit eventful and memorable, recalled Prof. Dr. Swapan Saha, who has scripted a film on Tagore and Bishnupriya Manipuri connection on the occasion of his 150th birth anniversary under the title Vanishing Memories.

Dr Saha said Rabindra Nath was so impressed after witnessing the dance composition, the Gostha Lila, that he decided to adopt this dance form to his dance drama. It was the subtlety and rhythm of the dance which stirred him. He was introduced to the exponent of this dance form Guru Nileshwar Mukherjee and Rabindranath decided to bring him to Shantiniketan. While addressing the students of Sylhet MC College, Rabindranath spoke about his experiences about Bishnupriya Manipuris and their art form.

Guru Nileshwar Mukherjee was at Shantiniketan as a Manipuri dance teacher. With his help, Rabindranath Tagore introduced Manipuri dance form in his drama Chitrangada. It was actually his earlier composition of 1892, modified with Manipuri dance in 1936. The story of Chitrangada, pointed out Dr. Saha, is all about our great epic Mahabharat. The king and the queen of Manipur pray for a son but get a daughter Chitrangada. She was brought up as a son who became a warrior princes.

Chitrangada falls in love with Arjuna, the protagonist of the epic. Arjuna refuses her offer of marriage on ground of vowed celibacy. But later on, Arjuna wants to marry her on her own terms.

The simple and bold episode of Mahabharat was transformed by Rabindranath into a drama with lyrical rapture and psychological insight. It is a lyrical dance drama a story of love and war. Tagore has another work ‘Bhanusingher Padavali’ which was reshaped in the form of Manipuri dance. Dr. Saha said Rabindranath Tagore provides a vital link towards the cultural revivalism of the Bishnupriya Manipuri people.

Courtesy: The Sentinel

Sunday, 4 September 2011

My Teacher

by Ritwick Sinha 
Don Bosco School, Guwahati.

A teacher is called the nation builder.
I love my all teachers very much.
Their method of teaching is very simple.
Their handwriting is very beautiful.
They are very punctual.
They teach us with love and care.
They never beat students.
They are very popular among all students.
They love all the students like their children.
I am proud of my teachers.

Reconstitution of the Bishnupriya Manipuri Development Council demanded

Special Correspondent 

SILCHAR, Sept 3: Leading Bishnupriya Manipuri organizations have demanded reconstitution of the interim committee of the Bishnupriya Manipuri Development Council with total strength of 25 members. In a memorandum submitted to the Chief Minister of Assam and the Minister of Tribal and Backward Class Welfare through the Deputy Commissioner of Cachar today, the leaders of the Maha Sabha, Sahitya Sabha, Students’ Union, Women’s Organization, Gana Sangram Parishad of the Bishnupriya Manipuris while expressing their gratitude to the government for providing them Development Council for all round development of their community, they have insisted on constituting the interim committee with proper representation from all leading social organizations with even representation of constituencies. 

 They have pointed out that the structure of 15-member committee has not been adhered to till date. Out of the 15 members, three are yet to be inducted. After the resignation of the chairman in March, the strength has come down to 11 which include two government nominees. The actual representation is limited to nine only of the community. The 15-member representation is too small to cover all areas under the jurisdiction of the Development Council. The seven lakh population of the Bishnupriya Manipuris are scattered across the constituencies of Patharkandi, Ratabari, Silchar, Sonai, Katigorah, Borkhola, Dispur, Dholai, Hailakandi, Algapur, besides sparsely populated constituencies of South Karimganj, Badarpur, Lakhipur, Udharband, Diphu, Haflong, Tinsukia, Nagaon and Morigaon. 

The memorandum demands increasing the strength of the total members of the Development Council to 25 for effective representation and administration to reach its benefit to the people of the community in general. The names of the members to be inducted will be submitted as and when the government asks for. If the Council is not reconstituted as demanded, the organizations will have no alternative than to resort to agitational course of action. 

Courtesy: The Sentinel
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