Friday, 30 March 2012

Free Yourself from Digital Cage

By RK Rishikesh Sinha

The Times of India, Delhi Edition, carried a very interesting news piece yesterday that Indian netizens remain online for over 8 hours a day! The news item prompted me to take a self-manthan of my online activities.

To begin with, I delved into my last year browsing activity. I found in 2011, except from 2 a.m to 6 a.m, I was plugged to internet 24x7! In 24 hours, I spent 20 hours online daily, more than the report put : 8 hours a day! I have done the highest 1583 searches in June. 

The news report also doled out another interesting figure that Indians spent 9.7 hours in social networking sites. My relation with social networking sites from Orkut days to the present Facebook and Google + era, is strictly limited. I find my initial interest on social sites fizzle out very soon after experimenting the new platform for few months. It happened with Orkut, and now with Facebook and Google +. Of the three, my relationship with Facebook does not go well. As a company, Facebook doesn’t enchant me, its policies doesn’t go down my throat. I found I am socially unapproachable in social sites. 

Norton’s take on email that we Indians spent 6.1 hours on email every week came as a surprise. I am a devoted user of Gmail. I try to use the services to its limit as such that Google could confer on me the accolade of "Gmail Ninja"! Well, Google do confer "Gmail Ninja" status to its users. But wait a minute, as I went through my 29 February 2012 – 27 March 2012 Gmail report, out of 4132 emails received, I have responded to only 64 email!

In this hectic time, when we are receiving torrent of communication, it is very necessary to be selective in communication. So in 2012, I took a New Year Resolution to adopt zero digital communication (I am still trying), keeping my social sites activity to zero update and my Gmail slim and trim.

The Internet is meant to support our life. But gradually we are enclosed in a digital cage. I am trying to use the Internet as a tool with discipline rather than getting digitally entangled in it. If you have not watched your online activities till, better do it now. 

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Tender Notice: Bishnupriya Cultural Centre and Guest House at Guwahati

Tenders are invited for the civil works construction of

  • Double Storied Guru Nil Madhab Mukherjee Bishnupriya Cultural Centre At Guwahati

The Tender Value is Rs 12,91,082/- and the project period is 6 Months. Due date 07-Apr-2012 02:00 p.m.

  • Construction Of Approach Road And Protection Wall And Bishnupriya Manipuri Guest House At Guwahati

The Tender Value is Rs 37,45,605/- and the project period is 9 Months. Due date 07-Apr-2012 02:00 p.m.

For more information, contact

Public Works Department
AddressGuwahati Building Circle-ii, Chandmari
Guwahati - Assam - 781 003 India

Monday, 26 March 2012

Bishnupriya Manipuri literature: bloom or doom

By RK Rishikesh Sinha

Recently, BMWF was in news for celebrating grandiosely the Bishnupriya Manipuri literary meet at Guwahati. There is no doubt that the event was organized meticulously and due care was taken to make it a success, a grand success. But was it a “literary success”? Will it be remembered for infusing fresh air in the world of Bishnupriya Manipuri literature? Will it remain “venue-specific” where people forget as soon as they leave the venue or it would have lasting impression? Answers to many of these questions would be too na├»ve.

During the celebration period we also heard about Northeastern literature and Bishnupriya Manipuri literature. In a broad canvass of “contemporary” Indian literature, though there is nothing as such “Indian literature” exist, hitherto it is the conglomeration of many diverse literature that constitute the “Indian literature”, one could find most of the languages which have found its “contemporary” place prominently in Indian literature are very recent and could be dated back to 19th century (Hindi…) or post-Independence era.

In the politics of Indian literature which is intrinsically linked with the say in politics, Sindhi and Dalit literature catches everyone’s attention. Since all other literature with their language enjoy statehood. Sindhi language is one which doesn’t enjoy any official language status of any state. Still it holds a place of its own with its unique literary creation. Dalit literature, a very new entrant in the Indian literature field, which dates back to 1960, has steadfastly created a genre of its own with their stark depiction of realism through self-narrative style.

Here, to create a vibrant Bishnupriya Manipuri literature, it is certain it cannot be created under the shadow of other language literature since it has never occurred. It has to be created with the “Bishnupriya Manipuri soul” reflecting our lives, wishes and of being “Bishnupriya Manipuri”. But challenges are aplenty from inert readers to unsympathetic social and political environment. Aggravating the situation worse which stems the growth of Bishnupriya Manipuri literature is the changing time. At one end, is the script to be followed for the creation of Bishnupriya Manipuri literature since sooner or later (or perhaps we are experiencing) we would be living in a multiple “language” zones. And on the other is the changing ecosystem.

Even if medium of expression is sidelined for a moment, the changing economic and technological ecosystem comes as a jolt. And Bishnupriya Manipuri literature has to face at these two fronts. The economic value of any creation (be it is Bishnupriya Manipuri) is too low. A book that cost Rs 100 could be photocopied and made available at a dart price. The music industry, the publishing industry and other associated industries are grappling with this problem. Secondly, with the shift in technology, the mode of literary creation would determine its success or failure. Interest of a reader who is not interested to read a whole book but find few pages of interest, has to be kept in mind, and has to be pondered hard.

Presently, at this juncture, it could be said that the Bishnupriya Manipuri literature has to be produced in mass with great mixture of quality keeping only readers in mind and not to be created for the sake of literary appreciation. Above it, we should try to make an ecosystem where demand and supply could be met. A case in point, there are demands here to buy Maya album, but there is no supply. In conclusion, we can say that various stakeholders (writers, producers, publishers, media...) must imbibe the attitude of sink or swim, or do or die. Even if we fade, we can come back with a new avatar. After all, in any language literature, bloom and doom period do come. 

Friday, 23 March 2012

My dragon friend

By Ritwick Sinha, Class-V,
Don Bosco Senior Secondary School, Guwahati

One night, I had a dream that I was walking through a dense forest when suddenly, I saw a dragon coming towards me. I felt scared but the dragon did not try to attack me. Instead, he offered me his hand and grunted, “Will you be my friend?” I was surprised to see that he was a talking dragon who wanted to be friends with me. I immediately accepted his offer, and shaking hands with him, I said, “Yes, I will be your friend.” From that day onwards, we became friends. Then he asked me to sit down on his back to take me for a ride. Together, we went to many different places around the world. He also introduced me to his family and friends. I was very happy to meet them. He again gave me a ride on his back. On the way we found many enemies trying to attack us but my friend fought with them and won. He also showed me how he could breathe fire. We went to many other places and even there we found even more ferocious and frightening enemies. My friend fought with them hard and at last defeated them. We enjoyed ourselves a lot during our adventures together. When I told him that I also had my own family, he felt sad as he could not stay with me forever. So he dropped me in front of my house and went away sadly. I also felt very sad and bidding him goodbye, I realized that our exciting adventures had come to an end. Suddenly, I woke up and I was sad because it was not real and only a dream. I wish this dream would become true. Really it was an unforgettable dream.

Courtesy: The Assam Tribune [22 March 2012]

Monday, 12 March 2012

Bishnupriya Manipuri diploma holders’ dharna at Dispur

From our Special


SILCHAR, March 11: Bishnupriya Manipuri language teaching training diploma holders under the banner of its association staged protest demonstration before the assembly secretariat at Dispur on last Wednesday in support of their three-point charter of demands and to press for their fulfillment by the State Government. Gopidas Sinha, chief advisor of the association, said here today that it was part of their prefixed agitation programme and during the six-hour demonstration, ADC of Kamrup (Metro) M Modak received the memorandum articulating their demands and assured of positive response from the chief minister and the education minister. He added to say that after the current session of the assembly, official meeting would be convened by the government for free and fair discussion on the issues raised.

Gopidas Sinha elaborating on the demands said these included appointment of Bishnupriya Manipuri language teaching training diploma holders in the LP, MV and ME schools to teach Bishnupriya Manipuri language, preparation of text books in Bishnupriya Manipuri language and their availability to the linguistic minority dominated ME and MV schools and the appointment of the diploma holders in the language against the dropped and vacant posts in LP schools.

The memorandum submitted to the Education Minister of Assam, Himanta Biswa Sarma, signed by 70 diploma holders on agitation pointed out that according to the right to education, appointment of teachers should be on the basis of 30:1 teacher-student ratio. Though the Assam Government by a notification on May 25, 1999, appointed 149 diploma holders at the LP school level, but till date no text books have been prepared for the ME and MV schools. It had deprived the Bishnupriya Manipuri students of receiving education in their mother tongue. The number of such schools presently stood at around 100. It was therefore imperative that besides preparation of text books, appointment of diploma holders against vacant posts should be given priority.

Gopidas Sinha said until and unless these demands were met by the State Government, their agitation would continue and the demonstration or dharna at Dispur was the first phase of their long drawn movement for the cause of democratic and constitutional rights of the Bishnupriya Manipuri students.

Courtesy: The Sentinel

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Interview of Dils Lakshmindra Sinha

Dils LK Sinha is the President, Bishnupriya Manipuri Writers' Forum and Ex-Vice President/General Secretary, NBM Sahitya Parishad and has authored numerous poems, books and plays. Talking to Gitanjali Das, he says that he fears the extinction of his language 

What does literature mean to you? Do you think it has any relevance in our day-to-day lives? According to you, does it have anything to do with all that is happening around us? 

Dils Lakshmindra Sinha
Dils LK Sinha Literature is the reflection of life in terms of humanity. It is a means to the ultimate truth in the inner soul of man. Through poetry, I try to spread knowledge about the Bishnupriya Manipuris, which is on the verge of extinction, and at the same time I try to express feelings which are hard to share in other mediums. Literature mirrors society. We learn about things that happened in the past through books. In the same way, our posterity will find out what we feel now through our writings. Everything happening around us, from terrorism to price rise, finds an outlet through literature. 

How close is your relation with literature in general, and with literature of the Northeast in particular? 

I won’t classify literature because I feel it is general. The word mother, in whichever language you utter, addresses the same person everywhere. I feel folk literature in Assamese, Bodo, Rabha, Mising, Manipuri, Mizo and others are very developed. I have a collection of Bishnupriya Manipuri folktales to my credit. Folk literature is a very interesting genre. It attracts readers of all ages. Bishnupriya Manipuri is a marginalised community, but we feel we are very much a part of literature in general. 

What future do you see for literature from the Northeast? 

The future of Northeast literature is very bright. With book fairs like the 13th North East Book Fair being held and books focusing on the region being published, the future ahead is bright. However, I fear that Bishnupriya Manipuri literature will become extinct. More and more elite litterateurs and scholars are joining our cause. But our literature is not as developed as Assamese, Bodo or Mizo, because it does not get financial support from any quarters. Moreover, there is no political patronage from the state. People associated with Bishnupriya Manipuri literature have translated many books into this language. The Gita has been translated a number of times by different writers since 1920. We are working with zeal without pondering much about how the future unfolds. 

Name one book that had a lasting impact on you. In what way? 

Rabindranath Tagore’s Gitanjali, TS Eliot’s poem ‘The Wasteland’ and the Upanishads have made an impact on me. They have given my life some sort of a direction. Eliot’s poem is an amalgamation of the East and the West. His philosophy of life has really inspired me. He has taken so much from different cultures. 

What book would you recommend for our readers and why? 

I would suggest they read the Upanishads and the Vedas. I don’t feel they are religious books. They reflect love for humanity. I would also ask them to read Eliot. Terrorism and the emptiness of our society are evident in his poetry.

Courtesy: Seven Sisters Post (

Saturday, 10 March 2012

Rendezvous with Silchar's alleys

By Sonica Rajkumari

After few months I will enter into the world of planners. Few questions arise in my mind — did I learn all the components of Planning; what actually do I know which differs me from other professions. Here I am not pointing on my course; it is just how well I grabbed the knowledge regarding my course.

Four years ago, some of my friends including me who cleared AIEEE (All India Engineering Entrance Examination) and got admitted into the course without knowing what exactly this course is all about and what are we supposed to do. One thing we all knew that we need to do thesis in 4th year.

For me, 2 years just passed without knowing what actually our job will be in the industry; fine we are having studios like site planning, area appreciation etc., and some theory subjects. After 2nd year, I started learning something. But one thing is for sure, Planning is such a wide subject that 4 years is not enough to learn everything atleast for me. But obviously that doesn’t mean I take years to get a Bachelor Degree.

Thesis in final year is a must. After passing of the thesis, one gets a degree. I can’t run away from it. With 1st year working in a group, here in 4th year, I need to give my individual endeavour and implement whatever I learned so far and even more than that. I don’t know, whether the Planning course is complicated, or it has complicated my mind. But some of my class mates really enjoyed and loved it. Ultimately, I have to pursue it and I tried to give my best. I didn't know what would be my thesis topic, but surely it will be related to my home town Silchar.

Now when I am at the final stage of my course, selecting topic for thesis and case area made me aware of the complications to avail data on Silchar. As behind every successful thesis there is availability of authentic data. My faculties made me aware of this difficulty which I may come across while preparing my thesis. I had options of taking case area somewhere near to my college or in Delhi, which will save both energy and money. Also data will be available and the place can be visited again to collect the data anytime.

Drainage system in Silchar
As I decided to do thesis on Silchar, I observed the town from the perspective of  a planner and analyse its problems. I was sure that Silchar is facing lots of urban issues like lack of proper roads, drainage system, solid waste management, and lack of planning ..., which is intolerable to anyone staying in Silchar or outsider visiting Silchar. During my 4-years course period, I never visited Silchar. Before joining the course, whenever I used to visit Silchar I used to love staying in home.

In January, I visited Silchar. My train journey started from Delhi in a bitter cold day. I never travelled during winters. And I really hate it; in future I would try to avoid travelling during winters especially to Silchar where train tests your patience level.

I spent around 10 days in Silchar for data collection, out of that actually worked for 6 days, as Sunday, Republic Day all this came in between. This time Silchar town was looking as normal as other towns look. I didn’t find many problems in Silchar as I used to face before related to roads, drainage etc., may be because it was not a rainy season. When it rains, then Silchar shows it colour. 

Kutcha Roads in Silchar
First day, I had a meeting with the Chairperson of the Silchar Municipality Board, who is also MLA. The purpose to meet her was just to get her green signal for letting me get data from the municipality.

It was tough job for me to make the people understand what kind of data I need and for what purpose despite of having an official letter from college. The experience was different and rough as compared to other places I visited through college for the studio purposes. So far we had visited Hyderabad, Kottayam (Kerala), Cuddalore (Tamilnadu) and Vijayawada where language gap is there but got good responses from the government offices in terms of collection of data. But in Silchar it was not that welcoming in comparison to these cities; some problem was there, I don’t know, may be I don’t know Bengali. But my other classmates doing thesis on Guwahati also faced the same problem. But wherever I found Bishnupriya Manipuris in offices I got over and found extra data, without any hurdle.

I mostly visited Silchar municipality as my topic revolves around it. My primary objective is to study and assess the financial status of municipality and its performance. I learnt few things that how well municipality is accountable to its citizen and how well citizen are accountable towards city problem. I will get the actual scenario related to Silchar and the municipality after analysing the data. But one thing I would like to share here which make me laugh everytime when I think of it. Wherever I roamed in Silchar I didn’t find a single municipal bin for throwing solid waste. From the municipality, I get to know that, the large municipal bins which are put along the road for the solid waste, get stolen the very next day of its installation by the scrap people. I found it really funny — poor municipality people; one thought that stroked into my mind after hearing this was- ‘not a bad idea.’

Waste Management in Silchar
Somehow I got required data for the thesis. Some data which I didn’t get, I will think about it later but can’t go again from Vijayawada to Silchar alone spending 4-5 days in going and coming total 10 days. The main idea of taking Silchar as my case area was to associate myself to Silchar closely, to understand and analyse its problem with strong backup of authentic data from authentic sources. Even a normal citizen can see the potential and problems of the city which is visible, like problems related to roads, drainage and the ways to improve it. But suggestions for improvement become more logical if a study and an analysis are done related to the issue. As very less study has been carried on Silchar town. 

Peers says my topic is interesting but not an easy one but let see will I be able to do justice.

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

A Tale of Cities

Dr Smriti Kumar Sinha
(Translated by Ramlal Sinha)

YES, it’s a tale of cities, not of one or two. Take Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, Guwahati…as a case study ‒ it’s the same basic storyline. From Google earth, let’s zoom in on any of the cities, say Guwahati…

Guwahati City

It’s a sweltering noon. It’s the hustle and bustle of city life, with honking cars lined up. The road on the left leads one to Fancy Bazar. A billboard stands erect on the right. Rich in carbohydrate, vitamins and minerals ‒ reads the advertisement of a baby food. No substitute for breastfeeding, maxim of the WHO, written in a small font size, almost invisible. Oh no! What a stark contrast! A corpse, on the footpath! Could be of a mother. A baby is sucking its breasts, breathlessly. A bagging bowl is lying near, upside down. The crying baby is standing up. Limping… a baby boy. A mass of tangled and matted hair on its head.

Mercy coins keep falling from the pedestrians chatting over mobile phones and commuters busy surfing Internet ‒ broad band Wi-Fi. A digital divide! What else can they do? The kid starts walking over the coins, making thuds. The metallic sound stops. It looks at the other side ‒ a glimmer of hope. Crossing the main road!

The speeding cars break to a halt, with an awful screeching. Oh God! You’re really omnipresent. The kid has crossed the road. The swamping traffic has resumed free flow. The kid is craning his neck to have a better view of a green hoarding. A rhino is grazing in foliage of wild grasses in the Kaziranga National Park ‒ a tourism department’s ad with a tag on the top ‘Incredible India!’ Incredible indeed!

Limping a few steps further, the kid has stood in front of another hoarding. A few kids of his age are playing with colourful toys. ‘Kids’ Dreamland’, an English medium nursery school. A red missed ball is falling down. The kid on the footpath has forgot his stomachache, and extended his hand to catch it ‒ beyond his reach.
The crying baby is limping ahead, thumping against the roadside wall. Stopped! An eye-catching cartoon on the wall. A boy and a girl are playing see-saw sitting on a long and striped wood pencil! Written atop is ‘Let’s all go to school’… Sarba Shiksha Abhiyan… a government mission. The kid has rushed to catch the pencil ‒ a fake one!

It keeps limping till another poster ‒ gloomy orphan faces, matted hair. Tears dripping down their cheeks. Known faces? It has turned back and stood. On the backdrop, fellow faces and a tag ‒ UNICEF HELP. The kid is slowly extending his untutored hands.“Stop it. I’m here,” a street teen has rushed to the spot in a whirlwind. He has held the hand of the kid. A mobile phone in hand, his is a known face. A beggar-turned service provider through his mobile public call office for phoneless pedestrians. An innovation, thanks to Mahammad Yunus!

The kid bursts in hunger. The teen has taken him to a pilfered water pipe, offered him a palm-full. No, not a substitute. A solace? Relinquenched, the kid is clinging, a passionate hug in return ‒ an age-old bond of eMotion amidst eBusiness, eLearning and eGovernannce hoardings.
Let’s zoom in on, say…

Note: The story is especially dedicated to famous economist Prof. Mahammad Yunus, Nobel Laureate from Bangladesh, who changed the lives of street children and the poor of South-East Asia.

Courtesy: Seven Sisters Post (

Sunday, 4 March 2012

"March" Bishnupriya Manipuri

By RK Rishikesh Sinha

Recognition of Bishnupriya Manipuri language by Supreme Court of India; martyrdom of Tripura's Health and Urban Development Minister Bimal Sinha and Sudeshna Sinha; and the declaration of Manipuris as tribals. What do all these events have in common? Call it sheer coincidence, the month of March is associated with all  these events. And these are those events which have changed the destiny of the community and gave a new path to tread upon. To begin with

# March 8, 2006
Supreme Court of India
Definitely, March 8, 2006 is a historic day for Bishnupriya Manipuris. It is on this day that Supreme Court of India “put an end to the controversy surrounding the identity of the Bishnupriyas”. The long and bitter battle on the identity crisis was given a permanent period. Read more Supreme Court recognised Bishnupriya Manipuri language

# March 16, 1996

Sudeshna Sinha
Sudeshna Sinha laid down her life on March 16, 1996 for the demand of Bishnupriya Manipuri language.

# March 25, 2010

The Assam Government declared the establishment of Bishnupriya Manipuri Development Council (BMDC). A classic example of political emancipation to a community, the formation of BMDC added a new chapter to the Bishnupriya Manipuri history. Read more Development Council for Bishnupriya Manipuris Formed

# March 31, 1998
Late Bimal Sinha 
Tripura's Health and Urban Development Minister and Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader Bimal Sinha and his younger brother Bidyut Sinha were gunned down by the militants of the outlawed National Liberation Front of Tripura (NLFT). On February 8, 2012, Tripura opposition demanded publication of KM Yusuf Commission's report on the assassination of Bimal Sinha.

# March 31, 1932
British Government’s Franchise Committee released a notification on March 31, 1932 wherein they held Manipuris are tribal. As destiny would have it, it is again in March 2006, the Supreme of India recognised the language of Bishnupriya Manipuris. Read more A Brief History of Mahasabha

Image courtesy: Late Bimal Sinha []
Image courtesy: Sudeshna Sinha
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