Saturday, 30 June 2012

Khalorparor Kang strikes a chord with Hindus, Muslims

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Ramlal Sinha

Guwahati, June 29

Khalorparor Kang, a legacy of Jagannath’s return rath that has been striking the right chord with the Hindus and Muslims in the south Assam district of Karimganj is on its way to complete 200 years when the kang committee rolled its traditional seven fira kangs (returning chariots) in its 187th anniversary at Khalorpar on Friday, daring the devastating floods that have marooned hundreds of houses in the district.



Khalorparor Kang, which has been rolling uninterruptedly since 1826, is unique on many counts in its appeal. As the tradition goes, as many as seven villages – Satra Lokei (Satragram), Tanga Lokei (Mantrigtram), Khulakpa Lokei (Patrogram), Kehurgang, Khalibari (Nayadahar), Mechigo Lokei (North Beelbari) and South Beelbari – roll out a rath each, and all the seven raths converge to a particular point under an age-old banyan tree amid the participation of thousands of devotees, regardless of their caste, creed and faith. The banyan tree at the point of confluence of the seven raths at Khalorpar in Patharkandi has been a mute and standing witness to the return rath festival since 1826. Further, the chariots are also pulled by girls who dress themselves in a traditional uniform.



What’s significant is that of the seven raths, the rath of South Beelbari is pulled, since its inception, by an elephant, and the expense for the elephant service is borne by anyone from the financially well-off Muslims who are a majority in Karimganj. The 187-year-old return rath has a remarkable history. During the exodus due to Burmese attack (Owar Bagon), thousands of people had fled Manipur and settled in the Barak Valley, Tripura, Bangladesh and Burma (now Myanmar). Mammoth congregation among the people was next to impossible under the British regime even as the period (1826) was much before the Sepoy Mutiny.



In order to translate his conception into a reality, a priest, Pundarikaksho Sharma, called a religious congregation of the seven Bishnupriya Manipuri villages on the day of Fira Kang in 1826 for the observance of rath yatra, and since then the legacy has been followed with the participation of a number of Meitei villages like Karchorghat, Leishramgram, Moiranggram and Rajbari, besides Bengalis, Tea Tribes and Muslims (as onlookers and in making arrangement with cash and kind).



According to Golapchand Sinha, who has authored the history of Khalorparor Kang, all the seven raths were designed by Girokmoni Singh of Sylhet following a divine directive. The three-storey design of the seven raths – a tier each for Jagannath, Balabhadra and Subhadra – given by Girokmoni Singh is still followed as any deviation from the design, the local people claim, leads to evil omen.



As a mark of honour to its founder Pundarikaksho Sharma, an extra rath in his memory is rolled a day before the return rath, and this year the Pundarikaksho Kang was rolled on Thursday. The Khalorparor Kang has also been a topic for many a litterateur. While poet Madan Mohan Mukhupadhyay has written a poem on Khalorparor Kang, Debodutta Sinha did a documentary film on this return rath festival.






Courtesy: Seven Sisters Post

Friday, 29 June 2012

Bishnupriya Manipuris demand more employment opportunities

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From our Correspondent

SILCHAR, June 28: Members of newly formed Bishnupriya Unemployed Youths Association submitted a memorandum addressed to the Deputy Commissioner, demanding proper consideration with regard to selection of beneficiaries under Prime Minister’s Employment Generation Programme (PMEGP) 2012- 2013.
Gopesh Sinha, president of the organization said that the un-employment problem had been gripping the youths of the community. He pointed out, “As most of them belong to semi urban area, the banks also do not pay interest for extending loan facilities.”

He added to say that the unemployed youths of the community were deprived of different facilities given under different schemes like PMEGP, KALPATARU, CM’s Yojana. He alleged that the funds allocated for the youths of Bishnupriya Manipuri were also not utilized properly by the Bishnupriya Manipuri Development Council. He further said that gross anomalies and irregularities in funds in the name of auto rickshaw distribution to the unemployed youths were also found.

In the memorandum, the members of the organization requested the Deputy Commissioner to consider the names who applied for financial assistance under PMEGP scheme.

The copy of this memorandum was also sent to Tarun Gogoi, Chief Minister and general manger, DICC, Cachar.

Courtesy: The Sentinel

Monday, 25 June 2012

BMUYA raises questions against activities of BMDC

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From our Correspondent
SILCHAR, June 24: The members of the Bishnupriya Manipuri Unemployed Youth Association (BMUYA) raised questions on the activities of the Bishnupriya Manipuri Development Council (BMDC), as they alleged that the funds allocated for the unemployed youths of Bishnupriya Manipuri in 2010-11 were not utilized properly.

Gopesh Sinha, president of Bishnupriya Manipuri Unemployed Youth Association, said that the Council had recently distributed 62 auto-rickshaws in the name of unemployed youths in which large irregularities were found as those who received the vehicle maximum of them are employed.

He added to say that the Committee received a huge sum in return to the distribution of auto-rickshaws to rich and well settled families. He pointed that the BMDC had taken a sum of Rs 30,000 from a youth of Karimganj, Rs 30000 from one of Nityanagar village of Hailakandi district and from another who live in Kachudaram area of Cachar, but they are yet to get their vehicles.

 According to him, the BMDC also looted the money in the scheme of distributing sewing machines to the unemployed ladies. He further raised the question that how Ranu Sinha, wife of a college teacher and Pramila Rani Sinha, who is the wife of a bank employee, received the machines.

Gopidas Sinha, members of All Assam Linguistic Minority Development Board, said that he would launch a movement against the misdeed of BMDC. He pointed out, “The numbers of unemployed youth are rising day by day, and subsequently the government has also initiated scores of schemes. But the way the BMDC has betrayed the poor unemployed youths, is very shameful and I will not tolerate this.” He further advised the members of Bishnupriya Manipuri Unemployed Youth Association to launch a mass agitation against the BMDC. He further assured his presence in the ensuing activities of the association.

However, in order to launch the movement against the betrayal, a new organization ‘Bishnupriya Manipuri Unemployed Youth Association’ was formed recently.


Courtesy: The Sentinel

Sunday, 24 June 2012

Hallelujah Drogba!

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Delhi Diary
Raj Kumar Mithilesh Sinha

India is a cricket dominating country. Here cricket is a religion and Sachin is a God, But for me it is Football that drives my nerves. I follow this sport ardently just like a staunch, passionate believer of any faith. As it is said : ‘’Cricket is known as gentlemen’s game but Football is a men’s game. Here one will feel the passion, anger and love.’’ And I love this beautiful game. 

Didier Drogba

It was Sunday and the date was 17th June 2012. The scorching heat of Delhi compel anyone stay inside, but I was absolutely in a frenzied state to witness the historic moment I was waiting since long. It will not be an exaggeration if I say it is the best day of my life. I saw my favorite football star Didier Drogba in reality before my eyes. Former Chelsea striker and all time top scorer of the Côte d'Ivoire national football team is a living legend for his country and for his Club. I hurriedly got ready and was soon riding my Enfield towards Tyagraj Stadium. 

Drogba helped his team to qualify for its first ever World Cup, held in Germany in 2006 and he helped his Club Chelsea to lift Uefa Champions League, as he played a leading role in Chelsea's Champions League triumph over Bayern Munich. Drogba was appointed by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) as a Goodwill Ambassador for his previous charity work. 

After winning the Champions League for Chelsea, Drogba became the ultimate star for his fans. Every fan wants to catch a glimpse of his face. Drogba’s visit to India was the part of Pepsi's first football campaign in the country. 

I was very excited as it was a life time opportunity to see my idol. 



Tyagraj Stadium is far away from my home. After reaching the stadium, I called up the guy who messaged me previous night in FB regarding the Passes. That guy came and offered me three Passes. He said,   ''Enjoy the Game ''. For few seconds, I was totally out of this world as the person who offered me Pass had never met me before; even I didn't know his name. It was a strange happening but somewhere inside I was feeling great as if I was in cloud 9, but one thing was common between us that we both love this beautiful game and we both support Chelsea FC. 

After getting the Passes, I entered into the stadium with my friends. The stadium was packed fully. It seemed like all football fans in Delhi gathered in “One Place”, cheering for football and their Legend Drogba. Somehow we manage to sit in the VIP Lounge as it was near to the arena. The atmosphere was simply rocking; music was mind blowing and the crowd was amazing. Arrangements were perfect. It was coupon system. In one coupon you would get Pepsi or mineral water, Pizza or Sandwich, and chips or biscuits. 

It was T20 Football championship .There were eight different teams participated in the competition. All teams were winners of their respective states and cities. It was 20-minute match and the winner was decided on the same day. The winner of that T20 Football championship would be coached by none other than Didier Drogba, and that team will play against Indian Cricket team coached by Indian Football legend Baichung bhutia. Pepsi India Brand Ambassador Ranbir Kapoor was also the attraction of the game. 

The whole show was hosted by MTV VJ and DJ Nikhil Chinnapa. The show began with the entry of the first celebrity, Delhi boy Virat Kohli; the whole stadium started chanting VIRAT…VIRAT…. Soon Ranbir Kapoor entered into the stadium, followed by MS Dhoni, Suresh Raina, Harbhajan Singh, Murli Vijay and Baichung Bhutia. 

The programme was full of entertainment. The solo performance by drummer Shivamani, eye-catching performance by cheer girls, free style football in desi beats, and with live football game; it came as a perfect cocktail dinner with stars. Fans with their mobiles and smart phones were busy capturing each and every moment of the day as if no one wanted to miss those precious moments. It was overwhelming and enchanting experience. 

Besides all these stars in one platform, the audience was still waiting anxiously for one person; and at last he came and the whole stadium stood up and starts chanting DROGBAaaaaa..DROGBA aaa, …DROGBAaaa... For few moments I felt I am in Wembley, watching live football game. The legend was given a standing ovation. He showed his hands towards fans and his first sentence was- “Good to see Indian Chelsea fans here … after Champions League..’’ 

After completing his speech, Drogba met Baichung, Indian cricketers and Ranbir Kapoor. He was immediately surrounded by media persons and photographers. He shared his views with some Indian fans and showed some football skills and technique. It was really nice watching Drogba and Baichung playing with future Indian footballers well-supported by Indian cricket players and Bollywood star Ranbir Kapoor. The stars before our eyes appeared to be like ‘Taare Zameen par’ in reality; It was a proud moment for all Indian Football fans in which eminent players and personalities came together in one stage to support single cause ‘promoting Football in India’. 

These are the unforgettable moments of my life. I captured each and every moment in my camera. These moments are for lifetime which would always be alive and vivid in my memories.

Hallelujah Drogba!

Travel Blues (Part V) (New Delhi-Guwahati)

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Non-Fiction
RK Rishikesh Sinha

To a lost boy in journey, nothing on earth supersedes the happiness of being found. I got separated for 4-5 hours from my father without a penny in pocket and with no instruction to follow; the journey came as an appalling and horrific experience for me.

We were tired and had not taken food and sleep properly since the day my father and I began our journey from Kashmir to Jammu by bus, than taking another journey from Jammu to Old Delhi by train. We were travelling continuously with 2 heavy trunks and a bedding. The size of the bedding was so big that it was half my height, and trunks so heavy that a coolie can’t take two in one go.



We were at one of the platforms in Old Delhi Railway Station where the train from Jammu had dropped us early morning and we hadn’t taken anything to give energy to our tired body. Our stay there was not too long. A railway announcement swung us to take another travel in a train stationed at a different platform.

Keeping a trunk there where we sat; with a coolie, we climbed the stairs hurriedly, walked fast few metres on the bridge that joins the platforms, and rushed to that platform where a train was stationed. I climbed in a bogie that had big door. After I climbed into the bogie, my father and the coolie together pushed the trunk and the bedding into the compartment. As soon as I could position myself and bring the trunk and the bedding at the corner, the first jerk of the train that had started leaving the platform, and subsequent rush of the passengers, pushed me towards the opposite door of the bogie. To my astonishment, the train had started leaving the platform. My father was in the platform, and was also a trunk. I came with full force again near the door. The distance between us till then had widened and was increasing, I saw my father saying something, but couldn’t hear anything due to the distance and with the noise of the speeding train. I flung myself out of the moving train to have a glimpse of my father.  The train left the platform and was roaring towards a destination that I don’t know. Soon, he got completely invisible to my eyes.

Many passengers saw the separation between my father and me. My eyes moistened; tears started rolling down my cheeks. After few minutes, a passenger who had witnessed the separation asked me, “where going”. “Guwahati—Assam,” said I. “Get down at New Delhi Railway Station. This train is inter-city,” said the person. I became quiet. After running for few minutes, the train stopped at a platform, I thought to get down since my father might come here searching me. There was another thought whether to get down at New Delhi Railway Station or to get down at the last station of the train. Since in these stations, my father would be searching me. I had to decide. I followed the advice of the person and decided to alight at New Delhi Railway Station. “For how much time, this train stops at New Delhi Railway Station,” I asked. “Two—three minutes,” answered the person. “Two—three minutes. Okay,” said I. A stream of thought came in my mind that I must not miss the chance to get down with all the things, lest I would be in big problem. Whenever the train stops, I had the feeling that my father will appear. But he didn’t come.

Soon, the train entered into the New Delhi Railway Station. Fearing that the train would stop for only two-three minutes; from the moving train, I threw the trunk into the crowded platform. I didn’t care whether my act would hurt anybody on the platform or not. I heard people on the platform screaming at me. As I was ready to throw the bedding, passengers who were perplexed with my act stopped me saying that the train would stop at the station for a long period.

I waited for the train to stop. At last the train stopped. I pushed hard and threw the bedding into the platform. While I was struggling how to collect the trunk, I saw a coolie who wore a red shirt and a turban on his head walking towards me. “Kaha jana hain?” he said. The coolie had his eye on me simultaneously he was looking at other travellers. As if I haven’t heard his question, I said that I have only 10 Rupees, if he could carry it for Rs 10, it is okay. Lest let it be here. There was one fear that was grappling me — I should not succumb to the incident that had taken place with me. The coolie who was gazing at me constantly to hear my response agreed to carry the bedding for Rs 10. I said, that we have to go back, I don’t know where, and what would be the distance, I have to go near a trunk that I have thrown back. Luckily, the coolie didn’t bargain with the price. At that moment, he appeared as a God to me.

He picked up the bedding and started walking towards the last bogie of the train, and behind him I was. I remember I threw the trunk near an eatery shop. I was roving my eyes on each and every material on the platform expecting the trunk might be found anywhere. We covered a distance, more than I expected. I saw the eatery shop, but there didn’t lay the trunk.  As I was scanning the whole place, I found that my trunk was in the custody of an Army jawan. He kept it perhaps after reading the text written on the trunk.

From
RK HL Sinha,
SI/RM,
FTR HQ BSF Srinagar, J&K

To
Self,
Guwahati Railway Station,
Assam.

I paid Rs 10, the only money that was with me, to the coolie and sat on the trunk heavy at heart, and tiresome to the bone. To lighten myself, I started talking with the Army jawan and told him what had taken place with me. He told me that he is coming from Kashmir and would be going to Guwahati by an ‘evening train’.

“Shall I take the evening train with him till Guwahati?” I gave a thought, “And my father will catch me from there.”

His one sentence worked as a stimulus to my overactive mind, which had started running fast since I lost my father. I soon got lost to my battle of thoughts. “If I go along with him till Guwahati taking the evening train; doing so I will be near to my destination Silchar. From Guwahati, somehow I will arrange my rescue. Since my father ultimate visit will be Silchar, he will find me there. At least I will be out of this problem.” The battle of thought continued, “But then, that would be full of risk. Moreover I don’t have ounce of energy left to take another journey…and if I don’t find my father in Guwahati, then. No…No. I will land myself in a big problem. It will be compounded.” As there has been short-circuit in the functioning of my brain. I stopped and disposed of the thought altogether and I decided to wait there in New Delhi Railway Station till my father finds me. I came in terms with me only when the jawan said, “You see my things. I am going for bath.” He kept in my custody a suitcase, a trunk and a bedding.

Seeing him go, I sat alone, hungry and tired. There were venomous thoughts swirling in my mind. Time that has never been of my concern before, it seemed to me had stopped ticking. To kill the boredom, not exactly boredom but the fear that has consumed me, I started changing my seat frequently between the trunk and the bench. But I preferred spending much time sitting on the trunk since the text written on it will save me, at least, from some problems and harassments that I might encounter with my too long stay there. I cannot think of going to sleep, the urgent requirement of my body, since I had a fear that if my father come and failed to locate me.

I saw many trains coming and leaving the station, and with it crisscrossing of passengers, those who were leaving the station, and those who were arriving at the station. Travellers seemed to me as waves of sea, leaving the shore as soon as it appears. And there I was, who was neither leaving the station nor taking any train. When there were no passengers at the station, few remains there. Those who remained there were shopkeepers, hawkers, coolies, beggars, railway personnel, and the police, and I myself. However, there were other people sharing the same space and were eyeing on me.

These people will also leave after a certain time. A prominent question from the stream of thoughts that came in my mind, the mind which had become till then a repository of frightening, contradictory and ominous ideas, was — for how long I will be able to stay with my energy that was diminishing without food. I will not be able to stay on my feet till 10 pm, came the answer. I was subsisting on water. Hours have passed watching the entrance of the platform; still my father was nowhere visible. “Has he taken a wrong plan to find me?” was another question effortlessly coming in my mind.

In such painful moment, one lives on hope, and I was living on hope only. I was like an injured animal ready to be preyed — weak, vulnerable, and susceptible. I had fallen to the scornful eyes of bad people, who were ready to pounce upon me, if given an opportunity. I was watching their movements, the distance they had been keeping with me. They were coming near to me.

Suddenly, I saw my father coming towards me, huffing and puffing. 

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Travel Blues (Part IV) (Silchar to Guwahati)

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Non-Fiction
RK Rishikesh Sinha

There are times when you are caught between two sets of people who think differently. What would happen if the task take place high in the mountain in a confusing, tensed environment between these two types of people. One such incident, I witnessed while travelling from Silchar to Guwahati.

My nap broke when the Sumo in which I was travelling stopped high in a mountain. It was dark all around, and I saw a long chain of elephantine night super buses with number plates of Assam and Tripura in front of us. I came to know, the Sumo was stopped due to heavy landslide. I discovered from my co-passengers that we are in a landslide-prone area. “Hell to this landslide!” I murmured.

Except women and children, and old people, who were on the bus, all men came on the road and started taking stock of the situation. Looking at the faces of the women, it seemed that they have surrendered their wish to reach Guwahati on time. In the crowd of people, there were jawans who were impatient with the blockade.

The spot of landslide was flooded with beams of lights emanating from the headlights of the buses from either side of the road; jawans who were travelling from different buses took the hasty and risky decision to clear the blockade. Their decision disturbed the civilian population. They said BRO officials will come, and they will clear the road. “Woh kab ayenge?” said a jawan from the group. “Tomorrow morning,” said a civilian person, and continued, “They will come with cranes, and will put fences to stop further landslide”. Till then, a big crowd had assembled and could be seen on the road; some loitering with no purpose, some talking in groups, and some speedily coming to the spot. There were people who were tense and confused, and some who have surrendered to the situation and were planning how to spend time till morning.   

Making the situation bad to worse, rain started pouring. Thin column of muddy water from the mountain had started flowing down our feet. “The type of soil in the mountain is different. It will be dangerous to work upon it. The rain has started. It is even more dangerous to stay at this stretch,” said a person. “We have to catch trains tomorrow from Guwahati. We have to go a long way,” said someone from the crowd. “These people have brains in their knees,” someone muttered.

Ignoring the confusion that was prevailing at the spot, a jawan said hurriedly, “Let us clear the road. We need tools”. And the group of jawans spread like bees and went straight to their respective buses. My Sumo driver lied to them fearing his tools will get lost. In the rain, the group of jawans soon cleared a section of the road with whatever things they could lay their hands upon. One part of the road was now open for traffic.
The first Guwahati-bound night super bus crossed the spot. In the same way, the second bus crossed the spot, the third bus. Minutes after, the traffic stopped again. What happened, now? Small vehicles, and the buses from the either sides were trying to cross the stretch at the earliest thus creating a jam. “This is a new problem,” I said.

Soon the traffic smoothened. The Sumo in which I was sitting also crossed the spot. I saw the same group of jawans who took the decision to clear the blockade and dirtied their hands had taken charge of the spot. There was a sigh of relief amongst us that we are indeed out of the trap. “These people cleared the blockade. Had they not been here, we would have lived whole night in this jungle,” said the driver smilingly.

Monday, 18 June 2012

Pocha Ojha: An epoch-maker

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Ramlal Sinha

Treading a few steps away from the usual path trodden by most of his likes, an ability to blend his own creative arts with what he has inherited from a number of gurus, his happy-go-lucky lifestyle, especially when young and his ability to withstand controversies of all hues with a brave front and determination have contributed their bits to help Braja Kumar Sinha, or Pocha Ojha as he was better known, linger for a very long spell in the Manipuri rasakirtan mandap. In the process, he has created a gharana or shaili of his own that remains a hallmark on the horizon of the Bishnupriya Manipuri version of kirtanango. In a discipline where Ojhas Sukhdev, Dango, Salia, Chapta, Braja Ballab, Khaimoni, Ramsingh, Ramgopal, Nilo, Kalasena Rajkumar and others have been dazzling as bright stars, the likes of Ojha-poet Senarup, Ojhas Pocha, Godoi, Kartik, Sunani, Mohan Chand and a number of others emerged with the true Bishnupriya Manipuri flavour of rasakirtan. They rescued the form from the clutches of Bengali and Brajabali so as to make it available for the non-elite audience of the community, who received it with much appreciation and applause. This is why Ojha Pocha, one of the few frontrunners among the modern genre of ojhas (gurus) who successfully gave birth to the true Bishnupriya Manipuri version of rasakirtan, has been immortalised among members of the community. His numerous songs keep reverberating across the length and breadth of wherever his fellow community members reside. 

Pocha Ojha, as he is popularly known in his community across India and Bangladesh, is a name known to all and sundry in the community as well as among those familiar with Bishnupriya Manipuri culture. Born to Jadav Sinha and Juthi Devi on June 14, 1937 in Singla, undivided Cachar district (now Karimganj), Braja Kumar Sinha studied till to class VII and did his basic training for LP school teacher, a profession from which he retired after a long stint of 33 years. His hobby horse, however, was quite different from teaching. 

A born artiste, Pocha Ojha had a family ambience where his father and uncle, late Bijoy Sinha, were Manipuri Kirtanango singers who had the habit of rehearsing and teaching their poruas (students) every evening, regardless of season. If fact, words like off-season are alien to people who pursue Manipuri rasakirtan as their hobby — any time of the year is suitable for refining the art. Pocha Ojha, therefore, learnt the basics of kirtanango songs and related matters from attending his father and uncle’s rehearsals every evening at his home, much before he began formal training in the art form. He later began formal learning of kirtanango songs from his gurus in Bengali and Brajabali (or Brajabhasha) like everyone else did at that time. 

Pocha Ojha’s debut in the rasakirtan mandap occurred when he was just 22 years old. In his maiden performance in a gurukirtan (odhivas), it so happened that the first pala (the spell of a troupe of artistes) couldn’t make an impact due to a heavy shower. During the second spell, young Pocha as the main singer kept the audience spellbound as the rain came to a halt. Those of the vishnabas (devotees) who were of a contemplative mind interpreted the very incident to imply that the young singer could woo the rain god and performed his best in the mandap. Since then, he never looked back and continued to scale new heights and woo newer and newer audiences in Assam, Tripura and Bangladesh. Playing second fiddle to alternative media mogul Gokulananda, Pocha Ojha and a few other singers comprising a particular genre had to toil hard by composing songs in their mother tongue themselves and performing them in rasakirtan mandaps. They were translators as well. 

They had to supply songs for themselves and other singers as the situation demanded. An almost total conversion of the songs from Bengali and Brajabali to Bishnupriya Manipuri could never be a cakewalk for singers or poets of any stature. Poet-singer Senarup, Pocha Ojha and others did what the ojhas prior to them should have done. Of course, poet Gosthabehari had started the venture much before them, albeit in piecemeal form. Singing rasakirtan, however, is not the only identity of Pocha Ojha. He had his contribution to basak (padakirtan) too. He scripted many a song in basak, gostholila and khubakesei, besides folksongs. 

His position within the community was always understood and appreciated by the Bishnupriya Manipuri people. The Nikhil Bishnupriya Manipuri Mahasabha conferred the Gitaratna Award along with Silchar medal on him in 1956, when he was very young. In 2007, the Jagarani Mancha of Guwahati gave him the Gitiswami Award in recognition of his works. 

On May 18, 2010, Pocha Ojha breathed his last bringing to an end a great epoch. He was one of the pillars of this phase in Bishnupriya Manipuri songs, standing with the likes of Ojhas Senarup, Kartik, Godoi, Gauro Gopal and others. But since then much water has flown down the Singla and the Barak without much progress in the movement of total adoption of Bishnupriya Manipuri in the rasakirtan mandap. Will Pocha Ojha’s disciples pay a befitting tribute to him by carrying the movement forward from where he had left? Time alone will tell. 

Courtesy: Seven Sisters Post

Assam Search Engine: Bisarok

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Exclusive search engine on Assam


Manash Pratim Gohain, TNN Jun 16, 2012, 01.46PM IST

NEW DELHI: Assam got its own search engine 'Bisarok'. The search engine has been launched to get results exclusively on queries and information related to Assam.

'Bisarok', means 'to search' in Assamese language, has been launched and has been linked to various websites of the Government of Assam and departments, educational institutions and media. The search engine is likely to give a new online experience related to searches on Assam. Built on Google custom search engine, the search engine would be collating and building a database of web properties exclusively of the state in the North East region.

'Bisarok' has been developed by RK Rishikesh Sinha, who had earlier created a similar custom search engine ('Bisarei') on Bishnupriya Manipuri. According to Sinha, apart from Google there was no link to get results particularly on Assam. Any web entity related to Assam can be part of 'Bisarok' ( https://sites.google.com/site/assamsearchenginebisarok/).

Courtesy: The Times of India

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Assam search engine ‘Bisarok’ launched


Staff Reporter
 
GUWAHATI, June 15 – A search engine titled ‘Bisarok’ – exclusively for Assam – has been launched. It has added websites of the Government of Assam, educational institutes, and the print, web and television media of the State.

With the use of ‘Bisarok – Assam Search Engine’, users would be experiencing a new online environment getting results of their queries related to Assam only.

Built on Google custom search engine, ‘Bisarok’ would be collating and building a database of web properties exclusively of the State.

Explaining the idea behind ‘Bisarok’, RK Rishikesh Sinha who had earlier created a similar custom search engine (‘Bisarei’) exclusively on Bishnupriya Manipuri, said that except Google there was no link to get results, if one sought information, particularly from the list of Assam government websites.

“As the results that Google show up do not meet the requirement, a necessity was felt to come up with a search engine exclusively for Assam,” Sinha said, adding that the search engine would help bring information and knowledge on Assam near to people.

Any web entity related to Assam can be part of ‘Bisarok’ (https://sites.google.com/site/assamsearchenginebisarok/).

Sinha said that still at a nascent stage, ‘Bisarok’ will be graduated as soon as possible after analyzing the response from its early adopters and with their feedback.

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Search engine on Assam, Bisarok, launched


Post Bureau

GUWAHATI, June 12

With the launch of Assam Search Engine Bisarok, anyone who seeks to find information related to Assam, now would get a new online experience. They would get the queries of their search from the web entities of Assam only; all in a clutter-free environment.
Now they could fetch any information from the list of Assam-based websites maintained by the government of Assam (too big), media houses (be them print or television) and educational institutes. To be precise, Bisarok would be one-stop-search solution for the people to get any information from Assam-based websites.   

Bisarok would be made more robust and intelligent with the inclusion of websites from business and other sectors of the state.

Built on Google Custom Search Engine, Bisarok would be collating and building a database of web property exclusively of the state.

Describing the idea behind “Bisarok – Assam Search Engine”, Rishikesh Rajkumar said except Google there was no link to get results, if one seeks information particularly from the list of Assam government websites and from media houses respectively, the results that Google shows up doesn’t meet the requirement, thereby a necessity was felt to come up with a search engine exclusively for Assam.

Any web entity related to Assam can be the part of Bisarok (https://sites.google.com/site/assamsearchenginebisarok/).

Courtesy: Seven Sisters Post

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Travel Blues (Part III) (Silchar to Lumding)

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Non-Fiction
RK Rishikesh Sinha

Relationships that build up between co-passengers in journeys are sometimes very funny that fails to go unnoticed. Journeys appear as a moving theatre of human behavior. I recently witnessed while coming from New Delhi to Guwahati, the simmering tension between two families got its ugly eruption at Maligaon. Both the families, including men and women, started abusing each other. I don’t understand why people fight in journeys, if there is no encroachment of reserved berth.  However, fighting does take place, and sometimes they are diffused.  

One such incident took place during a journey between Silchar Railway Station and Lumding, which is considered as the most scenic train routes in India. As soon as the train had left Silchar, and we made our arrangement, a man in late twenties started conversing with other co-passengers. Something that was welcomed initially became a public nuisance when his constant chattering on different topics didn’t stop till noon. The passengers in the whole bogie got irritated and it was decided to teach a lesson to him. I was confirmed that nobody would dare to go physical, understanding the racial gene that make up the passengers in the train.



People slept listening to his chattering, and when they awoke they heard the same chattering from him. He didn’t stop for a minute. He was catching passengers who got up at various stations to talk. Then from a station, a group of CRPF personnel in uniform with their trunks and beddings boarded. The person caught them.

Like a cinema hall, all the passengers in the bogie had already fixed their eyes on the person, guessing the fate of him. We all were waiting for the climax to unfold. He started his conversation complaining about India with them. More than a conversation, it took the shape of an argument. Both the parties were not silent. Their argument went on for hours, initially being sober and respectful, it turned rude and impolite. A Havildar-rank jawan came from “Aap” to “Tu” while debating with the person. Then the moment came, it seemed in the heat of anger and anguish, the jawans would fall upon the person.

“How much do you know about India? — You’re talking about US and other foreign countries. They got their independence centuries ago than India. — Do you know?” the voice boomed with such force that it stunned everyone in the bogie.   

More than the fact, the belligerence of the jawan stopped the person to open his mouth for few minutes. There was a pin-drop silence in the whole bogie. Passengers were smiling looking at each other. Understanding that the topic would be harmful for him, the person changed the topic and he initiated another topic, and he asked the jawan, “Have you watched Sholay?” That was enough to bring passengers to chuckle and they were not bemused with his change of track. “Who haven’t watched Sholay?” said the jawan. “I have seen thrice. — Gabbar Singh’s role is my favourite,” said the person.

Even on the topics of movies, every time they locked horns with each other. As soon as the tension grew up, it was diffused by changing the name of the movie and by asking a question, “Have you seen this movie?” by the person. The person’s initial answer began like this, “I have watched…times.” Irritated with the person, the jawan in a complaining voice said, “Why do you watch every movie again and again?” Before his answer came, the train entered into Lumding platform. Cutting short the conversation, the person said, “Do visit my home in Silchar, if any time you get time. Since you people travel all over India.” In an annoying voice, the jawan said, “Half of the month, we remain in train. We meet lot of people like you in our journeys.” The train stopped at the platform. Then he got busy arranging the trunks and the beddings. While getting down from the train, he said to the person, “Is it necessary to visit your home?” Saying this, the group melted in the crowd of passengers.  

Thursday, 14 June 2012

Travel Blues (Part II) (Silchar to Siliguri)

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Non-Fiction
RK Rishikesh Sinha

I get goosebumps whenever I recall the 1993-94 floods in Assam. The tandav of devastation by mother earth on the life and property of people is still fresh and it fails to go away. And in that time of flood, my father and I had to leave Assam. It was a tortuous, harrowing journey that we took from Silchar to New Jalpaiguri (NJP).




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Owing to flood, communication by bus between Silchar and Guwahati had been thrown out of gear. We started our journey from Srikona and boarded in a black-colour boat, usually seen in the Barak River and in its tributaries. Before me, I saw a vast sheet of water that stretched away out of sight.

At that moment, I had a wish if I could see a friend of mine at the spot since everybody would come to witness the level of water. As if God heard my wish, few minutes before we began our journey, I met my school friend Rajesh Sharma who came to see the water level.

It was painful experience for me to follow the same route that used to be once route to my school; but this time I will be travelling it by a boat. We started sailing, the bank and the people were becoming small, ultimately becoming invisible to our eyes. All that we could see around is water — and water. No sign of human, even vegetation. Nothing was spared. There was one boat and that was ours sailing in the sea. Neither there were boats ahead of us nor behind us. All that I was thinking where the people took refuge, where the livestock went. Something that was lingering was the only haunting hush and stillness after the engulfing devastation. Our boatman said that there had been stealing incidents from the passengers before. His comment disturbed the six passengers on the boat.

After few hours of continuous rowing sounds, there was a long patch of land like an island. It was Katakhal railway line. Since I knew the topography of the area well, I guessed there must be a river bridge, and the people of nearby village might be taking shelter in the railway line. But as soon as the railway line became clearly visible, my guess went wrong — there was no sign of human or cattle on the railway line. When I took notice of the boat’s position, I was awestruck and agitated that we were sailing above the Katakhal village. Learning the fact that like Katakhal village, how many villages above which we have been sailing, I was terrified inside. Water submerged everything.

I felt distress remembering an old lady who happened to be our relative. Her house was adjacent to the main road. Where she would have gone? Where her family would have taken shelter? I cannot recognize the entry of her house, where once our Shaktiman Army school truck had to be stopped due to some problem. And she came out with some plums for me and my friends. It was a proud moment for a little boy.

I saw the century-old British constructed Katakhal Bridge, a bridge that surprised anybody new to the region since it is used as a railway track as well as for vehicular traffic, something not seen in the rest of India. We passed adjacent to the bridge, sailing above the river, though there was no river. We sailed for hours without food or water under open sky since morning. And at last we saw the bank where our journey would end. Our journey in water ended reaching Panchgram at evening.

After one or two hours, we again boarded in a bus that would take us to Guwahati. As soon as it left Panchgram, I fell asleep. Next day early morning we reached Guwahati. We got down opposite to Apsara cinema hall. I read the name of the movie; it was Hum Hain Rahi Pyar Ke. There were no trains running from Guwahati to any part of India due to floods. We went to Paltan Bazar to board a bus to Siliguri.  

The bus was packed full. There were passengers sitting on the floor of the bus; seat for one person were seated by two persons. I was given a small cane-made mura to seat near the engine. It was so small that I could sit scarcely. Sitting in that uncomfortable position, we began our new journey and in this way we left Assam. From Siliguri, we caught the train to reach our destination Srinagar.

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

The Brighter Side Of Darkness

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Fiction

Bidisha Sinha

It had been a long day; long enough to be mistaken for two days and yet it was just one really long day. I had woken up to a deceitfully beautiful morning expecting nothing extraordinary. No chance meeting with a handsome stranger, no sudden inheritance of wealth from a distant relative, no empty space in a parking lot, no discount on a gorgeous dress, no lunch date and no dinner invitation. The usual morning kappa followed by the usual breakfast of scrambled eggs and toast seemed perfect to kick-start my day. I got down from the bed to the instant comfort of my slippers. those slippers were a gift from my mother. She claimed that the countless bumps on it of varying shapes and sizes were meant for 'good blood circulation'. Aah...she had always been a health freak and it only did us good. the slippers felt like a dream on my sleep-numbed feet. I reached for my cell phone on the bed-side table and checked if somebody considered me important enough to call or at least leave a message. I did have calls. Twelve calls from an unknown number! Somebody was desperately trying to reach me and i had no idea why! I dialled the number and a female voice answered.

'Hello'
'Umm...hello. Somebody tried to reach me from this number... I have twelve calls from this number.'
'Oh! Just hold on.'
'...'
'Hello'

I could recognize that 'hello' even if I heard it after a hundred years.

'Umm..hello. You called?'
'Yeah. How are you?'
'I am fine...you?'
'Well...I feel fine too'
'Are you alright?'
'Yeah. Can you come meet me today? There is something I want you to see.'
'Today?'
'Is that a problem?'
'No! No. When should I come?'
'Around noon'
'Ok'
'Dont take too long'
'Ok'

With that he hung up. I did not say 'goodbye' because saying 'goodbye' to Ryan was a sin. He had forbidden me to use that word ever. Meeting Ryan was a carefully laid out plan of destiny. It was love at first sight for me. The first thing I noticed were those mesmerizing brown eyes with tiny golden flecks in them. They were the most beautiful pair of eyes to look into mine. I was smitten by the honesty and the innocence in those eyes. His smile was  genuine and like soft sunshine; warm and bright.

I had to meet him at noon and I did not want to keep him waiting. Unpunctuality made him really cross. I decided on a soft pink dress that Ryan said looked 'cool' on me. Personally pink wasn't my color but since Ryan liked it on me, I was only too happy to oblige. A quick glance at my watch told me it was time to get going. I knew my destination and the path leading to it so well that i could reach it even with my eyes closed. Within half an hour I reached the familiar building that had been Ryan's home since I have known him. It has been a long time since I first met him here. Nothing had changed about that place. The walls, the rooms and even the smell was just as it had been then. I knew exactly where Ryan would be waiting and my steps were unexpectedly hurried. I opened the door and saw him looking out of the window with those brown and golden eyes. I stopped in my tracks and stared at him feeling the rush of my overpowering love for him.

I called out his name and he turned to look at me. I could see the golden flecks dancing in his brown eyes. He came running towards me and hugged me hard. Then he looked at me with a scowl on his face.

'Ray-aan, not Ry-an! Can't you pronounce it right!'
'Ok "Ray-aan", am sorry...so what's the big surprise?'
'This'

It was a piece of paper. It was his masterpiece. He had drawn a girl with a circle for a face, two dots for eyes, a line for the nose and a curve for a smile. She had a pink frock on so I guessed it was me. Below the drawing of the girl Ryan had carefully written in all capitals-
I LOEV YOU.

'Did you like it? Its you. Did I spell that right? It says "I love you".'
'Its beautiful. Ray-aan you made me so beautiful.'
I was touched...I had tears welling up in my eyes and wrongly spelt 'LOEV' didn't matter at all.
'You know the nurse helped me with the spelling but I already knew it! She even let me use her phone to call you. I told her I would not take my meds till you come.'
'I am here now'
'Yeah. Mom and Dad are with the Doc. You know I will be going to heaven soon. Do you have a message for God? I can  give it to him if you want.'

I didn't know what to say. I didn't have a message for God; I just had a complaint.

I had met Ryan at the children's ward of St. Agnes Medical Centre three summers ago. I had volunteered to work as a care-taker at the ward. On my first day, Ryan had come up to ask me what was wrong with me and would I be going to heaven with him. He had no idea what going to heaven was all about. He didn't know that I had no way to confirm if my message ever reached God. He made it all sound so wonderful. We talked for hours and talked some more. It was past visiting hours and I was asked to leave. Ryan frowned at the nurse as she came in to give him his dose for a little extra time on Earth. Ryan was living on borrowed time. After a hurried kiss on the cheeks, his sedatives took action and he felt drowsy. I kissed his forehead and slowly came out.

Ryan had leukemia. Though there was no possible treatment left, the sedatives eased the pain and helped him sleep. I drove back all the time thinking of Ryan. I got back home only to be greeted by loneliness and darkness. There was no electricity. I had always been afraid of the dark...but today for the first time I felt at ease with the darkness. Life is not always sunshine. I sat down on the floor and realized that I was still holding Ryan's drawing. I was glad that it was dark and in the darkness, unseen and unheard, I let my tears flow.

Monday, 11 June 2012

Travel Blues (Part I) (Srinagar - Jammu)

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Non-Fiction
RK Rishikesh Sinha

From the countless journeys that we undertake to travel from one place to another, some remains etched in our mind for various reasons — for being turned dangerous and fearsome, some becoming the theatre of human behaviour, and some just to brood over.




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One such travel that would have remained just a journey, in few hours of its beginning, turned dangerous. It was my journey from Kashmir to Jammu. The 300-Km long journey began early morning in the winter season from Panthachowk, a BSF transit camp in Kashmir. I was the only boy in the fully-occupied bus with officers sitting in the front and the rest seating according to rank. The bus was iron-fenced in the windows to thwart any attempt of grenade attacks by terrorist.

On time, the bus started and it was accompanied with more buses and trucks and all left the gate. Like disciplined ants, all the vehicles were one after another and were on the wheels. As far as I could see on the road, there were only government vehicles of many Forces. If something that was haunting me and all the passengers in the bus, it was to get caught in a terrorist attack or in a snowfall.

Though there was no terrorist attack, indeed snowfall took place that was feared most. After travelling for few hours, when the convoy reached Qazikund, heavy snowfall halted the convoy. The falling of cotton-like snow from sky which looks so beautiful, and which makes the surrounding picturesque and heavenly, would be so unsafe and risky, I had never known before.

There was another fear that was surfacing in my mind of becoming easy prey to terrorist attack since earlier in the same place and in the same situation a bomb explosion in a goods-carrying BSF truck had blown our trunks.

Snowfall didn’t stop for hours. The rise in the height of the snowfall had reached the windows of the bus. It was unimaginable to believe that the whole bus was beneath snow. From morning till evening, we haven’t moved an inch; had there been no snowfall, we would have been travelling in the serpentine roads of the Himalayas. But we remained there in the same position till evening, gummed to our seats; waiting for the snowfall to stop. The tension was becoming very visible in the faces of the passengers; despite it, there was calmness and discipline in the bus. There was a fear if the snowball continues few hours more we will be buried live in the snowfall. Luckily, snowfall stopped when it reached the top of the window. After few hours, the convoy started moving in a snail pace. We all reached Jammu safely early morning next day tired and exhausted. We would have reached Jammu in the same day at evening if there hadn’t been any snowfall.        
been any s no wfall.

Bishnupriya Manipuri bodies demand dissolution of Development Council

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Special Correspondent 

SILCHAR, June 9: Various Bishnupriya Manipuri bodies in a joint memorandum addressed to the Chief Minister of Assam and submitted through the Deputy Commissioner of Cachar have demanded dissolution of the Bishnupriya Manipuri Development Council on grounds of large scale corruption and irregularities in the utilization of government grants-in-aid of Rs 10 crore provided to the Council during 2010-11 by the Government of Assam. They also demanded its reconstitution with the members of the social organizations of repute for welfare of the community and for the sake of fairness and transparency in its functioning. 

The memorandum alleged that there have been allegations from the people of the community against the Council which has not been constituted properly. The very constitution of the committee for Development Council, it has been pointed out, has not been done in consultation with the executive heads of Nikhil Bishnupriya Manipuri Mahasabha, the parent organization. Instead, the proposal for the issuance of notification of the committee has been signed by some ex office-bearers of the organization in flagrant violation of the laid down procedure. 

Nikhil Bishnupriya Manipuri Mahasabha, Nikhil Bishnupriya Manipuri Students’ Union, Bishnupriya Manipuri Gana Sangram Parishad, Bishnupriya Manipuri Women’s Organizations, Bishnupriya Manipuri Sahitya Sabha, Bishnupriya Manipuri Samaj Sanstha, Bishnupriya Manipuri Ex-Servicemen’s Organization and Bishnupriya Manipuri Andolan Parishad are the recognized social organizations on the forefront of all movements of the community and talks with the Government of Assam. Unfortunately, the representatives of these organizations have not been invited or taken into confidence in the process of forming the committee. It has been further alleged that such irregularities have been done at the behest of the then MLA of Patharkandi constituency, Kartik Sena Sinha with the malafide intention of getting the benefit of the post of chairman for himself. 

The memorandum lists specific instances of how there has been large scale corruption in the utilization of government grants-in-aid of Rs 10 crore in violation of the standing instructions and guidelines. It has been in respect of the grants-in-aid in agriculture, public works department and veterinary sectors. In the name of income generating schemes and distribution of auto rickshaws and sewing machines. Allegation is that commission money from the beneficiaries have been collected through the office-bearers of the committee irregularly constituted. Though the beneficiaries under the scheme should be from BPL families, the norms have been flouted. The selection has been done arbitrarily. Beneficiaries selected also from affluent families, it has been pointed out. 

Around 100 of the 196 beneficiaries selected for sewing machines belong to rich families, the memorandum alleged. Their names have also been furnished along with the representation. Even, some of the names listed for benefits under other schemes like SHG are fake. A detailed inquiry with physical verification will reveal the truth. Disbursement of financial assistance to clubs and institutions, it has been alleged, involves large scale irregularities. No utilization certificates and actual payee receipts of the beneficiaries have been furnished when sought for by the bodies under RTI Act 2005. Neither advertisements have been made in local dailies for inviting applications for selection of beneficiaries under the schemes as pointed out earlier. 

Dr Debendra Kumar Sinha, president of Nikhil Bishnupriya Manipuri Mahasabha, has pointed out that huge sums of money under grants-in-aid provided by the government have been siphoned off. This has been brought to the notice of the department of WPT and BC through series of representations and staging protest demonstrations in front of the office of the Deputy Commissioner of Cachar, but there has been no response. It is not only intriguing but also mysterious. The memorandum has been submitted in anticipation that immediate action will be initiated to probe all the documented allegations for remedial measures.

Courtesy: Sentinel

Sunday, 10 June 2012

European excellence award for Assam girl

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Post Bureau 

GUWAHATI, June 9 

Roma Sinha, senior operational manager (East India and Nepal) at VFS Global won the “European Process Excellence” award, 2012 for her ‘Best Process Improvement project’ on business management. She is daughter of Rebati Mohan Sinha and Ranju Sinha, hailing from Bekirpar near Kabuganj in Cachar district. The award was presented during the recent PEX Week Europe Summit – a multiday event for process improvement professionals in London. 

Courtesy: Seven Sisters Post

+++++++++++++ 

Girl from Cachar bags international award


Girl from Cachar bags international award From our Correspondent SILCHAR, May 18: Roma Sinha, senior operational manager at VFS Global, a multi-national company, won the European Process Excellence award 2012 for Best Process Improvement project on Business Management during the PEX Week Europe Summit recently held in London. She is the first Bishnupriya Manipuri woman to receive an international award. The Process Excellence awards have been established to honour, recognize and celebrate the projects that demonstrate true and best practices. The awards recognize the outstanding achievement in the field of process excellence, improving company, business impact and innovation. Roma Sinha is the younger daughter of Rebati Mohan Sinha and Ranju Sinha of Bekirpar village near Kabikunj of Cachar district. Sadhan Purkaystha, a social activist and secretary general of Citizens’ Right Preservation Committee congratulated Roma on her success and wishes her for the better future.

Courtesy: Sentinel

Assam Search Engine Bisarok

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Anyone who seeks to find information related to Assam, with the launch of Assam Search Engine Bisarok, now would get a new online experience. They would get the queries of their search from the web entities of Assam only; all in a clutter-free environment.


Now they could fetch any information from the list of websites maintained by the Government of Assam (it is too big), media houses (be it is print or television) of Assam, or it is from educational institutes (schools, colleges, universities) of Assam. In simple words, Bisarok would be one-stop search solution for the people to get any information from the Assam-based websites.    

Bisarok would be made more robust and intelligent with the inclusion of websites from business and other sectors of the state. 


You can share your experience. You can even submit websites to the Assam Search Engine Bisarok.

Gogoi urged to dissolve Bishnupriya Manipuri Dev Council

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Press Trust of India / Karimganj (Assam) June 10, 2012, 13:25

Several organisations of Bishnupriya Manipuri community have urged Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi to dissolve the Bishnupriya Manipuri Development Council on grounds of alleged large scale corruption and irregularities in the utilization of government grants-in-aid.

President of Nikhil Bishnupriya Manipuri Mahasabha Debendra Kumar Sinha, in a memorandum alleged that the Council had indulged in large scale corruption in the utilisation of government grants-in-aid of Rs 10 crore provided during 2010-11.

He also demanded that the Council be reconstituted as the constitution of its committee was not done in consultation with the executive heads of the parent organisation - Nikhil Bishnupriya Manipuri Mahasabha. 

Living with half a face

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Fiction

Bidisha Sinha

It was a beautiful day; the sky was the perfect shade of blue. The scene outside was like an artist's impression of a perfect day. My heart was full of bubbling hope. I was finally going to tell him how much i love him. The past few weeks had been a frenzy; the initial denial and then the slow acceptance. My mind went on flashback mode: the first time we met, the first time i saw him smile, the first time we held hands and the night he proposed...moments engraved in my heart like a part of me. My phone beeped loudly, snapping me out of the flashback. I started scouting the sheets for the phone...love made me careless, clumsy and messy! After a thorough search lasting exactly 5 minutes, I found it amd my heart gave a jolt!

        1 text received
        "I hate the fact that the sun rays touch you before me."

Under normal circumstances (read: i actually know the sender and he appears to be my boyfriend or something!), I would have been thrilled but unfortunately there was nothing thrilling about sappy text messages from unknown numbers. Well, you see, I had a stalker, a totally harmless one though. Never did anything except sending creepy text messages. I had never bothered about him and today was not the day to start. My spirits were too high to be dampened by  some weird text message. Its not everyday that a girl has a confession to make, even more so when the confession says 'I love you'!

I rounded up my morning activities at a frenetic pace. There was a bounce in my step making it look like a subtle hop. I dashed across my apartment humming 'Love is in the air'. I picked up my bag, locked the door and decided to take the stairs instead of the lift. I stepped out and saw the world through rose-tinted glasses. Everything looked strangely perfect...like nothing could go wrong today. I could feel my heart somersaulting inside...it was a beautiful feeling!

I walked to the bus stop and for some strange reason I felt that all eyes were on me like they could read my mind.

On the other side of the road I saw the usual group of guys, gawking at anyone who looked even remotely pretty. One in particular couldn’t take his eyes off of me. Agreed, I could be pretty when I wanted to but looking at someone like you would want her for dinner is downright disgusting!

A hawker was selling some comics on a sidestand on the footpath and my eyes fell upon a particular comic with Batman and Harvey 'Two-face' Dent on the cover. I remembered watching 'The Dark Knight' and crying silent tears for Aaron Eckhart even though Christian Bale had my full sympathies.

What happened next was such a blur that the next thing i knew was an intense burning sensation on the left side of my face-- a pain so intense, it made me pass out.

As I opened my eyes I realised that I was at some medical facility and the left side of my face was covered in gauze and felt raw. I longed for someone to tell me that it was okay to hurt so badly, but when the man in angelic white peered at me, he brought me a news fresh out of the oven called hell.

         "The left side of your face is completely burned because of the attack."
Attack! What attack?? And it all came back to me like a blow to my soul-- the stalker, the hawker, the two-faced man and the unspoken confession.

As the doctor removed the gauze from my face, my hand instinctively reached for my face and the smoothness of my fingers met with the feel of a sculpture gone wrong. Mangled is the word that could describe it best. I dreaded facing the mirror...self pity and loathing crept in followed by a deep hatred for the unknown man who had done this to me. He had taken away my shot at a normal life--a life filled with love... It was so easy to hate him. My hatred made me hollow inside but on the outside it changed nothing. My face which no longer looked like mine hurt so bad that I wanted to die just so that the pain might stop. But first I needed answers.
'Why me?'
'Why now when I had finally mustered the courage to confess my love?'. In my heart I knew there were no answers. My one shot at love had been brutally snatched away. My future seemed like 'WHAT FUTURE??'!

The doctor told me that I had a visitor. I didn’t know whether to hide under the bed or jump out of the window! Who would want to see a girl with just half a face!

Of all people who could have walked in, it had to be him. I covered my face as best as i could with my hands as he approached. The tears I had been holding back turned traitors and began to trickle freely down my cheek. He gently removed my hands and flinched at the sight...I could have died just then if he hadn't taken that exact moment to wrap his arm around me and whisper into my ear.
             " Its okay to hurt...its okay to cry----
                  I am here and I still love you."

And then I let out a sob which came out like a scream that rattled my very being but he held me till my eyes were dry and I had no tears left in me to shed. Right then I knew that with this  man I could heal all wounds and overcome all obstacles...Suddenly living with half a face seemed a little easier because I had what 'two-face' had lost: Love and Hope.
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