Thursday, 18 April 2013

Nuadristi Sahitya Puraskar to dramatist Indra Kumar Sinha


Topo Singha

Noted BM dramatist and short story writer of repute Indra Kumar Sinha had yet another feather in his cap on April 16, 2013 when the ‘Nuadristi Sahitya Puraskar – 2013’ was conferred on him at a litterateur-studded function at Gauhati Press Club. The editor of Nuadristi, Anjana Sinha, conferred the award on him at a function that was presided over by Sahitya Akademi award winner Atulananda Goswami who was flanked by poet Samir Tanti, BK Nath and top-rung Nikhil Bishnupriya Manipuri Mohasabha (NBMM) leader Rebati Mohan Sinha as guests of honour. Earlier, the dramatist had received the BR Ambedkar Award, besides a number of other awards. 

Nuadristi has been rendering valuable services to the Bishnupriya Manipuri community, their language and literature for the past 23 year. In the run-up to its golden jubilee celebrations, Nuadristi Prokashan has had an offshoot in the form of Khuttal, a monthly BM magazine. 

Receiving the award, the dramatist said: “...Literary creation is a never-ending process. The great epics of India – the Mahabharat, the Ramayana and the like had been scripted around 5,000 years ago. During the past 5,000 years no literature qualitatively rich enough to outshine these epics has been created. Shakespeare has not been outshone by his contemporary and succeeding English writers as yet... Talents are born from time to time to create. The Brahmasutra of Ved Vyas had to wait for around 4,500 years for an annotator. It was Shankaracharya who annotated it.”

According to him, Shankaracharya at the age of 16 years had to face a litmus test from Ved Vyas in the incarnation of a Brahmin. Having been elated over the wisdom of teenaged Sankaracharya, Ved Vyas enhanced his age from 16 years to 32 years so as to strike a balance between his biological age and mental age, the writer said. 

The writer made it a point that ‘worshipping the wealthy is a rot in society, and litterateurs should have takers everywhere’. 

On religious front, the writer said: “Though we are Gaudiya vaishnabs, our vaishnavism has a marked difference from Gaudiya Vaishavism. Our forefathers were basically worshippers of the cult of Vishnu, and the Vaishnavism that we follow is the blend of the two.”

On literature, he said: “Literature is the mirror of a community. The mirror, in its turn, is nothing but a piece of glass that is basically transparent in nature. It’s literary creation that works as the materials (senaidak) to make the transparent glass opaque so that the very piece of glass turns into a looking glass.” 

Speaking on the occasion, noted poet Samir Tanti said that he had the taste of Bishnupriya Manipuri literature through some of the works of poet DILS Lakshmindra Sinha, president of the Bishnupriya Manipuri Writers’ Forum. He lauded the efforts being made by the BM litterateurs, Nuadristi Prokashan in particular.

BK Nath said that the Bishnupriya Manipuris were part and parcel of the Bengali language movement in the Barak Valley. He said it is disheartening that the Bishnupriya Manipuris had to agitate for a long time, including blood shedding, only to get their language implemented at primary schools in Assam. “We need to respect the awareness of each and every ethnic group. Though we are different on many fronts, we need to learn to live together,” he said.

Mr Rebati Mohan Sinha said: “Along with cultural development, development of literature is a must.”
On printing media, the social activist from Mumbai said: “... in this age electronic media boom, if we give up the habit of reading or don’t inculcate the habit of reading we will do an irreparable damage. Be them Nuadristi, Nua Ela or Kakei, if we want to keep our language and literature alive, we need to inculcate the habit of reading first. We need to subscribe and read our newspapers if we our really interested to keep our language and literature alive. Simple reading isn’t enough, and we need to give feedback to the writers, editors and others in the media business.”

Col (retd) Bijoy Sinha laid stress on the development of Bishnupriya Manipuri language and literature. Citing the example of Bhakti movement leaders like Sri Chaitanya Dev, Srimanta Shankardev and Kabir who had developed their regional languages, Col Sinha expressed his dismay that BM religious leaders did little for the development of their language and literature. “We continue to depend on the language and literature of others in our cultural and religious life. This is a matter to be ashamed of. If we neglect our mother tongue, our efforts for development will fail. In order to score such a goal, we need to strengthen newspapers like Nuadristi,” he said.

Dr Smriti Kumar Sinha, founder editor of Nuadristi and professor of Tezpur University, said: “After the longest-ever language movement in the Northeast we got an endangered language. According to UNESCO’s yardstick, the BM language is an endangered language. This is a dead language in Manipur where it was originated. However, the language got a space for its development in Assam, Tripura and Bangladesh.”

He said Bishnupriya Manipuris are bilingual in nature.
Drawing the attention of noted litterateurs Atulananda Goswami, Samir Tanti and the media, Dr Sinha claimed: “When considered on quality, the Bishnupriya Manipuri literature comes among the first five literatures in the Northeast. We have poets like Brojendra Sinha, Dils Lakshmindra Sinha, Shibendra Sinha, Subhashish Samir and others.”

He said that translation works could work as a bridge among various literatures in the world. He rued the fact that most of the litterateurs of Assam translate foreign literatures but ignore the quality literatures of the ethnic communities in the Northeast.

As if his agenda at the deliberation was set by his preceding speaker, Dr Sinha, writer Goswami laid stress on translation works in his entire presidential address. He, however, said that literal translation often throws poor light on the works of great litterateurs. “Translators should give due respect to what writers want to convey to their readers,” he added.

Meanwhile, Khuttal, a monthly Bishnupriya Manipuri magagine, also hit the shelves on that day. It was released by social activist Rebati Mohan Sinha.

This apart, three dramas of Indra Kumar Sinha were also released on the occasion. Two volumes of Upanishad (translation) by Dr Binoy Bhushan Sinha were also released at the function. A volume each of the Upanishad was released by BK Nath and Samir Tanti.

Sunday, 14 April 2013

Nua Dristi award to Indra Singha

GUWAHATI, April 13 – The Nua Dristi Sahitya Puraskar-2013 instituted by Nua Dristi Prakashan, will be presented to well-known Bishnupriya Manipuri litterateur and playwright Indrakumar Singha at a function to be held at Guwahati Press Club here on April 16 at 3 pm, according to a press release. 

The play Tinhan written by Singha, two books Prashnopanishad and Kathopanishad translated by Dr Binoy Bhushan Singha and Nua Dristi’s own monthly Bishnupriya Manipuri magazine Khuttal will also be released at the same function.

Several well-known personalities from the literary world are expected to attend the function, the release added.

Saturday, 13 April 2013

Jogendra Kumar Sinha compiles lineage of Moirangs and Kshamuls

RK Rishikesh Sinha
Jogendra Kumar Sinha
Author Jogendra Kumar Sinha
In an effort to advance our understanding of Bishnupriya Manipuri history, Jogendra Kumar Sinha, has compiled the descendants of the Moirangs and Kshamuls in his book “Chronology of the Moirangs and the Kshamuls”.

Written in a succinct style, the book has precisely mentioned the Kshamul Aribam clan (the descendants of the King Samurak) till now. On the part of the author, it was indeed a herculean task to build up the lineage of Kshamul Aribam clan alongside Anoubam or Noaraja Clan (the descendants of the King Maimu).

Abindhwaja (Kshamul Aribam) Lineage

Here is an excerpt of the book.
The chronology of the Kshamul Aribam clan is:
(1) Samurak
(2) Athing
(3) Ningphucha
(4) Khuyan Lanthaba
(5) Khomba
(6) Khapak
(7) Kalaraja Ariba Lairik Laisomba
(8) Sana Kharitomba
(9) Samiloiba
(10) Dasaraja
(11) Kirtidhawaja (Kalaraja)

Kirtidhawaja (Kalaraja) had six sons:
1.      Naradhwaja (no record)
2.      Kalamadhav or Radhamadhav
3.      Abindhwaja (Kalaraja)
4.      Bongbitan
5.      Sangai
6.      Talentomba or Kamaldhwaja

Download the Abindhwaja (Kalaraja) lineage. (it mentions the names of upto six generations)
Abindhwaja (Kalaraja) family tree
Abindhwaja (Kalaraja)family tree

(The other family tree will be updated here in this post.)

There is every possibility of lapse of some names in both the clans, the book cites. It is requested, the present readers associated with King’s lineage to add their names if not included in the list.

The book is published by Rajesh Rajkumar, Krishna Kanta Rajkumar (Baromuni), Govinda Rajkumar (Katakhal), Tarun Kumar Rajkumar (Silchar), Jyotsna Rajkumar (Silchar). 

Submit your book for review in the blog. 

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

‘Prena’ hits the shelves

Topo Singha

Prerana, a little multi-lingual cultural magazine with no little vision, hit the shelves at a very small and simple yet highly brainstorming session at Nilachal Kala Kendra, Beharbari, Guwahati on Sunday (April 7, 2013) with former SCERT, Assam director Kumkum Singha in the chair. Yes, it can rightly be termed as a brainstorming session as and when the line of thinking, not without contrast, that emanated from some serious thinkers for the propagation of an endangered language and literature is taken into consideration. 

Releasing the magazine, Tezpur University professor and writer Dr Smriti Kumar Sinha spelt out the way of bringing people, separated by the multiplicity of nature, together. “Translation works can break the barriers or bridge the ditches that keep us apart from one another,” the professor said. According to him, diversity is the gift of nature and it’s the man who has to strike a chord in order to make unity in diversity possible in every sense of the phrase. Giving a detailed account of RN Tagore giving the Manipuri culture a leg up and pushing it to where it is today, the short story writer of repute said: “Tagore’s relationship with the Manipuri culture was symbiotic. While the Manipuris (both Bishnupriyas and Meiteis) are benefitted by the leg-up given to their culture in the world’s cultural arena, Tagore and the entire Bengali community were benefitted as that move filled the vacuum of a dance form of repute in the otherwise advanced Bengali community. Rabindrik dance and songs have many an element from Manipuri dance and songs.”

On the role of little magazines in the propagation of language and literature, the professor said in the shortest possible words: “We still remember the significant role of Jagaran (1925) in the propagation of BM language and literature. Though Jagaran is no longer with us in a visible form, it has been very much with us in the avatar of The Manipuri, Khashtriyajyito, Mekhali, Fagu, Pratishruti, Nua Dristi, Firaal, Folal, Prerana and other little magazines of the community. The pulses of Bishnupriya Manipuri language and literature and that of any other minor languages and literatures make their presence felt in little magazines.” The professor’s speech received a laudatory word from the president when she said: “What we have something concrete with us today (liksoidal) is the collection of the bids (liksois) that have been left behind by such little magazines.”

Noted litterateur Sushil Kumar Kumar Sinha, while throwing light on culture, said that fear led to pujas that, in course of time, were elevated to culture and social setups. “It’s culture that has made the striking difference between the man and other living beings,” he said.

Firebrand in his style and approach, Col (retd) Bijoy Sinha, giving a detailed account on culture, said: “The Bhakti movement leaders like Sri Chantanyadev, Mohapurush Srimanta Shankardeva, Shankarracharya others had made the development of their respective regional languages a point while achieving their religious goal. They did it through the translation of religious scripts into their respective mother tongues. I, however, don’t know as to why the recent three-day congregations of the Radha-Madhab Sebapuja Committee organised in Patherkandi made no deliberations on the development of language and literature of the community.”

Col Sinha also rued the fact that even today most of BM esulpas are not in a position to sing in kirtans and shraddha in their mother tongue. He seemed to have been fed up with the ‘monotonous’ Bishnupriya Manipuri songs that are mostly Radha-Krishna centric. “... due to lack of varieties, BM singers continue to sing the same ‘Jedeshe Nitai nai se deshe na jabo’... in all occasions like marriage, khechurir pali, in shashtipujas, shraddha, kirtans and the like...,” the writer said. This statement from the writer earned a feeble opposition from litterateur Sushil Kumar Sinha who gave his own interpretation on the matter with much applause from the gathering. The writer of this piece too backed Sushil Sinha on this count. Social activist and writer Shanti Sinha rued the fact that the BM community has thinkers most of whom don’t write. From his practical experience in running a bi-lingual, Nua Dristi, the writer made it known in no uncertain terms that ‘without social thinkers and poets contributing write-ups it’s next to impossible to run a newspaper or magazine’. 

Writer and artist Sunil Sinha said that the cultural talents in the community needed platforms for the development of their skill. He said that the community is in the need of an own TV channel.

Writer and social activist Pratibha Sinha said: “The pratibha (talent) of the speakers of the day continued has added much to her own pratibha (talent).” She was delighted to have attended the function.

Dance guru Bibhul Kanti Sinha gave an account on wrong notations being used in BM Rasalila. He said that he could stage a folk dance based on the rain-making song that had been originally composed by late Ashwini Kumar Sinha. He, however, said that he has made some modifications in the original form. He is now choreographing a folk dance on BM weaving.

Noted artiste Rabi Sinha (Ashutosh) gave a detailed account on the falling standards of BM Rasalila and other songs due to deviation from the right raghas and notations. He laid stress on the development of folk dance and songs.

The meeting concluded with a one-liner from the president – the loss of culture is the loss identity. On a positive, she, however, said: “There’s is no question of losing our culture. We continue to live and work keeping this hope alive.” 

Prerana, with Raj Chandra Sinha (Ranu) as the chief editor, is a multilingual cultural magazine to cater to the cultural aspects of Bishnupriya Manipuri, Assamese, Bengali, Bodo and other communities in the Northeast. 

Saturday, 6 April 2013

Where would you live after retirement?

RK Rishikesh Sinha


A hard-hitting question. Indeed. Where would you like to live after your retirement or in your old age?

With the passage of time, Bishnupriya Manipuri youths migrated to major cities like Kolkata, Guwahati, Delhi, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Pune, Mumbai, etc. for education or job opportunities leaving their ancestral-village or home town. We can infer most of them are first generation (except few). Definitely, the challenges are more for first generation people for it takes time to acclimatize to the place and to the occupational demands.

The second generation people might not face the difficulty in sustaining themselves in these cities where their parents have already made a ground. For example, in Guwahati, many first generation people migrated long back assuming 40 years ago and there second generation youths are already adjusted to the place and the people. However, it is quiet interesting and intriguing, what prompted the first generation people to get settled in these cities.

The question of settlement is important viewing the inflation rate and the subsequent price hikes, increasing rent and career options too. It seems rather tough to buy a home in these cities. Nevertheless, few things comes to mind, after living 30-35 years outside, can one go back to ancestral land with lot of stakes? On the other hand, can we imagine living in these cities without a home? Or even if one manages to buy a home, will it give satisfaction that one aspired for? Definitely, answers would be different from person to person, from family to family and from circumstances to circumstances.

Though I don’t have any accurate idea but it seems a personal choice and futuristic options. Though, we can’t underestimate the changing times.

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Holi-day in Delhi by BMs

Sonica Rajkumari

Holi- the day some people look beautiful because of colorful gulal on their faces and some you won’t even able to recognize because of their ghostly faces. This is the day when you get mixed responses. Some are eagerly waiting for the holi, some try to avoid it and then there is another class of people who like to see people playing holi and keeping themselves aloof from it.

Holi - Children I like to play holi with my friends that too only for one day not like playing holi for 2-3 days as who is gonna wash cloths and scraping skin and hair daily? This holi which was on 27th march I did not want to play it at all as I did not have my friends over here and also in my office my colleagues had put holi on me for two days. I did not have enough energy to wash clothes again and scraping skin so that color could wash off.

But because its holi and a day off, even if you don’t play holi atleast you should do something to make the day especial holiday, right? And for me it became extraordinary holiday because of a small Bishnupriya Manipuri’s get together kind of picnic in a farmhouse near Chhawla. Approximately, 40-50 people including children came on the occasion as many didn’t turn up because of various reasons.

When I entered I was happy to see the adults playing decent holi simply by putting gulal on the cheeks and forehead, at least these they did to me I don’t know how they played within themselves. Kids were having more fun with their small guns running here and there in whole ground and their moms were also kind of care free about their kids as we were out of the city and were in farmhouse.

We had normal breakfast bread, butter, jam and egg. Right after having breakfast some started preparing for the lunch like cutting vegetables and all. Every age group were having fun with their respective age group mates. All uncles sat together started playing cards and a glass with them. Aunties sat together chit chatting while cutting the vegetables. Married women busy in finding the location to click their photographs and update on facebook. Kids were busy in playing with their guns. Young boys in group sat a bit far away dancing on the music playing in their car with full volume and having glass with them. Now left me I did not find anyone of my age. So I made myself busy in giving a hand in cooking. The main cooks were Jishnu and Rajkumar uncle. They cooked rice, allu ki sabzi and one more sabzi when I asked the name of the sabzi they told its ‘laabra’ (all vegetables mixed together), salad and the last item which had ruined the whole menu - the salty daal which did not get boiled at all even cooked for many hrs.

Atlast all had to eat with the sabzi available that is laabra (which was too spicy), allu and a little salty water of the daal. The lunch was not that bad the way I am sounding, the sabzi, salad and chawal were tasty except daal. But who cares about the picnic food as far as one had fun in get together and see it as an opportunity when BM people meet together (even if you don’t know each other) in better environment far away from the chaotic city.  

Moreover, Holi is the festival when you enjoy just seeing the colours and mirth of the whole environment.

Monday, 1 April 2013

4-5 lakh revenue from Bishnupriya Manipuri Online

Since its inception of the blog in 2007, when I look back, and see what I have gained from it, I see I have earned a lot. The combined source of income from this blog has been touching staggering figure of Rs 4-5 lakh in a year since its inception.  If one calculates, in a month, the blog churns out Rs 30,000 to Rs 40,000 per month. An unimaginable, tax-free, invisible complete passive money.

In the year 2010-2012, due to global slowdown, and other economic reasons, the blog saw bitter days with revenue swinging between Rs 2 lakh to Rs 3 lakh per year . In comparison to 2007-2009, the blog underperformed. However, after long haul of slump, the blog is again at its peak. It has become a money spinning machine.

Supposedly, in the financial year 2013-2014, the income from this blog has to be shown to the Government. After all it will reach over Rs 9 lakh in this period. And I wish to cross the figure anyhow, my hands and legs are deep into the blog, in an effort to monetize to the hilt. I am wondering how and where to park this amount of money, so that I can buy a home or a piece of land!

I am thankful to the Bishnupriya Manipuri Online who has given me wings to fly; big dreams to cherish...

Alas! April fool day means making fool of oneself. 
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