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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.


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