Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Elegies on Sudeshna rend Guwahati air

Ramlal Sinha

GUWAHATI, March 17: Melodious elegies and speeches delivered with fiery passion rent the air in some pockets in Guwahati on sad Sunday last when the Bishnupriya Manipuris of the city recalled their language martyr, Sudeshna. 

Sudeshna Sinha, a teenaged girl, fell to the police bullet during a rail-roko agitation at Kalkalighat railway station in Karimganj district in the Barak Valley on March 16, 1996. The community had to agitate for decades to get their demand for the introduction of the Bishnupriya Manipuri language at the primary stage of education fulfilled. At such a function organized by the Gobinda Mandir Committee, in collaboration with Marup, an NGO, at Milan Nagar in the Borbari area in the city, Marup’s vice president and cine artiste Ashutosh Sinha (Rabi) and Bishnupriya Manipuri Writers’ Forum president DILS Lakshmindra Sinha kept the audience spellbound when they sang elegies after paying tribute to the martyr. The paying of tribute was led by mandir committee president Jyotiprakash Sinha, and he was followed by senior citizen Birendra Sinha, general secretary Anil Sinha, Marup president Badal Sinha,, who took part with a team of his office-bearers, and others. Ashutosh Sinha gave a detailed account on the very agitation when Sudeshna had fallen to the police bullet. 

The day coincided with the foundation day of the mandir and Holi. On that occasion, the mandir committee felicitated three senior members of the committee – Sri Birendra Sinha, Sri Krishna Mohan Sinha and Sri Gauri Prasad Sinha. 

In another function in memory the martyr organized by the Bishnupriya Manipuri Writers’ Forum at Satgaon and presided over by DILS Lakshmindra Sinha, public prosecutor Bhimsen Sinha spat fire when he said: “Sudeshna died a pathetic death, but our tears vanished into thin air…” Blaming the leadership of the agitation, the advocate fired a slew of questions asking them as to why the report of the post-mortem was not sought, why no FIR was lodged, why no inquiry by a sitting judge was demanded, and the like. 

Dr Nalini Sinha, a retired professor of North Eastern Hills University, said: “For us, Sudeshna is the Joan of Arc, Rani Lakshmibhai and Kanaklata.” It was followed by a poem recited by poet Sashi Kanta. Only in a few lines he could get his message across in an efficient way. 

While Col (retd) Bijoy Sinha laid stress on the use of the Bishnupriya Manipuri language in every socio-cultural aspect of the community, litterateur Prabhas Kanti gave a unity call. “Had Sudeshna been alive, she would have rued the way the martyr’s day is being observed in isolated pockets,” he said on the lack of unity among various organizations of the community. While BMDC Pau editor Bobita Sinha wanted the involvement of the youth on such occasions, Bishnupriya Manipuri Ex-army Association president Chandra Kanta Rajkumar brought the attention of the gathering to the plight of the next of kin of Sudeshna. He appealed to the BMDC and other organizations to extend their helping hands to bail out the family from its pathetic plight. Writer-cum-artist Sunil Sinha expressed his happiness for his involvement in the language movement. Elegies by many singers marked the day.

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

LL Productions releases Elar Jhaka with a Bollywood flavour

Ramlal Sinha

It was not for nothing why a student Prabas Kanti Sinha used bulk of the meagre quantity of paper that his parents could provide their children with at a time when his siblings could ill afford that ‘scarce’ item (paper). With such a message during his brief speech after the release of ‘Elar Jhaka-Part 1’, an audio CD from LL Productions, at Panjabari in Guwahati on March 8 SP Pratap Sinha wanted to bring home that it was his brother’s no holds-barred writing habit that made him what he is today. 

Tagged onto the end of the release of the CD was a brainstorming session on ‘The Role of Audio and Video Devices on the Preservation of Culture’. Both the sessions were presided over by the president of the Bishnupriya Manipuri Writers’ Forum, DILS Lakshmindra Sinha. 

“My dada was in the habit of writing in various genres of literature, films, art and culture right from his school days. Writing paper was a scarce commodity for us, and that made us adopt strict austerity measures in so far as writing anything other than our school assignments was concerned. However, Prabas da was the exception. He was in the habit of writing poems, dramas, stories and the like that had nothing to do with his school syllabi. In fact, he used bulk of the paper that was made available for all of us. Whenever I needed a big sheet of paper to make a kite, I couldn’t do so as he used to write something of literature on it. Maybe, that’s the reason why he wants to get this CD released by one of his siblings when there’re numerous personalities of repute in our community to do such a job,” the SP said in a choked voice. “Our eldest brother was supposed to come for this. He, however, could not come owing to his preoccupation. And that made me do the job,” he added. 

Besides his numerous works on culture, Prabas Kanti Sinha has a number of books, including two novels, to his credit. 

Anuradha Paudwal
Sadhana Sargam

On archival activities, he said that apart from Prativa Sinha, Kungo Thang (KT) of Bangladesh and Anita Sinha were also on the job. As he welcomed the audience at the beginning of the programme, organizer Prabas Kanti Sinha extended the vote of thanks at the end of the function.

LL Productions roped in two Bollywood singers – Anuradha Paudwal and Sadhana Sargam – with a number each, both in duet with our very own heart-throb, Tushar Arjun, in ‘Elar Jhaka’. Apart from this CD, the performances of the two Bollywood stars, it is expected, will give a decisive boost to the Bishnupriya Manipuri music. The other singers in the CD are our very own sensation Bithi Sinha, Pramila Sinha and Priti Sinha. The man who successfully roped in the two Bollywood stars is Hirendra Sinha, director of the CD that has as many as nine songs – four of which are written by Hirendra Sinha himself, one each by Guru Chintamoni Sinha, DILS Lakshmindra Sinha and Bithi Sinha, and two by the man behind LL Productions, Prabas Kanti Sinha. Besides a good number of books, LL Productions has the production of a cinema and a number of audio and video CDs to its credit.

In his speech as the director of the CD, Hirendra Sinha, living up to his reputation of plain speaking, said: “Any hard work earns good name in life. I’m very much on the job. I only seek your blessings.”

Former SCERT director (Assam) Kumkum Sinha got the discussion into gear with a speech that spoke volumes about the problems of preserving compact disks (CDs) for the posterity. She said that her nephew Amit Sinha had to preserve a number of VCDs at Jyoti Chitraban so as to get rid of fungal infection. This, she said, has to be done so as to preserve such records for the posterity. Such VCDs, according to her, keep the history alive. Citing the cultural awareness among the Assamese, she rued: “They could successfully record all works of maestro Bhupen Hazarika, including the revival of some of the very old ones. On the other hand, we have incurred a heavy loss when the VCDs of late Bimalda’s ‘Nungsipi’, first Bishnupriya Manipuri film, could not be revived. The VCD was badly damaged due to fungal infection.”

The chair endorsed her speech when he said that the voices of Suranath Sinha, Nilmadhab Mukherjee and Babu Sena Sinha (who was also an AIR artiste) could have been preserved had there been the right endeavour on the part of the community when they were alive. 

Reiterating his demand for the implementation of Bishnupriya Manipuri in social, religious and cultural life of the community in toto, Col (retd) Bijay Sinha said: “Both external and internal pressures took their toll on our language, literature and culture. A large number of our people still don’t want to hear our rasakirtan, rasalila and the like in Bishnupriya Manipuri. All our rituals, right from birth to death of an individual, should be performed in Bishnupriya Manipuri.”

‘BMDC Pau’ editor Bobita Sinha said that a section of yuppies born and bred away from the Bishnupriya Manipuri community could not be blamed if they could not strictly adhere to community codes. It may, she said, take time for one to get oneself accustomed to own community codes. They, according to her, may be out of their elements in some typical Bishnupriya Manipuri social or cultural situations simply because they did not get such platforms in their upbringing. She took this opportunity to seek support from all in her endeavour to make the ‘BMDC Pau’ a success.

Madhusudhan Sinha (IFS) spoke of the importance of digital versatile disk (DVD) recording of various Bishnupriya Manipuri ragas that have been doing a vanishing act at a fast pace. Such a venture, he thinks, will help preserve such presentations of artistic excellence for the posterity. 

This writer, who also spoke on the occasion, laid stress on archival activities on the Net so as to make all valuable documents available only a stroke on the computer keyboard away. He thanked Prativa Sinha for her endeavour towards that end.

Sunil Sinha; a dedicated writer and artist who has been working hard to make digital data of diverse aspects of social, cultural and religious life of the Bishnupriya Manipuri community; said: “I’ve fallen head over heels in love with video recording of events of varied tastes and importance. I’ve recorded a bank of over 5,000 data.” He said that the cassettes of Nilmadhab Mukherjee and the voice of Guru Bipin Singh could be preserved for the posterity. 

A nostalgic Ashutosh Sinha (Rabi) was all praise for Prabas Kanti Sinha, the man behind the entire extravaganza. “The go-solo attitude of Prabas has translated a number of his dream ventures, right from publishing books to audio-visual works on our culture, into reality,” he said. He also laid stress on the blending of modern songs with the Bishnupriya Manipuri tunes that need a deep timbre of voice (khallik) with the help of Bollywood singers. He concluded his speech with a song of poet Senarup Sinha – Tor udyanhanat satoitouga mi singarei gokulei oloya/ ki mingal mam goje obhiram jhakai jhakai portou jongiya

Samar Sinha, a writer and singer in the making, said that the budding talents in the community were in the need of right platforms that could give them a leg-up. He too thanked Prabas Kanti for his endeavour. In his presidential speech, DILS Lakshmindra Sinha said: “I’m very much on the job of reviving our ragas and raginis. Besides approaching a number of Bishnupriya Manipuri ojas, I’ve met some ojas of Manipur so as to revive our ragas and raginis.” He, however, gave enough hints that the situation in Manipur is no better than ours. At present they (those in Manipur) too, he feels, are far from getting down to the real nitty-gritty of raga-raginis. He said that he would soon come out with a work that would help revive the ragas and raginis for the posterity. 

The programme ended with an assurance from the chair that the suggestions given by the speakers of would be looked into.
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