Wednesday, 25 January 2017

Academic lens on Bishnupriya Manipuris

By RK Rishikesh Sinha

On the auspicious day of Republic Day, let us know what is the status of Bishnupriya Manipuri, a Hindu jati, how it is being described in the academic circle and that too in India and abroad. 


 #1. relationship between the Bishnupriya and the Meetei necessarily depends on the recognition of the Bishnupriya identity by the Meeteis because identity requires others‟ recognition and cannot be formed in isolation. (Dr. Y. Monojit Singha, Research Scholar, Assam University, Silchar; IOSR Journal Of Humanities And Social Science ; 2016)

#2. The Meitei also consider the Bishnupriya to be the carriers of an inferior culture, although they say that the Meitei king at first mistook them to be a culturally superior group. When it was detected that the culture of the Bishnupriya was of inferior quality, they were allotted the work of foraging for the royal staff. (SITUATING CONFLICT AND POVERTY IN MANIPUR; Anand Kumar, Kamei Aphun, Khuraijam Bijoykumar Singh, Homen Thangjam; Indian Institute of Public Administration; 2011)

#3. (Bishnupriya) community has become a cause of tension in Assam in the recent years, with implications far beyond its borders since it is also found in certain neighbouring States. (Terrorism in India's North-east: A Gathering Storm, Volume 1; Col. Ved Prakash; Kalpaz Publications; 2008) 

Please visit the Jagrit Bishnupriya Manipuri site for more information.

Observations on such views


There is a concrete commonality in all the above views.

#1. Use of Christian Eurocentric ‘so-called’ understanding and extending the same model and ideas to a Hindu jati (Bishnupriya Manipuris) by scholars.

#2. Ideas and models are created in the academic fields about Bishnupriya Manipuris much against the way person of the jati takes himself or herself. These ideas are pushed to the ‘wholesalers of ideas’ in the form of books and magazines for the mass consumption of consumers. Similar to western atrocity literature market, a complete demand and supply chain exist that are against us, the Bishnupriya Manipuris. And the list goes on, adding one after another that are against a Hindu jati (emphasis).

#3. A perception is build up and a narrative is whispered down the ears to home consumers (Meiteis), ‘other’ consumers (Bengalis, Assamese, and other Indians), and institutions (Government, academic, media) that we the Bishnupriya Manipuris are trouble makers in the state of Assam (this is one such example, there are many) etc. This is much against the Indic traditions and darshan. 

Visit the list of scholarship work done by academic scholars and their key points. Observe the year and the institution that has come up with weird representation of a Hindu jati and some observations go against the Bharatiya Sanskrit and Sanskriti.

Bishnupriya Manipuri Home Team


Like all Hindu jatis in India, we too don’t have a ‘home team’ defending Hinduism, and our jati. Among many reasons, one reason being that we are still colonized in our mind and all studies of India are carried out in European Universities. India is the only civilization, where Europeans ( their ideas and models) take control of it and define us. With the change in international/ national dynamics, there is a visible consciousness taking place in the Indian academic circles and in other institutions challenging and disrupting the Christian Eurocentric understanding of Hinduism, Indian traditions, its history and society that are sometimes anti-Hindu ideological stances. The fallout of the ‘change of guard’ is very much visible in the mainstream media and in social media.

What the Bishnupriya Manipuri Home Team would be doing? We all know Bishnupriya Manipuri carries a unique history of its own and the ‘identity’ struggle that it undertook is possibly not found in any part of Indian subcontinent. The Hindu jati was attacked politically, academically and socially using the lens of Christian Western framework of ideas related to its history, language, and culture. The assault is still taking place in front of our eyes.

There is ‘outside’ assault and there is ‘internal’ dissent very much visible with heavy intake of Christian-sponsored literature. And there is another grim issue that is of conversion to Christianity. Adding to it, there is a big population who are educated; they are with a Hindu body but their ideas and conception are very much ‘Christian’ 

In nutshell, the ‘Home Team’ would be using a Hindu Purva-Paksha and Uttara-Paksha tradition of debating. We would be studying deeply the thought and ideas of the opposite party and then khandan it.

Why a team is required? Please go through the list of myths. These myths are against us, against the understanding of Indic thought and beliefs. To bring down the century-old propaganda building is a herculean task. And nobody is going to do the job for us. And those who are pioneers are busy in their ‘war of ideas’ perpetrated by western institutions and scholars. Their work would guide us in our journey. These myths are nothing, but it surely works as an eye-opener.

On this revered day, we launch Jagrit Bishnupriya Manipuri site. It is going to be illuminating and refreshing.
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