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Gaurapei, Purijelei take charge

By Henryy Sinha

I sip my coffee while my fear sips me. Fear. Salif Keita’s song ‘Tomorrow’ swims into my ears, while my fear takes a stance asking what’s for us tomorrow. My mind absorbs and observes the world that’s changing.China. India. The Obama Revolution. Sensex. NY Stock Exchange.James Bond. The Australian cricket team. Hollywood. Bollywood.Iron Maiden. Rolling Stones.Space technology.Maharashtra.

In this bizarre motley crew where do we stand as a community? A question that haunts me. And at times - inspires me.

The Sadhu Baba Utsav was a success. To me it was more than that. The Utsav was an occasion of insights. Introspection. Retrospection. Inspection. Correction.

It gave me a sneak preview to some shocking realities. Realities that we all must have seen surely but never imagined they can act as potential speed breakers to a progressive sprint.They are so microscopic, so sporadic, so automatic and so customary in nature that you tend to ignore them. You ignore them. You let them be. Therefore you welcome them. Once you welcome them, you make them a custom. This custom now injects you with a shameful yet venomous poison to ensure an insignificant life and death for you. It decays you. Dements you. Kills you.

This time around we thought about battling this virus. We discovered this virus can be cured. How? Read below. Before that, let me apologize for not mincing words.

Rule 1: ‘The deadly bujon’ - Tackle him

Bujon. A vital word in the life of a well groomed Bishnupriya Manipuri. Few take this word as seriously as you and I do. Proves the refined DNA of our community. However to respect and to accept are two different things. Respect an elder. That’s sacrosanct. But to respect does not mean to blind-accept.

While organizing an event, look out for the fake, weak, spineless bujon. Pardon my words. But this is a fact. This bujon would always be your potential speed-breaker. You have to encounter his deadly one liner – Baha tumi uta haar naupeitarai.Eta bout rohoishor yaari. My question. What is this rohoisho? Is it so high a science that we cannot fathom? We have understood, Lord Krishna’s teachings, Lord Buddha’s teachings? Kintu ere bujon creed etar yaari haar naupeilaang!

Ask him questions.

Ask him to teach you then and there and educate you. If he doesn’t, take him over. As simple as that. Be polite but be firm. You are serving the community not individuals.

Another line. ‘Uhaan naitoi’. Why? Kya naitoi? Ask him. You have a right to know. His is not working for CIA. Decode every myth. But with respect.

Also be careful. During the occasion this bujon would try to snatch the mike from you and then say, ‘Mi kotha akchuti mating’. Post that he would talk about his son’s wife’s uncle’s daughter working with an MNC.

He will then conclude with his contribution to the event. Mostly in Bengali.
He would also ask you to change the programme schedule in between to ensure that his speech is heard by one and all. Hore Krishno!

Fortunately most of the Bujons I have met have been tremendous guiding forces barring a few. Those few need to be tackled with caution.

Do not disrespect, but strategize to tackle this creed of bujon. Respect but tackle.

Rule 2: Spineless leaders. Identify them.

Do not lick his ass if he SINCERELY DOESN’T makes an effort to know the community. Don’t be led by a lamb. Be wary of the person who is ashamed of the community, its language, its customs. He can’t do any good. If such a person is working, then he is working to salvage his image, his identity. He is NOT working for the community but himself. Period.

You don’t need to stay in Fetifaat to understand this community. Staying in Mumbai or Delhi you can understand and serve the community good. Example, Rebati Sinha Girok. He has been working relentlessly for the community, speaking the language, keeping in touch with the people of the community even after spending more then half his life in Mumbai.

If we have to convince and fight with a leader to wear our costume, speak our language on an important occasion of the community, its doomsday for us. If a leader is ashamed of his community, it’s an insult to our intelligence. Replace that guy. Remove him. Period. Get someone who respects, understands and is passionate about this community.

Will not name, but there was a gentleman (a leader) who once remarked, this community is run by drivers and handymen! Heights.He stinks of ignorance.

Scan your leader. Make sure he knows the community. If he doesn’t, see if he is willing to learn about the community. Please for God’s sake, for your sake and our sake don’t just blind-select or blind-elect.

Rule 3:Resources.Get the gaurapeis/purijeleis in place.

Tell them the importance of the event. Tell them how they would benefit. Tell them the importance of their contribution.

Get them thinking. Don’t keep them just to run around. Don’t make them Leisi Machines. Unzip their mouths. Ask them to talk, question, to give their opinions. Groom them as leaders. Make them fearless. Stir his within, he will work from within.

Get the numbers. If you need 10 people make sure you have 20 people. Be sure on the D day atleast 5 wont come. The other 5 would reach late. Keep a good back up.

Brahmananda and me had a wonderful time. We conducted couple of workshops with the Gaurapeis. Through the workshops, their roles were chalked out, a common name for the volunteers was selected through a voting – Changkhol Ami.

The Changkhol Ami team brainstormed how to tackle the people in the venue, the stage, protect the stage, manage the sitting area, make sure people in Bishnupriya Manipuri fichet only got on to the stage, no aliens around the stage, reception of the Chief Guest.They were not just told. Things were discussed and rehearsed and rehearsed and rehearsed at length.

Once you have a team of hardcore dynamic gang, your job’s done.

Rule 4: Get the right people.

Not because he is like my elder brother, but in Brahmananda we had a solid host. In his white feichom and pure Bishnupriya Manipuri words flowing through his microphone, he was like a ‘Dola Nongsha’ (White Lion).

Yes I would call him that! He announced politely but firmly that only people in our fichet and in our clothes would come up on the stage. He is the best Bishnupriya Manipuri host I have ever seen.

Bai the maverick he traveled past midnight to come to the venue for finishing the pending work.
Chondon for rallying his bike day in and day out for work.
Hari for coming to each and every meeting.
Nilkanto for standing up even to the Chief Guest to ensure emar thar is spoken.
Rishi busy with his cell phone the entire night inviting people to the Utsav and of course doing the stuff on the blog for the last 3 months for the Utsav.
Ashok for standing against the bare sun receiving the guests with flowers
Vikram and Jyoti for making those amazing Changkhol Ami batches
Babu for working like a maniac during collection, skipping office
Mahitosh for being the true Bishnupriya Manipuri and coming up with the term Changkhol Ami
Krishnakanto for making sure no aliens hovered around the stage.
Bhim for taking up responsibilities like a real McCoy!
Surajit for silently working in his own way attending meetings, being a lift in collection.
JK, Monika, Monty, Momi for rehearsing with amazing precision in the midst of chaos!
Mihir, Ashu, Bablu and Jayashree for the amazing Sadhu Baba’s painting!!!!

There was a time, someone came and tried to snatch away the microphone (customary!!!) to make a random announcement. As per strategy and the sanctity of the event, that man was denied the microphone.Politely. With a homa.

The homa was our weapon. This weapon convinced people to get onto the stage to wear our feichet and speak in Bishnupriya Manipuri. Nobody dare say the guys were impolite. Things were tackled with tremendous politeness.

Rule 5: Discipline. Get the look right.

This is essentially a Bishnupriya Manipuri event. We were not asking people to wear our feichet and go to a boardroom or a bar. However coming to this occasion with our feichet definitely adds to the sanctity of the event. It’s visual branding. It reminds us of our roots. It reminds us we are amongst our own people. It reflects our responsibility.

The Changkhol Ami team was visually branded strategically for the occasion. Dressed in spotless white dhotis, kurta, our gamsa and namsha, they looked impeccable. They commanded awe and respect in a rare way.

This is not a platform to highlight individual achievements. The day belongs to Sadhu Baba, not you, not me.

No extra irrelevant speech. Although it was tried at least 4 times by a someone (leader) trying to convince, recommend a speech by someone for no definite reason. Our bunch of guys, our host, did not let that happen.

The reason I am writing this article is because it’s high time our youngsters (a talented lot) took more initiative. Your involvement is directly proportional to the development of the community. You can learn from what we have done and what we haven’t. Don’t wait for someone to show you the way. Lead the way man. Lead. You all have done it in this Utsav. You will do it in the future. Blast the dirty politics. Rise above the ego. Rise above a territory. Rise above idiotic snobbery. Sadhu Baba has already blessed you. So, lead. Fearlessly.

Best was how the Chief Guest, Shri Nilmadhab Girok, the disciple of the great Rabindranath Tagore put it that day “Baba mi te tumare (jaathaan) pahuresugo. Aji tumi more jagailai”. That got tears in his eyes and ours as well……



No identity, no existence by Henryy Sinha
Who is Henryy Sinha (all the articles by Henryy Sinha)

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  1. Thanks Henryy for all those appreciation and also for naming out all the guys of Chankhol Ami, whose relentless efforts made the occasion successful.

    Almost a decade back i happened to be in a GD in one Management Institute... the topic to be discussed was " Managers are born not made"... Your managerial skill set reminds me that line... I must say its appropriate in your case..

    First time experiencing a BM function with a typical professional touch...


  2. I got tears in my eyes reading the last line when the chief guest uttered and got tears and others too. I am just visualising that moment. Just listening the statement made by the chief guest "Baba, mite phuresu tumare,kintu tumi mone kore dilaai" and getting tears make us realise how much we love our community,culture,mother tongue.

    I clap here far away from delhi for the efforts made by my brothers and feeling so much proud and searching somebody nearby to share.

    I do agree with Henry Sinha's statement that a pure bishnupriya manipuri person would be that one who contributes as par as he can, no matter where does he baromuni, katakhal,dudhpatuli,chenkuri or mumbai, delhi.........

    Jai bishnupriya manipuri
    Jai sadhu baba

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. Oh yes. Those lines by the Chief Guest were terrific. It was amazing to see and hear Shri Nilmadhob Girok at his age watched the entire programme, commented , adviced and complimented each and every participant! He also reminded on how Bishnupriya Manipuri dance or songs should be conducted. The progressive trait in the Girok came out when he lavishly lauded the performance by The Loktak Clan which was essentially a fusion performance as the group claimed. The Loktak Clan as they is an effort to retain and explore the cultural landscape that the Bishnupriiya Manipuri community can offer and take it further ahead.

  5. "The last line of chief guest..
    'baba mite pahuresu tumhare,kintu tumi mone Kore dillai'."It reminds me of the beginning of my professional carrier at Lonavala,
    Pune.The medium of communication was English or Hindi and one can imagine what would have been my condition,who hardly speak 'tuta-futa' Hindi and English.I was in search of Bengalees with whom at least I culd share my feelings.And it could happen to any one in those days when at villages, there were hardly any chances of looking
    at news papers,TV or listening radio.In Baromuni as far as I knew there used to be one radio(Govt supplied) in our MLA`s home,we used to gather for listening news in Bengali.That was the trend prevailing in our BM villages,so speaking in Hindi or English did not arise.
    Now let me come back to the point.Shri Nilmadhav sinha spent his life away from the Bishnupriya
    Manipuri people,now he could see in
    hundreds around him.So,he uttered
    those words.


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