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An Indologist at par

By Ramlal Sinha

At what seems to be the fag-end of his active and prolific literary life, a guilty conscience continues to haunt Dr KP Sinha (Kali Prasad Sinha), an Indologist who has over 60 books to his credit, for the failure on his part to write anything about his spiritual guru, Maipak Sadhu, a BA and BT passed sadhu who lived a spiritually enlightened life at a sleepy village, Kachudharam, on the outskirts of Silchar town in south Assam. As an eight-year-old lad, KP Sinha took Sri Krishna naam from Maipak Sadhu probably in 1932. The graduate sadhu was also the headmaster of a high school.

This all-time great scholar in the Bishnupriya Manipuri community and one of the front runners in his field in the country as a whole is not satisfied with the works that he has done in Bishnupriya Manipuri language and literature, Assamese and Sanskrit. He is among those who can never satisfy their thirst for literary and research ventures. He still feels that he has done only a minute fraction of what he wanted to do. His is a contribution for which the country, especially the Bishnupriya Manipuris, can never pay him back. Some of his remarkable works in Bishnupriya Manipuri language and literature are the Bishnupriya Manipuri Dictionary now in the press for publication, the Bishnupriya Manipuri grammar and An Etymological Dictionary of Bishnupriya Manipuri. An alumnus of GC College, Silchar, Yadavpur University, Calcutta and Bardwan University, Calcutta, Dr Sinha has 21 books on Indian philosophy alone. He has also translated the full Rasaleela songs into Bishnupriya Manipuri which was only in Bengali and Brajabuli versions earlier. Apart from these, he has nine Assamese books, all on Indian philosophy.

Dr Sinha seems to be at the fag-end of his literary and research life not because of old age but because of ailing health. Afflicted by many diseases, including diabetes, the 76-year-old brahmachari (bachelor) scholar is losing his memory fast.

He is the first and foremost Bishnupriya Manipuri to have been awarded Ph.D and D. Lit degrees. His research paper “A Study on Bishnupriya Manipuri Language” brought him the Doctor of Philosophy degree from Jadavpur University in 1968. His research work on “Absolute in Indian Philosophy” brought him D. Lit degree from Burdwan University, Calcutta, in 1983.
In 1994, his statements and research works that were submitted to the Assam Backward Class Commission played a significant role in the recognition of Bishnurpiya Manipuri nomenclature and inclusion of the community in the OBC list for which the community had to fight a long legal battle that went up to the apex court.

The Indologist and a living legend in the Bishnupriya Manipuri community visited almost every Bishupriya Manipuri village in Assam, Tripura and Bangladesh in order to revive the language, culture and traditional belief of the community that are on the verge of extinction.

On September 27, 2009 (the Navami of Durga Puja) I had a one-to-one with this scholarly person in the rented house of his adopted daughter, Devyani Sinha, at Sorumotoria in Guwahati.
The interview:

Ramlal Sinha (RLS): Sir, did you receive any awards when you had passed the High School Leaving Certificate (HSLC) examination with flying colours? (I put this question based on hearsay about his HSLC feat).

Dr Sinha: I was awarded the Bolai Memorial Prize from Tripura. Bolai Singh was a resident of Kailashsahar in Tripura. He had instituted the award in order to make Sanskrit popular among the students. I got the award because I had secured letter marks in Sanskrit. I was lucky enough to meet Bolai Singh in my later life in Tripura.

RLS: Sir, can you give me a brief account of your academic career?
Dr Sinha: I had my graduation from Guru Charan College, Silchar with honours in Sanskrit and MA in Sanskrit from Yadavpur University, Calcutta.

RLS: What about your professional career?
Dr Sinha: Even before the announcement of MA results, I had to join Cachar College, Silchar as a lecturer. After the results were announced, I did research work on Bishnupriya Manipuri Language under the guidance of Dr Sukumar Chatterjee and Dr Suniti Kumar Chatterjee. The research paper was, however, signed by Dr Sukumar Chatterjee alone.
Then I joined Gauhati University as a Sanskrit lecturer, and then joined Tripura University as a Professor. From Tripura University I joined Assam University at Silchar as the Head of the Department of Sanskrit. I took retirement from Assam University.

RLS: Will you give me a brief account of your literary and research works?
Dr Sinha: I can’t memorize all those now. However, I can give you the list of my works that has been prepared by one of my students. (in box)

RLS: When Dr Sinha handed over the list of books, I was simply amazed at its length. So much of research works in one life! I uttered such an exclamation to Mr Rajkumar Sinha who was accompanying me at the interview, and that utterance didn’t escape the notice of the scholarly man.
Dr Sinha: This is just a minute fraction of what I wanted to do. What pains me now is that I haven’t written anything about my spiritual guru. That remains a virgin chapter in so far as my literary works are concerned. I have left that chapter totally unstained. (The scholar had a harrowing time to hold his tears back.)

RLS: I became very curious about this disclosure that was hitherto unknown to me. Who was your gurudev?
Dr Sinha: It was Maipak Sadhu, a highly educated (BA, BT) sadhu at that time when Bishnupriya Manipuri community was very backward in education. He was a very learned sadhu and headmaster of a high school.

RLS: Since when are you in hibernation in so far as literary activities are concerned?
Dr Sinha: Since 1998.

RLS: What, among your literary works, do you think is the most precious contribution to the Bishnupriya Manipuri community?
Dr Sinha: It’s the Bishnupriya Manipuri-English dictionary that is in the press. It will be of immense help for Bishnupriya Manipuri readers and writers.

RLS: What is your memorable incident in your life?
Dr Sinha: It’s the blessing which I received from Swami Sarupananda in Calcutta. Swamiji’s adopted daughter Sangeeta (Mamon) was my classmate, and I came in contact with Swamiji with the help of Sangeeta.

RLS: Is there any reason behind leading a bachelor life?
Dr Sinha: It wasn’t connected to any particular incident. From childhood days, I had a wish to remain a bachelor.


Name of the Book Publisher and Year of Publication
1.Nyaya Darsana-Vimarsah Sanskrit Book Dept, Calcutta, 1980
2.Nairatmyavada - The Buddhist Theory of Not-sel Sanskrit Book Dept, Calcutta, 1980
3. Metaphysics in Sankara-vedanta
(Sankara-Vedante Tattvamimansa)
Viswavidyalaya Prakashan, Varansi, 1982
4. Nyaya Darsana-Vimarsah Varanaseya Samskrita Samsthan, Varanasi, 1983
5. Refexions on India Philosophy Chaukhambha Orientalia, Varanasi, 1985
6. Indian Theories of Creation Chaukhambha Orientalia, Varanasi, 1985
7. The Philosophy of Jainism Punthi Pustak, Calcutta, 1990
8. The Self in Indian Philosophy Punthi Pustak, Calcutta, 1991
9. The Absolute in Indian Philosophy Chaukhambha, Orientalia Varanasi, 1991
10. Thoughts on Tantra and Vaisnavism Punthi Pustak,Calcutta, 1993
11. A Critigue of AC Bhaktivedanta Punthi Pustak, Calcutta, 1997
12. Sri Caitanya’s Vaishanism Punthi Pustak, Calcutta, 1997
13. Ved. Upanisad, Gita Aru Carvak
(In Assamese)
(Ready for Publication)
14. Samakhya Yoga Darsan
(In Assamese)
(Ready for Publication)
15. Mimansa Aru Vedanta Darsan
(In Assamese)
(Ready for Publication)
16. Nyaya Darsan
(In Assamese)
(Ready for Publication)
17. Advaita Vedanta
(In Assamese)
(Ready for Publication)
18. Jaina Darsan
(In Assamese)
(Ready for Publication)
19. Bauddha Darsan
(In Assamese)
(Ready for Publication)
20. Vaisnav Darsan
(In Assamese)
(Ready for Publication)
21. Srimad bhagavad-gita Darsan
(In Assamese)
(Ready for Publication)
22.On the need of Sanskrit (Ready for Publication)

Courtesy:  The Sentinel [February 7, 2010]

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