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Bishnupriya Manipuris recall alternative media mogul

Courtesy: The Sentinel (November 27)

By our Staff Reporter

GUWAHATI, Nov 27: Litteraturs, intellectuals, academicians, politicians, journalists and hundreds of others of the Bishnupriya Manipuri and other communities remembered alternative media mogul Gokulananda Geetiswami on his 115th birthday through a day-long function at Radhamadhab Sebashram at Maligaon in Guwahati on November 26. The function continued till night.

Organized by the Brihattar Guwahati Geetiswami Gokulananda Singha Janma Jayanti Utjapan Samiti (BGGGSJJUS), under the aegis of the Bishnupriya Manipuri Writers’ Forum (BMWF), the programme included a seminar on the life and philosophy of Geetiswami Gokulananda Singha.

Geetiswami Gokulananda Singha was born on November 26, 1896 and died on July 10, 1962. During his about 67-year span of life, Geetiswami Gokulananda made many an impossible task in the filed of social awakening and development possible through alternative media since there had been a mainstream media vacuum in the Bishnupriya Manipuri community in yestercenturies. The only mainstream media prevalent in the Bishnupriya Manipuri community when Geetiswami Golukananda was active as a writer and as an alternative mediaman were Jagaran that hit the stand in 1925, The Manipuri, Mekhalee in 1938, Kshatriajyoti in 1941, Nuwabeli in 1956, Phagu in 1960. Geetiswami breathed his last in 1962. Some of the writers during this period along with Gokulananda were Haridas Singha, Nabadwip Singha, Babu Chand Singha, Nilomoni Singha, Krishna Kumar Singha, Mahendra Singha and others. Phagu could be termed as a glorious period in the Bishnupriya Manipuri literature when writers like Leikhomsena Singha, Indubala Devi, Gostha Behari Singha, Nanda Kishore Mukherjee, Senarup Singha, Madan Mohan Kukherjee, Sashi Kumar Sinha, Brajendra Sinha, Guru Bipin Singha, Gopinath Sinha, Harekrishna Mukherjee, Geeta Mukherjee, Krishnadhan Singha, Ruhini Rajkumar, Babusai Singha, Birchandra Chattopadhyay of Bangladesh, Gopi Mohan Singha, Champalal Sinha and others.

The youngest among them is Champalal Sinha whose poems were seen in the issues of Phagu when it was published by the Nikhil Bishnupriya Manipuri Sahitya Parishad. Though all these magazines served as the media, due to illiteracy, lack of reading culture and poverty these writers could not reach the non-elite masses of the community. However, Geetiswami successfully broke the barriers of media vacuum with the help of alternative media as a padkirtanist.

The function presided over by Advocate Bimalesh Sinha was attended by Bishnupriya Manipuri Development Council (BMDC) Chairman and MLA Kartiksena Sinha as the chief guest, Dr Smriti Kumar Sinha of Tezpur University, poet Mera Thakur, poet (Hindi) KC Jain, journalist Soumen Bharatiya, Hamren SP Pratap Sinha as the guests of honour. They also delivered lectures on the life and philosophy of Gokulananda Geetiswami.

Earlier BMWF president DILS Lakshmindra Sinha delivered the welcome address, while Brihattar Guwahati Geetiswami Gokulananda Singha Janma Jayanti Utjapan Samiti general secretary Narendra Kumar Sinha read out the report of the samiti.

It was followed by a programme to felicitate senior citizens. The function was presided over by Shyamakanta Sinha and poet Sashi Kumar Sinha. It was followed by a cultural nite in which singers Shyam Kumar Sinha, Sandhya Sinha, Debojani Sinha, DILS Lakshmindra Sinha, Barnita Sinha and children under the guidance of dance guru Bibhul Sinha performed.

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