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Bishnupriya Manipuri writers recall MK Sinha

Courtesy: The Sentinel 

By our Staff Reporter

GUWAHATI, Feb 23: The Bishnupriya Manipuri Writers’ Forum has observed the 52nd death anniversary of Mahendra Kumar Sinha, a great Manipuri historian, poet, dramatist and social activist of the Bishnupriya Manipuri community at a simple function in Guwahati on Tuesday.

The function began with the paying of floral tribute to the great historian by distinguished guests, intellectuals and social activists. A symposium on the life and works of Mahendra Kumar was also held on the occasion. It was presided over by advocate Bimalesh Sinha. Poet Dils Lakshmindra Sinha gave a detailed account on the contribution of Mahendra Kumar Sinha. During the British period some Kolkata-based writers made their propaganda that the “Manipuris are uncivilized and uncultured people”. It hurt the sentiment of young Mahendra Kumar who had graduated from Kolkata’s City College. In 1917, he went to Manipur to have an in-depth research on records and sources on the history of Manipur. His revelation, according to Dils Sinha, can be summarized as

(i) The Manipuris are a part of the great Aryan race and they were civilized and cultured from the Vedic age.

(ii) The present Manipur is the Manipur as referred in the Mahabharata.

(iii) The existence of Vedic culture, civilization and Brahminism in Manipur.

(iv) The existence of Tantrism, Saivism, Saktism, Buddhism, Ramaundi Vaisnabism and Gaudiya Vaisnabism in Manipur.

(v) The close relationship between Kamrup and Manipura – the origin of Moirang dynasty in Manipur.

(vi) The origin of Pancha Bishnupriyas – Khomul, Moirang, Angom, Luwang and Khuwairakhfams.

(vii) The origin of Bishnupriya Manipuri language.

(viii) The ancient nomenclature of Manipur – Kasma, Kashe, Kathe, Manibhadrapur, Mekhali and Madhyanagar etc.

According to Dils Sinha, the Secretary of the Assam Franchise Committee had issued an urgent gazette notification on March 21, 1932, and classified the Manipuris as tribals. “This has hurt the sentiments of the Maipuris as a whole, the Bishnupriya Manipuris in particular. A general meeting jointly organized by both the Bishnupriyas and Meiteis at Tarapur in Silchar on June 12, 1932, strongly protested and raised their objections to it showing historical records and documents. The British Government was pleased to see the justification of their objection and reconsidered their decision, and notified afresh the Manipuris as OBC considering them as caste Hindus. It was Mahendra Kumar Sinha who played a key role in submitting the historical records,” Dils Sinha said, and added: “Mahendra Kumar Sinha had played a key role in the formation of the Nikhil Bishnupriya Manipuri Mahasabha. He had edited the first Bishnupriya Manipuri journal, Bishnupriya, published in 1956-58, ushering a modern age in Bishnupriya Manipuri language and literature. He had composed a number of verses and valuable essays in addition to the famous drama Atiya Guru.”

Floral tribute was paid to the portrait of the great leader and writer by Bimalesh Sinha, Narendra Sinha, Biplobjit Rajkumar, Sushil Sinha, Shyamal Sinha, Sabita Sinha and others. Two of the poems of Mahendra Kumar was read out by Anita Sinha. Sanjib Sinha offered the vote of thanks.

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