Me And My Manipuri Things

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Bishnupriya Manipuri Keyboard is now available in Google Play Store.

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Bishnupriya Manipuri (বিষ্ণুপ্রিয়া মণিপুরী) plugin for MultiLing Keyboard.
Please install MultiLing Keyboard along with this plugin.

Link: Bishnupriya Manipuri Keyboard

 

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। নিউইয়র্কে অনুষ্ঠিত বিপন্ন ভাষামেলার আলোচনা সেশনে বাংলাদেশের প্রান্তিক জনপদের একটি ভাষা স্হান পেয়েছে। ভাষাটির নাম বিষ্ণুপ্রিয়া মণিপুরি। পৃথিবীর বিপন্ন ভাষাগুলোকে রক্ষার গুরুত্ব তুলে ধরে নিউইয়র্কে পালিত হয়েছে বিপন্ন ভাষামেলা। বিপন্ন ও বিলুপ্তপ্রায় ভাষাগুলোকে নিয়ে কাজ করা এনডেঞ্জারড ল্যাঙ্গুয়েজ এলায়েন্স (ELA) গত ২৯ সেপ্টেম্বর ২০১২ তারিখে নিউইয়র্ক পাবলিক লাইব্রেরীতে এই ভাষামেলার আয়োজন করে। বিপুল সংখ্যক আগ্রহী দর্শক, ভাষাকর্মী ও ভাষাতাত্বিকের উপস্হিতিতে ভাষামেলায় পৃথিবীর বিভিন্ন প্রান্ত থেকে আসা বিপন্ন ভাষাসমুহের প্রতিনিধিরা তাদের ভাষার পক্ষে বক্তব্য তুলে ধরেন। বাংলাদেশ থেকে বিষ্ণুপ্রিয়া মণিপুরি ভাষার প্রতিনিধিত্ব করেন উত্তম সিংহ। অনলাইনভিত্তিক ফেসবুক গ্রুপ বিষ্ণুপ্রিয়া মণিপুরি ডিসকাশন ফোরাম (BMDF) এবং পৌরি ইন্টারন্যাশনাল এর সক্রিয় তৎপরতায় ভাষামেলায় বিষ্ণুপ্রিয়া মণিপুরি ভাষাকে অন্তর্ভূক্ত করা হয়। উল্লেখ্য বিষ্ণুপ্রিয়া মণিপুরি ভাষাকে ইতিমধ্যে UNESCO এনডেঞ্জারড ল্যাঙ্গুয়েজ ক্যাটাগরিতে তালিকাভুক্ত করেছে।

উত্তম সিংহ তার বক্তব্যে বিষ্ণুপ্রিয়া মণিপুরি ভাষার বৈশিষ্ঠ্য এবং অপরাপর ভাষাসমুহের সাথে এই ভাষার তুলনামুলক চিত্র তুলে ধরেন। তিনি তার বক্তব্যে বলেন ভাষভিত্তিক এথনোলোগ থেকে প্রাপ্ত তথ্য অনুসারে বাংলাদেশে প্রায় ৪০,০০০ ভাষিক সংখ্যালঘু বিষ্ণুপ্রিয়া মণিপুরি ভাষায় কথা বলেন। এছাড়া ভারতের আসাম ত্রিপুরা ও মণিপুরে ৩৬০,০০০ বিষ্ণুপ্রিয়া মণিপুরি বাস করে। ব্যবহারিক চর্চার অভাব, আঞ্চলিক বৃহৎ ভাষাসমুহের প্রভাব, রাস্ট্রিয় উদাসীনতা ইত্যাদি নানান কারণে ভাষাটির অস্তিত্ব হুমকির মুখে পড়েছে। তবে গত কয়েক দশকে এই ভাষায় উল্লেখযোগ্য পরিমাণ সাহিত্যকর্ম রচিত হয়েছে, প্রকাশিত হয়েছে শতাধিক পত্রপত্রিকা। এছাড়া অনলাইনে নানান ব্লগ, ওয়েবসাইট ও সামাজিক যোগাযোগ মাধ্যমে ভাষাটির চর্চা গড়ে উঠছে। বিষ্ণুপ্রিয়া মণিপুরি ভাষার একটি অনলাইন উইকিপিডিয়াও রয়েছে। দীর্ঘ আন্দোলনের পর আসাম ও ত্রিপুরায় শিক্ষার প্রাথমিক স্তরে বিষ্ণুপ্রিয়া মণিপুরি ভাষা চালু হয়েছে। বিষ্ণুপ্রিয়া মণিপুরি ভাষার দুইটি উপভাষা (মাদইগাঙ ও রাজারগাঙ) বিষয়ে সংক্ষিপ্ত আলোচনায় উত্তম সিংহ বলেন মাদইগাঙ উপভাষায় তিব্বত-বর্মী শাখার মণিপুরি মৈতৈ ভাষার প্রভাব এবং রাজারগাঙ উপভাষায় ভারতীয়-আর্য ভাষাসমুহের প্রভাব লক্ষ্যনীয়। বিষ্ণুপ্রিয়া মণিপুরিদের সংস্কৃতি চর্চার বিষয়েও তিনি আলোকপাত করেন। মণিপুরি সংস্কৃতি ও মণিপুরি নৃত্যকে জনপ্রিয় করতে নৃত্যগুরু বিপিন সিংহের অবদানের কথা তিনি তুলে ধরেন।

বিষ্ণুপ্রিয়া মণিপুরি ভাষার উপর এক ঘন্টার অধিবেশন শেষে উপস্হিত দর্শক ও ভাষাবিদদের নানান প্রশ্নের জবাব দেন উত্তম সিংহ। উপস্হিত প্রতিক্রিয়ায় লেখক ভাষাবিদ ড্যানিয়াল কাফম্যান বলেন, প্রাথমিক পর্যবেক্ষনে বিষ্ণুপ্রিয়া মণিপুরি ভাষাটিকে তিব্বত-বর্মী ও ভারতীয়-আর্য ভাষার সেতুবন্ধন বলে দৃশ্যমান হয়। ভাষাটি বিশ্বের অন্যতম বৈশিষ্টপুর্ণ ভাষা হিসাবে বিবেচিত হতে পারে উল্লেখ করে তিনি ভাষাটি সংরক্ষনের উপর গুরুত্ব দেন। তিনি জানান ভাষাটি এনডেঞ্জারড ল্যাঙ্গুয়েজ এলায়েন্স (ELA) এর ডকুমেন্টেশন প্রক্রিয়ায় অন্তর্ভূক্ত করা হয়েছে।

 

Unicode has become the best way to display many writing systems of the world in browsers. Hopefully our language is included in the Unicode. Bishnupriya Manipuri uses Bengali script (বাংলা লিপি) which is a variant of the Eastern Nagari script, also used for Bengali, Assamese and Maithili.

Now you are able to see Bishnupriya Manipuri unicode text in your mobile phone. You can view Bishnupriya Manipuri in your mobile like in Facebook or Blogs or Wikipedia.

Opera mini version 4.1 onwards supports Bishnupriya Manipuri unicode even if your mobile phone doesn’t support it. All you need is a java enabled handset. It does it via rendering bengali text in the server, rather than on phone, and then displaying.

To activate the option you just need to do the 2 steps –

Step – 1: Install Opera Mini

Visit the address mini.opera.com using your phone’s default Web browser and download and install Opera Mini

PC download link:  http://www.opera.com/mini/download/

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Step – 2: Configure Opera Mini

    1. Start Opera mini and type in “opera:config” in the address bar

opera

    1. Look at option Use bitmap fonts for complex scripts. Make it “yes”

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Now I believe you can view Bishnupriya Manipuri in your mobile.

You can visit Bishnupriya Manipuri wikipedia, Facebook and many other Unicode compliant Bishnupriya Manipuri sites.

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For example:

http://bpy.wikipedia.org

http://imarthar.blogspot.com

http://somewhereinblog.net/blog/sorahalblog

http://www.somewhereinblog.net/blog/kungothangblog/28899290

http://manipuriblog.blogspot.com/2008/11/blog-post_24.html

A language with written literature can rightly be called as independent language. Today Bishnupriya Manipuri is recognized as an independent language all over the world only because of gigantic efforts of our godly forefathers to safeguard our language from extinction through various literary activities. Otherwise, like the historical records of Manipur, the history of the language is a story of deprive and exile.

Curiously enough, there is no authority goes beyond 13th century except the rain-songs, proverbs and other folk literatures. Sir GA Grierson treats this language in his “Linguistic Survey of India”. He calls the language Mayang although he uses the term Bishnupuriya Manipuri. He also refers to the vocabulary of the language in Lieut-Col W McCullock’s “An Account of the Valley of Manipore and other languages” published as early as 1859. Considering the authorities and evidences it can be safely said that the Bishnupriya Manipuri language is originated in the land of Manipur long before the advent of Hinduism in this valley. As the speakers of Bishnupriya Manipuri (ইমার ঠার, as known to the speakers themselves) had their headquarters at Bishnupur, they were called Bishnupuriyas, i.e, the habitants of Bishnupur, and Bishnupriya is only contracted form of the term Bishnupuriya.

Linguistic study however, creates a little confusion about the origin and root of Bishnupriya Manipuri language. There are different stories from different sectors of people opposite to each other hence difficult to draw any synopsis, resulting in controversies. Dr K P Sinha, who has done considerable amount of researches on Bishnupriya Manipuri language, described four theories as believed by different section of people. Dr Sinha, in his work “The Bishnupriya Manipuris” (1975), also tried to analyze the theories critically with due logic and justification. On the other hand GK Gosh in his work “Tribal and their cultures in Manipur and Nagaland”(1982) putted forth six different theories on the origin of Bishnupriya Manipuri language. There are several other beliefs too. The diverse theories on the origin of Bishnupriya Manipuri are summarized as follows –

  • The Mahabharata Theory
  • Meitei-Origin theory
  • 18th Century theory
  • Bengali-Origin theory
  • Far-Eastern theory
  • Khala-Chai theory
  • Indo-Mongoloid theory

.

References:
1. Sir G. A. Grierson, Linguistic Survey of India, Vol-3,19
2. Dr. K.P. Sinha, Bishnupriya Manipuri Language, Calcutta, 1981
3. G.K. Ghose, Tribals and Their Culture in Manipur and Nagaland,1982
4. Raj Mohan Nath, The Background of Assamese Culture, 2nd Edn, 1978
5. S S Tunga, Bengali & other Related Dialects of South Asia, New Delhi, 1995

To be continued….

T.S.Eliot wrote in his famous poetic work “Four Quartets” that time past and time present are both present in the time future. To make the way for the future we should explore our past. It is history, which is the gateway to enter into our past.

All the races or nations posses their own national history. History merely does not give an account of the rise and fall of kings or their kingdoms but it is a representation of the state of an entire civilization i.e the state of development of art and culture, literature, knowledge and science of a nation. The Bishnupriya Manipuris, being the part of a great Aryan civilization, were probably the first cultured race in possession of Manipur. Here I would rather impress upon you all to use the word ‘race’ than the word Nation. In the “History of Greece”, Dr. K.C.Choudhury said “The Greeks were rather a race then a nation since they lacked political unity which is regarded as the very foundation of national existence. The Greeks were divided into Ionians, Aeolians, Dorians and others smaller branches sprung from a single stock.” In the same manner as that of the Greeks we may say the Bishnupriya Manipuris consist of five dominant principalities under different clans like- Khumols, Moirangs, Angoms, Luwangs. Due to the ravages of time and historical misadventures the Bishnupriya Manipuri cronological history. If we go in search of the reasons behind this loss we find the following dominant factors:

Firstly, the Bishnupriya Manipuris like their Aryan ancestors lacked historical sense. Here I may recall the lines drawn by Arthur A Medonell in his “History of Sanskrit literature”: “History is one weak spot in Indian literature. It is in fact non-existent. The total lack of historical sense is so characteristic that the shadow of this defect, suffering as it does from an entire absence of exact chronology….”. The Bishnupriya Manipuris, like their ancestors, believed mostly on oral traditions.

Second, but the most dominant factor was the damage of historical relics, old records and other relevant information by the Meitei king Pamheiba or Garib Niwaj during the seventeenth century A.D.

Thirdly the three consecutive Burmese aggression to Manipur which have forced the Bishnupriya Manipuris to leave their ancestral home and settle down in different scattered locations in present Myanmar, Assam, Tripura and Bangladesh. During those dark days while people were struggling hard to save their own lives have forgotten to preserve the old records.

However, from such a virtual non-existence of any historical records some western and non-Bishnupriya Manipuri Indian writers (including historians from Manipur) have drawn brief sketches on the historical backgrounds of the Bishnupriya Manipuris. From their reference one can be sure that there were Bishnupriya Manipuris on the soil of Manipur. Among the western writers we may name Captain Pemberton, r.Brown, E.T.Dalton, T.C.Hudson, E.Gait, B.C.Allen, and Major Mc Cullock etc. But some of them quoted distorted facts under the influence of Meitei kings and intellectuals. Even the great master compiler of Linguistic survey of India, Sir G.A.Grierson could not free himself completely from referring to such distorted facts.

However, we express our heartfelt gratitude to him because with his justified statements we have won our war against the menace of a sested interests to cut out our existence from our historical roots. We pay our deep respect too to Late R.M.Nath who has highlighted certain facts on the history of the Bishnupriya Manipuris in his famous work “Background of Assamese Culture”.

History is a Science based on facts and reason, leading from hypothesis to thesis (from hypothetical knowledge to logical conclusion). Who will write history of this race? I may answer this question in the spirit of Bankim Chandra Chattapadhyaya that “It is I; It is you”. All of the Bishnupriya Manipuris should write their own history because in its truest sense only the Bishnupriya Manipuris can approach sincerely on the indepth and systematic study in this field.

Here we also remember with deep respect the works done by Late Mahendra Kumar Sinha. He is the pioneer in Bishnupriya Manipuri historical research. His work is compiled into three volumes of “Manipurer Prachin Itihas”, the first of which has been published earlier. We are awaiting eagerly the publication of the remaining volumes. Late Sena Singha contributed a lot with his work “Manipurer Itibritta”. But some of his findings are not free from controversy. We pay our deep respect to him too.Other scholars also contributed a lot in this field. They are Late Krishna Kumar Singha, Haridas Singha and other respected persons. There are other interested persons who have sincerely devoted themselves to the study of history. Most of their works are yet to be published. We are certain that one cannot be totally agree to all the findings by the earlier scholars as mentioned above. Moreover with the passage of time more informations are coming into light, which bring new spheres of speculations.

Contributed By – Dils Lakshmindra Sinha

* Excerpts from the Welcome address by the convener in the seminar on the History of the Bishnupriya Manipuris

Physically, a fine race, the Manipuris is devoted to sports and games. There are number of traditional games that have their origin back in Manipur. One of the most popular indoor game among them is Kang. The game, Kang is known to the Bishnupriya Manipuris as Gilla (though Gilla is developed as a variant of Kang) and Kanga-Sanaba to the Meiteis. It is an indigenous Manipuri game played on the day between Manipuri New Year’s Day (Cheiraoba/Bishu) and the Ratha Jatra (Kang) festival.

A round object called Kang which is the seed of a creeper (Uri) is used in this game. It is about one and a half inch in diameter and ¾ of an inch in thickness. The game is played among two teams each of seven either males of females usually mixed up. A player has to Shoot a point from a fixed position. If the parties hit the target twice with the Kang then, Lamtha is adopted. Lamtha is played by propelling the disk on its flat side along the surface of the ground by the force of middle finger of the right hand acting the finger of the left.. At the end of half a duration of the play, interchange of the directions takes place. Of the two teams, the one who can hit the target for a greater number by two Chekpheis (shooting from a standing position) and one Lamtha is the winner.

There are tales, both legendary and mythological, that claim that Kang was played by gods and goddesses, soon after the earth was created. According to some sources Kang is played by the deity “Panthoibi”. It is believed that the seven players on either side represent the seven days of the week and the Chekphei and Lamtha kangkhul are believed to 15 in number on one side and both sides represent 30 days, making a complete month. There are evidences that the Manipuris began to play this game well before the arrival of Vaishnavism in Manipur. Earlier, the dignitaries of the Palace including the Maharani and the Maharaja also participated on social functions. In the old days Kang was played during summer starting from Cheiraoba/Bishu to Kang.

Presently, the game is played in several tournaments through out the year. Rules and regulation have been modified to suit the changing needs of the game. In Bangladesh a Kang Federation is formed to organize the game annually. Besides there are few individual attempts to preserve the cultural tradition of Manipur in some Bishnupriya Manipuri localities like Tilakpur, Ghoramara etc.

To download the special issue of Pouri Patrika on Bishnupriya Manipuri Kang celebration and the Game of Kang click here.

To many of us, the name Manipuri stands for colorful hand-woven saris and shawls. To other it is synonymous with classical dance. But the exotic images tell only part of the story, Beyond the colorful facade, the history of the Manipuri people is one of conflict, deprivation and exile. Following political intrigue in the eighteenth century, a large number of Manipuri fled their homes and took refuge in greater Sylhet, as well as the Indian states of Assam and Tripura. These people had Indo-Aryan features and called themselves Bishnupriyas. Long before their exodus they had lost control of Manipur to the rival clan of Meiteis. In their adopted land their lives and limbs were safe; but their language and culture began to lose ground against those of the majorette. Meanwhile, the Meiteis in Manipur became vindictive and imposed a de facto ban on Bishnupriya language and custom. The Bishnupriya Manipuris were caught between a rock and a hard place. Today, young Manipuris are no longer sure of their cultural identity. Elders worry that their rich heritage may not be preserved for posterity… 2nd part of the Article written By Syed Zainul Akmal Al-Mahmood, Sylhet, Bangladesh.

barton is being placed

Barton! Come One, Come All!!

A man comes into the front yard. He has in his hand something that looks like a large green leaf. He place it carefully under the Tulsi plant in one corner. Swapan looks pleased. I looked puzzled, “Barton” he says.

Barton. I learn, is the formal invitation to a function. In case of Ras Lila it consists of piece of Pan (betel leaf) and a few piece of Supari (betel nut). These have to arranged in a certain way and place under the inevitable Tulsi tree. “Without this time-honored ritual, the invitation is incomplete”, says Swapan’s mother with a smile.

Rain Songs: the vanished memories

The Manipuris are craftsmen extraordinaire. It is difficult to find a Manipuri household without a loom. The weavers have traditionally been women. There are many skilled Blacksmiths and Goldsmiths among the Manipuri men. They are excellent farmers as well. This industriousness has seen them for centuries of turmoil.

Oh Sorelel! Singing and dancing is part and parcel of Manipuri life. From watching young children one feels that they have an instinctive sense of Rhymes and Rhythms. Their culture is a curious blend of Vaishnavism and orthodox belief. In between it is still possible to see glimpses of the ancient traditions that prevailed in the Pre-Hindu Manipuri society.

One of the last surviving original Bishnupriya Manipuri culture is the ancient Rain Song. Translated into English it would something like this – Oh Soralel, the king of Gods! / The land of Khumal become barren because of drought / Oh king of Gods, pray and send us rain! / Pahangpa (Pakhangba) was angry because Chamei was insulted… It is a long song with impressive rhythm and deep feeling. It was composed long before Hinduism took place in Manipur. Manipuri elders testify that there were many other important songs, but they have vanished from memory, never to return.

GK Ghosh said of the Bishnupriya Manipuris, “In Manipur their culture is being gulped by Meithei culture, in Cachar and Bangladesh it is by Bengali culture, while in Assam by Assamese culture (ref : Tribals and their culture in Manipur and Nagaland). The erosion is easy to see. Even since Santidas won over the population, the influence of Bangla has steadily been growing. The Manipuri alphabet has been replaced by Bengali letters. Traditional Manipuri names like ‘Thoibi’ and ‘Senatombi’ has given way to names such as ‘Suchitra’ and ‘Sunetra’. Many traditional costumes have been lost. Those Bishnupriya who remained in Manipur have lost their language, now they speak Meitei. Many experts believe this rich culture is headed for extinction.

Costume making a semi-religious job!

costume making

The Ras costumes to be handed out with a brief ceremony. It’s called Bar Silkorani. Are you interested?” I already have one foot inside a shoe, “Lets go, where does it happen? The temple?” Swapan shakes head, “At the costume maker’s house.

Costume making for the Ras is a semi-religious job. Traditionally, before every Ras, the costume maker unveils his work (with every bit as much pride as Legerfeld showing off his spring collection) and makes prediction about how the Ras will go. All the dancers came and pay homage to him before collecting their costumes.

The costume maker is spry, middle-aged man named Kangress Singha. His family has the business for three generations, he tells me. The costume itself is a gorgeous affair. Red, Green, Yellow –all the colors of rainbow in fact. And some besides. The costume has 10 different parts and known as ‘Polloi’.

The dancers step up one by one First up is Krishna. I surprise, he is a young boy not older than six or seven. “This must be a joke”, I whisper to Swapan. “ This child is too young to dance!”

No, he’s not.” Swapan whispers back. “You’ll see!

Next come Radha, a young girl of same age. Then, in single file, a bevy of teenaged girls who will be Radha’s companions, the Gopis. Subhasini is among them as earnest as the rest. Clearly this was a big occasion.

In the Ras Mandav

It is approaching midnight, the dancers are struggling with their costumes and make ups. Subhasini is being helped on with her jewelry by willing hands. She is a great dancer, pupil of a dance teacher who trained in Allahabad. But most of the dancers have no formal trainings.
They learn by watching their seniors”, says Jharna, “According to tradition each Ras is sponsored by a particular household. And a girl from the house must be the lead dancer. I’ve performed the lead, so has my younger sister. And Swapan was Krishna once.”

Swapan squirms in embarrassment, “ That was a long time ago, Everyone knows I cant dance!

Ras

At Last, the watching hour. The Ras start off at a quarter past midnight. The sequence of dramatic scenes shows Radha nad Krishna in the idyllic Vrindaban cavorting with the Gopis. The songs are part Bangla, part Manipuri and part Brajabuli. Sameer Singha, student of dramatic Art at Jahangirnagar University, sits by me and explains the lyrics. The young Krishna dances beautifully; it’s an amazing part of a child so young. Amazing performance, period.

the young krishna performed too well

The Ras Lila ends just as the first streaks of dawn appear in the sky. As I trudge back, mission accomplished, I can’t help the thread faced by the flamboyant people. They badly need a new dawn, a new beginning. Unless current trends are reserved, their exotic culture may become extinct in near future. Our cultural landscape will be poorer for it.

To many of us, the name Manipuri stands for colorful hand-woven saris and shawls. To other it is synonymous with classical dance. But the exotic images tell only part of the story, Beyond the colorful facade, the history of the Manipuri people is one of conflict, deprivation and exile. Following political intrigue in the eighteenth century, a large number of Manipuri fled their homes and took refuge in greater Sylhet, as well as the Indian states of Assam and Tripura. These people had Indo-Aryan features and called themselves Bishnupriyas. Long before their exodus they had lost control of Manipur to the rival clan of Meiteis. In their adopted land their lives and limbs were safe; but their language and culture began to lose ground against those of the majorette. Meanwhile, the Meiteis in Manipur became vindictive and imposed a de facto ban on Bishnupriya language and custom. The Bishnupriya Manipuris were caught between a rock and a hard place. Today, young Manipuris are no longer sure of their cultural identity. Elders worry that their rich heritage may not be preserved for posterity… An Article written By Syed Zainul Akmal Al-Mahmood, Sylhet, Bangladesh.

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The Village of Ghoramara, 5 miles south of Bhanugach rail station in Moulvibazar district, is buzzing with excitement. It is the eve of Durga Puja and there is to be performance of Ras Lila, beginning at midnight. The Ras is a unique Manipuri function – the dance drama that put Manipur firmly in the cultural map of subcontinent.

“Ras Lila depicts the love affair between Srikrisna and Radha” said Swapan Kumar Singha, interne doctor at Sylhet Osmani Medical college Hospital. “We attach a lot of importance to this dance. It is one of the highlights of our social colander.”

In times of yore, the Ras may have been performed by the Sevadasis of temples, but these days it very much a socio-religious ritual in which amateur artists perform with gustho. A group of fifteen has been practicing behind closed doors for weeks.

We go on a tour of the Mandap, the covered area in front of the temple where the Ras will take place. Workers are busily constructing a fancy stage – a round enclosure, all frills and intricate designs. Elder look on with solemn attention while small children, rosy-cheeked with excitement, dance and play.

The Manipuris follow the Vaishnavite faith. They are worshippers of Bishnu(Vishnu). Singing, dancing and the love of Radha Krishna are a way of life with them. But I’m intrigued to see the goddess Durga holding court on a low dais. How is it, I asked Swapan, that they observe Durga Puja following Shakto rites? He shrugs, “ Its all part of the general mix-up!”

“Mixed-up” is the right phrase to describe the society. The most controversial class of people”, said GK Ghosh in his book ‘Tribal and their culture in Manipur and Nagaland’, “ having no homeland of their own, subsequently losing their identity are Bishnupriyas. Rival clan claim they are not “real” Manipuris. The clues of this riddle lie in the checkered history of Assam.

 

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Children of the wide Lake

Manipur is situated in on the eastern flank of present day Assam. It has quite a long history, although the name itself appears to be of relatively recent origin. In the Allahabad stone piller inscription of Samudra Gupta(4th century AD) there is no mention of Manipur, although the neighbouring kingdoms are named. According to the Mahabharata, the anicent name of this country was ‘Meckley’ and this is the name that was used when King Gaursham signed a treaty with the British in 1763. Manipur-or Meckley -is actually on a tableland surrounded by hills. It has a large lake-eight miles by five-called Logtak. The people of southern China called this land Meung-kha-la (Meung=Land ; Kha=Lake; La=Wide) and it is clear that this is where the name Meckley derives from.

In the plains beside the lake lived a race of people who had sharp Indo-Aryan features and used a language, which was similar to the Kamrupi tongue rather than the Burmese-Chinese group. These were the Bishnupriyas. For centuries these people have been called ‘Khalachai’ which in southern Chinese dialect menes ‘Children of the wide lake’ (Kha=Lake; La=Wide; Chai=Children). The other race in Manipur, the Meitheis, moved in from chinese territory and this is reflected in the name. Meithei means,, in Chinese, ‘people of this country’ i.e., Chinese territory. “It is quite probable that the kalachaias are the first cultural race in possession of the Manipur valley,” wrote Rajmohan nath in’The Background of Assamese Culture’.

Vaishnavism arrived in Manipur in 1737 in the form of Santadas Babaji ,an enterprising Bengali Baishnad of the Sri Chaitanya School . He came over the hills from Sylhet and captivated the entire population, including the king, with his melodious Kirtana, depicting the life of Radha-Krishna . Overnight, Vaishnavism became the royal faith. It is said that Santadas instigated King Pamheida alias Garib Nawaz to burn all the historical documents in order to make a clean break with the past . Thus, between a ruthless king and ambitious gurn, the history of Manipur was obscured.

There is a story that King Pamheiba ordered all his subjacts to bath in the Nongkhrang lake in order to purify themselves. The Bishnupriyas led by the Khumal chieftain initially refused, claiming that they were already purified through adopting the Bishnad faith earlier. Indeed, the influence of the Shankar Dev school of Vaishnavismmcan still be seen in Bishnupriya Manipuri culture ( GK Ghosh, Tribals and their Culture) . This dispute only widened the existing rift between the Bishnupriyas and ruling Meithei class . Large numbers of Bishnupriya Manipuris begen to migrate out of Manipur. this process was hastened by repeated Burmese attacks and soon the once-proud Bishnupriyas became a nation of refugees.

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Back to the village…

Meanwhile back in the village, Ghoramara, preparations for the Ras are going smoothly. Swapan’s cusin Subhasini will be one of the performers. She returns from the final drees rehearsal to report that everything is fine. There is a bit of worry regarding the young boy who will play Krishna, “Krishna is very naughty”, says Subhasisni., “ he’s constantly needling the master ‘Give me another sweet or I wont dance!’ that sort of thing.”

Ghoramara is no dearth of bright young faces. Manipuris in Bangladesh acquired themselves well. There are Doctors, Engineers, and University students. Kungo Thang is a final year computer science student of BUET. He is resentful of the influence of Brahmins in the society. “We are Vaishnavs”, he says, “So we shouldn’t have a caste system. The Brahmins have undue influence because of view that only Brahmins can be priests. The system should be done away with.”

Amulya, a stenographer of the TNO office in Moulvibazar, disagrees, “ The social structure ensures stability. If we were dismantled overnight, we will be thrown into turmoil.” But Ashim is insistent, “ A lot of things don’t make sense,” he argues, “ There is rules that forbids marriage within clans. You can see, in a limited society like ours, this can pose problem. If you are a member of the biggest clan, finding a suitable mate can be difficult.” Swapan sighs theoretically, “ It’s a tragedy!”

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Khamba Thoibi

Forget Romeo and Joliet, in Manipuri society Khamba Thoibi has grabbed center space. In 15th century AD, Khamba, a prince of the previously routed Khumal Royal family (probably a Bishnupriya ) fell in love with Thoibi – a princess of the Moirang clan ( probably a Meithei ). The union have been to the political advantage of both Khumals and Moirangs ; but the Moirang chief resisted on purely personal grounds. The result was tragic not only for the young lovers but also for the feuding tribes of Manipur.

To this day, popular Ballads are sung in the memory of the love affair between Khamba and Thoibi. Who knows if the affair hadn’t ended in tragedy, the couse of history might have been altered; perhaps the Bishnupriyas wouldn’t have been in exile today.

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Literacy and the Identity Issue

It is staggering to learn that in Ghoramara, 100% of the population is literate. There are no millionaires but there are no beggars, either. Everyone works. The women work hardest of all. Swapan’s sister Jharna is a schoolteacher. She is also homing in an MA in Bangla. In between she helps with the housework’s and also finds time to play active rule in Adhunik (Now Manipuri Theatre), the village drama society.

Weaving Industry

Rajkanta Singha, headmaster from a local high school not far from Ghoramara. He talks at lengths about the problem facing Manipuri society.

“Our problem is not poverty, or literacy”, he says, “A Manipuri never starves because we are clever with our hands. The problem is that we have been so preoccupied with mundane day to day that we have forgotten who we are. We’ve neglected our sense of identity and some people are taking advantages, claiming we don’t have one!”

“ Do you know the Meiteis have passed laws in Manipur, forbidding the Bishnupriya Manipuri Language? Can a civilized people do that? They are trying to rob us with our identity. They talk about ‘Real Manipuri’ is rubbish! They should live and let live.”

Rasmahan Singha, principal of Manipuri Fine Art Academy, who went England during the Bangladesh festival, strikes a similar notes. “ we have been asleep too long. Now our very existence is threatened. Do you know if you ask me the name of a scholar among us, an authority on Manipuri matters, I would be at a loss, We have no one!”

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To be contd…

Rabindranath Tagore (রবীন্দ্রনাথ ঠাকুর), the Nobel laureate poet, writer, philosopher is probably the most prominent figure in the cultural world of Indian subcontinent and also was the greatest patron of the Manipuri dance and culture. It was him who popularized the Manipuri style of dance with its high zenith among the people of the world. He deserves the honorable place in the style and regarded as the “Pioneer of Manipuri dance and culture”.

From Tagore’s writings and other historical accounts we can learn a little bit about his visit in Sylhet (in present day Bangladesh) . It was 1919 when the historical event had taken place. In November 6th, Rabindranath had a visit in the Bishnupriya Manipuri (বিষ্ণুপ্রিয়া মণিপুরী) village of Machimpur(মাছিমপুর), a remote village not far away from the town situated on the bank of the river Surma. He was given a warm reception there from the Bishnupriya Manipuri people. He was so impressed after seeing a dance composition, the Goshtha Lila presented by the Bishnupriya Manipuri women. After seeing the demonstrations Rabindranath introduced himself to the people and wanted to be informed more about their dance and culture. He also met that time exile superintendent Mr Tanu Singha and looked for a Manipuri Oja (dance teacher) who was capable of communicating in Bangla. Mr Tanu Singha introduced the poet with great Guru Nileshwar Mukharjee (গুরু নীলেশ্বর মুখার্জ্জী )of Baligaon. Tagore intended to bring the dance teacher to his idyllic institute, Shantiniketon. In November 7th 1919, in the speech in a historical gathering of students at Sylhet M.C. College hall, Rabindranath mentioned about his experience in Machimpur and the Bishnupriya Manipuri people. The speech was published in a literary journal “Akangkha” of Shantiniketan (1920).

Tagore brought back Guru Nileshwar MUkharjee to serve in his Visva-Bharati University at Santiniketan. He immediately decided to open a new department of Manipuri Dance in Shantiniketan. Later many other Bishnupriya Manipuri Oja’s and danseuse like Guru Senarik Rajkumar, Nabakumar Singha, Muhu Singha, Guru Bipin Singha, Sri Bihari Singha and Sri Adityasena Rajkumar was invited to Shantiniketon in presence of Rabindranath. They assisted Tagore to choreograph several of his dance-drama. After that period Manipuri dance took its special place in Shantiniketon with Bhatnatyam, Kathak and Kothakali, the other classical dance forms India. In fact Manipuri dance was not as popular as the other classical dance forms. But the subtlety of the tender dance form and the variety of the rhythm impressed Rabindranath Tagore so much that he is credited with introducing this enchanting style to the other parts of the world.  Later many other  renowned gurus from Manipur and Assam were invited from to teach this dance form in Shantiniketan. Gradually the practice of this dance form extended outside the Manipuri community and was practiced with great enthusiasm, especially among the Bengalis and other indian people.

There is also influence of popular Manipuri tunes in many songs of Rabindranath. There are many Rabinra Sangit’s which involves Manipuri dance and dance –

1) Sribas kache theke dure… (শ্রীবাস কাছে থেকে দুরে..)
2) Aji basanto jagrata dware… (আজি বসন্ত জাগ্রত দ্বারে..)
3) Rodono vora a bosonto… (রোদন ভরা এ বসন্ত..)
4) Baki ami rakhbo na… (বাকী আমি রাখবো না…)

The compilation of the dance drama, “Chitragada” was fully based on various elements of Manipuri dance. Another of his literary work “Bhanusingher Padavali” depicts the influence Manipuri songs and philosophy. The Vasihnavite work “Bhanusingher Padavali” was compiled during Tagore’s visit in the state on Tripura and during his contact with the king Virchandra Manihya. The King of Tripura was married to a Manipuri princess named Monomohini Devi alias Thoraleima. Queen Thoraleima contributed a great deal in the movement of
wiping out Satidaho, a discriminating Hindu custom for women.

No doubt, Rabindranath Tagore provided a vital link towards the progressive cultural revivalism to the Bishnupriya Manipuri people and produced a band of local artists who enriched their culture. Rabindranath was the source of inspiration for the stimulation of our own dance, songs and music which were on the path of extinction.

Sources and references :
1. Kothika Matek – Prof Ranjit Singha, Sylhet 1992
2. Gayotri Chatterjee / Bharoter Nritokola
3. Tarun Kumar singha / Manipuri Nritya Probesika, 1968
4. Nripendralal das / Sribhumi sylhete Rabindranath
5. Manipuri Rasleela Udyapan Parisad, Bangladesh / Suvenir, 1996

Photographs:
Weekly Desh
Assam tribune

yaosang.jpg

Today is Yaosang, the Manipuri version of Holi.

The Manipuri observance of Holi differs a lot from the normal Holi observed throughout India. It is a five day festival of of Importance,often referred as ‘Phaguwa’ by the Bishnupriya Manipuris. While the basic Vaishnavite features of the festival are present, the manipuris have given it the added significance of its being a commemoration of birth of Sri Chaitanya or Gauranga Mahaprabhu.

On the first day, bamboos and thatches are collected from houses to construct a small mandir(hut) or shed called Yaosang near the road side. The image of Sri Chaitanya is brought into the shed and groups of people male, female, old and young arrange offerings in conformity with traditional and Gaudiya manner. In the evening of the full-moon day they set the hut on fire. After burning down the shed people collect ashes and paste them into their forehead.

It is said that the festival is observed to symbolize the pang of separation between Radha and Krishna and the manner in which Krsihna sees Radha after burning the shed.It is also evident that into this Vaishnavite festival certain traditional Manipuri aspects have been incorporated. It is likely that the Yaosang festival, was originally connected with the coming of spring, and that the burning of the Hut (Yaosang) may have symbolizes the destruction of the Cold and the farewell of winter.

The most characteristic feature of the festival is that, from the second to the fourth day, groups of people – irrespective of age, sex and rank – walk from house to house to collect “Vikkha” in the form of rice and money. During the begging they recite the lines in chorus “Hori Hori Bola – E Hori”. Smalls boys and girls beg money from the passersby. Youths are seen parading the streets with red powder, painting or sprinkling colored water locally called as “Pechkari”. In Manipur, boys and girls participate in the traditional Thabal Chongba dance.

Happy Yaosang and Happy Holi to all!

Special thank goes to Sangram Singha (Correspondent, Daily Jugantor and Ekushey TV) for sharing the pictures and video clips.

Pics:

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It’s been two hundreds or more years since our forefathers settled here from a beautiful place called Manipur and consequently they had developed a diverse identity for us. The identity of Bishnupriya Manipuri was a result of long historical process and series of struggles. For years we, bishnupriyas, meiteis and pangons are living here with a very close relationship and harmony as manipuris, as a undivided community. Though I take utmost pride of being a Manipuri, life has never been usual like other Bangladeshis here. I suffer the same side with other indigenous tribes living in political boundary of Bangladesh. If you are a non-bengali you are always 2nd class people here. Even if you are Hindu, you are 2nd class Hindu because you belongs to a marginal ethnic group. And I guess that is the same for hundred percent of the people belonging to Manipur or the other North Eastern states of India. As constitutionally the definition of ‘Indian’ or ‘Bangladeshi’ doesn’t include us, this is a price we indigenous tribes are forced to pay for national integrity.

The law of nature is ‘Survival of the fittest’, in a close ecosystem or forest where diverse population occurs; the dominantly populated species will always try to take maximum resources. If the resources are scare then they will try to eliminate the lesser-populated communities, thus extinction occur. This is similar to human being also. But there are so many people still our community who are sadly prone to disease of being copycap Bangalis, their role model has been some typical ‘Bengali Bhadaralok’. What gives me more shock is when educated people suffering from inferiority syndrome and usually try to ignore and hide their identity as a Manipuri. How to make these people realized that “you cant become the son of other mother, as she has her own sons”? How can people forget the endless struggles and sufferings our godly ancestors had gone through to develop a social structure, rules and regulations, economy system, an honest way of living and life leading, a unique dress code, a language to communicate and above all, to establish a proud identity for us?

If we ever tried to trace our roots we would hardly find it in history books. In the past years I have come across enough incidences and accounts that build up this immense anger and disappointment in me and I don’t understand where it will all go. In these years I have understood the importance of bringing our ever neglected history, culture, fine art, language and literature in front of the world. We have to make extra effort to find and preserve our glorious history and culture. Whatever little or more we know should be shared with everyone.

We are lucky to have portals, website and blogs like manipuri.org, pouri.org, bishnupriyamanipuri.blogspot.com etc and we should make the most out of it by contributing articles and other stuffs, which are related to our identity and culture to share it with everyone. I deeply appreciate these endeavors and my special thanks goes to the people responsible for bringing up such a wonderful sites.

Giving more importance to our own culture might seem too fanatical or selfish. One of my friends criticized me for not being interested about Bengali culture and not being stereotyped like wearing Saris and Lungi, listening Rabindra Sangit, talking in fluent Bengali, eating Meats, visiting Loknath baba ashrams or Durgabaris as well. She was shocked when I replied – “do you like to wear a Lahing or Inafi, can you talk Manipuri, do you eat Paltoi and Sinchou, do you bow down to Apokpa?” To that, naturally came, “You indigenous people are very selfish! You just think of your people, your culture, your identity.”

Well if we don’t think about our people or our culture will Superman fly in to save us?

Great Personalities who have made a difference to Bishnupriya Manipuri society in the fields of Arts, Music, Dance, Education, Literature, Religion, Social work etc and contributed a lot to Bishnupriya Manipuri culture and spirit. Let us have a look on profiles of those great personalities who make us feel proud to be a Bishnupriya Manipuri.


Read Part one here

Part Two (1960-1980)

In the post 60’s – a brave and dynamic leader, a devoted community worker and a great writer was revealed in Bishnupriya Manipuri Community. His Name is Sarvashri Jagat Mohan Singha, former secretary of Nikhil Bishnupriya Manipuri Sahitya Parishad, popularly known as ‘Jagatda’. Jagat Mohan was born in 13th December of the year 1920 in a remote village of Assam. He played impressive rule in the language movement demanding the recognition of Bishnupriya Manipuri Language in post 60’s and 70’s. He was respected with the title ‘Sarvashri’ given to him for his dynamic and courageous leadership. His literary works mainly the criticisms under the nickname ‘Dolan Ipu’ was very popular among the mass. He compiled the valuable research work on Bishnupriya Manipuri language and history – ‘The Bishnupriya Manipuris and Their Language’(1976). Jagat Mohan was also a dramatist and composer of many songs on social enlightenment. Songs like ‘Jonome Jonome more diya petheis hunar Manipure..’ or ‘Loktake kader, kader akkhula … ahir pani bela bela ‘ are still source of inspiration for Bishnupriya Manipuris.

Another remarkable community worker and a dedicated leader is Late Sri Dinanath Singha of Tilakpur, Bangladesh. He worked throughout his entire life for the betterment of Bishnupriya Manipuri community living in Bangladesh. He worked as the president of Bangladesh Manipuri Samajkalyan Samitee which was joint platform of Bangladeshi Bishnupriyas, Meiteis and Pangans. In 1973 and 1975 a deputation leaded by him met the that time Prime-Minister and that time President of Bangladesh arguing to provide faculties for Manipuri students, patronizing Manipuri culture, construction of Manipuri Mandhavs and broadcasting Manipuri programs in the national media. As a result of his efforts, in 1976 the Govt of Bangladesh started telecast of regular programs from Radio Bangladesh, Sylhet station in Bishnupriya and Meitei language under a common Manipuri line. The Govt also granted a fund for maintenance of the Mandavs and provided reservations for Manipuri students in Govt institutes. Dinanath’s leadership pressurized the govt to establish ‘Manipuri Lalitkola Academy’ to extend Manipuri culture and Music. Bishnupriya Manipuris of Bangladesh inaugurated many associations/awards by his name viz ‘Dinanath Smriti Academy’, ‘Dinanath Puraskar’, ‘Dinanath Britti’ etc.

Hanjaba Guru Bipin Singha may rightly be called as the “Father of Manipuri Dance and style”. He was awarded with a number of the prestigious titles. He has the past four decades with his disciplines – the Javery sisters -has contributed a great deal in the field of Manipuri dance and culture. In Bombay the famous performers and teachers are the Jhaveri sisters – Nayana,Suverna, Darshana and Ranjana Jahveri. They continue this tradition at their institution ‘Manipuri Nartanalaya’. The awards and honors achieved by Guru bipin singha can be listed as follows,

Guru Bipin Singha is one of those artists who have spread the beauty of Manipuri dance all over the world and have been honored both nationally-internationally on this subject and thus brought glories for Bishnupriya Manipuri community.

Among the living legends, the name of Dr. Kali Prashad Sinha comes at first. He is the first and foremost Bishnupriya Manipuri to be entitled with the degree Ph.D and D. Lit. He is the first exponent of Bishnupriya Manipuri linguistics. Dr K P Sinha passed M.A. in Sanskrit from Jadavpur University in 1963. He visited almost every village of Bishnupriya-speaking people in Assam, Manipur, Tripura and Bangladesh; studied dialectical differences and collected the vocabulary of the language. With all this materials a thesis entitled ‘A study on Bishnupriya Manipuri Language’, on which he was awarded the degree of Doctor of Philosophy by Jadavpur University in 1968. He joined the Assam University as Professor & Head of the department of Sanskrit. His remarkable contribution is the first ever ‘Bishnupriya Manipuri Grammar’ and the significant work ‘An Etymological Dictionary of Bishnupriya Manipuri’. He wrote a number of essays on Bishnupriya Manipuri linguistics, social problem etc and composed numerous poems, vaishnava padavalis and modern songs. He translated the whole Rasleela songs into Bishnupriya Manipuri language expressing the divine love of Radha and Krishna, which are previously found only in Bengali-Brajabuli version. Greater contributions of Dr K P Sinha are in the fields of Indian philosophy where ‘Nyaya-Darsana-Vimarsa’, ‘Sankara-Darsana-Vimarsa’, ‘The Buddhist Theory of Non-Self’, ‘The concept of Absolute Indian Philosophy’ etc worth mention. Dr K P Sinha was once involved with social activities with Bishnupriya Manipuri Mahasabha and later he formed Bishnupriya Manipuri Sahitya Sabha. In 1994, his statements along with his research works that were submitted to the Assam Backward Class Commission played an vital role in recognition and inclusion of nomenclature “Bishnupriya Manipuri” in the list of OBC. In personal life, he remained unmarried and he spent all his earnings in publishing books, organizing community events and founding the cultural point ‘Divyasram’.

References:
Souvenir of Word Conference 2003 by NBMM
Kothika Matek by Prof. Ranjit Singha, 1992
Souvenir of 50th anniversary of NBMSP & NBMSP, 2006
Ithaak, January 11th, 1995 Issue
Pouri Patrika, August 2007 Issue

Acknowledgements:
Sri Samarjit Singha, Tripura
Prof. Ranjit Singha, Mouvibazar

Contd…

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On Saturday, 24-11-2007 the auspicious observance of Maha-Ras, the principal festival and the foremost annual cultural event of Bishnupriya Manipuri Community in Bangladesh, was celebrated in a grand way and with great enthusiasm. The king of Manipur Maharaj Bhagyachandra (1763-1798) introduced Manipuri Raslila to Manipuri society and from the time onwards Raslila became the most important aspect of Manipuri culture. Since the mid-nineteenth century when the Manipuri Bishnupriyas and Manipuri Meiteis settled in Bangladesh, this festival has been observed in cooperation at Madhabpur Juramandav in Kamalganj upaziala of Moulvibazar district.

As per the records maintained by authorities, the first Maha-Ras ever held outside Manipur, was at Madhabpur Juramandav in 1842.

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A few decades ago Manipuri dance was not as popular as the other classical dance forms. But the subtlety of the tender dance form and the variety of the rhythm impressed Rabindranath Tagore so much that he is credited with introducing this enchanting style to the other parts of the world. Renowned gurus were invited to teach this dance form in Tagore’s idyllic institute, Shantiniketan. Gradually the practice of this dance form extended outside the Manipuri community and was practiced with great enthusiasm, especially among the Bengalis. Following that initial period, the individual who can be credited for empowering and popularising the dance form, is Guru Bipin Singha.

Guru Bipin Singha was born on August 24, 1918 in a Bishnupriya Manipuri family deeply involved in Manipuri Culture. His grandfather P. Tona Singha was a Manipuri Maiba (priest), his father Laikhomsana Singha was a poet and his mother Indubala Devi was a vocalist. Thus dance and music are in his blood.

Right from his childhood Guru Bipin Singha received intensive and elaborate training in the art of Manipuri dancing from various experts residing in Manipur and its surrounding districts like Cachar, Sylhet and Tripura. Guru Bipin Singha is a rare combination of a dancer, choreographer, scholar and a teacher. For over the last 50 years he had dedicated himself to the task of exploring and revealing the classical elements of Manipuri dancing in order to preserve, promote and propagate the art form in its pristine purity.


His genius for creating and innovating dance compositions and choreography had given him a rightful place among the choreographers of Indian dance. He composed various dance items, emphasising each classical element in a stylised way, bringing out its beauty to the fullest and keeping true to its original form and spirit. He gave a new direction to dance dramas and choreographed them keeping within the traditional framework. From within these dance dramas he chose the solo pieces and re-choreographed them for the stage, thereby making them complete. He was a pioneer in introducing solo dance performances in the Manipuri style.

Through studies and researches, he had continually established a significant correlation between the available Vaishnavite and other Indian texts on dance, as well as the oral tradition of Manipuri dance and music. His scholastic abilities had enabled him to analyse, classify, systematise and codify various aspects of Manipuri dance and create fundamental and universal principles and disciplines to impart effective training.

Guru Bipin Singha in collaboration with his well-known disciples Jhaveri sisters and Kalavati Devi, founded Manipuri Nartanalaya in Bombay, Kolkata and Manipur. The creative contribution of Guru Bipin Singha and the Jhaveri sisters had been to bring the traditional and classical dances of Manipur from the temples to the theatre without altering its form and spirit.

The state of Manipur recognised his scientific attitude and scholarly approach and had accredited his ‘school’ of dancing as a significant ‘gharana’ of Manipuri dance.In order to acknowledge and appreciate his contribution to the field of dance, Guru Bipin Singha was awarded with many prestigious awards among which were Nrityacharya by Maharaja of Manipur, National Sangeet Natok Academy awards given by Late Indira Gandhi, Uday Shankar Fellowship Calcutta, Kalidas Samman Madhya Pradesh, Anamika Kala Sangam Awards Calcutta and many others.


Guru Bipin Singha’s teachings and the Manipuri dance style were popularised in Bangladesh by Shantibala Sinha and Kalavati Devi at Chhayanat. Two of her direct students Sharmila Bandyopadhyay and Tamanna Rahman are now carrying on the legacy of Guru Bipin Singha in Bangladesh and introducing the young generation of dancers to the Manipuri style.

Contributed by: Tamanna Rahman | Dhaka

50 Great Bishnupriya Manipuris

Great Personalities who have made a difference to Bishnupriya Manipuri society in the fields of Arts, Music, Dance, Education, Literature, Religion, Social work etc and contributed a lot to Bishnupriya Manipuri culture and spirit. Let us have a look on profiles of those great personalities who make us feel proud to be a Bishnupriya Manipuri.

Part One (1920-1960)

Perhaps the most remembered idols among the Bishnupriya Manipuris are Late Gokulananda Gitiswami and Late Sri Bhubaneswar Sadhu Thakur. Gokulananda’s song immortalizing Mother Bishnupriya and Bhubaneswar Sadhu Thakur spiritual teachings played a pivotal part in defining Bishnupriya Manipuri gokulananda3.jpgculture, both in Bangladesh and India. The impact of this great wandering social reformer Gokulananda on the Bisnupriya Manipuries has been manifold. He traversed the whole of Bishnupriya-speaking region – singing with a missionary fervour of the ills of our society and their remedies He devoted his entire life to the serve the community, to improve the condition of our people and to keep pace with the progress of other communities. He dramatized the plight of our women against the comparative indolence of men. He came under lot of turbulence of the times and he appeared to have wider sympathies. Because of all these qualities of abhubaneswar_sadhuthakur1.jpg very high order, grateful people conferred on him the title “Gitiswami” along with a silver medallion, in a special session of Nikhil Bishnupriya Manipuri Mahasabha, in 1935. On the other hand, Sri Bhubaneswar Sadhu Thakur was a popular spiritual master who born at Baropoa, now renamed Bhubaneshwar Nagar, in Cachar. He taught a moral code of love, forgiveness, charity, contentment, inner peace, devotion to God and Guru through his teachings and songs. He saved the people from spiritual degeneration owing to abject poverty. They have learnt from him to live honestly and peaceably with what little they have. He established the temple Sri Radha Gavinda Jew Mandir popularly known as “Govindabari” at Nabadwip in West Bengal which is a veritable abode of peace for the devotees.

Late Sri Mohendra Kumar Singha (B.A., B.T.) of Silchar was a renowned social worker of Bishnupriya Manipuri community and also one of the few knowledgeable persons of his time. He was the pioneer in Bishnupriya Manipuri historical research. His historical work is compiled into three volumes of “Manipurer Prachin Itihas” which took him a vast amount of research works and findings. He edited ‘The Bishnupriya”, the month-piece of Mahasabha. In the third decade of 20th century, when a group of young and educated persons started publishing journals and literary magazines like, a wave of consciousness and nationalism sparked the society – the foremost among the young fellows was Late Sri Falguni Singha. Falguni was the editor of ‘Jagoran'(1925) and ‘Manipuri’ (1933). Beside literary activities he was a very good organizer. He worked in many ways to solve conflicts among Bishnupriyas and Meiteis. That time, other scholars like Late Sri Sena Singha, Late Krishna Kumar Singha and Sri Haridas Singha also contributed a lot in the field of historical research. Here we also remember with deep respect the social works done by Late Sri Tonubabu Singha Superintendent, Sri Manik Singha, Sri Kamini Singha, Advocate Sri Babuchand Singha, Sri Hemachandrajit Rajkumar and few others. Shaid Rajbabu Singha was a social worker, who sacrificed his life in 15th march 1933, when a rival group took away his life for what he is doing for the society.

In the field of dance, Guru Nileshwar Mukharjee from Bangladesh (of kamalganj Thana of undivided Sylhet district) and Guru senarik_rajkumar2.jpgSenarik Singha Rajkumar from Cachar district of Assam are well known to Manipuri society as with them the new department of Manipuri Dance was created in the Shantiniketon (Calcutta) in the early 30’s. In 1921, the poet Rabindranath Tagore encountered Manipuri dancing in Sylhet district, a Bishnupriya Manipuri enclave (Machimpur) that is now part of Bangladesh. Tagore was fascinated with a Ras performance and he consequently invited these two Gurus. That was an epoch making events in the history of Manipuri Dance and within a decade in crossed its regional as well national fields and became a reputed international style.

In the field of Arts, Literature and Music, the name of the eminent dramatist Leikhomsena Sinha from Singari near Silchar comes frist. Leikhomsena was the father of Guru Bipin Sinha, the great exponent of Manipuri dance. Leikhomsena singha was the author of the dramas entitled ‘Harishandra’, ‘Manipur Patan’ and ‘Khamba Thoibi’ and composer of many padavali songs. Madan Mohan Sharma of Sanicchara was one the four main writers of pre-50’s Bishnupriya Manipuri Literature. Madan Mohan Sharma was the author of a number of Kiratana-type works namely – ‘Balipinda’,’ Subal Milan’, ‘Tilottoma’, ‘Basak’, ‘Sudama Bipra’ etc. Amusena Singha of Cipersangan was also one the four main writers of early modern Bishnupriya Manipuri Literature.Amusena sinha wrote a number of Kirtana-type works based on Ramayana, namely – ‘Angada Raybar’, ‘Saktisel’, ‘Taranisen Badh’, ‘Nagapas’, ‘Mahiravan Badh’ etc.

References:
The Mahasabha Review,1970
Souvenir of Word Conference 2003 by NBMM
Kothika Matek by Prof. Ranjit Singha, 1992
Loktak 10th issue, 2005
Nuwa Ela, 23rd year, 6th Issue, 2005

Acknowledgements:
Late Sri Lalitmohan Singha, Tilakpur
Sri Nilmani Chatarjee, Ghoramara

Contd…

pourei.jpg

jaat ahar, bhasa ahar prachinotto baro historic proman ou bhasar lokosahityai der. bhasa ahan kotihan beboharik bhasahan asil, bisesh koria amar bishnupriya manipuri bhasa ehan, ouhanor pou ami amar purana lokosahityar ma peyar. pourei(proverbs and idioms) bultara eta bhasa ahar dangor sompod. 600/700 bosor age amar somajhar chinta-chetona ba jibondhara kisade asil ouhar chitrogo ou someikar poureit ami sha sha kore dehiyar.

pourei eta poromporat pasi somajor obhiggota. tanur gyan, tanur buddhi, hoba, hobanei jehan pasi ouhan chhondolo, olongkarlo, upoma-rupoklo sajeya amarka thodesita. ami tanur bhasa baro chinta ouhanilo jibon ehanore dehiar. pourei etar mingale ami seitto hanore peya ouhanore grohon koriar.

eta sadharon bhasalo matesi sadharon kotha nagoi, osadharon kotha outa sohoj koriya sadharon koriya matesita. sohoj kotha uhanor ma ase gobhir ortho. kengkoresi outa dangor shilpi akeigo.digol yari ahane, lecture ahane jehan mate narer ouhan pareng aakhanath matiya foukore der pourei ahane.

OJAR LOGE RAJA NUWARER – ehan dangor satyahan. baro OJAR BARADE JOLSITA – ehanou arak satya ahan. OJAGORE KOJA KHAWANI, OJAR NANGE PORUWAR BARTON – ere pourei eta mar ahigi melader.

Pourei- kotha ehanor ortho ahan peyar ‘agekar yari’,itihas. poirei eta amar loko itihas. somajor bises ghotona ahan thaite thaite poureihan olose. SWARUPAR KIRTON – pourei ehat ase Swarupa buliya girok agoi kirtan koriuru buliya barton diya loyoitega kittau ayujon nakoriya koresil ghotona ouhan lukeya ase. aji peryao esade samantoral ghotona ahanore SWARUPAR KIRTON bulia mattara. Swarupa ego kurangkargo kun loyargo mate narleo tar kamhan pourei han oliya jingta oya ase.

BOLOR BAPOKOR LAMUISING THELANI- poirei ehat manugore namatiya putokorelo porichoi desi. ere girokgaso etai koriya gesiga kam outarka somajhane tanure omor koriya thoila. tanur kotha etare haisso roslo ghohon korla. hin duk yarou koulir hadit samaj ehan jingta oya asi ehan pourei nikaliya harpuasi. dukkho hanore ahir panilo na ngokkoria – muksihanlo marupgo koranir hothna dehorang.

kuno kuno poureit samajhanore niya bidrup baro samaluchonar porichoi peyar. jemon – MI THAITE KHAIGOI KIYA BOKSAHAN BOYA HIMPEITOITA – ehat amar slave mentalityr porichoi peyar, uddeissohan ere aghat ehanlo nojore hojak korani.

pourei akeihanath yari akeihan lukiya ase. poureir ma amar apabopar jibondhra, asila lam ouhar geography, sangskriti, achar bebar ritiniti habi mengselhar sadane dehe pariyar.

Sri Bimol Singha baro Sri Brajendra Kumar Singha girok dogiye nyam hothna koriya bishnupriya manipuri tharor lamsam di lising pourei khomkoresi baro outa ‘pourei’ nangor lerik (agartala, tripura, 1988) ahanat saatkoresi. girok dogirang bishnupriya manipuri somaj harajibonorka rini iya thaitai soinei. epei bishnupriya manipuri lokosahityar barongotto amritor sade nungsi pourei kotohan habir ka tuledilu –

  • OITE AHAN MATTE PAACH HAN
  • AATJAANG MUJURIYA KHANGKORANI
  • AALIYAR GOJE PATA BORON
  • AATELHANE BAARHAN PHANI
  • AAHIGIDE JINJINI NIKULANI
  • ICHAR FAL BOISAR FAL DENA
  • URADARAR DOUGO
  • UHULA AARIGO
  • EK DEBA EK SEBA
  • E JONOME, NA HOU JONOME
  • EGODE BINI HOUGODE PIHA
  • EMARI BARTON BULTE KIRTON
  • ER BULLE ER, TITI BULLE TITI
  • KO BULTE KISHNO NINGSING ONA
  • KOSUJARE FARSI DENA
  • KOCHKO KAPIYA KHANA
  • KAKARA DORTEGA HOROP DORANI
  • KANA UTONGE PANI DALANI
  • KANA MONE MONE JANA
  • KARTAU THASI KARTAU JUNAK
  • KISNORE PEILEU LEISI KHANA
  • KHER MARA DENA
  • GOR PEITE NOU BURANI
  • GORE BAT NEILE BELITIKE KOULI
  • GUCHARITH PARA DENA
  • CHOROR MAAL ORE GATANI
  • CHENGEIT PORA IDURGO
  • CHHINCHUR MAROITH AANDI
  • JANGLO JI THELANI
  • JELA CHAKUMOR KHALE BELA
  • TE BULTE TENGARAGO HARPANI
  • DIGALI BONHAN PATHARI NAKORANI
  • TINGA MEKUROR LEJ NUKANI
  • TOR GORE TI DANGOR, MOR GORE MI
  • DILE HOBA NADLE SHAKTI
  • NIJOR AAT JOGONNATH
  • PAAPHANE SERHAN PHANI
  • BOBEIR HUTA DONANI
  • BAATTI MANUR BUDDI NIYAM
  • BATOR GOJE BERENGA
  • BAPOKOR PUTOK, MALOKOR JILOK
  • BITOREDE BON KAPANI
  • BUALE LEHUE BEIBUNI
  • BOU KHEYA SEP AAGANI
  • MANGKHEIR PATAT THAKORIYA BESANI
  • LANGTIYAR SIRAPE GURU NA MORTARA
  • LONKAAT GIYAU OLOI
  • SHANI SEBAT KIRTONOR KHUTTEI
  • SOMOYE PORLE BAAKGOU AATHALI KHAAR
  • HAGEDE SEP BELLE NIJORANG LAGER
  • HARIR LILA MAKORO JAAL
  • HUKANAT PARON PATANI
  • HUCHIGO PORLEU DEHANI
  • HUNA THAITE KASUR BEBSA

pullap kore itihashan na peileu bishnupriya manipuri jator tuma tuma itihasor shakkhi oya ase pourei eta. pourei etar ma manipuror matir loge amar jaathar marengor somporkor nanan yaripori lukia ase.amarka amar apabopai tanur gyan, dharona, upodesh, boktobya baro obhiggota outa kobittolo sajeya thodiya gesiga. ami etalo nojore, nojor kola-kristi-culture baro sahityare saja pariyar. na sajeileo amar dhan amar barongot thaile ami bora oyar.

Gokulananda Gitiswami is a name deeply cherished by the Bishnupriya Manipuri people. There are practically few persons in the community who may not know his name. A versatile genius as well he was, he was a dramatist, a poet, a wandering minstrel and above all a social reformer. His life bears testimony to all these high qualities of head and heart which can be found only in few gifted persons.

 

Gokulananda was born on 26th November, 1886, at the Village of Madhabpur of Bhanugach ( in that time Bhanubil pargana) of Bangladesh. Gokuladanda could not prosecute his studies much, he could study only upto 8th standard because of some adverse circumstances, but his burning desire of acquiring knowledge remained with him which later on encouraged him to set up a school. He came over India later on and settled at Ratacherra village of Tripura. Here in 1925 he established a primary school by his own efforts to spread modern education among Bishnupriya Manipuris.

Unfortunately for us not much of his works are available. His compositions which survive today are remembered by the people from his popular refrains. Only a few years back Dr. K. P. Sinha and Haridas Sinha collected a few specimen of his writings. But the few lines which still survive, speak volumes about this great man who composed them

As stated earlier his was a multifaceted personality. A farsighted person as he was he could understand that the backwardness of the people of his community was due to lack of modern education. He, therefore, exhorted the Bishnupriya Manipuris to keep pace with the demands of time. A very conservative people as Bishnupriya Manipuris were at that time, most of the people did not go for modern education for fear of losing the purity of caste. To this was added the absence of schools which were in places few and far between. What the majority of Bishnupriya Manipuri boys studied at that time was Sanskrit grammar and poetics in the Tols (Sanskrit School) of that time. In fact there were quite a few learned Sanskrit scholars like Dhonai Pandit, Jagadananda Pandit, etc., to name just a few. Some boys went for learning the art of playing Mridangam, some for learning the art of Dohar dance and some for singing from their respective Gurus. In fact when I was a boy of 7/8 years some fifty years back my grandfather told me that one renowned Brahmin of his time, by seeing that in modern schools boys from all communities sit together and learn their lessons together expressed his apprehension that in future Bishnupriya Manipuris will not be able to preserve the purity of their caste if they study in such schools. Such was the state of affairs. Late Gokulananda was one of the few wise men who could foresee that without modern education there will be no progress of this community. He, therefore, sang –

Ruhi britti moutup karia dharia thaile nakortoi.

Satya Tretar ruhi hanou Kali Yuge nacholtoi.

Kale Kale Kalar Katha na-hunani nakarer

Jwigoi banhan puria anle kachai majai natharer.

Translation: “it will not serve any purpose if one clings to age old customs. The customs of Satya Yug and Treta Yug will not hold good in Kali Yug.”

One should not turn a deaf ear to the demands of time, because when fire starts burning the forests, it burns both dry and green timber at the same time.”

Gokulananda was a songstar i.e. Kirtania. In fact he earned his name and fame as a Kirtania. Hence, he was popularly known as Gokul Kirtanee also. But what made him tremendously popular among Bishnupriya Manipuri masses was that his songs in Bishnupriya Manipuri language in place of traditional Brajabuli had tenderness and mass appeal in them. Before him there were some persons like Leikhom Sena Sinha who tried to sing in Bishnupriya Manipuri language, but they did not gain that popularity. For the first time Gokulananda showed that tender emotions can be very well expressed in Bishnupriya Manipuri language as well.
This will be evident from the following lines of one of his “Basak Kirtan” —

Ar asha neyoil mungbara ngaloil

Singarei paril shataya

Translation: ‘There is no more hope, for the eastern sky is becoming bright and the bloomed singarei, i.e. Shefali flowers fall on the ground at day break’

The background of the lines is the following – When Srimati Radha was eagerly waiting for her beloved Sri Krishna by making a flower bed in a grove and when Sri Krishna did not turn up, in deep sorrow she said the above lines.

Gokulananda had set the tune of the song in such a way that when a person hears this song he will be deeply moved by the pathetic appeal of the song. He also composed many other songs for his dramas. He utilised his talents in propagating his ideas to Bishnupriya Manipuri masses. From young boys to the old, people used to gather enmasse to hear him. How much Gokulananda could influence the people has been well described by our renowned poet Madan Mohan Mukherjee. The effect of hearing Gokulananda is written by him in a poem as under:

Ak din para lengkora tor eta hunat giya

Kon herede mor punninghan torang katkoria

Khalkoruri torang jemon kita akta diya

Ailu ghore akkhutago onthokpahan oya.

Translation: “One day after going to hear the songs composed and sung by you, somehow I gave away my heart to you… I am thinking as if after giving something to you I came back alone somewhat bewildered.”

Because of all these qualities of a very high order, grateful people conferred on him the title “Geetiswami” along with a silver medallion, in a special session of Nikhil E3ishnupriya Manipuri Mahasabha, in 1935, which was done by none other than another great personality of the time namely Late Mahendra Kr. Sinha. From that time onwards he came to be known as “Geetiswami” also, which became very popular later on.

Late Geetiswami was an accomplished poet also. Apart from writing songs for his dramas, he used to write poetry also. One of his well known poem is “Matribandana” i.e. “Homage to mother”. The first two lines run as under:–

Ima, Ima tor mohima

Kita mattu sougo me.”

… … …

Imar sneha sindhu khudra eka bindu

Hujanir kaje bulia,

Deshe Deshe giya Imar gungan geya

Pagalgor Sade buluri.”

Translation: ” Oh mother, Oh mother, what can I say about your glories, I am but a child… to repay one small drop of mother’s ocean of love, I am wandering like wildman from place to place by singing mother’s glories.” So deep was his respect for his mother which has transcended from individual to universal appeal.

Late Gokulananda was like Bengal’s Charan Kabi Mukunda Das, a minstrel par excellence. He used to sing urging Bishnupriya Manipuri people to love their mother tongue and urged them to wake up from their slumber and face realities of life. He severely chastised the people for their self ego, while others derided at them. In pain he wrote –

“Nijor ghore nije raja

Miange dadi bulani”

Translation: you consider yourself to be a big person in your own residence, while other’s address you as dadi.” (Dadi” is a derogatory word used to address a Manipuri person)

He, therefore, exhorted the Bishnupriya Manipuri people to shake of their deep slumber and awake. He said —

“Ojnan adhararma ghumatai koti

Utha aji habihan jwaleya chei jnanor bati’.

Translation: How long, will you sleep in the darkness of ignorance. All of you must awake to-day. Look ahead after lighting the lamp of knowledge.’

Another salient point in his exhortations was that it was above communal bickering. He was traveling all around by singing such type of songs which infused social and linguistic awareness in the minds of Bishnurpriya Manipuri people.

Late Geetiswami was also a social reformer. He worked for the emancipation of women. He urged the Bishnupriya Manipuri women to walk with dignity. He severly criticised those who did not dress up properly. At that time Bishnupriya Manipuri women used to go to weekly markets to sell their home made products. Sometimes they were insulted by others, which hurt his feelings very much. He urged them to stop going to market. A seasoned campaigner as he was, he was greatly successful in preventing the womenfolk from going to market. But he had deep respect for women. He was pained by the way the women were treated at that time. He wrote —

“Jela eta ki bostukhan

har napeitarata,

Deshe Pandit neita?”

Translation: “People do not know how worthy women are. Are there no learned man in this land?”

At the same time he exhorted woman to realise their inner streangth. He, therefore, said

“Yuge Yuge cheita jelai jingechhita

Shaktite Bhabani, Bidyay Binapani,

Dhairyate Dharani, Bhaktite Braja Gopini,

Outar ongsha kala oya pahurlai nijor shakti.”

Translation: Oh mother, Oh mother, what can I say about your glories, I am but a child.In Yuga after Yuga women excelled. In strength it was Bhabani (Durga), in learning it was Binapani, in fortitude it was Mother Earth and in devotion the Gopikas of Brij. Being- part and parcel of them how you have forgeften your own strength?

One would not say such words unless he had deep regards for womankind. His was not always a path of roses. Revolutionary as his ideas were to the people of that time, he was more often than not misunderstood by the very people for whom he toiled. In anguish he wrote –

‘Kar kaje kadurita

Akgoyou har napeila,

Hobar kaje mattegate

Arak ahan ningkoila”.

Translation: “For whom am I crying? None tried to understood. What I said was for the good of them but they thought it to be otherwise.”

Later in his life Gokulananda joined the then undivided communist party of India in 1950 and he worked as an elected representative in the then Territorial Council of Tripura for a few years. In that capacity he served the local people.

This versatile great son of mother Bishnupriya Manipuri passed away on 10th July, 1962. His death spelt a pall of gloom in the minds of Bishnupriya Manipuri people. They were shocked to hear the news of his demise. The state of mind of the people is well expressed by one Krishnadas in a poem, few lines of which run as under –

‘Nirananda habihan

Amar samajhan

Gokulananda bihane Bishnupriya habi

Sharddhanjali nibedan

Kartara abedan

Gokulhin Samaj jatar ratiye.

Translation: All are grief stricken The whole of our society All Bishnupriya Manipuri in absence of Gokulananda. Offering their homage, Offering their prayers, Gokulless society is being engulfed by darkness of night.

Glowing tribute was paid by poet Bimal Kumar Sinha about his service to the society in the following lines –

“He girok Geetiswami tore homa diyar,

Tor deki manu ami napeitangai ar,

Buile ti gang ghorede ghum bhagil pou boya,

Chikkorle ghum bhagura manur alaya bouhan malaya,

Neyochhila age neyoitai pichhe sade manu tor,

Napeitoi Ima Bishnupriyai eshade seba jiputor.”

Translation: “Oh great Geetiswami! we bow to you, we will no more get a person like you
amongst us. You wandered from village to village by taking with you the message of awakening, you cooled the just awakened people by becoming the gentle breeze from the Malaya Mountain. There was none before, there will be none after like you. Mother Bishnupriya Manipuri will not get such a son’s service hereafter.”

Such were the feelings of the people at the time of death of Gokulananda Geetiswami. Bishnupriya Manipuri people have not forgotten the services rendered by him to the society. They observe his birth and death anniversaries through different organizations with the solemnity they deserve.

It is difficult to express in words the great service which Gokulananda Geetiswami rendered to the Bishnupriya Manipuri society. The development of Bishnupriya Manipuri language and literature owe a great deal to this great person. He is not only the founder of Bishnupriya Manipuri Identity – he proved himself to be our never-failing father, philosopher and guide.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS:
1. Fagu — 2nd year, 10th issue, October 1962.
2. Geetiswamir Ela — Edited by – Dr. K. P. Sinha, M.A., Pli. D.
3. Dils Lakshmindra Sinha — Mengsel, Oct.-Dec., 1992.
4. Nuwa Ela — 14th year, 6th issue, May-June, 1996.
5. Padya Kuru — By Bimal Kr. Sinha.

Contributed by Chandra Kanta Singha

 

manipuri_village1.jpg

.. The fragrance of Lonchak… the taste of Irolpa, Ngouthong, Sinchau… the festival of Bishu, Kang, Mera, Kartika, Raspunima, Fagu … the legends of Soralel, Sanamahi, Pahangpa, Leimarel, Khamba-Thoibi… the Nungshi flowers Lehau, Senarai, Singarei, Malati that bloom in every house yard… the fascinating beauty of a Bishnupriya Manipuri girl with the traditional dress Lahing, Chaksabi, Inafi… the golden crops and the green field that I see when I look through my window… the rich ritualistic and recreational Dance forms, Songs, Tunes of Pung Cholom, Pala, Raslila, Khubak Ishei, Thabol Chongba, Basak… the artists with glamorous costumes and ornaments… its the exclusive individuality that makes Manipuri culture so rich… I am proud of that… I am really proud of that.

…And the warm hospitality I have experienced in the remote villages… The sweet words of the people… their simple and easy lifestyle… the folklore and folk tales narrated by our old Dango’s and Bopa’s… make me proud.

…And the pattern of our houses, furnitures… even the design of our jewelry… the arts and science our forefathers developed through ages… so unique so matchless… I am really proud of my individual identity as a Bishnupriya Manipuri.

…And the fact that in almost all schools and institutes, Bishnupriya Manipuris are generally in the top of their classes among others… in studies, in literature, in performing arts and in games… I am proud of that.

I could go on and on about a thousand more reasons that make me proud as a Bishnupriya Manipuri!

I will always prefer to born as a Manipuri… and die as a Manipuri.

Feed Shark

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I just happen to go through two textbook prepared by National Curriculum and Textbook Board, Bangladesh and what I found was some cheap, immature and distorted information about manipuri people living in Bangladesh.

The textbook ‘Social science’ of class V describes manipuris as little eyed,flat nose and white skinned creatures.They also said Manipur is inside Assam, Manipuri boys and girls dances together in the night of marriage, manipuris build houses near riversides, Gauranga is a demigod etc. The other book ‘English for Today’ for class IX & X has mentiioned that Manipuris used to decide the future and success of the marriage by tying up the wings of a Cock in ground. Then the writers even have gone crazy to facricate a proverb – ‘En khang tam nau bau’ which make no sense either in Manipuri Bishnupriya or in Manipuri Meitei language.

It is clear that the writers of the textbooks have been misguided by a mischivevous force all throug. It is indeed a discrimination against a ethnic group without any sorts of study, research work or verification. It is very important to have a field work and ground study before making up stories which are invariably related with any race, people, culture and their sentiments.


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