Me And My Manipuri Things

Archive for the ‘Things make me proud as a Manipuri’ Category

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

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 like Bharat Ratna, Kalidas etc. 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’. 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…

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…

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

Beni-Ras is the only form of Ras, performed in Day-time in all seasons. It is also known as Diva-Ras. The highly glamorous Rasleela of SriKrishna with his divine lover of Brindaban may be divided according to the Manipuri tradition into four categories being Maha-Ras, Kunja-Ras, Basanta-Ras and Nitya-Ras.
Diva-Ras is categorically under Nitya-Ras, the name ‘Diva’ naturally indicate that it is presented in the Day time. There is, as yet, no agreement among scholars as when Diva-Ras originated.

This costumes and ornaments of this Ras form is quite different from the other forms of Ras. The traditional costume Pollei, is replaced by Sharee’s or combination of Chaksabi-Inafi.

The Manipuri Gurus recast its dress and frameworks to meet the need of time factor. The traditional framework followed in this Ras consists of aspect of time, music and choreography. They have the option of alteration and changing in their hands, but the modification should not be out of the basic concept of Manipuri Ras style and theme.

Related Link: Pics from Manipuri Beni-Ras


Blog Stats

  • 78,953 hits

RSS বরন ডাহেকুরা

  • জেন য়ারি দুহান
    জেন য়ারি এতা নিয়াম পুরানা য়ারি। লোকগাঁথা। মুলত থাইনাকার আমলর জাপান দেশে য়ারি এতা মানুর থতাত্ত থতাৎ রচিত অসেতা। জেন মহাযানী বৌদ্ধ র্দশনর ডেঙ আগো। এপেই বিশ্বাস বারো ভক্তিত্ত ধ্যান, আত্মজ্ঞান বারো আত্মপোলব্ধিরে বপিয়া গুরুত্ব দেনা অর। ‘জেন’ (Zen)ওয়াহি এগো … বিস্তারিত পড়ুন → […]
  • মার্টিন নেমলারর কবিতা আহান
    তানু যেবাকা কমিউনিস্ট ঔতারে দরিয়া নিলাগা মি কিত্তাউ নামাতেসু, কিয়া মাতলে মি’তে কমিউনিস্টগো নাগৈনায়। তানু যেবাকা শ্রমিক ইউনিয়নের মানু ঔতারে দরিয়া নিলাগা মি কিত্তাউ নাতারাসু, কিয়া মাতলে মি’তে শ্রমিকগো নাগৈনায়। থাংনাত তানু ইহুদি ঔতারে দরিয়া নেনারকা আলথক আইলা মি ইঙ্গ … বিস্তারিত পড়ুন → […]
  • অগস্ত্য
    লেরিক এহান না পাকরেসি উতাই বিষ্ণুপ্রিয়া মণিপুরী ঠারর ডাঙর দিক আহার লগে উনাউনি নাসি। থেরেক থেরেক করের ঠার এহানলো ইমে এলা-কবিতা-য়ারি নাগৈ, চৌকষ গদ্যও যে ইকরানি অকরের উহান কুমারী দেবলা মুখার্জ্জী গিথানকে দেহুয়াদেসে। পয়লা পাকরলু সমেইত ভাষাতত্ব্ব বা বানান বিতর্ক … বিস্তারিত পড়ুন → […]
  • মুক্তবুদ্ধি
    ১. সময়আহাৎ নিউজফিডর বারাউগদে চেয়া হারদিন ঠুনিংশ্বা বেললু। মারুপর তালিকা উহান সিংহ সিনহাই বুজেসি। বপতাই নুয়া প্রজন্মর শৌ। তানুর য়ারিপরি চিন্তাভাবনা মনস্তত্ব চেয়া হতাশ অইলু। হারপেইলু মুঙেদে আমারতা জড়বুদ্ধি প্রজন্মআহান আইতারা। কোনতাই রাস রাখুয়ালর ফটো আকেইগ দিয়া ডাঙর অইতারা। কোনতাই … বিস্তারিত পড়ুন → […]
  • এন্ড্রয়েড মোবাইলে বিষ্ণুপ্রিয়া মণিপুরি
    নুয়া মোবাইল উহান গুতাগুতি করতে গিয়া আজি অন্ধকপা হারৌ আহান লাগিল। বাংলা এনাবল করিং উনিয়া ল্যাংগুয়েজ সেটিং এ গিয়া চউরিথাং আমার ঠারর নাঙহানৌ আসে। নর্থ-ইস্ট ইন্ডিয়ার বিতরে ইমে অসমীয়া, বাংলা বারো আমার ঠারহান মাল্টিমিডিয়া মোবাইলে হমাসে। মোর মোবাইল এহার ব্র্যান্ডহান … বিস্তারিত পড়ুন → […]