Tuesday, 29 April 2008

Ranjit Sinha receives 'Best Interjector’ Award

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Ranjit Sinha, Associate Editor of ‘The Arunachal Times’ is seen receiving ‘Best Interjector’ Award in the debate competition from the Arunachal Pradesh DGP Ajay Chadha in a state-level debate competition held on the topic “Should criminals enjoy human rights”, at Police Training Centre, Banderdewa on March 28 last. The competition was organized by Arunachal Pradesh Police and NHRC to bring awareness on the Human Rights. Mr. Sinha is the native of Pathakandi in Karimganj district of Assam.

Saturday, 26 April 2008

Position of Mrs. Kumkum Sinha in BSG

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By Rebati Mohan Sinha

As I was also a scout in my school days and participated in a state’s jamboorie held in Naugaon in 1956. Having read the news piece [Mrs. Kumkum Sinha Appointed Commisioner (NE Region) of the BSG]I was overwhelmed and thought of giving a brief about Bharat Scouts & Guides for the readers of this blog.

This is a voluntary non political, educational movement for young people conceived by Lord Baden Powell in 1907. The purpose of the movement is to contribute to the development of young people in achieving their physical, intellectual, social and spiritual as individual, as responsible citizens and as member of the local, national, and international communities.

I would like to give a small organizational chart which will give the position of Mrs. Kumkum Sinha as National H.Q .Commissioner for Scouts and Guides. The vice President of India is the patron of B.S&G. The organization Chart is headed by a President and six Vice Presidents and followed by the National Commissioner.



One of the National HQ Commissioners is Mrs. Kumkum Sinha.

She is the first Lady Commissioner appointed for North Eastern states and it brings pride to our Bishnupriya Manipuri community. Kudos to her and all the other unknown champions of our community who are excelling in their own fields and bringing prestige and honour to us all.

Friday, 25 April 2008

Leaders are mum on the OBC issue

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The Bishnupriya Manipuri leaders are silent on the exclusion of the community's name in the OBCs list of Assam.

By Rebati Mohan Sinha

I fear the SC judgment will damage the reputation of our few elite institutions like IITs and IIMs. Although I am against the quota system; but one thing, I appreciate the most the way the Govt. has shown its sincerity. I could see that our leaders in the future will be our next generation OBCs, if they are not better educated, governance will not get improved. Why then should I feel ill about it? In my view the hidden agenda of OBC quota was to put children of OBC netas, babus in to our top ranking institutions through this unfair means.

Since talent is such a scare commodity, successful nations nurture it through elite institutions, such as IITs and IIMs. At the same time they meet the demand of others through an adequate supply of institutions. This is the way they achieve excellence. The demand for quota in higher education arises from scarcity. We have a very few good colleges because here in India education is not liberalized and it comes in the concurent list of the constitution. It is under the control of netas and babus. Because of Govt. policy, less than 45 out of 250 colleges, only produce employable graduates.

An ordinary family in a village, at the most, wants a good school to impart education to lift its children out of poverty; but Govt. thinks it in other way. The roots of individual failure are laid in schools. The World Bank data shows that ours is one of the worst primary school system in the world and worse than many African countries. The HRD deptt.’s job was to go for education reform and instead let loose a caste war,which is very dangerous for the nation.

Other day, I was shocked to learn that Bishnupriya Manipuri’s name in OBC list forwarded by the Assam State Govt. was not included. Immediately I started contacting the so called our leaders; but no satisfactory answers received from them. After the SC verdict, the Bishnupriya Manipuri name should have been included; but no Sanstha had tried to find out the outcome and as a result, no Brishnupriya Manipuri student would be able to enroll his/her name in any Central Institutes, like Guwahati IIT in this academic year. One thing I would like to clear it here that only Bishnupriya Manipuri creamy layer would be able to send their children for higher education; but no poor family can, because the higher education is nowadays so costly.

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Thursday, 24 April 2008

Mrs. Kumkum Sinha appointed Commissioner (NE Region) of the BSG

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Mrs. Kumkum Sinha, Deputy Director, Assam Elementary Education is appointed as National Head Qtrs Commissioner (North East Region) of the Bharat Scouts and Guides. She is the first lady of Assam who is able to reach to this position. Her copy of warrant of appointment is attached herewith.



Source: Nua Ela, March 2008 issue
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Delete it!

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In recent times, ‘communities’ devoted to the Bishnupriya Manipuri community in Orkut have seen a staggering growth. And so the responsibilities of the owners maintaining these communities have increased. Members joining these communities must be now diligent to their activities.

By Rishikesh Sinha, New Delhi

We all have witnessed how the social networking site like Orkut has developed itself to the present stage. Ask any active Orkuttians, the gradual progression that took place in the Orkut. They will nod a ‘yes’ answer. Now, users have more control over their profile than it was before. And it is a good sign and especially at this time when ‘privacy’ is taken seriously and given due importance. Things are changing fast in Orkut, as new and innovative features are being added daily; thus enabling us to express in much better way to our friends and to all those who are associated with us.

All is not well

Unfortunately, it has a flip side as well. The unfathomable impact and influence Orkut has, comes falling down as house of cards when the so called moderators and community owners brazenly click ‘delete’ button. I suppose, we all Bishnupriya Manipuri people (active in online and in Orkut), who have listening to our amar thar joined to couple of Brishnupriya Manipuri Orkut’s communities, know it. When they went to the particular community and found all their writings had been deleted. By doing so, the community owner has not only lost the faith of its member, but it has deleted the richness that comes from the strings of messages that were created by the people who have poured in their heart and soul to their creation. Now, it is the turn of the members to show their strength. How? Unjoin from the community who hasn't respected your emotions. Simple. One more thing, if you find that while joining any Bishnupriya Manipuri community, it needs approval from the owner. It is better not to join in such community. After all, how many Brishnupriya Manipuri people are bestowed with the Internet facility? It is a complete nonsense act.

No doubt, writing in the Orkut’s community is just like participating in a personalized ‘Group Discussion’ where candidates sit opposite to each other and contradict and support their views. There are many pluses while participating in the community’s forum. First, the communication is direct to the receiver. Second, it is just like one-to-one session. You bark, you put theories, churn out history supporting your facts. Third, nobody is there from outside to watch you and your online activities. Thus, you are safe! Fourth, the feeling of oneness and belongingness that shrouds you. However, the particular Bishnupriya Manipuri community owner has, hitherto unknowingly failed to give the environment to its members for which they all had come.

Another serious concern related to these so called Bishnupriya Manipuri community owners is misusing of their power by banning many members. It seems they are running to their unbridled whims and fancies. It is not that all are same. Some owners are very responsible. Here is one of my well kept secret that I have been keeping close to my heart: I have been banned in one of the Brishnupriya Manipuri community! I got aghast to find the truth that the owner has banned me. Obviously, very funny! Not an issue.

Members Beware

Now, coming to those members who end up writing 300 word plus write ups in forums, they should NOT become a nincompoop. And must understand the energy and time they pour in to their writings should be respected, appreciated or at least made available to innumerable readers online. However, they must know that the rich content that they have created in Orkut are not indexed, cached by search crawlers. They don’t have any significance in online. Once deleted, as it has happened this time, it can’t be retrieved and hence your whole effort comes to naught, unappreciated. If you love writing and don’t want to face such harassment, launch your own website, blog or participate to other blogs and websites maintained by a few. This will give you a truly devoted wide audience. That you can’t even imagine.

Conclusion

It is not that one should not become the part of any community. Communities do help us to come close and interact with each other. Ironically, it comes for many a playground and, for many a battlefield and a discussion table. With such activities taking place in the communities, the owners must be responsible and use their power judiciously. Since at the end of the day, we are very few and can’t allow anyone to harbour feeling of animosity and mutual disrespectedness.

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Tuesday, 22 April 2008

Rabindranath Tagore's contribution to the Bishnupriya Manipuri Society

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Rabindranath Tagore, 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”. continue reading

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Monday, 21 April 2008

Bishu Celebrated in Pune - Mumbai

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By Rebati Mohan Sinha

This year Bishnupriya Manipuri people of Pune-Mumbai welcomed the new year, (son 1415 saal) by celebrating Bishu at Vishrant Wadi, Pune on 14th April, the first day of the year and on 20th April, the concluding day of celebration at Panvel, Navi Mumbai.

Bishnupriya Manipuri people at Pune arranged the Bishu’s first day celebration in the Mandop of Basanti Puja at Vishrant Wadi. However, the game of Dush-Pochis was played through out the night. The youngsters enjoyed a lot, as if they had played in a village Mandop. Early in the morning, at the end of the game, the Khichri-Kheer was served in kola pata (banana leaves), specially brought for the occasion.

On 20th April 2008, Mumbai people arranged first time at Panvel, the concluding ceremony of Bishu. The entire celebration was sponsored by one Mr. Sujit Sinha at his resident.

Being on Sunday, the people started gathering leisurely in the new township, Panvel with their own vehicles.

Dush–Pochich game was scheduled for the afternoon after lunch. The gathering split in to various groups for discussion, till the lunch was served.

This time the game was played between Jelei-e –munie (men and women) and won by later. The rival team was no match to it. At the end of the session a delicious and mouth-watering sweets, Rasgulla and Jillebi were served.

Before everyone dispersed, all present in the Bishu celebration thanked the host and the hostess for their marvelous arrangement.

Photo: Rebati Mohan Sinha


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HRD Ministry Issues Directions For The OBCs

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It comes as a serious issue that in the online government records that are available, the "Bishnupriya Manipuri" community has not been mentioned in the OBCs list from the state of Assam (click here) whereas it is added in the state of Tripura (click here). Please read the following text.

The implementation of reservation in admission under the Central Educational Institutions (Reservation in Admissions) Act, 2006 [No. 5 of 2006] in respect of persons belonging to the socially and educationally backward classes (OBCs) had been ‘stayed’ by the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India, while hearing Writ Petition (Civil) No. 265 and a bunch of other writ petitions.

The Apex Court has now finally disposed of the petitions on the 10th April, 2008, upholding the constitutional validity of the 93rd Amendment [Article 15(5)] of the Constitution in so far as the Central Educational Institutions, established, maintained or aided by the Central Government are concerned.

The court has also upheld the CEI Act, 2006, with the directions that the OBCs shall not include socially advanced persons (commonly known as the “creamy layer”). Thus, all CEIs other than those mentioned in the Schedule of the CEI Act, have to implement the policy of reservation of 27% of seats for the OBCs apart from 15% seats for the SCs and 7.5% for the STs from the academic session commencing this year, in accordance with the phasing of the expansion of capacity necessitated in order to ensure that the seats available in the unreserved category are not reduced.

A detailed programme of phasing of the expansion has already been worked out by CEIs and approved by the Empowered Committee for implementing the recommendations of the Oversight Committee. In view of the ‘stay orders’ of the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India, the academic session commencing from the calendar year 2008 would, for all practical purposes, be the first year of implementation.

This O.M. is intended to clarify the process of implementation of reservation for the OBCs as given below:-

I) The policy of reservation for the OBCs under the Central Educational Institutions Act is to be implemented from the forthcoming academic session itself.

II) This is applicable to all the CEIs, exceptions being only those institutions of excellence, research institutions of national and stragetic importance specified in the Schedule to the CEI Act.

III) The policy of reservation for the OBCs/SCs&STs under the CEI Act is applicable to all programmes / courses of study at the undergraduate, graduate, Post graduate levels, etc. except courses or programes at high levels of specialization, including at the post-doctoral level within any branch of study which the Central Government in consultation with the appropriate statutory authority (UGC / BCI/ MCI /AICTE, etc) may specify. This is to reiterate that there shall be no exemption from the policy of reservation except where the Central Government so specifies a course or programme covered under clause (d) of Section 4 of the Act.

IV) The reservation for the OBCs and SCs/STs under the CEI Act shall not apply to minority educational institutions as defined in section 2 (f) of the Act as well as on CEIs established in areas coming under 6th Schedule of the Constitution.

V) The Central Government is taking steps to ensure that CEIs are not put to difficulties in phasing of admissions under Section 6 of the Act, due to the deferment of reservation in admissions from the academic session in calendar year 2007, owing to the ‘stay orders’ of the Supreme Court.

VI) Each Central Educational Institution shall ensure that from among candidates belonging to the OBCs applying for admission against the seats reserved for the OBC category, information is collected from the candidates for exercising due diligence, so that no candidate belonging to the “creamy layer” is given the benefit of reservation for the OBCs.

VII) In order to identify and exclude candidates belonging to the “creamy layer” the criteria of exclusion / rules of exclusion have been provided in OM No. 36012/22/93-(SCT), dated 8th September, 1993 of the Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievance and Pension, Department of Personnel and Training as amended by that Department vide OM NO. 36033/3/2004-Estt. (Res) dated 9th March, 2004 and any other modifications that may take place from time to time in this regard.

VIII) The Socially and Educationally Backward Classes / OBCs who are eligible for availing the benefits of reservation is to be ascertained from the Central lists of SEBCs/OBCs as per Resolution No. 12011/68/93-DCC (C) of the Ministry of Welfare (now the Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment) as modified from time to time by that Ministry based on the advice of the National Commission for Backward Classes (NCBC). For an updated list of state-wise OBCs eligible for availing the benefit of reservation, please click here (It is the list maintained by the NCBC).

You may also access information in respect of the creamy layer, please click here as well as the clarifications issued by the Department of Personnel & Training on the definition of creamy layer and income criteria. Please click here.

The Supreme Court judgements are also available at the NIC website. A copy of the Resolution No. 1-1/ 2005-U.1A/846 dated 20th April, 2008 of the Ministry of Human Resource Development, Department of Higher Education, adopting the Central Lists of SEBCs/OBCs as per Resolution No. 12011/68/93-DCC(C) dated 10.9.1993 of the Ministry of Welfare (now the Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment) as modified by that Ministry from time to time and the rules/criteria of exclusion of socially advanced persons/sections as per the O.M.No. 36012/22/93-Estt.[SCT] dated 8.9.1993 as amended by O.M.No. 36033/3/2004- Estt.(Res.) dated 9.3.2004 by the Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievance and Pensions (Department of Personnel & Training) and as may be amended by that Ministry from time to time, for the purposes of implementing reservation in admission to Central Educational Institutions as defined in the CEI Act, 2006, is also attached for your reference and use.

IX) CEIs which have completed the process of admission test and selection of candidates in the SC, ST and unreserved categories, should identify the ‘creamy layer’ on the basis of the above mentioned information from among the successful wait-listed candidates belonging to the OBCs as per the Central List and, thereafter, offer admission to eligible candidates. For the purpose of identification, candidates would be required to furnish information on each of the criteria as per the prevailing rule of exclusion of the socially advanced persons (creamy layer). Please ensure that no ineligible person belonging to the ‘creamy layer’ derives the benefit of reservation. After completion of this process, information in respect of successful and eligible candidates belonging to the OBC category being offered admission may also be intimated to this Ministry.

X) Each CEI is also authorized to fix cut off marks for admission / selection through admission test, etc. for the OBC candidates with such differential from the cut-off marks for the unreserved category as each institution may deem appropriate for maintaining the standards of education and at the same time ensuring that sufficient number of eligible OBC candidates are available in keeping with the directions / observations of the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India in this regard. This authorization by the Central Government to the CEIs to fix the cut-off marks is in compliance with the Apex Court’s direction asking the Central Government to examine the feasibility of determining such cut-off marks. The Central Government believes that each CEI would ensure that the directions / observations of the Hon’ble Court are followed.

XI) CEIs which are in the process of conducting admission tests may decide on the cut-off marks for the OBC category well in time, so that consistent with the standards of education of the CEIs, sufficient number of eligible OBC candidates are available for selection on the basis of inter-se merit against the reserved seats. Such institutions may also obtain information pertaining to the background of students who may have indicated as belonging to the OBC category in the application form, so as to identify those belonging to the ‘creamy layer’ from among them for exclusion from the counseling / interviews / group discussions / offer of admissions.

XII) CEIs which are yet to come out with application forms for admission may expeditiously insert the rule of exclusion / criteria of exclusion for the creamy layer, so that at the application stage itself the creamy layer could be identified, and only eligible candidates belonging to the OBC category are considered for the subsequent selection process and admissions against the reserved seats.

XIII) Central Educational Institutions which are yet to advertise the process of selection and admissions, shall ensure that the attention of candidates intending to apply against the reserved seats is directed to the mechanism mentioned in the preceding sub-paragraphs.

While the above clarification is in respect of reservation in admission against the seats for the OBCs, CEIs may also bear in mind that there may be a proportionate increase in the seats for the categories of SCs and STs also, where the extant procedure of selection or cut off marks for these categories shall continue to be in force.

Resolution

Whereas, the Central Educational Institutions (Reservation in Admission) Act, 2006 [No.5 of 2007] (hereinafter referred to as the ‘CEI Act’) provides for the reservation in admission of the students belonging to the Scheduled Castes (SC), the Scheduled Tribes (ST) and the Other Backward Classes (OBC) of citizens to Central Educational Institutions established, maintained or aided by the Central Government.

And whereas, the CEI Act defines the “Other Backward Classes” as the class or classes of citizens who are socially and educationally backward, and are so determined by the Central Government;

And whereas, the Government of India had, recognizing that in our society marked by gross inequalities, early achievement of the objective of social justice as enshrined in the Constitution is a must, and established the Second Backward Classes Commission or the Mandal Commission as a measure pursuant to this purpose;

And whereas, the terms of the reference of the said Mandal Commission included the determination of the criteria for defining the socially and educationally backward classes (SEBC) and recommendation of steps to be taken for the advancement of the socially and educationally backward classes of citizens so identified and examination of the desirability or otherwise of making provision for the reservation of appointments or posts in favour of such backward classes of citizens which are not adequately represented in public services and posts in connection with the affairs of the Union or of any State;

And whereas, the Government carefully considered the Report and the recommendations of the Commission regarding the benefits that shall be extended to the socially and educationally backward classes, which comprehensively included various measures of social justice and social equalisation, including reservation in posts and vacancies under the State and public sector undertakings as well as reservation in educational institutions and, thereafter, came to the view that at the outset certain weightage has to be provided to such classes in the services of the Union and its Public Undertakings;

And whereas, therefore, orders were passed in its O.M. No. 36012/31/90-Estt. (SCT) dated 13.8.1990 of the Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances & Pensions (Department of Personnel & Training) providing reservation of 27% in civil posts and services under the Government of India for socially and educationally backward classes, and that the SEBC would comprise in the first Phase, the castes and communities which are common to both the State-wise lists prepared by the Commission and the State Governments’ lists;

And whereas, pursuant to the aforesaid O.M. and considering the judgment of the Supreme Court dated 15.11.1992 in its Mandal case (Indra Sawhney and Others vs. Union of India and Others) which upheld the aforesaid O.M. and the principle of commonality laid down in the aforesaid O.M. whereby the SEBC would comprise the castes and communities which are common to both the State-wise lists in the Report of the Mandal Commission and the State Governments’ lists;

And whereas, it is clear from the Report and recommendations of the Mandal Commission and from the O.M. referred to above that the identification and listing of SEBC was for all purposes, of Articles including those under Articles 15(4) 16(4) of the Constitution and purposes of all other social justice measures which emerge from the Constitutional mandate of equality as well as the removal of inequality, including social inequality; and that this was always the intention of the Government of India, and it was only as an initial step (“at the outset”), in the situation and context then existing, that reservation under Article 16(4) was taken up, and this should not be misconstrued or misinterpreted to mean that the Central Lists of SEBCs were intended for the purpose of only Article 16(4);

And whereas, it is not the practice of the Government of India or the State Governments, nor is it practical to identify and list SEBC/OBC or any other category in need of social justice for each purpose separately, and in the case of SC and ST also such has been the principle and practice all along, and in the case of SEBC this is the position in respect of State Lists as noted by the aforesaid Supreme Court judgment which specifically mentions that the State lists of SEBC/OBC were prepared both for the purposes of Article 16(4) as well as 15(4), and in the Indian social reality every genuine socially backward class is also an educationally backward class and it has been pointed out by the Supreme Court in the aforesaid judgment that in the Indian Context social backwardness leads to educational backwardness;

And whereas, no public purpose is served by identifying and listing SEBC for each purpose each time separately thereby losing time;

And whereas, the mention of the purpose of reservation in Government posts and services in the Resolution of the Ministry of Welfare No. 12011/68/93-BCC (C) dated 10.9.1993 notifying the first Central list of SEBC/OBC was not intended to mean that the identification and listing of SEBC/OBC was only for the purpose of Article 16(4) and was in fact for all purposes including for the purposes of Article 16(4) as well as Article 15(4) of the Constitution of India as elucidated above and the same is the position with the subsequent resolutions notifying Central list of SEBC/OBC issued from time to time, both on the basis of common listing and on the basis of Advices of the National Commission for Backward Classes (NCBC), and this is also the position in respect of the definition of Lists in Section 2 (c) of the NCBC Act of 1993 (No. 27 of 1993);

And whereas, the Central Government is satisfied that the Central Lists of the SEBC/OBCs, was prepared with due care;

And further whereas, the lists of SEBCs/OBCs of different States referred to for arriving at the Central (Common) Lists of SEBCs/OBCs were and are being used by States for extending the benefit of reservation for employment as well as for other measures of advancement such as admission to educational institutions and scholarships and so on;

And whereas, it is clear from the above that the SEBC/OBC referred to in the CEI Act have already been determined for each and every purpose currently in operation as well as those that may be undertaken from time to time in future, including for the purposes of the CEI Act;

And whereas, the Central Lists of SEBCs/OBCs, as modified from time to time on the advice of NCBC adequately reflect the various classes of population comprising the SEBC/OBC for the purpose of public policy decisions as to their welfare by the Central Government for the purposes of reservation of appointments or posts in favour of any backward classes of citizens under clause (4) of Article 16 of the Constitution of India, as well as for the purpose of advancement of socially and educationally backward classes as provided under clause (4) of Article 15 thereof in several States which have similar State Lists as mentioned above, as provided under clause (4) of Article 15 thereof and have already been and are being applied to various development schemes of the Central Government including the grant of scholarships, hostel facilities, coaching for the backward classes of citizens and more such developmental schemes will be taken up from time to time as required;

Now therefore, the Government of India, by way of clarification, reconfirms that the above mentioned Central Lists of SEBCs/OBCs are and have always been for all purposes including reservation in admission to educational institutions as elucidated above, and hereby notifies and adopts the Central Lists of SEBCs/OBCs notified State-wise from time to time by the Ministry of Welfare/Social Justice & Empowerment, subject to such modifications as may be made therein from time to time by that Ministry, excluding, in compliance with the directions of the Supreme Court of India dated 10.4.2008 in W.P (Civil) No. 265 and other related Writ Petitions, the Socially Advanced Persons/sections (commonly referred to as the “creamy layer”) in accordance with O.M. No. 36012/22/93-Estt.[SCT], dated 8.9.1993 of the Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances & Pensions (Department of Personnel & Training) as amended by O.M. No. 36033/3/2004 – Estt. (Res) dated 9th March, 2004 and as may be modified by that Ministry from time to time, as applicable for the purposes of implementing reservation in admission to Central Educational Institutions as defined in the CEI Act 2006.

(Source:Press Information Bureau, Press Release, Government of India)

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Dip and Deep

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By Rishikesh Sinha

Do you remember when you last time had a bathe in the cold water of a pond? I am sure, 100 per cent sure; those reading this article haven’t even seen a pond, forget taking a dip, since their last visit to their village. Perhaps have forgotten the feeling of freshness that comes when one takes a bathe in a pond!

Taking a bathe in the cosy and private four-walled bathroom can’t be compared to a bathe taken in the lap of nature. It is so refreshing, invigorating and rejuvenating that those who haven’t ever been near to our verdant pond (pohorigo) can’t imagine it.

You play, you swim, and take a bathe in the pond without any slightest remorse that the whole of India is facing a severe water scarcity and people are fighting for it! You are in your own world. If there is something that is going with you into the pond it is your khuttai that you are wearing. Of course, soap is not a prerequisite in this daily ritual. But even you are allowed to take it. (It is better if you take permission from the owner of the pond.)

A swim in the pond relaxes you and it soothes your mind and body. You are ready to face the whole world. You become a different person after changing the wet khuttai with a new and dry one. However, you don’t care; you give a damn to the onlookers and do all your changing-activities under the sun.

An inseparable Part

A pond is a very common entity that can be seen in almost every home of Bishnupriya Manipuri. It is an inseparable part and parcel of the Brishnupriya Manipuri community’s culture and customs.

Having a mouth watering dish full of fish caught from the pond is a different affair altogether. The pond also provides an additional source of income that comes by selling fish.

From the first break of dawn the Bishnupriya Manipuri ladies are seen busy cleaning overnight used kitchen utensils, washing clothes in the bank of the pond. Taking bath and also fetching drinking water from there. Also, nowadays there are many houses who use water pumps to fill the water tanks with the water of the pond.

Utmost care is taken to keep the pond water clean. Regularly bleaching powder and limestone is used to clean the water. Those houses that use the pond water for drinking purpose do not allow anybody to take bath inside the pond.

Chances are more that to visit neighbours you have to amble around many rectangle-shaped ponds. But, it is fun to witness all the activities taking place in and around it.

Usually, a pond is situated at the farthest end of a house. But it is not necessary.

However, things are changing. The bug of modernity has smitten the role of a pond in one’s life.
Comment:

By Rebati Mohan Sinha

I liked your article very much because once I also been a village boy, played in various Pohoris(ponds). Even today, these (Pohoris) are the life line in our interior villages, where the supply water is a day dream. Really you have painted a very nice village scenario where there are plenty of pohoris,in which children are playing, women folk chit-chatting at the EETHOL, in the evening, keeping their ‘senapul’ at their crooked waists or buckets hanging in their hands and far away one can see some cattles grazing at the other banks,as there are no protective fencing.

While visiting various villages at Narsingpur, Meherpur and Bikrampur porgonas of Cachar, I could notice, the deserted looking pohoris all over and on query,what have been heard, is put in words.The bamboo fencing is no more a match to stray cattles and at same time the cost of bamboo is also rising sky high and further more these pohoris are vulnerable to theft, for which, cultivation of fish in villages are almost abandoned.
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Friday, 18 April 2008

Bishnupriya Manipuri Weekdays

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Bishnupriya Manipuri weekdays are vanishing from the consciousness of the community. But no more. Read
By Ranita Sinha, Kolkata


How many of us (the Bishnupriya Manipuri people) do really know Sunday as Lamboishing and Thursday as Shakolsher? Someone would say they have heard it once or twice uttered by their parents or grand parents; again some would wonder what it is all about. These are the Brishnupriya Manipuri terms used to address the seven days of the week.

I have heard it many years back when I used to visit my parental village from my grand parents and from the elderly people. Also my mother sometimes used to utter "Aji te Shakolsher, aji niramish radani".

But nowadays these terms are not heard at all. We are very much comfortable with either addressing the seven days of the week in English as Sunday, Monday or in Bengali as Ravibar, Sombar etc.

Many of us does not even know that there are Bishnupriya Manipuri terms to address the seven days of the week. Myself knew that there are fixed terms but didn't know exactly how to address them. So, during my recent visit to my in-laws village I collected the information which I would like to share with you all.

In Brishnupriya Manipuri, Sunday is known as Lamboishing, Monday is Ninthoapa, Tuesday is Leipakpa, Wednesday is Imsha Imsha, Thursday is Shakolsher, Friday is Erei and Saturday is Thanksha.

If the days are put in sequence it will be Lamboishing, Ninthoapa, Leipakpa, Imsha Imsha, Shakolsher, Erei and Thanksha.

Though we do not use these terms in our day to day conversation still I feel we should know at least that we also have our own terminology to address the seven days of the week.

Update: Rebati Mohan Sinha

I would just like to mention here that the pronunciation of these Bishnupriya Manipuri week days defer from place to place. Lamoiching (Lamboishing), Ningthoukapa (Ninkthoapa), Sakolsel (Shakalsher) and Thangcha (Thanksha).

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Marriage Arithmetic Mars

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Solemnizing a marriage in the Bishnupriya Manipuri community calls for an acid test from both the parties. How?
By BN Sinha, New Delhi

It is said that marriages are made in heaven and performed on earth. Then why this hue and cry about the matchmaking, why don’t we sit idle and wait for the occasion to happen to us automatically.

Well, it is a fact that considerable amount of luck plays a role in finding a soul mate or a better half. A marriage in one’s life is supposed to be the most auspicious and important incident in ones life. There is no fixed time frame for a person to get married as it depends on many issues related to personal and social aspects and also there are strict rituals and customs in every community to perform a marriage.

Even in the 21st century sci-fi era, instead of all those modern lifestyles people still love to follow all the typical community customs or norms when it comes to performing a marriage.

As we know that in love marriages the partners are adequately conversant with all the characteristics of each other before they get into the nuptial knot unlike the arranged marriages where the matchmaking or to find out a suitable candidate is always a very difficult task to accomplish.

It is always tough to find a person who can share, care and understand until someone is legitimately blessed. Lot of sacrifice, compromise and adaptability is required in arranged marriages.

Refer to Bishnupriya Manipuri community, to search out a soul mate or an ideal life partner is probably the most difficult task especially for the aspiring bride or groom who are out of the core society and are in far away places.

Brishnupriya Manipuri being a small community in numbers so also there are countable numbers of highly educated, despite it is always a sweating experience to find out a suitable match.

Unlike other community there are many norms and obligatory customs to be followed in order to find a match, which indeed makes it tougher and dismal to arrange a suitable match.

First, the aspiring couple should not fall into the same lokei/sakei and gutro. If they belong to the different lokei but fall into same gutro then it is not matched. If this hurdle is over then it comes to the horoscope matching; not to mention even the modern sci-fi society also could not come out of the belief of horoscope match.

Now, if this hurdle is also over then it comes to the family equilibrium and the physical and intellectual eligibility of the candidates. After all the barriers are over, it finally through if the aspiring couples find themselves compatible to each other in the case that either of them is pre-engaged.

Now the question is when an eligible Bishnupriya Manipuri bachelor who is out of the core society and stays in far away places tries to find a suitable match he genuinely feels the heat. It is not that there is a dearth of eligible males and females but the point is that to find out one by abiding all the preset social norms where the whole community itself is still lacking in openness in communication, it becomes really a grueling and exhausting experience.

Sometimes I ponder.. do we need more relaxed social set of laws in marriages? Or is it my apprehension that there may be a possible threat for the eligible urban Brishnupriya Manipuri bachelors?…. I don’t know….

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Wednesday, 16 April 2008

In a Catch 22 situation

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Bisnhnupriya Manipuri people residing in Assam are in a catch 22 situation. Reason?

By Rajesh Sinha

Firstly, we have Bengalis neighbours (read Bangladeshi Bengalis) that don't have a much say in the politics of the state. Unfortunately, at the end of the day they are our immediate neighbours; and comparatively enjoy better political and administrative powers than the Brishnupriya Manipuris. Secondly, the community resides in a state of Assam where majority of the people are Assamese. Now, the million dollar question is, where do the community align itself, to the majority Assamese people or to the neighnourhood Bengalis.

The crux of the whole affair is that the Brishnupriya Manipuri
community shares a very cordial relationship to both the communities. The Bishnupriya Manipuri people are very conversant to the cultures and customs of both the Assamese and Bengali communities.

But, having a cordial relationship to both the communities is not the end. The Bishnupriya Manipuri community has to make a place under the sun. This is possible only when the Bishnupriya Manipuri community becomes internally and externally
strong. Nevertheless, there is overall development taking place in the whole community with respect to education, economical upliftment and culture.

To these domains:
education, economical upliftment and culture, Bishnupriya Manipuri people has to come forward and help their brethren. Nobody will come and pick us from the present slumber. For this to happen, at first we must become responsible to the social cause and start contributing what little each of us can do.

This can be done first by bringing ones house to order and later extending it to the neighbours, and than to village club label. Not to mention, it needs a close sync of the olderly people and the younger generation.

Once we become self reliant, then there will be no need to align ourselves to the Bengalis or the Assamese. We will be able to manage ourselves in much better way. Furthermore, we will become a potent power, full of energy and resource.

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Tuesday, 15 April 2008

Basanti Puja Celebrated in Pune

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The first celebration of ‘Basanti Puja’ outside Assam-Tripura…

Bishnupriya Manipuri staying in Pune are heading for a hat-trick this time: first one being the foundation laying ceremony of International society for Shri Shri Bhubaneshwar Sadhu Thakur Sevashram, the second one, Prothom Akhil Bharatiya Celebration of Sadhu Thakur’s Birth Anniversary at Pune’s Range Hill and the third one is ‘First celebration of a Basanti Puja’at Vishrant Wadi,Pune.

The entire Basanti Puja was sponsored by one Shri Ramsena Sinha, a registrar of one of Pune’s prestigious Balaji Education Society (having seven colleges). It may be mentioned here that our Bishnupriya Manipuri students have passed out from this society’s IIMM college and secured very good jobs in Mumbai.

The puja was celebrated from 11th to 15th April 2008 with great fan fare.The ‘dosho-bhuja’ god is worshipped to earn prosperity and good-will for five days. The entire moholla is transformed into one carnival, dancing with the music of religious songs. Sondhya Aartis were performed for all the five days.

The guest of honour was the working president of NBMM, Shri Rebati Mohan Sinha, who, with his team from Mumbai, participated in the Utsav. They came wearing our traditional dress i.e white dhuti-punjabi for man folk and women with chaaksabi(tolophuti)-i-nafi and chandon tilok on foreheads as if a mini Bishnupriya Manipuri society was in a Malthep.

On 15th evening, Ma Durga was taken on an open trailor for immersion. People standing on both side of the road threw flowers towards the Ma Durga’s idol. In this way the five-day celebration came into an end.

Photo by: Rebati Mohan Sinha

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Monday, 14 April 2008

The Biggest Festival of Bishnupriya Manipuri: Bishu

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By Rebati Mohan Sinha

The ‘Bishu’ is the biggest festival of Bishnupriya Manipuri, celebrated from the last day of the month of Chaitra for five days and it is basically a new year celebration where we are bidding a farewel to the old year and welcoming the new, with great enthusiasm, hoping the new year will bring happiness to each of our Bishnupriya Manipuri family.

Now if some one ask me the meaning of word ‘Bishu’, I may not be able to answer; instead describe the activities going on during the festival. The preparations are afoot at least 15 days before the celebration i.e storing of enough rations, including fire wood so that one should not ask anything (borrowing)from the neighbours during the festivity period. Borrowing is considered to be ‘o shubo’.

There are so many Do’s and Don’t’s to be followed before and during the festivity. On the first day of the festival, each Bishnupriya Manipuri house-hold clean the house, specially kachcha floors(ghor-mankol), with a mixture of mud and cow-dung and later a bucket of cow-dung water sprinkled around the house including the courtyard(uthaan ). The women folk of the house,then getting ready with preparation of different dishes with excess quantities for distribution to even far flung neighbours.

Now the turn of taking bath either in river or pond, one has to follow what elders say,i.e facing the current of the river, throwing a small branch of neem tree over his/her head and take a dip. The head of the family, then take the bhog to the pre-determined place to offer his ancestors, believed to be wandering in the heaven, and in turns ask blessing from them so that the new year is promising to be a prosperous one.

There are plenty of games / activities planned for the entire duration of festivity, like ‘Uthaane Gilla khelani’ among ima-indol(ladies) in the evening, followed by playing ‘dus-pochis’ on the mats spread ( chataai or paatee) either on uthaan or in big varandah(mankol). Apart from this, there are inter-village competition arranged for full night dus-pochis, followed by stealing of milk from cows and buffaloes to prepare kheer next day to celebrate the loosing/wining, inviting the elders,even the victimised owners of the cows/buffloes.The friedly game of foot ball also arranged between elders and youngsters in the villages along with other games.

During the festivity period, no member of the family is allowed to go for ploughing or cutting of any plants and at the same time not to quarrel with any one, rather have good relation.

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Thursday, 10 April 2008

Bishnupriya Manipuri Creamy Layer Excluded: Supreme Court

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In a landmark decision, the Supreme Court of India on April 10, 2008 upheld the law that provides reservation of Other Backward Classes (OBCs)in Central educational institutions. However, SC also ruled the exclusion of creamy layer among the OBCs from the quota benefits. The decision had a direct impact on the future of the community Bishnupriya Manipuri since it comes under the bracket of OBC.

Now sons and daughters of the MPs and MLAs of the Bishnupriya Manipuri community will not be entitled to get the benefits that they had been enjoying till date. Ironically, till date there has not been a single MP from the community. While there is one Bishnupriya Manipuri MLA Kartik Sena Sinha in the present Legislative Assembly of Assam.

The Supreme Court also added that periodic revision of the reservation should be done since it cannot be in perpetuity. Moreover, the court also said that the central government can decide when to implement the quota this year itself.

On this issue the Court had in March ruled that the 1931 census could not be a determinative factor for identifying the OBCs for the purpose of providing reservation. However, the recent judgement now adhere the government to draw a list of OBCs with respect to its social and economical status.

In a similar judgement on April 23, 2007 the Supreme Court refused to vacate the stay on 27 per cent reservation for Other Backward Classes (OBCs) in elite educational institutions like IIMs and IITs.

Related Stories:

OBC and its nuances

Source: IBN Live
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Wednesday, 9 April 2008

The International Society for Shri Bhubaneshwar Sadhu Thakur Foundation Stone laid

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A foundation stone for the ‘International Society for Shri Shri Bhubaneshwar Sadhu Thakur Sevashram’ was laid by the sevait of Gobinda Mandir, Nabadwip, on the 11th. November 2007. The ceremony took place on the occation of Akhil Bharatiya‘s first celebration of 137th birth anniversary of Shri Shri Sadhu Thakur at Pune, Maharashtra. It witnessed a huge public gathering.

The main purpose of the International Society for Shri Shri Bhubaneshwar Sadhu Thakur Sevashramma, which is an institution, is to build Sevashrams in Delhi, Kolkata, Pune and Bangalore and other cities with the help of NRIs and the people residing in those cities.

The International Society for Shri Shri Bhubaneshwar Sadhu Thakur Sevashram strives for the spiritual, social and educational upliftment of the Bishnupriya Manipuri community and mankind at large. It's philosophy is based on the universal religion of Naam Sankirtan which is to impart service to the people irrespective of caste, creed, color and gender. The Society request all people to come forward to fulfill its objectives.

"To forecaste whether Bhubaneshwar Sadhu Thakur would have been a major force of our times one has to be aware that we are talking about one of the most religiously astute spiritual leader in our B.M.history. However, has anyone wondered how Shri Sadhu Thakur managed to stay in step through years of rapidly changing scenario of Nabadwip?."

The original text sent by Rebati Mohan Sinha has been changed with some addition and deletion.

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Tuesday, 8 April 2008

Useful Tools

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A good news to all of you. This blog comes in the first page of the Google search engine. Well, at the bottom! Readers can see themselves when they type "Bishnupriya Manipuri" in the Google browser.

Despite this triumphant feat, unfortunately readers are not using other tools available in the blog. These tools are added only to increase interactivity between the blog and the readers like you.

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If you are concerned that your search query will take you into the ocean of web. Then it is not so. This tool will only churn out results from this blog only.

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These tools facilitate easy aggregation of contents from your favourite websites or blogs. In the platforms like Google's Reader, iGoogle, My Yahoo!, Bloglines, Newsgator, and netvibes (though there are many), you can have easy access to the Posts or All Comments without paying a visit to this blog. You remain updated with the latest posts and comments. So, incorporate these tools to make your life simple and organised.

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Sunday, 6 April 2008

Shame!

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The Bishnupriya Manipuri language is at a very pathetic stage. Their own people living in the far off places are disrespecting their mother tongue by not using it in the day-to-day communication with their own fellow.

By BN Sinha, New Delhi

The Bishnupriya Manipuri language has got many resemblances with few of the languages of east and north east India like Bengali, Assamese etc. The script used to write the Bishnupriya Manipuri language is mainly the Bengali script which is already in the use in the primary level of the education in Assam. Though the language is not very rich with respect to literature and grammar but it is very fondly termed in the community as "Amar Thar" or few say "Emar Thar" .


Till last decade the language was widely spoken by all the Bishnupriya Manipuri people but unfortuntely it started plummeting with the passage of time even in the rural areas. The impact of the other community culture and language is much prominent in the Bishnupriya Manipuri people living in the urban areas. They love to indoctrinate the alien cultures they are surrounded by to their children.

Though it is quite inevitable for the children to adopt the local language and cultures they are grown up with. So, the children grown up in the northern part of India adopt Hindi, like Assamese in Guwahati, and Bengali in Kolkata, Silchar or Agartala etc.

The Bishnupriya Manipuri community has a unique characteristic that they can easily adopt or merge with any culture or creed that they are associated with. The ironical part of the whole story is that a considerable number of people hesitate to express themselves in their mother tongue and they take it as a pride to not follow the social norms. Sorry part is that they love to ridicule or reprimand the fellow brothers of the community.

It is always an advantage to know as many languages, cultures as possible but to know and respect its own mother tongue is also very important. Its become a common phenomena both in rural as well as urban sectors that the language is diminishing so also the core community traditions. Since Bishnupriya Manipuri community is very small in size and also not confined to a specific territory, it becomes indispensable to not to forget our Emar Thar and also should encourage our Gen-X to accumulate at least as second language or otherwise it won't be too far when we could see our beloved "Amat Thar" along with the community in the endangered list.

Critics says that it is wise and justified to respect ones own culture and mother tongue at least for the reason that the word "mother" is associated with it and by disrespecting, one disdains his mother and the DNA he carries. Few also say that those who do not teach their children the culture and dogmas they inherited are vilifying their ancestors and are cynical.

However, on the contrary, there are also examples where a Bishnupriya Manipuri person is born and brought up in a place like Punjab or Kashmir but still very much comfortable with the mother tongue and its dogmas and also there is 21st century band which sings ……

Aaho aaho amar emare mingal korik,

habihane jat hanore tulia goje korik….


More articles:

Bishnupriya Manipuri People in Tripura

Bishnupriya Manipuri Vs Bodo

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Saturday, 5 April 2008

Bishnupriya Manipuri Indians in Internet

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In one of the comments in Bishnupriya Manipuri Status in Google it reads:

Anonymous said...

Dear Rishi, you have done good analysis.. in addition I like to name some other sites on Bishnupriya like http://freespaces.com/ithaak and http://manipuri.freehomepage.com which worth mention.
Curiously enough all the websites about Bishnupriya manipuri in world wide web are the contribution from the Bangladeshi Bishnupriyas. Is there any website or a single page about Bishnupriya Manipuri by any Bishnupriya from Assam or Tripura or any state from India? Is it not a strange thing that 70% of Bishnupriyas live in India?

It is really an unfortunate affair and is a scathing attack to the fact that India where a bigger population of Bishnupriya Manipuri exists, its contribution in the Internet world is almost nowhere, absolutely nil. It is not that in India, the Bishnupriya Manipuri populace are socially marginalised, away from the modern education, and to all those resources that are required to invigorate a society. It has every thing in its disposal to electrify, to give a sweeping change to the society. But, again we come to the same point from where we have started - back to square one: why we are so negligent to use this tool called Internet!

Is it because in the colleges and universities we have people devoted to the study of the language Bishnupriya Manipuri and to catch any changes that the community is experiencing? It is not the case. There is no department in the universities to study about us. Well, is there any newspaper, very popular with RNI registration that is being circulated in the Bishnupriya Manipuri inhabited areas? Of course, not.

Going further, do we participate in any sort of cultural programmes that are being organised in national and international level? Such question doesn't arise. Sorry. Then what are you doing to propagate our culture, customs, language and anything related to us to the whole world? What do we export to the other world? That is something we can call it is ours! The answer is big No No.

Our status in the three building blocks of media television, radio and print is not a secret. We are non-existent amongst the three media. Are we so much oblivious of the truth that this three media is considered - history written in haste. The daily report that we read in the newspaper with a cup of tea, watch television and hear radio with the passage of time is what that transformed into history. The history that we need capriciously and urgently.

Time has changed, it will change without your permission. It is not constant. So the time that our fathers and forefathers lived has also underwent change. Remember, how attentively we all listen to the stories of the bygone days. It is only because it has the tinge of the history, the history that relates closely to us, to our neighbourhood, to our village. For a moment, minus the person who tells his life and time, what is left. Nothing, we are living dead cut off from the past. Are we not doing the same creating a world for our coming generations? Ponder!

Why Internet in this attempt to cement the bonding of the Bishnupriya Manipuri? It has many reasons: 1) it is not geographically restricted. A person view the same content from Australia, Delhi, Dhaka and Silchar. 2) the space is not a constraint. It doesn't matter the article consists of one line or thousands words. 3) Viewers have the choice to read the first article or the recent article. He is independent of his choice. 4) Archiving is easy and not an issue. Unlike other media, here archiving is easy. 5) the Internet is superseding other media in many ways.

Why Bishnupriya Manipuri Indians are keeping their hands off to such initiatives? First reason, might be we are content and complacent to our achievements in our own world. Secondly, might be we are not tune to the air of developments taking place and very much confused where and how to put ourselves in the national and international arena. Thirdly, lack of coherent urge to steer a change to the Bishnupriya Manipuri. Fourthly, might be the sense of belongingness and mutual comity is non-existent.

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Bishnupriya Manipuri Ritual: Apokapa Dau Homa Dena

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Among many rituals being followed up by Bishnupriya Manipuri community, Apokapa Dau Homa Dena is the one which is of relevance because here all sakei people congregate and celebrate it thus building up a bonding and comity amongst them.

By Rebati Mohan Sinha

All human beings are strongly influenced by culture and ritual inheritance, so the Bishnupriya Manipuris are no exception to that. Our ancestors have been celebrating various rituals like birth rite, marriage rite and funeral rite and so on for the well being of family and no one could ask them, the purpose of these rituals.

During our childhood we enjoyed having played with our kith and kins' children, came for attending such rituals. I prefer one such ritual, Apokpa Dau Homa Dena where our all sakei people assemble to celebrate at a house of lokei-r senior most member.

Some one may ask who is Apokpa? I may not be able to explain properly; but what ever I have seen and learnt, can be stated. This is an idol of senior most ancestor(purbo-purus) usually kept at the south-west corner of backyard of the house. It is a semigod worshipped by all lokei of our Bishnupriya Manipuri in the month of phalgun's shuklapaksha every year.

This is an unique ritual where a purohit is not required; but an old or a middle aged woman is a must. Four in numbers. Sidhwa's (sikhda)are prepared,varieties of fishes like bual, cheng, a puti-maach are very much required and Rahu or kaatla(bau) is suplimentary. Pujasthol is pre- determined i.e the south-west corner of the Mankol (varandah). The woman concerned arranges everything, even bringing the idol from its place. Once the puja is over, the fish are cut in to pieces for the feast. The preparation is always done by menfolk and the womenfolk help them by cutting vegetables and washing dal etc.

Once the cooking is over, the bhog is dressed up and ready for offering. The households are called for the last prayer. The volunteers are ready for paaros parani and beelani (distribution of food). The elders are first called to sit behind the 'challook', later followed by women and children.

After the food, people start gossiping, some play cards and some are busy with dola-doli. I enjoy their company, because they air their grievances, which are never disclosed to any one before. Such gathering always gives prominence to people who want to share their thoughts with others, forgetting their differences. I believe in rituals and enjoy them fully.


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