By RK Rishikesh Sinha
A good part of a written piece is that the message is interpreted by readers in their own way. There are plausible reasons that the message or the central theme of a piece which the writer has jotted down goes with different meaning and context to different people.
I read the article “Where are we heading” written by Ranjit Sinha. I don’t think when he wrote the article, he ever had the feeling how a reader would take it, and understand it. This article would be like a post analysis of Ranjit Sinha’s piece.
Ranjit Sinha’s opening sentence:
It is said that the individual and society are interrelated and interdependent. An individual needs society for development of human values and above all for his survival. On the other hand, society is formed by the group of individuals.
The two words — “individual” and “society” — instantly freezed me since these two words are concepts and it means different things to different people. It instantly triggered many questions in my mind—what is the relationship between “individual” and “society” in the Bishnupriya Manipuri society? What precedes — individual or society? Does individualism has any place in the norms of society, or it doesn’t have?
However, the article in the later part hints indirectly the existence of ‘groupism’ in brahamanical order. How Brahmins dictates their terms? Here I drew the conclusion that like any (minority) community, an ideology of “in group” and “out group” does exist. One who adheres to a particular ideology (though it would wrong to say “ideology”, it would be proper to say tacit understanding of benefits.), he or she is in “in group”; and those who doesn’t adhere are “out group”. If we continue to have “in group” and “out group”, one is left with the concept of individualism. Individualism dictates and there is loose place of society. And in the article, he has predicted: “Days will not far in the village when an individual will have to hire people to shoulder the pyre of a deceased.”
There are no ends with the train of thoughts juggling me.
Ranjit Sinha wrote:
When I enquired about the negligible number of people attending the rituals, a senior citizen of the village murmured: Physically, it is a village with single entity. But in reality, there are four villages within this single village governed by four Brahmin families and the people of remaining three villages have boycotted this bereaved family for the time being as per instruction of Brahmins.
I was smiling when I read this paragraph. It reminded me the story plot of the novel “Samskara” written by renowned writer and Jnanpith award winner, U.R. Ananthamurthy. The story of the novel is set against the backdrop of a death of a Brahmin who was outcasted due to his non-brahmanical acts. Here Ananthamurthy beautifully illustrated the dogmas of brahmins and highlighted the so-called conflicting values as defined and viewed by the society. Ironically, Ranjit Sinha has mentioned the scene of death and the role played by his village Brahmins. In the same novel, there is an element of boycott. And in parallel to it, Ranjit has mentioned boycott of the bereaved family. Everything was going same with the story of the novel; hitherto there was no reason mentioned for the boycott. Why the family was boycotted? Are we still under the custody of Brahmins who show their nefarious thought and activity at the time of death of a human soul? In the case of Ranjit Sinha’s village, Brahmins have trampled with their feet humanity and have not carried out socio religious duties of their own villagers.
Ranjit Sinha wrote:
I was present in one of my friends’ house who is mourning the death of his father. At the evening I could find around 20 people, most of them children between the age group of 5 and 13 and hardly four to five aged people were listening religious discourses as a part of the rituals being performed before shraddha.
It proves that children are the symbol of innocence and as the child grows up and become a man, he gets conditioned by the society. Here in the Ranjit Sinha’s article, children were more humane than the elderly people. At least, children were away from the clutches of any kind of orthodoxy and hypocrisy.
Ranjit Sinha wrote:
To my utter surprise, I could also find IMFL (Indian made foreign liquor) dictates the term in the village. Money talks and play major role. Unity is there, but in small group, not as villagers, culture is there in isolated manner.
It is a testimony of degrading values of a society.