By Ranjit Sinha (Arunachal Pradesh)
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.
Needless to say, like other communities of the world, the Bishnupriya Manipuri community can not imagine of their existence without society. When we talk about our society, we are driven by our social pattern to think about our village life or social life in village. And the brazen truth is that the basic foundation of our society has been traumatized by so-called modernization and petty politics.
For instance, I would like to share my bitter experience gained during the visit to a village under Karimganj district in Assam last December, 2010. 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. 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 raised the eyebrow with disbelief. He went to add: Actually some influential people of the village are playing the game to show their power. The Brahmin families are just puppet in the hands of those influential people. After a brief lull, he further said: Baba, eta udalor rajnity, ti harnapaitei. Shikhito manur braine etat kam nader (my child, this kind of politics emanate from kitchen room. Even the educated people can not solve the puzzle).
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. For the richer section, adivas and kirtan, rash-rakhawal become an opportunity to show social status and money power while the poor people see the red in arranging kartikar pali or khechurir pali in the age of skyrocketing prices of essential commodities.
Surprisingly, instead of solving minor scuffle or conflict of interest between two individuals, the so-called village patadars (leaders) wait for opportune moment and consider the death of a villager and socio-religious obligation as most precious moment to play partisan politics to enforce their authority and harass the bereaved family (if they were involved in any scuffle or clashes earlier).
Days will not far in the village when an individual will have to hire people to shoulder the pyre of a deceased.
There is no gain saying that a large chunk of educated people of our community live in various metropolis and small cities of the country and abroad for their livelihood can not think about their root sans social life in village where they grown up with nature, learn to love and to be loved, respect each other and above all learn to be inalienable part of our society.
I am sure today majority of these educated people visit their respective village only to return back with disappointment and despondency. They can not find their original village where the aged and young throng to the malthep during kartikor pali or kechurir pali. They can not find the village where the Sun rises with the echo of Mangala Arati. They can not find their original village where the gourapei and purijalei play gilla or dochu during Bishu.
Where are we heading?