Wednesday, 25 January 2017

Academic lens on Bishnupriya Manipuris

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By RK Rishikesh Sinha

On the auspicious day of Republic Day, let us know what is the status of Bishnupriya Manipuri, a Hindu jati, how it is being described in the academic circle and that too in India and abroad. 


 #1. relationship between the Bishnupriya and the Meetei necessarily depends on the recognition of the Bishnupriya identity by the Meeteis because identity requires others‟ recognition and cannot be formed in isolation. (Dr. Y. Monojit Singha, Research Scholar, Assam University, Silchar; IOSR Journal Of Humanities And Social Science ; 2016)

#2. The Meitei also consider the Bishnupriya to be the carriers of an inferior culture, although they say that the Meitei king at first mistook them to be a culturally superior group. When it was detected that the culture of the Bishnupriya was of inferior quality, they were allotted the work of foraging for the royal staff. (SITUATING CONFLICT AND POVERTY IN MANIPUR; Anand Kumar, Kamei Aphun, Khuraijam Bijoykumar Singh, Homen Thangjam; Indian Institute of Public Administration; 2011)

#3. (Bishnupriya) community has become a cause of tension in Assam in the recent years, with implications far beyond its borders since it is also found in certain neighbouring States. (Terrorism in India's North-east: A Gathering Storm, Volume 1; Col. Ved Prakash; Kalpaz Publications; 2008) 

Please visit the Jagrit Bishnupriya Manipuri site for more information.

Observations on such views


There is a concrete commonality in all the above views.

#1. Use of Christian Eurocentric ‘so-called’ understanding and extending the same model and ideas to a Hindu jati (Bishnupriya Manipuris) by scholars.

#2. Ideas and models are created in the academic fields about Bishnupriya Manipuris much against the way person of the jati takes himself or herself. These ideas are pushed to the ‘wholesalers of ideas’ in the form of books and magazines for the mass consumption of consumers. Similar to western atrocity literature market, a complete demand and supply chain exist that are against us, the Bishnupriya Manipuris. And the list goes on, adding one after another that are against a Hindu jati (emphasis).

#3. A perception is build up and a narrative is whispered down the ears to home consumers (Meiteis), ‘other’ consumers (Bengalis, Assamese, and other Indians), and institutions (Government, academic, media) that we the Bishnupriya Manipuris are trouble makers in the state of Assam (this is one such example, there are many) etc. This is much against the Indic traditions and darshan. 

Visit the list of scholarship work done by academic scholars and their key points. Observe the year and the institution that has come up with weird representation of a Hindu jati and some observations go against the Bharatiya Sanskrit and Sanskriti.

Bishnupriya Manipuri Home Team


Like all Hindu jatis in India, we too don’t have a ‘home team’ defending Hinduism, and our jati. Among many reasons, one reason being that we are still colonized in our mind and all studies of India are carried out in European Universities. India is the only civilization, where Europeans ( their ideas and models) take control of it and define us. With the change in international/ national dynamics, there is a visible consciousness taking place in the Indian academic circles and in other institutions challenging and disrupting the Christian Eurocentric understanding of Hinduism, Indian traditions, its history and society that are sometimes anti-Hindu ideological stances. The fallout of the ‘change of guard’ is very much visible in the mainstream media and in social media.

What the Bishnupriya Manipuri Home Team would be doing? We all know Bishnupriya Manipuri carries a unique history of its own and the ‘identity’ struggle that it undertook is possibly not found in any part of Indian subcontinent. The Hindu jati was attacked politically, academically and socially using the lens of Christian Western framework of ideas related to its history, language, and culture. The assault is still taking place in front of our eyes.

There is ‘outside’ assault and there is ‘internal’ dissent very much visible with heavy intake of Christian-sponsored literature. And there is another grim issue that is of conversion to Christianity. Adding to it, there is a big population who are educated; they are with a Hindu body but their ideas and conception are very much ‘Christian’ 

In nutshell, the ‘Home Team’ would be using a Hindu Purva-Paksha and Uttara-Paksha tradition of debating. We would be studying deeply the thought and ideas of the opposite party and then khandan it.

Why a team is required? Please go through the list of myths. These myths are against us, against the understanding of Indic thought and beliefs. To bring down the century-old propaganda building is a herculean task. And nobody is going to do the job for us. And those who are pioneers are busy in their ‘war of ideas’ perpetrated by western institutions and scholars. Their work would guide us in our journey. These myths are nothing, but it surely works as an eye-opener.

On this revered day, we launch Jagrit Bishnupriya Manipuri site. It is going to be illuminating and refreshing.

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

Dr KP Sinha "Some subversive factors behind are at work"

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The article is published on the birth anniversary of Dr KP Sinha.
By RK Rishikesh Sinha


I have read thousand times this article that was originally published in Kangla Online, a Manipur-based web portal. The article was one of the earliest pieces available in the Internet on Bishnupriya Manipuri. Today the original article is no more in the web world; however it is available here in this blog. I copied it knowing one day it will vanish.

The article is the short web version of the booklet “A Note on the Term Bishnupriya Manipuri” by Dr Kali Prasad Sinha. The first edition of the booklet was published in 25th May 1975. Its second edition appeared on 16 March 2014. 

Here are the concluding sentences of the booklet:

If the Meiteis consider these factors with a liberal and sympathetic heart, they will find that the, Bishnupriyas love for the term 'Manipuri' is quite reasonable and that it is not a mere emotion. The Bishnupriyas have every right to use the term 'Manipuri'. If they are not allowed to do so, we shall have reasons to think that some subversive factors behind are at work. I think that if the Meitei intelligentsia comes forward with a considerate attitude, the problem will certainly be solved, and the brotherly feeling between the two sections will be regained.

Please read again the sentence: If they are not allowed to do so, we shall have reasons to think that some subversive factors behind are at work.

Recently with the volume of works that has come up by Rajiv Malhotra and reading all his books (1), I am proud that Dr KP Sinha was able to smell something fishy in the whole ‘Manipuri’ affair, but he was not able to diagnose and identify behind-the-scene work that was taking place. Today fortunately a circle of Indian academicians, Sanskrit scholars, Indologist, government, media and public intellectuals have come to know those nefarious designs and they are working endlessly to defeat this design. The infrastructure that went into building Dravidian and Dalit identity, the same was/is used to build ‘Manipuri’ chaos.

The question is: what are the subversive activities that Dr KP Sinha is mentioning in the booklet. Rajiv Malhotra in his books and in his lectures has very well elucidated this seditious plans. Let us see what KP Sinha was actually doing.

  • that he was not only claiming the use of ‘Manipuri’ by Bishnupriya Manipuris; in doing so, he was against the monopoly and copyright use of ‘Manipuri’. In the Indic tradition, there is no copyright holder/ center of any cultural stuff. It is open, shareable, and for the benefit of humanity.
  • he was fighting against the Western framework of understanding the Eastern culture and communities and dharma (read Indian civilization). The very notion of ‘real/ pure/ impure/ fake/ genuine/ high/ low Manipuris’, amounts to Islamic/ Western thought. The idea is not from the Hindu dharmic land. The cultural and spiritual matrix of Indian civilization is distinct from that of the West. 
  • He fought against a strand of western history writers/ researchers who go by written records and don’t consider any oral/ embodied knowledge in culture and custom as history. Indian jatis and institutions have never been history-centric due to the concept of divine metaphysics of Sanatana Dharma—it is beyond time and space -- but it is not the case with Islamic/ Christian practitioners (his or her understanding is history-based). One can observe how a Hindu describe Hindu Dharma and Christian/ Muslim discusses their religion. KP Sinha’s opponents might have been Hindus but they carried a Christian/ Islamic memory chip with ideology, frameworks, time and space.
However, understanding the gravity of the ‘Manipuri’ logjam, like a kshatriya he played the same game in accordance to the western understanding of any language. And he came out with the book ‘An Etymological Dictionary of Bishnupriya Manipuri, 1982’, it is to be noted that few decades ago in 1966 ‘A Dravidian Etymological Dictionary’ was published. For any identity assertion, the Etymological Dictionary comes as an indispensable guide, tool, and authority for every member of a community.

Today when there is a new awakening in India that is challenging the ongoing westernization of the discourse about India and the intellectual machinery that produces it, the very field of Dr KP Sinha, the study of Sanskrit, has long been intruded, distorted, hijacked, poisoned by Sanskrit scholars since the days of Sir William Jones to the present time by Wendy Doniger and Sheldon Pollock. The research and study of Sanskrit has long been outsourced to western universities in America and Germany. 

The battle for Sanskrit is taking place right in front of us. In the decades to come, in order to achieve its rightful stage in the world India as being the cradle of civilization, Sanskrit has to be asserted since the language has been the heartbeat of Indian civilization for several thousand years. It could even be said that sanskriti, the culture that arose from India, has Sanskrit embedded in its DNA. Put another way, Sanskrit provides the vocabulary in which the Indian civilization is encoded. Even those who do not explicitly use Sanskrit often draw upon its knowledge through means, such as philosophy, bhakti or meditation, or use another Indian language based on Sanskrit structures.

In the days to come, how we Bishnupriya Manipuris remember Dr KP Sinha’s life and work. More than by organising lectures and holding meetings and writing run-of-the-mill articles, it will happen by learning and mastering the Sanskrit language and reading the books written by Dr KP Sinha. In the days to come, like Yoga is cool today, the learning of Sanskrit would be considered cool and trendy. The Second Sanskrit Commission, appearances of Sanskrit news and discussion in Doordarshan, national/ international meetings on Sanskrit are some of the few visible direction to take India into a new world: India being the mother of civilization. And going through the list of works done by Dr KP Sinha, it is very easy to conclude that though he was well equipped with the modern tools his shraddha, bhakti and dhristi was rooted to this land of Sanskrit traditions and philosophies. To conclude, "some subversive factors behind are at work" mentioned by Dr KP Sinha was actually the use of Western/ Christian model of ideas and structures applied by Meitei Manipuri jati (supported by Government-Academic-Intellectuals-Media nexus) to the Bishnupriya Manipuri jati.

(1).
Breaking India: Western Interventions in Dravidian and Dalit Faultlines; 
Being Different: An Indian Challenge to Western Universalism; 
Indra's Net: Defending Hinduism's Philosophical Unity; 
Battle for Sanskrit: Dead or Alive, Oppressive or Liberating, Political or Sacred?;  
Academic Hinduphobia: A Critique of Wendy Doniger's Erotic School of Indology

Saturday, 7 January 2017

Bishnupriya Manipuri writer Dr Kali Prasad Sinha remembered

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Special Correspondent

Silchar, Jan 6: The well known Bishnupriya Manipuri litterateur and a doyen of the community, Dr. Kali Prasad Sinha, was fondly remembered by his admirers on his 81st birth anniversary organized by Dr. Kali Prasad Memorial Divyashram Sanskriti Kendra, West Kachudaram, 5 km from here, last Tuesday. In fact, the name of Dr. Kali Prasad has become a household name of the Bishnupriya Manipuri community. Besides being a scholar of Sanskrit, he was a researcher, critic, grammar-specialist, poet, dictionary writer and social activist.

Dr. Kali Prasad Sinha was in the forefront of the movement for protection of the identity, language and culture of Bishnupriya Manipuri community and his contributions could hardly be forgotten. Highlighting these various qualities of his versatile genius, his birthday was observed by holding a discussion, participated by the eminent personalities. The discussion session was presided over by Birendra Sinha, a retired headmaster. All the speakers touched upon the various aspects of his brilliant academic and educational career. He was described as a man of rare talent, dedicated to creative works.

Manimohan Sinha, the chief-speaker, described him as a genius for whom the only devotion and dedication was study and delve deep into the subject and to explore the unexplored fathom of knowledge. Other distinguished speakers to unfold his many sided personality included poet Narendra Chandra Sinha, Shyamananda Sinha, secretary of the celebration committee, Gaurav Rajkumar, president, Nikhil Bishnupriya Manipuri Students’ Union, Rajkumar Anilkrishna, chief advisor, Purnendu Sinha, Gopidas Sinha, advisors, and social activist Manidhwaj Sinha.

The service life of Dr. Kali Prasad Sinha began as a teacher of Sanskrit in Cachar College. After that, he taught in Gauhati University and Tripura University. In 1982, he obtained D.Litt degree in “The Concept of Absolute in Indian Philosophy” from Burdwan University. At the fag end of his academic life, he was appointed as the Head of the Department of Sanskrit in Assam University. His contributions in the literary field were marked by the publication of a number of books in Bishnupriya Manipuri language which have become a treasure-trove for the students, teachers and research scholars.

In order to commemorate his memory, life and achievements and to convey the right message to the younger generation, in particular, ‘Dr. Kali Prasad Samman’ has been conferred on distinguished scholars from 2015. This year the honour has been bestowed on Gopidas Sinha for his contributions to society, Dr. Manas Sinha for his remarkable works in educational field and too talented students, Bikash Sinha and Priyanka Sinha. To make the anniversary memorable and remarkable, all those present on the occasion paid their glowing floral tributes to the portrait of Dr. Kali Prasad Sinha.

Courtesy: The Sentienl

Bishnupriya Manipuri bodies resolve to work together

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SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT

Silchar, Jan 1: The annual conference of Nikhil Bishnupriya Manipuri Students’ Union (NBMSU) and Bishnupriya Manipuri Ganasangram Parishad (BMGSP) which was held recently in Dr. Kaliprasad Memorial Divyashram Sanskriti Kendra, West Kachudaram, 30 km from here, took up for discussion a number of issues. The conference was conducted by acting president Gourav Rajkumar of NBMSU and acting president Dibakar Sinha of BMGSP. The general secretary of NBMSU Manoj Sinha took up the agenda and presented the annual report before the assembly.

The report was assented to and approved by the members present. A slew of resolutions adopted at this crucial annual conference included among others the formation of ‘Bishnupriya Manipuri International Students’ Development and Welfare Fund’. This fund would be utilized to extend adequate financial help to poor but meritorious students, besides offering grant to the poor students of talent as well as to the educated and unemployed youths in general in order to help them in their studies.

It was also decided that the International Welfare Fund so created would help the Bishnupriya Manipuri students in their pursue of studies and enable them to pass UPSC and APSC examinations in first class. Another development of significance was the unanimous selection of Gourav Rajkumar as the president of central committee of NBMSU. Dipu Sinha, former president of the students central committee, was expelled from the primary membership of the student body for his anti-organizational activities. The Government of Assam was thanked for including Bishnupriya Manipuri as MIL in the curriculum of SEBA and AHSEC.

Similarly, Assam University and Gauhati University were complimented for inducting Bishnupriya Manipuri as MIL in their courses of higher studies. The higher secondary education wing of the Assam Government was particularly complimented for incorporating Bishnupriya Manipuri language in the curriculum of Assam University and Gauhati University. In order to press the Centre for including Bishnupriya Manipuri as OBC and also for starting separate cell of Bishnupriya Manipuri language in AIR and DDK, both the Union and Parishad will have no alternative than to go for long drawn agitation.

Kripa Nath Malah, MLA of Ratabari, was specially thanked for extending all possible help in the broader interest of the community. A resolution was adopted in the conference to constitute ‘Bishnupriya Manipuri Talent Search Examination Board’ for holding Bishnupriya Manipuri talent search examination for the talented students from this year of 2017. The conference has been considered significant and well attended with 500 representatives and delegates from different places of Barak Valley. It has also been claimed apart from these delegates, more than hundred students turned up from different educational institutions of the valley.

In the open session of the conference were present senior most litterateur and the general secretary of Bishnupriya Manipuri Sahitya Sabha, Nabendra Chandra Sinha, editor of ‘Abhiman’ news paper, Tambak Sena Sinha, social activist, Subal Sinha, former chairman of Ganasangram Parishad, Rajlakshmi Sinha, working president of the women wing, Mahendra Sinha, president, Primary Teachers Association, and Bimal Sinha, vice president, Bishnupriya Manipuri Language Teaching, Training, Diploma Holders Association, among others.

The resolutions adopted in the open session which were widely supported aimed at promoting the interests of the students and youths of the community. The help and cooperation of all sections people of the society were sought. Rajkumar Anilkrishna, chief advisor, presided over the open session. The one day open session concluded on a positive note, impressing upon the members of both the Union and the Parishad to work in close coordination and in the larger interest of the community.

Courtesy: The Sentinel
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