Thursday, 22 May 2014

A visit to Chennai

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Ritwick Sinha
Class VIII
Don Bosco Sr. Sec. School, Guwahati

It was 15th of January, Wednesday, and my parents informed me that we would go to Chennai during our spring holidays. I jumped with joy and great excitement. We decided to go by train. Our reservation was made two months in advance.

On the 16th of March, Sunday, we reached the Guwahati railway station one hour before the departure time. It was to leave at 6.20 a.m. We got into a compartment and the train began to move after sometime. After a tiring journey that lasted for 48 hours, we reached the Chennai Central railway station on the 18th of March, Tuesday. From there, we hired a taxi and went to a hotel.

The next day, we first went to see the Chennai Snake Park. I saw a wide range of snakes such as adders, pythons, vipers, cobras and other reptiles there. The reticulated python looked really scary. Then we went to the VGP Golden Beach, located on the Bay of Bengal. It is a major tourist attraction. There is an amusement park near the beach. We enjoyed many rides there. We also enjoyed ourselves a lot on the sea shore. By then we were hungry, and had lunch. After lunch, my parents planned to go to B. M. Birla Planetarium. It was built in memory of the great industrialist of India B.M. Birla. Inside the planetarium, I had a virtual tour of the night sky. The planetarium is located near the Guindy National Park, Anna University, University of Madras and the Anna Centenary Library. The Anna Centenary Library is the one of the largest libraries in Asia. The sun was setting when my parents decided to return to the hotel.

We spent the next day at the Marina Beach, the second longest beach in the world, enjoying ourselves on the sand and watching the sea waves rising and coming near the shore. We also had a visit to the MGR Memorial and the Anna Memorial which were built in memory of former Chief Ministers of Tamil Nadu, M. G. Ramachandran and C. N. Annadurai respectively. We also had a visit to the Gandhi Mandapam, Art Gallery, High Court and Light House. As we were in the city which has the no.1 hospital in India, we didn’t want to miss the golden opportunity to have a health check-up there. So, on the 21st of March, Friday, we had a health check-up at the Apollo Hospitals. We had rest the next day. The reports of the heath check-up were given on the 23rd of March, Sunday. We were to leave for Guwahati the next day.

So, on the 24th of March, Monday, we reached the Chennai Central Railway Station half an hour before the departure time. We got into a compartment and the train left for Guwahati at 5.40 a.m. We reached Guwahati on the 26th of March, Wednesday. I had a great experience in Chennai and I shall remember this trip throughout my life.

Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Pocha ojha rises like a phoenix from the ashes

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Topo Singha

Ojha Brajakumar Sinha, fondly called as Pocha Ojha by his fans, rose like a phoenix from the ashes. The credit goes to Jolly Productions that made its maiden appearance at Shilpgram, Guwahati on April 26, 2014 when an audio and two video CDs on the performances of the late singer were released.

The audio CD, a cultural showdown (fangna) between Pocha Ojha and Ojha Chandramohan Sinha, was released by nonagenarian Srimati Githanak Devi, mother of the man behind Jolly Productions, SP Pratap Sinha. The ceremony was quite simple yet redolent of the profound love and respect to a mother whose tender love and care are too important to be without for the all-round development of a child. While the video CD, Manshiksha, was released by none other than Srimati Pramila Sinha, widow of Pocha Ojha, the other video CD, Gosthalila, was released by public prosecutor Bhimsen Sinha. The function on the release of the three CDs and the discussion on rasakirtan were presided over by Dr. Sushil Sinha, Gauhati Univerity.

As spelt out by Pratap Sinha in his welcome address on behalf of Jolly Productions, the extravaganza had twin goals of capturing the live performances of the great singer and making them available for the posterity, and holding a socio-cultural get-together in the New Year. “The lack of professional touch is glaring in this endeavour as commercial success wasn’t the motive behind. Out of sheer love for our culture and the live performances of Pocha Ojha, number 1 rasakirtan singer in Bishnupriya Manapuri, I had to capture the performances in the film of camera. A babble of voices as usual in our mandaps smacks of rawness in the endeavour.” Making such a statement, the SP wanted to bring home that if documentation and mapping memory have anything to go by the expensive and arduous work is worth every penny.

Getting the discussion into gear, advocate Bhimsen Sinha gave a detailed account on various genres of Bishnupriya Manipuri culture – right from arati in Durga Puja to Naukabilas by Bidhumukhi. He showered praise on Prabhas Kanti Sinha of LL Productions and his sibling Pratap Sinha of nascent Jolly Productions for their endeavour towards the development and preservation of Bishnupriya Manipuri culture. “Over the past four decades Bishnupriya Manipuri modern songs did make great strides. All-time great numbers like ‘punya tirtha Manipur mati, ima tor banapani hujanir sale, satgo tengarai bereya those hunar Manipur’ and the like with notations of most of them given by Pundit Motilal Sinha have been reverberating in our community in the melodious voice of Beli, Usharani and others. All these songs and their tunes, if tapped properly, could be great stuff in Mumbai (Bollywood),” he said, and added that despite ‘our’ difference on diction with Dr. KP Sinha, he did agree that Dr. Sinha’s songs with notation given by Pundit Motilal Sinha had scaled a height.

Dr. Nalini Sinha said that most of the genres of the Bishnupriya Manipuri culture had Gostholila in their own ways. According to him, first Bishnupriya Manipuri padkirtani Late Tanu Singha of Mashughat had a distinct gostholila. The kirtani, however, Dr. Sinha said, never performed gostholila because of the timing of his performances. It deserves a special mention that padkirtans are usually performed in the afternoon or evening by the Bishnupriya Manipuris. Dr. Sinha’s deliberation on rasakirtan was excellent.

Reminding the audience of an audio CD from KS Films comprising songs of Pocha Ojha, BMDC Chairman Kartik Sena Sinha showered praise on Jolly Productions for its endeavour. He said that the BMDC had many a project in mind – a Bishnupriya Manipuri museum near the Mundamala in Patharkandi, a Bishnupriya Manipuri Bhavan in Guwahati, and others. “In the recent meeting between All India Congress Committee (AICC) leader Rahul Gandhi and the chairpersons of the development councils in Assam, I have submitted schemes worth Rs 760 crore. The schemes have already been sent to the ministries concerned that have sent them back to Dispur,” he said, and added: “Quota in MBBS and Engineering is a must for our students. We have a lot to do, and to make that happen we need to come closer and know each other better.”

Cine star Rabi Sinha showered praise on LL Productions and Jolly Productions that came out from the same family for their endeavour to develop and preserve Bishnupriya Manipuri traditional and modern songs. He, however, rued the dismal CD and book marketing scenario in the community. “Even if the cost of production could be collected as returns this industry can survive. The ground reality is dismal. Those who are in the job have to bear the brunt of loss. It’s their sheer interest for the development of our culture that makes them spend their hared-earned money,” he rued.

Overwhelmed at the project, Bishnupriya Manipuri Writers’ Forum (BMWF) president DILS Lakshmindra Sinha said: “We all respect Gokulananda Gitiswami for what he did for the community. Ojha Brajakumar is next to Gitiswami. A 17-year-old Brajakumar used to walk in streets in 1954 in Kehurgaon singing Bishnuriya Manipuri songs with a monochord (ektara) in hand. Thoroughly mesmerized at the songs and love of the youth for his language and culture, Ukil Kamini Mohan Sinha had to reward him with a hefty amount.”
A nostalgic DILS Sinha further said: “The vaishnavite literary works of Pocha Ojha are yet to be evaluated…Ojha Bijoy, one of the Manipur-return ojhas at that time, initiated Brajakumar as an esulpa at a tender age. Ojha Bijoy was the first to spot the talent latent in Brajakumar. The renowned ojha gave everything he had acquired on kirtanango while in Manipur to Brajakumar. While breathing his last, Ojha Bijoy landed his feet on the chest of Brajakumar, a rare achievement for a disciple, depriving others like Ojha Kalasena Rajkumar, Ojha Gopichand, Ojha Krishnadhan, Ojha Hari Narayan and others of the extreme mercy.”

According to DILS Sinha, Ojha Brokumar could successfully added a special style in the vaishnab bandana (prayer to vaishnabs), and that the current trend of vaishnab bandana has much to do with Ojha Brajakumar. “In 1967, the management of Fagu, a little magazine that contributed a lot towards the development of Bishnupriya Manipuri language and literature, held a showdown (fangna) of esulpas singing in Bishnupriya Manipuri. Ojha Brajakumar was adjudged the first in the competition,” he said, and added: “His was a cultural movement. The effect of the movement was so much so that a section of youth had to skip cinema to enjoy the performances of Pocha Ojha.”

Prasenjit Sinha, guardian (eldest brother) of Pratap Sinha, said: “Our father, late Prafulla Kumar Sinha, was a culture vulture. He was interested both in rasakirtan songs and literature. My two siblings – Prabhas and Pratap – were inclined to baba in accordance with their respective choices. Pratap was a back-up singer (kholpangpa) of baba. The outcome is that while the former does a great deal of literary works, the latter does a lot for the development and preservation of our rasakirtan songs. The CDs released today are for the posterity.

This part of the programme ended with the thanks giving by Pratap Sinha and a speech by the president.
It was followed by a cultural programme that began with a remarkable vaishnab bandana by Pradip Mukharjee. He was followed by Devyani Sinha whose deep timbre spoke of her vocal power and melody. She sang a number of Pocha ojha in which Srimati Radhika is a nayika in utkontha.
DILS LK Sinha and party sang two numbers, both of Pocha Ojha. Niranjan-Jontu jugalbandi scaled a new height of the day. Sorojini Sinha also sang a number of the late singer. The cultural nite got a befitting conclusion with Pratap Sinha of Jolly Productions singing a number of songs that led the audience break into rapturous applause.

Friday, 11 April 2014

Delhi Election Day: My first voting experience

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By RK Rishikesh Sinha
Today Delhi (April 10) went to vote for the 7 Lok Sabha seats. And I am one among millions whose names have appeared first time in the electoral roll. Of course the day is important for me — it was my first voting experience.  Like anything ‘first’, it has its own sweet and sour ingredients to the whole story.

Fail in Duty

I got my Voter ID card in 2013 along with my father, mother, sister, and my youngest brother. But this time when I submitted an application online for my wife and my younger brother, they were not provided with Voter ID cards. Reason cited, according to the official website — address not found. The day when I got the call from the BLO about the application for my wife’s Voter ID card, I was outside. So, couldn’t meet the BLO. That’s fine. I thought let’s see the fate of my brother’s application. This time, neither any call nor any visit had been done. However, it met the same fate — address not found. So, two people of my family were out of the whole process. They failed to cast their votes.

Election Publicity

In the name of publicity, I found it was not aggressive on ground. Nonetheless, it was done electronically. From many modes that the parties have employed to catch people’s attention, the one that stole mine was phone calls and SMS from the BJP. In the market, people were buzzing about parties, candidates, and analysis. Not to talk about the AAP. There were no sign of shorbaazi. From the first impression of publicity upon me to the pressing of the button at the polling station, the whole process that motivated me seems to be what Google says “Zero Moment of Truth”, a marketing concept. The magic really worked upon me. From the first encounter to the last moment of act, I was around with BJP.

D-day

April 10, I along with my parents went to the polling station at afternoon. The shops were closed, there were less vehicles plying on the road. The whole environment gave a different impression. People around the polling station were of helping nature. There were few people at the station. Soon my parents cast their votes. They were not issued the EPIC Card. Despite it, with Aadhar Card as supporting document, they without any hassle did their duty. My father was serious with the whole affair. For him, it was more than anything. 

When I asked for the confirmation from the officials to know my Part No., and Serial No., I was told that my polling station is at another nearby school. I made up my mind to skip it, but my father showed interest so that I can cast my vote. We went to my polling station which was quiet far away. After reaching there, we found, my polling station was where my parents had already cast their vote. Back to square one! We went again and found the same piece of information for which I was made to walk. At last, I cast my vote and the ink mark of my first voting experience remained with me.

Thursday, 10 April 2014

Back to the future

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Children Corner
- Ritwick Sinha, 
Class-VIII, 
Don Bosco Sr. Sec. School, Guwahati. 

Year 3100 AD. India has completely changed from what it was some thousand years ago. I was in a place called Axemland, which I think was probably known as Assam long ago. I am not sure, as I had just reached this place with the help of a time machine. I was new to this place. I was one of the very few ‘complete humans’ here. All the others were a mix of humans and robots and called themselves ‘Robohumans'. They had prosthetic limbs. Their brains were more developed than the normal human brain. This combining of humans with robots could turn out to be the end of human life on earth. Then, as I walked down the road, I was stunned to see a skyline where each skyscraper was more than 2,000 metres tall. I also saw some flying cars, which the Robohumans called the ‘carocopters', and then I saw some passenger vehicles – all of which could fly! I also had a view of the ‘warp drive', a spacecraft which could travel faster than light. There was no television, only teletablets through which one could see all the channels and could carry them anywhere one wanted to. There was not a single desktop computer anywhere. All the computers were portable. There were no schools. All the exams were held online. The results were also declared on the internet. I was shocked, as I had never imagined that technology could reach such heights. Sometime later, I was surprised to see some ‘Robocops' riding on their superbikes at a very high speed. I asked a Robocop, who was guarding a bank, why those Robocops were riding their superbikes at such a high speed. He told me that they were chasing an invisible robber who had robbed a bank. He also told me that only the Robocops could see the invisible robber, as their eyes were specially designed for the purpose with a red-coloured cell. The invisible robber reminded me of the story of The Invisible Man by H.G. Wells. Suddenly, a beam of light struck my eyes and I woke up from deep slumber and realised that it was only a dream. I hope that this dream comes true – only in the technology aspect and not in the extinction of human life on this planet. I also hope that people understand the importance of schools and continue the pursuit of education. 

Published in the Planet Young, The Assam Tribune on 10.04.2014

Another Smriti story in Indian Literature

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Topo Singha
Bishnupriya Manipuri short story writer Prof. Smriti Kumar Sinha penetrated the Eighth Schedule roadblock on the road to Indian Literature yet again. ‘God for a Night’, English rendering of his ‘Rati ahanor Bhogoban’, was published in the January/February 2014 279 issue of prestigious Indian Literature, Sahitya Akademi’s Bi-Monthly Journal. The story in question was translated into English by journalist Ramlal Sinha.
Indian Literature, as Sahitya Akademi claims, is India’s oldest and only journal of its kind featuring translations in English of poetry, fiction, drama and criticism from twenty-three Indian languages besides original writing in English. Offering a feast of literature, Sahitya Akademi further claims, Indian Literature is also highly valued as a source of reference in India and abroad and is a must for libraries and for discriminating readers, researchers and students of creative and critical literature.

‘God for a Night’ is one among the five short stories, one each from five different languages, published in this issue of Indian Literature. This Bishnupriya Manipuri story appeared in Indian Literature on the same footing as that of Urdu poet Gulzar, M. T. Vasudevan Nair and the likes of them.
This is not the first instance of Prof. Sinha winning laurels for his creative writing. In fact, he is the first and only (so far) Bishnupriya Manipuri writer to have got a rendering of his creative writings published in Indian Literature. The May/June 2011 263 issue of Indian Literature had published an English rendering of his short story, ‘Mora Ghator Mas’ (‘Fish of a Dead River’). The story was translated into English by Subhajit Bhadra. ‘Mora Ghator Mas’ is the first Bishnupriya Manipuri story to have been published in Indian Literature. An immediate effect of this story is such that writer (Dr.) Prabhakar Nimbargi translated two stories of Prof. Sinha – ‘Mora Ghator Mas’ and ‘Pata anahor Mohabharat’ – into Kannada and published them in the literary section of the Prajavani, a sister concern of Deccan Herald. A collection of short stories of Prof. Sinha translated into Cannada by Dr. Nimbargi is in the pipeline.
Prof. Sinha is not the only Bishnupriya Manipuri writer to have been able to publish his works in any journal of Sahitya Akademi. Two poems of Bishnupriya Manipuri Writers’ Forum president DILS Lakshmindra Sinha, translated into Hindi by writer Kishore Kumar Jain, were also published in the November, 2013 issue of Somokaleen Bharatiya Sahitya, also a bi-monthly journal (Hindi) of Sahitya Akademi. With this, DILS Sinha became the first Bishnupriya Manipuri writer to have got Hindi renderings of Bishnupriya Manipuri poems published in Sahitya Akademi’s Somokaleen Bharatiya Sahitya.

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Elegies on Sudeshna rend Guwahati air

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Ramlal Sinha

GUWAHATI, March 17: Melodious elegies and speeches delivered with fiery passion rent the air in some pockets in Guwahati on sad Sunday last when the Bishnupriya Manipuris of the city recalled their language martyr, Sudeshna. 

Sudeshna Sinha, a teenaged girl, fell to the police bullet during a rail-roko agitation at Kalkalighat railway station in Karimganj district in the Barak Valley on March 16, 1996. The community had to agitate for decades to get their demand for the introduction of the Bishnupriya Manipuri language at the primary stage of education fulfilled. At such a function organized by the Gobinda Mandir Committee, in collaboration with Marup, an NGO, at Milan Nagar in the Borbari area in the city, Marup’s vice president and cine artiste Ashutosh Sinha (Rabi) and Bishnupriya Manipuri Writers’ Forum president DILS Lakshmindra Sinha kept the audience spellbound when they sang elegies after paying tribute to the martyr. The paying of tribute was led by mandir committee president Jyotiprakash Sinha, and he was followed by senior citizen Birendra Sinha, general secretary Anil Sinha, Marup president Badal Sinha,, who took part with a team of his office-bearers, and others. Ashutosh Sinha gave a detailed account on the very agitation when Sudeshna had fallen to the police bullet. 

The day coincided with the foundation day of the mandir and Holi. On that occasion, the mandir committee felicitated three senior members of the committee – Sri Birendra Sinha, Sri Krishna Mohan Sinha and Sri Gauri Prasad Sinha. 

In another function in memory the martyr organized by the Bishnupriya Manipuri Writers’ Forum at Satgaon and presided over by DILS Lakshmindra Sinha, public prosecutor Bhimsen Sinha spat fire when he said: “Sudeshna died a pathetic death, but our tears vanished into thin air…” Blaming the leadership of the agitation, the advocate fired a slew of questions asking them as to why the report of the post-mortem was not sought, why no FIR was lodged, why no inquiry by a sitting judge was demanded, and the like. 

Dr Nalini Sinha, a retired professor of North Eastern Hills University, said: “For us, Sudeshna is the Joan of Arc, Rani Lakshmibhai and Kanaklata.” It was followed by a poem recited by poet Sashi Kanta. Only in a few lines he could get his message across in an efficient way. 

While Col (retd) Bijoy Sinha laid stress on the use of the Bishnupriya Manipuri language in every socio-cultural aspect of the community, litterateur Prabhas Kanti gave a unity call. “Had Sudeshna been alive, she would have rued the way the martyr’s day is being observed in isolated pockets,” he said on the lack of unity among various organizations of the community. While BMDC Pau editor Bobita Sinha wanted the involvement of the youth on such occasions, Bishnupriya Manipuri Ex-army Association president Chandra Kanta Rajkumar brought the attention of the gathering to the plight of the next of kin of Sudeshna. He appealed to the BMDC and other organizations to extend their helping hands to bail out the family from its pathetic plight. Writer-cum-artist Sunil Sinha expressed his happiness for his involvement in the language movement. Elegies by many singers marked the day.

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

LL Productions releases Elar Jhaka with a Bollywood flavour

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Ramlal Sinha

It was not for nothing why a student Prabas Kanti Sinha used bulk of the meagre quantity of paper that his parents could provide their children with at a time when his siblings could ill afford that ‘scarce’ item (paper). With such a message during his brief speech after the release of ‘Elar Jhaka-Part 1’, an audio CD from LL Productions, at Panjabari in Guwahati on March 8 SP Pratap Sinha wanted to bring home that it was his brother’s no holds-barred writing habit that made him what he is today. 

Tagged onto the end of the release of the CD was a brainstorming session on ‘The Role of Audio and Video Devices on the Preservation of Culture’. Both the sessions were presided over by the president of the Bishnupriya Manipuri Writers’ Forum, DILS Lakshmindra Sinha. 

“My dada was in the habit of writing in various genres of literature, films, art and culture right from his school days. Writing paper was a scarce commodity for us, and that made us adopt strict austerity measures in so far as writing anything other than our school assignments was concerned. However, Prabas da was the exception. He was in the habit of writing poems, dramas, stories and the like that had nothing to do with his school syllabi. In fact, he used bulk of the paper that was made available for all of us. Whenever I needed a big sheet of paper to make a kite, I couldn’t do so as he used to write something of literature on it. Maybe, that’s the reason why he wants to get this CD released by one of his siblings when there’re numerous personalities of repute in our community to do such a job,” the SP said in a choked voice. “Our eldest brother was supposed to come for this. He, however, could not come owing to his preoccupation. And that made me do the job,” he added. 

Besides his numerous works on culture, Prabas Kanti Sinha has a number of books, including two novels, to his credit. 


Anuradha Paudwal
Sadhana Sargam

On archival activities, he said that apart from Prativa Sinha, Kungo Thang (KT) of Bangladesh and Anita Sinha were also on the job. As he welcomed the audience at the beginning of the programme, organizer Prabas Kanti Sinha extended the vote of thanks at the end of the function.

LL Productions roped in two Bollywood singers – Anuradha Paudwal and Sadhana Sargam – with a number each, both in duet with our very own heart-throb, Tushar Arjun, in ‘Elar Jhaka’. Apart from this CD, the performances of the two Bollywood stars, it is expected, will give a decisive boost to the Bishnupriya Manipuri music. The other singers in the CD are our very own sensation Bithi Sinha, Pramila Sinha and Priti Sinha. The man who successfully roped in the two Bollywood stars is Hirendra Sinha, director of the CD that has as many as nine songs – four of which are written by Hirendra Sinha himself, one each by Guru Chintamoni Sinha, DILS Lakshmindra Sinha and Bithi Sinha, and two by the man behind LL Productions, Prabas Kanti Sinha. Besides a good number of books, LL Productions has the production of a cinema and a number of audio and video CDs to its credit.


In his speech as the director of the CD, Hirendra Sinha, living up to his reputation of plain speaking, said: “Any hard work earns good name in life. I’m very much on the job. I only seek your blessings.”

Former SCERT director (Assam) Kumkum Sinha got the discussion into gear with a speech that spoke volumes about the problems of preserving compact disks (CDs) for the posterity. She said that her nephew Amit Sinha had to preserve a number of VCDs at Jyoti Chitraban so as to get rid of fungal infection. This, she said, has to be done so as to preserve such records for the posterity. Such VCDs, according to her, keep the history alive. Citing the cultural awareness among the Assamese, she rued: “They could successfully record all works of maestro Bhupen Hazarika, including the revival of some of the very old ones. On the other hand, we have incurred a heavy loss when the VCDs of late Bimalda’s ‘Nungsipi’, first Bishnupriya Manipuri film, could not be revived. The VCD was badly damaged due to fungal infection.”

The chair endorsed her speech when he said that the voices of Suranath Sinha, Nilmadhab Mukherjee and Babu Sena Sinha (who was also an AIR artiste) could have been preserved had there been the right endeavour on the part of the community when they were alive. 

Reiterating his demand for the implementation of Bishnupriya Manipuri in social, religious and cultural life of the community in toto, Col (retd) Bijay Sinha said: “Both external and internal pressures took their toll on our language, literature and culture. A large number of our people still don’t want to hear our rasakirtan, rasalila and the like in Bishnupriya Manipuri. All our rituals, right from birth to death of an individual, should be performed in Bishnupriya Manipuri.”

‘BMDC Pau’ editor Bobita Sinha said that a section of yuppies born and bred away from the Bishnupriya Manipuri community could not be blamed if they could not strictly adhere to community codes. It may, she said, take time for one to get oneself accustomed to own community codes. They, according to her, may be out of their elements in some typical Bishnupriya Manipuri social or cultural situations simply because they did not get such platforms in their upbringing. She took this opportunity to seek support from all in her endeavour to make the ‘BMDC Pau’ a success.

Madhusudhan Sinha (IFS) spoke of the importance of digital versatile disk (DVD) recording of various Bishnupriya Manipuri ragas that have been doing a vanishing act at a fast pace. Such a venture, he thinks, will help preserve such presentations of artistic excellence for the posterity. 

This writer, who also spoke on the occasion, laid stress on archival activities on the Net so as to make all valuable documents available only a stroke on the computer keyboard away. He thanked Prativa Sinha for her endeavour towards that end.

Sunil Sinha; a dedicated writer and artist who has been working hard to make digital data of diverse aspects of social, cultural and religious life of the Bishnupriya Manipuri community; said: “I’ve fallen head over heels in love with video recording of events of varied tastes and importance. I’ve recorded a bank of over 5,000 data.” He said that the cassettes of Nilmadhab Mukherjee and the voice of Guru Bipin Singh could be preserved for the posterity. 

A nostalgic Ashutosh Sinha (Rabi) was all praise for Prabas Kanti Sinha, the man behind the entire extravaganza. “The go-solo attitude of Prabas has translated a number of his dream ventures, right from publishing books to audio-visual works on our culture, into reality,” he said. He also laid stress on the blending of modern songs with the Bishnupriya Manipuri tunes that need a deep timbre of voice (khallik) with the help of Bollywood singers. He concluded his speech with a song of poet Senarup Sinha – Tor udyanhanat satoitouga mi singarei gokulei oloya/ ki mingal mam goje obhiram jhakai jhakai portou jongiya

Samar Sinha, a writer and singer in the making, said that the budding talents in the community were in the need of right platforms that could give them a leg-up. He too thanked Prabas Kanti for his endeavour. In his presidential speech, DILS Lakshmindra Sinha said: “I’m very much on the job of reviving our ragas and raginis. Besides approaching a number of Bishnupriya Manipuri ojas, I’ve met some ojas of Manipur so as to revive our ragas and raginis.” He, however, gave enough hints that the situation in Manipur is no better than ours. At present they (those in Manipur) too, he feels, are far from getting down to the real nitty-gritty of raga-raginis. He said that he would soon come out with a work that would help revive the ragas and raginis for the posterity. 

The programme ended with an assurance from the chair that the suggestions given by the speakers of would be looked into.

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Guwahati: Centre Of Bishnupriya Manipuri political structure

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By RK Rishikesh Sinha

Guwahati has seen sudden surge in its population. It has undergone a complete change in a decade or so, the observation is very visible for those who have witnessed Guwahati in 90s.

The impression of Guwahati on me in the mid-90s is very different than it is today. It has somewhere got lost in the flat culture. However , I have noticed one thing that the population of Bishnupriya Manipuris in the capital city has seen a sudden increase. Today, the state of affair is that : You are a Bishnupriya Manipuri, you cannot ignore your brethren in the lanes of Guwahati.

You jostle to board a bus from ABC bus stop, you will find there are co-passengers who are also struggling with the same spirit to board the bus! You are sitting in a rickety tracker at Ganeshguri, listen carefully, a mother is talking in Bishnupriya Manipuri with her daughter. You distract your attention to their conversation, and you fix your eyes towards a person who is standing at the rear end and framing your mind that the person is Bihari in his look and behavior. You are relishing your taste buds at Hatigarh Chariali at evening with aloo chop or gungni, you will find young boys sputtering Assamese, Bengali and Bishnupriya Manipuri in one breathe. Not enough, you go for shopping at Borbari, not one or two, but grocery-wala, internet wala and couple of shops being manned by your brothers and sisters. In all these circumstances, you will find person with Bishnupriya Manipuri. This is the state of population of Bishnupriya Manipuris in Guwahati.

For those who have spent enough time in Guwahati and Silchar, they will come to the conclusion that Bishnupriya Manipuris are more visible in Guwahati than in Silchar. It seems the young boys have migrated from villages to make Guwahati their second home for employment. It is not only their presence, but people after retirement are setting foot in the capital city. They make Guwahati their most preferred destination to spend their half life.

Places like Bamunimaidan, Panjabari, Hengrabari , Borbari, Dakhingaon, TV Tower, Kahilipara, Maligaon, Bhangagarh, ABC…the list of names is too long…where Bishnupriya Manipuri have a sizable population. If any survey is done to count the places where the migration of Bishnupriya Manipuri is high, it would be none other than Guwahati. And it seems, the population has increased in the city in a decade or so at a astounding figure. There are settled Bishnupriya Manipuri with permanent residence and there is another population in migration, in rent houses.

Bishnupriya Manipuri Power Politics


With such big population, change of ethos and structure in the population is liable, and so is with the power politics. Many factors play a pivotal role to the formation of power center for the community in Guwahati. First, the definite geography of the capital city; since all the Bishnupriya Manipuris are concentrated to Guwahati, the population itself creates its own political power. Second, the mushrooming of the civil societies cum pressure groups in the field of art, culture, empowerment in the city, which also helps Guwahati becoming a power centre. Third, and the most important reason, is the Guwahati (Dispur) being the capital of the state in terms of politics, administration, judiciary, and commerce. Now the million dollar question is: Has Guwahati indeed emerged as a power centre for Bishnupriya Manipuries? Whatever may be the answer, it is sure and final that one cannot ignore the Bishnupriya Manipuris staying in Guwahati. 

Sunday, 12 January 2014

Banking with State Bank of India (SBI)

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By RK Rishikesh Sinha

We all have some sweet and sour relationship with banks. With banks offering many services, the complexities to understand and appreciate it has gone above the board. The simple looking saving account brings alongwith it a hell lot of activities for a customer that it sometimes become headache for them. And my association with SBI Bank, Guwahati University is one such. I opened my saving account a decade ago, today I fill the account has come under my complete electronic control. A great relief and yahoo moment!

The biggest problem that I encountered with the SBI bank, was to make ritualistic visit to the home branch every time I visit Guwahati for many simple change like -- change of address, nominee change, new ATM, mobile change, internet banking and mobile banking. This simple looking services being offered by the bank, and to avail them has brought unseen scar in my mind. And of course, it has enriched my approach and understanding about banks particularly SBI.

There were moments, when the clerk in the bank had asked me where to click in the banking software! There were also moments, when the clerk affirmed me that my internet banking is ready to work. But when I go home and try to explore internet banking, I find the clerk has played a ruse to clear his table from countless preying customers. There were days, when I was limited to mobile banking, but the transaction rights in the interent banking were not given by the bank.  I could see two mobile numbers occupying my saving account. One mobile number in which I was running mobile banking and getting updates, and another mobile number in the internet banking transaction page. These problems seem simple and easy, but with time and distance, they become complex.

In my years-long experience with SBI Bank. I came to know some facts that would help customers to have sound relationship with the bank.

First, don’t change your mobile number in the SBI bank records. Being one of the primary records in the bank, a change in it might bring problem in case you use mobile or internet banking.

Don’t just rely upon the clerk that they will do their job well. Double-check it. If possible check while you remain in the bank premise. Take your laptop and mobile. It might happen that the clerk responsible for internet and mobile banking is also learning with you at your valuable time and effort.

If you could access intenet banking, download and print forms that I found work better.

Read bank manuals. It helps you to do lot of things with yourself. At least you don’t have to waste your time and energy to generate MMID No. of your account by visiting your bank.

Nonetheless, I found the SBI bank website cool and clear. Its mobile interface is also I like the most.


Hope in the coming days, I will add more services of the bank to my kitty. 

Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) before Delhi Election

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By RK Rishikesh Sinha

The whole country is reeling under AAP effect ever since the party grabbed seats and made their government in Delhi.  I personally never thought or has a slightest hint that the party will bring a renaissance in the political thought of the Indians.  I failed to read the writings on the walls of purani dilli. However, my wife was quick to sense the AAP tsunami! She not only forcefully persuaded me to become the member of the party. But she tortured me to download the nomination form and print the 10 page application form so that she can place her candidature. Alas! There was a point in the application, that 100 members of the constituency must sign and put their mobile number in the form to support the candidature. There she backtracked (I knew), it is Delhi, nobody know us. Our building people don’t know us. The rest is history. In a lighter note, nobody understands women, so is with politics.

Those days were really painful. After all I have least interest in politics. And my wife updating me with the development taking place in the AAP, it was adding to my pain. My only effort to be ‘political’ was to attain a voter ID, not to vote, but with a motive to use it as a identity card, or residence proof. How I attain the Delhi voter ID card, is altogether a different and obviously interesting topic.  So to say, I mistakenly came to know the mass production of Voter ID card.

Mukherjee Nagar in Delhi has been one of the often visited rendezvous for the AAP leaders including Kejriwal & Co. Why not? The population is young and ignited. Exam aspirants of civil service, SSC, banks make up a sizable population. I have listened Kejriwal addressing the mass at Commercial Complex. I have never witnessed in my lifetime the attendance shown in a small concrete ground just behind the Mukherjee Nagar police station, students falling one above another to have a glimpse of Kejriwal and resonating with his speech. “Kanoon to humne bhi pari hein” is one punch line that I remember from his speech that brought thunderous applause from the audience.

The scenes are so vivid and fresh in my memories, I never thought in my wildest dream. This man will be writing history in the Indian politics. An inch in the ground was not left vacant. Students were seen in the walls, women standing on the motorcycle, rooftops were not even left. This was the craze for Kejriwal.

However, a strategy that was not going down my throat to the plan of AAP to attract comrades, was running of desh bhakti songs in the markets. It was so irritating to me, I don’t know how many times I would have said to my wife, forget to grab seats, the party will die sure before it sprouts in the Indian political arena. I was put wrong. Oh! I forget to write about one of the AAP strategies, that is the road drama. You don’t know when common looking boys and girls start a skit in the midst of crowded markets. It was really fun. Definitely, those people , including me, who were doubtful and carried scornful eyes, will not ignore now. The party, above all the devoted members who showered faith and devotion to the party, has earned the respect of the people. Add my wife.
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