BM Org: One good reason on why we are Manipuris?
R M Sinha: Why shouldn’t we believe we are Bishnupriya Manipuris? A person is known by his parents to which community/nationality he belongs to, so there should not be any doubt at all.
We are a recognized community in the state and our language is taught in schools.
BM Org: What according to you are the biggest challenges that we need to face as a community?
R M Sinha: Today, the biggest challenge in front of us is an absence of unity, discipline and obedience .These three words are now disappearing from our mind. The person who rises to the challenge is a leader; but sorry to mention here that we don’t have any.
BM Org: You mean to say, none of us rise to a challenge?
R M Sinha: Not exactly. But we need to channel our energy positively, so that some thing good and enduring comes out of it. Stop asking others what they did or didn’t. Once US president JFK said, ‘Ask not what your country did for you; but what did you do for the country.’ The time has come to stop moaning and to take charge of our common destiny. Seek equity, not concession. Adapt to changing requirement of time and point out the need to draw every village in to the sphere of education. Seeking specific dispensation will not take us too far. We have to stand on our own foot.
BM Org: One straight question. An old question, but an important question. Where all have we failed?
R M Sinha: We, as a community in villages, failed to appreciate the need for good education for all sections may be at schools and colleges. Our illiteracy level continues to be a little above national level. We also continue to lag behind in ensuring education at the primary level. Today’s parents are poor role models for kids. They are usually considered to be children’s first teachers and role models; but a study has some dampening news for today’s generation of adults in villages: they are responsible for their kid’s lack of basic moral values. They need to take more responsibilities for the young people around them. We reap what we sow when it comes to teaching children values. Every adult plays a vital role, which we should nurture as much as we can. Unfortunately, it is easier to criticize children than to invest in them, and it is children most in need of positive role models, who are becoming disconnected from their communities day by day. These are the changes. I notice when ever I go to the villages.
BM Org: Today’s youth and yesterday’s youth. Whats the difference?
R MSinha: Today’s youth is quite self absorbed as compared to yesterday’s. Yesterday’s youth were hard working (physical). They had the unity, they played out-door games. Today’s youths are hardly be seen playing any out door games; instead, idling at the joints either in villages or towns.
BM Org: How do we activate important centers? For example potential places like Bangalore are relatively dormant as compared to Mumbai or even New Delhi…
R M Sinha: This is a very nice point to discuss about our dying culture. We, the people living in cities and metro cities are well equipped with modern technology and it is very easy to communicate with each other.
In 2007 we had laid the foundation stone for the building at Pune for International Sevashram of Shri Shri Bhubaneshwar Sadhu Thakur, where we are planning to make it the hub of Bishnupriya Manipuri cultural development. Padmashri Darshana Jhaveri was invited to the occasion in that year. Quite a number of instruments were already bought and youngsters are participating in the cultural functions. At the moment we are concentrating only at Pune . There are about ten families who bought plots of land there to build houses near the Mandir premises.
BM Org: Thank you Sir for your valuable time and throwing some very important insights for our readers.
R Sinha: My pleasure. And all the best for your work.
Interviewed by the Editor, www.bishnupriyamanipuri.org
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