By RS Jassal
Any dialect with single spoken style develops into language and expands within area bound societies and expands in scope by interaction with immediate neighbouring and far neighbouring societies but multiple spoken styles pose hindrance in synthesising it into single dialect dictated as experienced in Tangkhul region. They are having 20 to 22 styles in spoken terms. And language to survive and develop must have script commonly understood far & wide. These days we call it regionalisation- cum – globalisation. English is an example for now being used world over. Languages /dialects disappear also in vice the versa fashion if there is no outlet for interaction under geophysical constraints and lack of production of literature.
And for lack of production of literature Manipur is a classic example, how Puyas which were scripted in Meitei Mayek became value reduced and finally in medieval period, then Maharaja Garibniwaz realised the reason of the backwardness of his subjects. It was realised being non-active in Bengali dominated culture of greater east & undivided Assam. It could not go assertive in linguistic assimilation with neighbouring states like Burma/ Assam in immediate circles and Bengal in a bit broader perspective. To take his subjects to higher echelons of exposure &progress, he thought it fit to replace Meitei Mayek with Bengali script to script Manipuri spoken system. Anthropologically speaking, certain phonetic pronunciation of letters/ vowels in a particular society speaking system cannot be fitted in exaction into borrowed script, but the borrowed script provides bigger plank for people’s spoken dialect to flourish it transmitted into bigger circles. It happened so for Manipuri’
s got amazingly productive results. Manipuri’s availed the fruits of civilization strides as prophesied by the king though vocal part remained same i.e., primordial. Assamese also used Bengali script & while conversing with Assamese, Manipuri and a Bengali the vocal pattern is distinguishably reckoned to ascertain the origin of the speaker.
Bengali, Devnagari and Gurumukhi scripts basically owe their origin to Sanskrit. And Sanskrit is a concretised form developed from Prakrit, Khari Boli, & Pali etc. all mixed. With decline of Chandra Gupta Maurya Empire, Sanskrit lost its spoken relevance and many other languages off shooted in various regions. Since it is a subject of linguistics, I stop here only to avoid digression, as I have to argue for Hindi & Hindi movies.
Hindi is our national language. Most of the States constituents of Indian Union accept it and some who do not officially but did so unofficially are now excelling in speaking Hindi even better than Central Indian States, South India is example. Movies are one medium which bring people closer in learning language in casual way i.e., enjoy fun while you learn.
In Manipur, hill & valley all speak Meitielon but Meitei Mayek script revival through state efforts is resented by hill people and if not condescending on my part, majority of Meitei’s specially those who feel perfectly at comfort with current script (as volumes of literature exists) produced in that . Sana Mahiism religion& Vaishnavism coexist here side by side. Under changed circumstances even Vaishnavites have small to medium size Sana mahi temples structured at suitable place(s) in their residential abodes. It is mixed in their socio cultural bodings. There is a section of society who takes it very seriously; if Sana Mahism is undermined. Hence at times it took shape of conflicts too. It is known fact during Chief Ministership of late Y.Shaiza, two Youngman from Sana Mahi faith fell to bullets while attempting to reinstall statues of Sana Mahi in Kangla. Their memory is still in 1st MR where armoury was got vacated and shifted as armoury was old temple building. Sana
Mahi faith people still adore photo of Y.Shaiza along with their martyrs of faith.
So Hindi, as such, has nothing to attack Manipuri cultural ethos but it is only to involve them for better interaction with people of other areas of India. But it is sad Hindi movie stands banned here. Some sections of UG contest that Mayang culture will overwrap Manipuri culture which does not fit in the imaginary test of discontent. There is a State level Hindi Parishad functioning in the State. There are even 1800 or so Hindi teachers on government roll and they are teaching both in the valley and the Hills. Till date there are more than 100 Hindi teachers who have been decorated with National Awards. There is hardly any taxi having music system which does not have Hindi audio cassettes to play. I have attended more than 800 social sittings with Meitei’s alone as well hill people mixed in the last 15 years after my retirement. After a bit up beat of the gathering into mood that too by another banned liquid( Som- ras) locals sing gazals, Hindi songs so beautifully and
artistically with touch of classic’s that I get surprised how they learned and when they practised. 90% households own their video& CD cassettes in Hindi But yet Hindi movies are banned in Manipur say valley as Hills do not bother to accept this dicktat and they are enjoying their drink & Hindi movie side by side with open minds. It is also a general rule things get more wanted under ban. May be this is the reason for flourishing of both – Hindi & the drinks in spite of friendly and indirectional BAN by both the UGs & other mighty powers who mint money with no revenue payment to the State.
But, the million dollar question is who banned Hindi movies? Curious enough, I was told it was RPF on killing of SS Capt Bhaigya. On questioning , why , I was told the person who hit him on head (from back) with strong stick in the AR raiding party had spoken in Hindi language and SS Capt had died on the spot as a result of that UG group banned the Hindi movie. I asked the same person, supposing the person had spoken in Manipuri, had the ban order would been on Manipuri language. This questioned person just laughed it over. But coincidently same date, month & year Hindi movie were banned in Assam too. I met important second rung leader of the RPF at some unsuspected meeting , he was smart , addressed me uncle and appreciated my journalism. I felt encouraged and honoured so I suggested him to lift the ban in public interest. He said he agreed with my opinion but that ban on Hindi film will be over after completion of one year, the death period of the SS Capt as said in the write up. Now it is more than 6 years yet ban has not been lifted. Probably, the cinema distributors have not put in any effort(s) to approach the persons on the other side concerned and asked for lifting of the ban.
Author is hopeful if approached by distributors like they did in Assam with ULFA, RPF may consider lifting of the ban. Everyone including Manipuri appears to be desirous to witness 70 mm Hindi movies on large screens in cinema halls but there is ‘GOLDEN QUIET’. Why? I do not understand, despite the fact that it will open employment to many, coupled with entertainment, fun, education and financial gains assured to accrue no one is ready to pursue the negotiations. On the other hand ‘MAKE HAY WHILE THE SUN SHINES’ is for those who are happy with absence of Hindi movies so that Manipuri films can do the rounds but they are not giving it a visionic thought – that they are actually constricting the scope of development of Manipuri film skil
ls and getting it locked in their land locked state. They need opening film shooting to Mumbai film makers to visit Manipur to shoot nature and develop skills mutually
Advantages of screening the Hindi, Manipuri and other State films could result in the following:-
1. Can generate huge revenue to State as Entertainment Tax, and be trend setters for inviting tourists too and open self employment avenue.
2. It will restore HUMAN RIGHTS – to enable common man live life according to one’s choice as enshrined in the FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS in our Constitution.
3. It will brighten enough the dull / restricted life style the citizens are leading today. Once in a month Panjabi, Telgu, Bengali, Assames, Nepali films can also be screened to generate good will for outsiders. Big cosmopolitan cities like Chandigarh, Delhi, Bangalore, Kolkata, Chennai & Mumbai, Hyderabad where there is large population of Manipuri students, Govt/Public Sector employees can be approached to screen Manipuri films once a month or more on demand from the Manipuri’s . That is a step to realise egalitarian social structure. Who will be the ultimate gainer? No doubt both, but perhaps Manipur more.
4. The scenery, landscape beauty of vales and dales, Sekmai lager and Lake District is not less than Cumbria, which will make film makers from Mumbai, Manipur as shooting & tourism destinations. After sports we must eye on it. So pleas encourage Hindi/ Hindi movies in the State.