Vidur Acting Institute Spreads Across India …… Almost !!


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MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA           MARCH 27, 2016           08.25 P.M.

Vidur Acting Institute Spreads Across India …….. Almost!! Is it narcissistic? Is it megalomania? Some will yell, yes! But here are the reason and facts.

Few days back, I was posting a greeting for the people of Mizoram on the occasion of Chapchar Kut. I always write, ” To all my students, friends & well-wishers ……. ” I suddenly realised that I have yet to get an acting student from Mizoram. I started counting. Then I realised that apart from Mizoram, I don’t have any student from Arunachal Pradesh either.

Political Map of India

Political Map of India

At this point of time there are 29 states in the Republic of India. They are : ANDHRA PRADESH //  ARUNACHAL PRADESH // ASSAM // BIHAR // CHHATTISGARH // GOA // GUJARAT // HARYANA // HIMACHAL PRADESH // JAMMU & KASHMIR // JHARKHAND // KARNATAKA // KERALA // MADHYA PRADESH // MAHARASHTRA // MANIPUR // MEGHALAYA // MIZORAM // NAGALAND // ODISHA // PUNJAB // RAJASTHAN // SIKKIM // TAMIL NADU // TELANGANA // TRIPURA // UTTAR PRADESH // UTTARAKHAND // WEST BENGAL

Out of 29 states of India, I have got and trained students from 27 states.  Only 2 states; ARUNACHAL PRADESH & MIZORAM are still out of my reach.

ONLY TWO [ 02 ] out of TWENTY NINE [ 29 ] !!

Therefore I titled the blog – “Vidur Acting Institute Spreads Across India …… Almost!!”

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Location of Arunachal Pradesh in the Map of India

Location of Arunachal Pradesh in the Map of India

ARUNACHAL PRADESH, one of the twenty-nine states of the Republic of India , borders Assam and Nagaland to the south, and shares international borders with Bhutan in the west, Burma in the east and Tibet in the north. Itanagar is the capital of the state.

Formerly called the North-East Frontier Agency, [ NEFA ] , was ceded to Britain by the Tibetan government with the Simla Accord (1914).

NEFA was renamed as Arunachal Pradesh on 20 January 1972 and it became a Union Territory. Arunachal Pradesh became a state on 20 February 1987.

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Location of Mizoram in the Map of India

Location of Mizoram in the Map of India

MIZORAM is one of the 8 states of Northeast India, with Aizawl as its capital. It is the southern most landlocked state sharing borders with three of the Eight sister states, namely Tripura, Assam, Manipur. The state also shares a 722 kilometer border with the neighbouring countries of Bangladesh and Myanmar.

Like several other northeastern states of India, Mizoram was previously part of Assam until 1972, when it was carved out as a Union Territory. It became the 23rd state of India on 20 February 1987.

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Apart from 2 above mentioned states, I have yet to get students from 3 Union Territories. They are : DADRA & NAGAR HAVELI // DAMAN & DIU // LAKSHADWEEP

At this point of time there are 7 Union Territories in the  Republic of India. They are : ANDAMAN & NICOBAR ISLANDS // CHANDIGARH // DADRA & NAGAR HAVELI // DAMAN & DIU // LAKSHADWEEP // NCR DELHI // PUDUCHERRY

I have trained actors from 4 of the 7 UTs. Only 3 remain. They are; DADRA & NAGAR HAVELI // DAMAN & DIU // LAKSHADWEEP

ONLY THREE [ 03 ] out of SEVEN [ 07 ] !!

Therefore I titled the blog – “Vidur Acting Institute Spreads Across India …… Almost!!”

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Location of Daman & Diu in the Map of India

Location of Daman & Diu in the Map of India

DAMAN & DIU : For over 450 years, the coastal enclaves of Daman (Portuguese: Damão) and Diu on the Arabian Sea coast were part of Portuguese India, along with Goa and Dadra and Nagar Haveli. Goa, Daman and Diu were incorporated into the Republic of India on December 19, 1961, by military conquest. Portugal did not recognise the Indian annexation of these territories until 1974.

The territory of “Goa, Daman and Diu” was administered as a single union territory until 1987. Then Goa was granted statehood, leaving Daman and Diu as a separate union territory.

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Location of Dadra & Nagar Haveli in the Map of India

Location of Dadra & Nagar Haveli in the Map of India

DADRA & NAGAR HAVELI is a Union Territory in Western India. Nagar Haveli is wedged between Maharashtra and Gujarat, whereas Dadra is an enclave surrounded by Gujarat. The shared capital is Silvassa.

Dadra and Nagar Haveli map in pink colour depicting the Gujarati enclave village of Maghval in grey colour.

Maghval is a small enclave village belonging to Gujarat that is located within Nagar Haveli, just south of Silvassa in Dadra and Nagar Haveli.

The Portuguese occupied Nagar Haveli on 10 June 1783 on the basis of Friendship Treaty executed on 17 December 1779 as compensation towards damage to the Portuguese frigate by Maratha Navy. Then, in 1785 the Portuguese purchased Dadra.

Under the Portuguese rule or the Estado da Índia (Portuguese State of India) Dadra & Nagar Haveli formed a single concelho (municipality), named “Nagar Haveli”, with its head in Darará until 1885 and, after that, with its head in the town of Silvassa.

After India attained Independence in 1947, the residents of Dadra and Nagar Haveli, with the help of volunteers of organisations, subtracted the territories of Dadra and Nagar Haveli from Portuguese India in 1954.

In 1961 when Indian forces took over Goa, Daman, and Diu, Dadra and Nagar Haveli was also merged with the Republic of India.

On 31 December 1974 a treaty was signed between India and Portugal on recognition of India’s sovereignty over Goa, Daman, Diu, Dadra and Nagar Haveli.

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Location of Lakshadweep in the Map of India

Location of Lakshadweep in the Map of India

LAKSHADWEEP : formerly known as the Laccadive, Minicoy, and Aminidivi Islands is a group of islands in the Laccadive Sea, 200 to 440 kilometres off the south-western coast of India. The archipelago is a Union Territory and is governed by the Union Government of India. The islands form the smallest Union Territory of India: their total surface area is just 32 km2 (12 sq mi). Kavaratti serves as the capital of the Union Territory and the region comes under the jurisdiction of Kerala High Court.

In the 16th century the Portuguese took control of the archipelago but the islanders expelled them in 1545. In the 17th century, the islands came under the rule of Ali Rajahs /Arakkal Bheevi of Kannur, who received them as a gift from the Kolathiris.

The Aminidivi group of islands (Androth, Amini, Kadmat, Kiltan, Chetlath and Bitra) came under the rule of Tipu Sultan in 1787. They passed to British control after the Third Anglo-Mysore War and were attached to South Canara. The rest of the islands came under the suzerainty of the Arakkal family of Cannanore in return for a payment of annual tribute. The British took over the administration of those islands for non-payment of arrears. These islands were attached to the Malabar district of the Madras Presidency during the British Raj.

In 1956, during the reorganization of Indian states, the Lakshadweep islands were organized into a separate union territory for administrative purposes.

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Political Map of India

Political Map of India

It is a proud moment for me. It is very satisfying for any acting institute. I feel blessed that out of 36 states and Union Territories of my country, I have trained students from 31. Only 05 still remain out of my reach.

STATES : ONLY TWO [ 02 ] remain out of TWENTY NINE [ 29 ] !! [ ARUNACHAL PRADESH & MIZORAM ]

UNION TERRITORIES : ONLY THREE [ 03 ] remain out of SEVEN [ 07 ] !! [ DADRA & NAGAR HAVELI // DAMAN & DIU // LAKSHADWEEP ]

INDIA : ONLY FIVE [ 05 ] remain out of THIRTY SIX [ 36 ] !!

Therefore I titled the blog – “Vidur Acting Institute Spreads Across India …… Almost!!”

 

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[  Information about states & Union Territories have been taken from Wikipedia. I express gratitude. ]

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Nagaland Peace Accord & Narendra Modi


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In a remarkable move the officials of government of India signed a peace agreement with a  major Naga tribal group, waging a guerrilla war with the central government for over past six decades. The agreement besides restoring peace in the region also attempts to build institutions bestowing greater autonomy to Naga tribes. The peace pact reached between the government of India and the largest militant faction of the North East, National Socialist Council of Nagaland (Isak-Muivah), NSCN (IM) can significantly bring down the insurgent insurrection. While the finer details of the accord and the mechanisms of its execution are still under wraps the move is welcomed by all political parties. Modi recalling it as a major triumph under the flag of Act East Policy reiterated that restoring peace, economic and social progression of North East has been his utmost priority.

To appreciate the crux of the issue, it is worth recapitulating the genesis and epic-proportions of the Naga insurgency tale. The undivided Goalpara district or the Assam province which was under the control of the Ahom rulers of Burma became part of the Bengal Subah of the Mughal Empire after conflicts. Subsequently in 1765 it fell into the hands of East India Company along with Bengal and became part of the special administrative region of North-Eastern parts of Rangpur. After a series of Anglo- Burmese wars and enforcement of Doctrine of Lapse the entire region of Assam was annexed to British India by 1833 (1). British later on captured several Naga territories and consolidated them under the Naga Hills district in Assam. Actually each Naga village was sovereign and ruled by tribal heads and Naga tribes had no common identity. British guilefully permitted the penetration of Christian Missionaries into the region and inadvertently religion fostered unity between Naga tribes.

Nagas were recruited by British during World War I as labour corps and sent to France. But they were alienated from rest of the British Indian troops and this alienation promoted unity between them. Upon returning to their homeland Nagas with few British officials formed the Naga Club in 1918.  Under the government act of 1919 British declared Naga Hill district as backward tract and treated it as separate entity. In 1928 Naga club submitted a memorandum to Simon Commission requesting that Nagas be allowed to have right to self-determination after their departure from India. In 1930’s the Naga tribes under the leader of Haipou Jadonang and Rani Gaidinliu rebelled against British. As per Government Act of India 1935, the Naga Hill district was declared as an Excluded area administered by Governor of Assam.

In 1945 C. R. Pawsney formed a Naga Hills District Tribal Race which evolved into Nagaland National Council (NNC) under the leadership of Angami Zapi Phizo. Phizo considered as Father of Nagas led an armed secessionist revolution and campaigned for a sovereign Naga nation. On August 14th 1947, a day before India’s independence Phizo declared the independence of Nagaland. Anticipating a stiff opposition from the insurgent group of Nagas prior to declaration of independence in June, 1947 the governor of Assam Sir Akbar Hyderi initiated peace talks. He signed a 9-point agreement with moderate members of NNC. The Hyderi accord agreed to grant judicial, executive and legislative powers and autonomy in land related matters. But the constituent assembly failed to ratify the accord that envisioned Naga demand for a sovereign state with India as a Guardian power for 10 years.  Instead they were granted district autonomy within Indian constitution.

In 1948 an agreement was reached between NCN and Government of India recognising Naga people right to self-determination (3). But NNC under the leadership of Phizo intensified their demand to establish a sovereign Naga state. He conducted a referendum in 1951 wherein nearly 99% voted for an independent Nagaland. Phizo has called for boycott of general elections in 1952 and launched violent secessionist movement. He also met Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru in 1951 and 1952 with a petition for sovereign status and separate electorate for Nagas but was refused. He was later in Burma arrested for illegal entry. Phizo then created an underground government, Naga Federal Government (NFG) and Naga Federal Army (NFA) on March 22nd 1956 (4). To quell the raising insurgency, government inducted Armed Forces and enforced Armed Forced (Special Powers) Act in 1958. Phizo escaped to East Pakistan in 1956 and lived in exile till death in London.

In the meanwhile government of India placed Naga Hills District under the tribal districts “Part A” category as per the sixth schedule of constitution, as an autonomous district governed by Governor of Assam with a limited representation in Assam state legislative assembly and Indian Parliament. This arrangement was refused by the Naga leaders. Hence along Tuensang division it was placed in “Part B” category as an area in the North East Frontier Agency under the administrative authority of Ministry of External Affairs in 1957. Following negotiations with secessionists the region was later converted into a full-fledged state of Nagaland in 1963, December 1st.

Government constituted a peace mission consisting of Jaya Prakash Narain, Assam chief minister Bimala Prasad Chaliha and Rev Michael Scott that signed an Agreement for Suspension of Operation (AGSOP) with insurgent groups in April, 1964. But relentless violations by NNC and NFG continued to rock the state in spite of the six rounds of peace negotiations. The peace mission was abandoned in 1967. In 1972 government launched a massive counter-insurgency operation and banned the NNC and NFG under the unlawful associations act. Situation was brought under control by 1975 and a section of the NNC and NFG on November 11th 1975 signed the famous Shillong Accord. Consequently the Naga rebels accepted the supremacy of Indian constitution, renounced arms and demand for secession of Nagaland from India (5).

But peace still eluded this region as nearly 150 rebels who were away in China and Burma for training during the signing of agreement refused to accept the final settlement with Indian government. Among them the trio of Isak Chisi Swu, Thuingaleng Muviah and S, Khaplang blatantly rejected the agreement and in the next five years parted from ways with NNC and created National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN) in 1980. This group quickly emerged as a strong rebel contingent and NNC-NFG became less active. But by 1988 the rebellion within the group resulted in splintering of the unit into NSCN (IM) and NSCN (K) and the names of factions denote the rebel leaders heading them. In 1990 after death of Phizo, NNC split into NNC (A) led by Phizo’s daughter Adino and NNC (K) headed by Vice-president Khodao Yanthan. NNC (K) later merged with NSCN (IM) (6). Each of the splinter groups represents different tribes. Konyaks group is led by S. Khaplang of NSCN (K), a Hemie Naga from Myanmar. Tangkhuls led by Isak, a Sema from Nagaland and Muivah a Tangkhul from Ukhrul district of Manipur.

Irrespective of the tribes they represent, the ultimate aspiration of the Naga leaders has been to merge the contiguous areas of the Naga territories and create a greater Nagaland or Nagalim, four times the size of Nagaland. The putative Naga territory encompasses districts in Assam, Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh and Myanmar. Hence each of these states is wily of such a demand. This desire for Nagalim is so entrenched that even the elected representatives of the Nagaland assembly still continue to pass the resolution on the need for carving out Nagalim. India signed cease-fire agreements with NSCN (IM) in 1997 and with NSCN (K) in 2001. While NSCN (IM) has climbed down on their demand for a sovereign state for Nagas, they are particular about the creation of Nagalim. During the ceasefire period violent conflicts erupted between these two rival factions of NSCN.  Government of India held as many as 80 negotiations through interlocutors and monitored by the ceasefire commission with these factions. It emerged that NSCN (IM) has been sincere in its commitment.

NSCN (K) violated ceasefire agreement in March 2015, drawing support from ULFA, Bodos and Manipur militants it surfaced as United National Liberation Front of Western South East Asia. It executed an attack on Indian Army which resulted in the death of 18 jawans in Manipur on June 4th 2015. The present accord is termed historic as government clinched an agreement with the largest Naga groups which in turn can pave way for bringing other minor Naga factions on board. Prime Minister Modi is believed to have effectively utilised the good will created by Atal Bihari Vajpayee who wooed Nagas with his immaculate gestures and open confessions. He was the only Prime Minister fondly remembered by people of Nagaland for appreciating and recognising their unique history and frankly admitting the failures of Indian government that left trails of blood in the state (7).

According the interlocutor RN Ravi, the ground work for the accord has been done under the UPA government but the indecisive leadership frittered away the opportunity for a major breakthrough in 2012. Perhaps, the recent ceasefire violations by NSCN (K) propelled central leadership into swift action and spurred them to clinch an agreement with its rival faction NSCN (IM). But for the collaborative action of Ajit Doval, interlocutor RN Ravi, Nagaland governor PB Acharya and the Naga People’s front leader TR Zeliang this mission couldn’t have been achieved.

While the details of the initial framework agreement are sketchy, it is believed that since government of India will not compromise on the sovereignty and integrity of the country, redrawing of state boundaries may be ruled out. But the accord might have entailed upon greater autonomy to the Naga dominated regions in the various states. While article 371 (A)   already accords special status to Nagaland, government might consider strengthening it further (8).

The accord signed by Modi is truly iconic as it comes after a long duration of unrelenting parley of peace negotiations with promise of restoring the peace in the region marred with violence. The pact epitomizes the exemplary statesmanship of Modi and his steadfast commitment to make North East region more inclusive. The true test for the government lies in carefully dealing with different state governments of the region, in decommissioning arms of rebels and their absorption into mainstream and chalking out a robust long-term development projects for the North East.

[ For this article I am indebted to Mr. Ramaharitha Pusarla . He published the article on August 06, 2015 under the title of “Historic Naga Accord” in the website MyIndMakers. I am posting verbatim that very article and I express my deep gratitude and indebtedness to Mr. Pusarla. ]

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Bru Tribe : Refugee In Their Own Country


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MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA           MARCH 07, 2014           00.30 A.M.

Frankly speaking , few weeks back , I was unaware of the existence of Bru tribe of Mizoram . Years ago I had read about some conflict between Mizos of Mizoram and one particular tribe living there , near Bangla Desh and Tripura border . I knew that these days that particular tribe live in Tripura in exile. But apart from that I have not heard anything about Brus . When last week I read a couple of articles in Times of India and Hindustan Times , I came to know that the tribe in question is Bru and they are living in tents as refugee in their own country since 17 years.

The roots of the conflict can be traced to 1994, when a political party called the Bru National Union (BNU) was formed to promote the tribe’s welfare. In September 1997, at a conference in Saipuilui village in Mamit district, the BNU adopted a resolution to demand for an Autonomous District Council (ADC) for Brus in the western belt of Mizoram. Mizoram is predominantly inhabited by Mizos. Other tribes in the state include the Hmars, the Lai and the Chakmas, each of whom have their own ADC. Interestingly, though the Brus are the largest minority in Mizoram their demand for an ADC went unheeded. “What was wrong with that demand?” asks Elvis Chorkhy, chairman of the Bru Coordination Committee that has been working with the government to repatriate the Brus. “ Was it so unconstitutional as to lead to the physical torture and harassment of the Brus ?”

The bloody ethnic clashes of 1997 displaced  over 4000 Brus initially . They fled to neighbouring Assam and Tripura’s sleepy town of Kanchanpur , which lies about 45 km from the Mizoram border. 17 years ago, thousands of Brus fleeing attacks from Mizos took refuge here. Many crossed the border on foot. The displaced Brus put up temporary shelters on the lower tracts of the Jampui hills that separate Tripura from Mizoram and Bangladesh. Today, there are over 35,000 Internally Displaced Persons languishing in the seven camps spread over the region. Here, scores live amidst filth and human waste with small mountain streams being the only source of drinking water. The incident, like many others in the North East India , hardly made it to the national media , print and electronic both .

https://i0.wp.com/www.hindustantimes.com/Images/popup/2014/2/india-maps.jpg

[………The Map of Mizoram showing Bru Dominated Areas & Area of Bru Refugee Camps in Tripura ]

To know more about the Bru tribe , I checked Wikipedia and came to know a fascinating history about them . I am reproducing the Wikipedia article in verbatim .

The history of Bru (Reangs)

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The Bru are the second most populous tribe of Tripura after the Tripuris. According to the legend, a Tripuri prince who was once exiled by the King made his way, along with his followers, to the Mayani Thalang area of Lushai hills [ now Mizoram ] and founded a state over there. He proclaimed himself King and his descendants too ruled over the break-away state for generations. As it sometimes happens, there came a time when there was no heir to succeed to the throne, leading to anarchy in the kingdom. At around the same time, bitter feud and internal vendetta saw four chiefs of the following sub tribes Twikluha, Yongsika, Paisika, Tuibruha leave their hearth and home along with their entourages to migrate back to the state of Tripura. It was a long and difficult journey, fraught with danger and the travellers had to make more than a couple of attempts before they successfully made their way up the Dombur hill.

At the time, Mahendra Manikya ruled the kingdom of Tripura. The chiefs made many attempts to reach the King to request asylum. They approached ministers, bureaucrats, and courtiers for help in arranging a meeting with the King but with no success. By this time, they had exhausted their supplies and were rather anxious to catch the attention of the King. Finally in desperation, they breached the dam on the river Gumti where worshippers had gathered for prayers. This was a serious crime and all of them were immediately apprehended and brought before the king. The crime was a serious one and merited capital punishment. But before the King could pass his judgement, the chiefs managed to send word to the Queen Gunoboti. They begged her for help and she persuaded the King to forgive them. The chiefs swore fealty to the Queen and to the throne of Tripura and settled down in the Kingdom. Popular legend has it that the Queen even offered the chiefs breast milk, to symbolize their new parent-child relationship, in a large brass pan which was gifted to the chiefs along with other valuable things, carefully preserved by Reangs till date.

The latest episode in the ongoing conflict between Mizos and Brus came on November 23 , 2013 . It was two days before the Mizoram assembly elections, when Bru militants allegedly belonging to the Bru Democratic Front of Mizoram (BDFM) and helped by members of the National Liberation Front of Tripura (NLFT) abducted three young men.

The incident reignited the long-standing conflict between the Mizos and the minority Brus . Enraged by the abduction of the Mizos, several protests spearheaded mostly by the powerful NGOs MZP and the Young Mizo Association (YMA) were organised throughout the state. Subsequently, local village headmen were threatened with dire consequences if they did not ask the militants to release the Mizos.

In modern Mizoram one can find the Mizo mindset about Bru tribe in a Mizoram Home department letter sent to National Human Rights Commission . In the letter dated February 10, the Home department of the Mizoram government listed the reasons that led to the original conflict between the Mizos and the Brus. According to the document, the Brus — recognised as Reangs as per the Constitution (Schedule Tribes) Order, 1950 — fled persecution in the erstwhile Tippera kingdom (now divided between Tripura and Bangladesh) to arrive in Mizoram in the early 1940s. “Brus have always been outsiders and can never be a part of the larger Mizo culture,” says Lalmuanpuia Punte, who was MZP’s president in 1997.

The Mizos say the Bru exodus of 1997 can be traced to a ‘circular’ signed by Bruno Msha, who was then the Bru Student Union president and is currently the general secretary of the Mizoram Bru Displaced Peoples’ Forum (MBDPF). Dated March 1998, the ‘circular’ asks all Bru headmen to evacuate their villages and leave Mizoram because of a possible clash between Bru militants and Mizoram security personnel. Msha, who denies signing any such document, claims the story is a Mizo attempt to blame Bru militants for the exodus.

Each side might apportion blame to the other but ultimately, the ethnic violence of 1997 pushed many Brus into relief camps in a remote part of Tripura that borders Mizoram and Bangladesh.

Things, however, continue to look bleak for over 35,000 people still stuck in the forgotten camps of Tripura. A report by the Asian Indigenous and Tribal Peoples Network says ‘The ration quota is so inadequate that Brus do not report deaths as it means a further reduction of the rations’. The abject conditions and the lack of employment and education have made the camps a good recruiting ground for militants. Many young Brus have missed out on education and cannot even get job cards under central government schemes. “This is why we are asking for a Primitive Group Program and a development council which will look after the upliftment of the community once it is repatriated,” says Bruno Msha of the MBDPF.

Adults get a cash dole of Rs. 150 per month and 600 gms of rice per day while minors get half that amount. This is much less than other internally displaced groups like the Kashmiri Pandits and even the Sri Lankan refugees in Tamil Nadu have received in the past. Leaders of the MBDPF maintain that unless compensation is increased, no one will go back. Both the home department and Mizo organisations, allege that any attempts at repatriation are foiled by the staging of untoward incidents. The Bru side alleges that it is a conspiracy by Mizos who don’t want Brus to return. With only 5,627 people rehabilitated until last October, the Mizoram government has a mammoth task on its hands. “It has become necessary to remove those camps and resettle the displaced. We are losing precious time and a generation of kids is losing their future. The process needs to be expedited,” said Chorkhy.

But who cares? Mizoram government of Indian National Congress is heartless . National media is silent . National parties are ignorant . Few thousand Brus are insignificant for electoral arithmetic . So these hapless citizens of India are languishing in refugee camps . They are homeless in their own homeland .

According to me Bharatiya Janata Party should do something for these children of lesser God . It may not help electorally , but it is a national cause . A whole generation of Brus are getting deprived of their rights . We must stand for them . Politics is one thing , humanity is something else .

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On behalf of all the students and staff of VIDUR Acting Institute , I express my solidarity with the Bru tribe , who , like Kashmiri Pandits , are refugee in their own country .

VIDUR Editing Studio , VIDUR Club and VIDUR Theatre would also like to express solidarity with them . We wish their speedy rehabilitation .

[ This blog is not written by me in toto . I have taken excerpts from Wikipedia and quoted from the articles published in Times of India and Hindustan Times and simply re-arranged and re-produced those articles here . I express my gratitude . Views expressed about Brus are mine . ]

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Longest Serving Chief Ministers of India


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MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA           DECEMBER 30 , 2012           11.57 P.M.

After Narendra Modi‘s emphatic and 3rd consecutive electoral victory in 2012 Gujarat assembly elections , I came across a very startling fact through news papers . Times of India reported that including Narendra Modi , at present we have 6 serving Chief Ministers in various states of India , who have won 3 consecutive terms .

Corrected few errors.

Map of India (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Here is the list of 6 serving Chief Ministers , who have won 3 consecutive terms .

1 – Sheila Dikshit = Delhi – 3 Consecutive Terms [ 1998 – to date ]

2 – Manik Sarkar = Tripura – 3 Consecutive Terms [ 1998 – to date ]

3 – Naveen Patnaik = Odisha – 3 Consecutive Terms [ 2000 – to date ]

4 – Tarun Gogoi = Assam – 3 Consecutive Terms [ 2001 – to date ]

5 – Okram Ibobi Singh = Manipur – 3 Consecutive Terms [ 2002 – to date ]

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6 – Narendra Modi = Gujarat – 3 Consecutive Terms [ 2002 – to date ]

It is very interesting to note that out of these 6 Chief Ministers ; 3 belong to Congress [ Indian National Congress ] , and 1 each to CPM [ Communist Party of India – Marxist ] , BJD [ Biju Janata Dal ] & BJP [ Bharatiya Janata Party ] .

Till date , there are only 13 Chief Ministers , who could win 3 or more than 3 terms consecutively . Here is the list :

1 – Jyoti Basu = West Bengal – 5 Consecutive Terms [ 1977 – 2000 ]

2 – Mohanlal Sukhadia = Rajasthan – 4 Consecutive Terms [ 1954 – 1971 ]

3 – Gegong Apang = Arunachal Pradesh – 4 Consecutive Terms [ 1980 – 1999 ]

4 – B. C. Roy = West Bengal – 3 Consecutive Terms [ 1948 – 1962 ]

5 – K. Kamaraj = Tamil Nadu – 3 Consecutive Terms [ 1954 – 1963 ]

6 – Vasantrao Naik = Maharashtra – 3 Consecutive Terms [ 1963 – 1975 ]

7 – M.G. Ramachandran = Tamil Nadu – 3 Consecutive Terms [ 1977 – 1987 ]

8 – Sheila Dikshit = Delhi – 3 Consecutive Terms [ 1998 – to date ]

9 – Manik Sarkar = Tripura – 3 Consecutive Terms [ 1998 – to date ]

10 – Naveen Patnaik = Odisha – 3 Consecutive Terms [ 2000 – to date ]

11 – Tarun Gogoi = Assam – 3 Consecutive Terms [ 2001 – to date ]

12 – Okram Ibobi Singh = Manipur – 3 Consecutive Terms [ 2002 – to date ]

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13 – Narendra Modi = Gujarat – 3 Consecutive Terms [ 2002 – to date ]

If you dissect the list further , out of these 13 Chief Ministers ; 8 belong to Congress [ Indian National Congress ] , 2 belong to CPM [ Communist Party of India – Marxist ] and 1 each to AIADMK [ All India Anna Dravid Munnetra Kazhagam ] , BJD [ Biju Janata Dal ] and BJP [ Bharatiya Janata Party ] .

I think in next assembly elections due in 2013 , this scenario is definitely going to change . 2 more BJP Chief Ministers are poised to win their 3rd consecutive term . They are , Shivraj Singh Chauhan and Raman Singh , the Chief Ministers of Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh respectively .

2013 assembly elections are going to unfold interesting chapter in the history of India .

It would be an interesting political story to share with my acting students of my acting institute  Vidur’s Kreating Charakters .

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25 Years of Statehood of Arunachal Pradesh


MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA           SEPTEMBER 29 , 2012           10.45 P.M.

During my childhood , I had known a part my country , which was called NEFA . It came to national prominence during the India – China War of 1962 . Nathu La Pass and NEFA [ North East Frontier Agency ] became household names and our concern for this far off and neglected part of India was so great that we felt that we all are resident of NEFA . This erstwhile NEFA is now known as Arunachal Pradesh .

English: A Locator map of North East Frontier ...

A Locator map of North East Frontier Agency in 1961. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Before India – China war , I used to know only one province of North East India and it was Assam . Assam was a huge state of India in 1950 . Barring Manipur and Tripura , all the other provinces of present day North East India including NEFA were part of Assam . Map posted below bears testimony to this .

Political boundary of Assam in the 1950s.

Map of Assam in 1950

During British era this whole region was rules as a part of Bengal Presidency . Province of Assam came into being in 1874 . NEFA came into being in 1955 , though it was part of Assam .  It ceases to exist now . NEFA is now re-christened as Arunachal Pradesh and came into being on February 20 , 1987 as a state of India . Itanagar is the state capital .

Map of India showing location of Arunachal Pradesh

Location of Arunachal Pradesh in the Map of India

ITANAGAR ARUNACHAL PRADESH

Itanagar – Capital of Arunachal Pradesh

So in a nutshell from 1954 to 1972 NEFA was part of Assam . On January 20 , 1972 it was separated from Assam and became Union Territory . On February 20 , 1987  it became a state of India . So it completed 33 years as Union Territory and it now completes 25 years as a state .

Present day Arunachal Pradesh is divided into 17 districts for administrative purposes .

English: Tawang Town with monastery in backgro...

Tawang Town with The Monastery

Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh is the Buddhist religious place and is the birth place of HH 6th Dalai Lama .

The birthplace of the 6th Dalai Lama (Urgellin...

The Birthplace of the 6th Dalai Lama

Simla Agreement between British and Tibet in 1913 – 1914 established the boundary line between present day Arunachal Pradesh of India and Tibet . Sir Henry MacMohan drew up 890 km long MacMohan Line as the border between British India and Outer Tibet . Chinese representative had no problem at that time but now China refuses to accept MacMohan Line and claims all of Arunachal Pradesh as her own province .

 

English: Map of the British Indian Empire from...

Map of the British Indian Empire from Imperial Gazetteer of India (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

The Survey of India had published a map in 1937 showing MacMohan Line as the official boundary . Even if you try to forget all the mythological links of present day Arunachal Pradesh with Mahabharat and it being the abode of MahaRishi Parashuram and it being the mythical kingdom of Kundinpur , which belonged to Rukmini’s father and it being the place , where Krishna Bhagwan came and married Rukmini , still the fact remains that from 1937 to 2012 , Arunachal Pradesh has 75 years of existence with India . If you consider the signing of Simla Accord between British India and Tibet in 1913 – 1914 , then this existence extends to 99 years .

In February 2012 , Arunachal Pradesh completed 25 years as a province of India . Irrespective of what China says , Arunachal has its links with India since Mahabharat days . And God willing next year Arunachal Pradesh will complete 100 years of its existence with India .

VIDUR

MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA

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Kokrajhar Riots & The Tyranny of Distance


MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA           SEPTEMBER 06 , 2012           12.55 P.M.

Rajdeep Sardesai at IIM Kozhikode in March 2008

Rajdeep Sardesai at IIM Kozhikode in March 2008 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Kokrajhar in Assam is reeling under communal violence . Demography of Assam is getting changed or rather it is being changed . Assam is fast changing and changing for worst . Assam is in trouble but no one is paying attention . They say that Assam is very far off and inaccessible . So in the words of Mr. Rajdeep Sardesai ” tyranny of distance ” is the main cause of this criminal neglect . And if Assam is in trouble can other states of North East India be far behind ?

In the age of internet , when twitter , Facebook and blogs are the order of the day , is this theory ” tyranny of distance ” convincing enough ? Or is it a ploy to avoid some troublesome questions , some unpleasant truths ?

Why ” tyranny of distance ” , which is so convenient for Kokrajhar , did not apply to Gujarat ? Why even the minutest details of post Godhra riots were aired repeatedly and why gory scenes were played on the television over and over again ? If the reportage on Gujarat riots were prerogative of a journalist then Kokrajhar should also be reported . And if Assam in general and Kokrajhar in particular is too distant , then Gujarat is also not the immediate neighbour of New Delhi .

Apart from ” tyranny of distance ” theory , Mr. Rajdeep Sardesai came with another brilliant ( ? ) theory for not reporting Kokrajhar riots . He tweeted that since more that thousand people got killed in Gajarat riots and less than hundred got killed in Kokrajhar , so reporting about Kokrajhar is not that important . Can a riot be termed as important and unimportant ? Is a riot less important because less than thousand people got killed ? He did tender apology after public outcry , but his hypocrisy was there for all to see .

English: Image of Narendra Modi at the World E...

English: Image of Narendra Modi at the World Economic Forum in India (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If Narendra Modi , the Chief Minister of Gujarat is responsible for Gujarat riots , then same yardstick should be applied to Tarun Gogoi , the Chief Minister of Assam also . And if Tarun Gogoi is not directly responsible for Kokrajhar riots , then how come Narendra Modi is guilty of Gujarat riots ?

@ Brahma Mandir, Kokrajhar

@ Brahma Mandir, Kokrajhar (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Countryside in the Bodo area of Assam

Countryside in the Bodo area of Assam “Udalguri and Kokrajhar are considered the center of the Bodo area.” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: see filename

Assam (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Bodos are tribal of Assam . Landscape of Bodoland is divine . The tribal culture of Bodos are in danger . So they are up in arms against the Bangladeshi immigrants . Because of vote bank politics provincial government is not paying attention or rather ignoring the menace . And even after riots , a cover up operation is going on . Now Mr. Rajdeep Sardesai is talking about the need of sensitivity for the Assam victims but he totally forgot to maintain that sensitivity for the victims of Gujarat riots .

I am not defending Gujarat riots . No sensible person can defend such acts . But there should be one yardstick for all the acts of crime . It should not be the case of good riots and bad riots . It should not be our riots or their riots . Riots are riots and they should be condemned in equal measures and with same force and vehemence .

That is the reason I fail to understand the logic of Mr. Rajdeep Sardesai and other secular like him . I condemn their hypocrisy . There cannot be and should not be two yardsticks for the same communal ( ? ) crime . If Gujarat is still remembered , so should be Kokrajhar . If BJP is communal , so is the Congress , Indian National Congress .

VIDUR

MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA

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You Too Left Us Bhupen Da ……. !!!


bhupen

MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA          NOVEMBER  09, 2011           03 .45 P.M.

Today in the morning Bhupen Da’s mortal remains were consigned to flames . I was watching live telecast of Bhupen Hazarika’s cremation from Guwahati , I was choked with emotions . When his footprints were taken and were shown to grieving millions , I too , sitting in the hall of my apartment , paid my obeisance . Bard of North – East is gone . Ballade singer of mighty Brahmaputra is silenced forever . The greatest icon of Assam is no longer with us .

Guwahati was supposed to bid farewell to Bhupen Hazarika on Tuesday . But his funeral was differed by one more day , so that unending stream of people  could pay respect to the departed icon . More than 1 million turned to the Judges Field , where his body was kept in glass casket , to pay respect . There were three km. long serpentine queues of grieving people , willing to stand for hours , for the last darshan of the most famous Indian of Assam . Shops and other business establishments were closed as mark of respect for Bhupen Da . Since buses and other modes of transport were not plying on roads of Guwahati  ,  people walked several km. to reach Judges Field for the last glimpse of Bhupen Da .

All the roads of Guwahati were full of grieving people since Monday morning. His hearse took seven hours to cover 30 km . distance before it could reach his ancestral home from Guwahati airport .

Bhupen Da died on November 05 , 2011 , at Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani hospital , Mumbai due to Pneumonia and multiple organ failure. He was 85 years old at the time of his death . His mortal remains were flown to Guwahati on Monday and cremation took place today . Government of Assam and Arunachal Pradesh have declared State mourning and closure of offices for the day . Assam government decided to cremate him with full state honours .

Born on September 08 , 1926 in Sadiya , Assam ,  Bhupen Da sang his first song , ”  BISHVO BIJOY NOJAWAN …………..  ” in Jyoti Prasad Agarwala’s film ” Indramalati ” , at the age of 12 in 1939 . He also acted in the film and thus made his debut as a child actor at the age of 12 years .

After completing his intermediate from Cotton College , Assam in 1942 , he went to Benaras Hindu University for Graduation and Post – Graduation . In 1949 , he moved to New York for his PhD and got his degree in 1952 .

While in New York , Bhupen Da became close friends with Afro – American singer and civil rights activist Paul Robesan . Bhupen Da was greatly influenced by Black Pride movement of Robeson and Robeson’s song ” Ole Man River ” made lasting impression on him . And years later Bhupen Da created his own ode to river Ganga ; ” BISTIRNO PARORE ”  in Assamese and ” O GANGA BEHTI HO KYON ”  in Hindi .

In 1956 Bhupen Da moved to Mumbai to work in IPTA [ Indian Peoples’ Theatre Association ] and worked with Balraj Sahni and other Communist comrades.

He produced , directed , gave music and sung for numerous Assamese films like ;Era Bator Sur ” [ 1956 ] , ” Mahut Bandhu Re ” [ 1958 ] , ” Shakuntala ” [ 1960 ] , ” Pratishwani ” [ 1964 ] , ” Ka Swariti ” [ 1964 ] , ” Loti Ghoti ” [ 1967 ] , and ” Chick Mick Bijuli ” [ 1971 ] . For ” Shakuntala ” , ” Pratidhwani ” and ” Lotighoti ” , he won National Award also for music .

He directed a colour Documentary, ” For Whom The Sun Shines ” [ 1974 ] on Tribal Folk Music and Dance of Arunachal Pradesh . He also produced , directed and composed music for ” Mera Dharam Meri Maa ” [ 1977 ] , first Hindi colour feature film of Arunachal Pradesh .

He produced and composed music for critically acclaimed Hindi feature film ;  ” Ek Pal ” [ 1986 ] ,  Later on he composed music for films like ; ” Rudali ” [ 1993 ] , ” Darmiyan ” [ 1997 ] , ” Saaz ” [ 1998 ] , ” Gaja Gamini ” [ 2000 ]  , ” Daman ” [ 2001 ] and ” Kyon ” [ 2003 ] .

During his earlier years , he edited two magazines in Assamese ; ” Amar Pratinidhi ” and  ”  Pratidhwani  ”  .

He was member of Legislative Council of Assam [ MLC ] from 1967 to 1972 and President of Sangeet Natak Academy from 1999 to 2004. He even contested Lok Sabha election on BJP ticket in 2004 .

He got Padma Shree in 1977 , Dada Saheb Phalke Award in 1993 , Padma Bhushan in 2003 and Asom Ratna in 2009 .He was awarded Muktijoddha Padak , Highest Civilian Award of Bangladesh , posthumously in 2011 .

His last song was for the film ” Gandhi To Hitler ” [ 2011 ]  , where he sang ” Vaishnav Jan To Tene Kahiye …… ” .

I am extremely fortunate that I met him once . In early 90s , I went to meet Ms. Kalpana Lajmi for some work in her under – production film . There I saw a man , who was looking very similar to Bhupen Da . I said , ” Sir , aap Bhupen Da jaise dikhte hain . ” To my utter shock and amazement that man smiled and said , ” Beta , Main Bhupen Da hi hoon . ” He kept on smiling and looked at me very tenderly . I was petrified . I stood up immediately and prostrated in front of him and touched his feet . I apologized profusely . He simply said , ” koi baat nahin . ”  Any other person in his place would have felt offended . But Bhupen Da was kindness personified . I consider myself fortunate that I got his blessings .

He wrote and sang more than 1000 songs . Of all his songs , I like ” SAMAY O DHEERE CHALO … DOOB GAYI RAH KEE NAO …. DOOR HAI PEE KA GAON ” ,  ” DIL HUM HUM KARE ……… ” , ” DOLA RE DOLA ……. ” , ” MANUSH MANUSHER JANYE ….. ” , ” AAMI EK JAJABOR …… ”  and his immortal ode to river Ganga ” O GANGA BEHTI HO KYON ……… ” and its Bengali and Assamese versions ” BISTEERNO DUPARE ……. ” .

You have to listen to his Immortal ode to Ganga to know the impact it created throughout Assam and entire North East region . I am giving below the lyrics :

विस्तार है अपार, प्रजा दोनो पार, करे हाहाकार, निःशब्द सदा, ओ गंगा तुम, ओ गंगा तुम          ओ गंगा… बहती हो क्यूँ ..

  • नैतिकता नष्ट हुई, मानवता भ्रष्ट हुई, निर्लज्ज भाव से बहती हो क्यूँ. . . .

    इतिहास की पुकार, करे हुंकार, ओ गंगा की धार, निर्बल जन को सबल संग्रामी, समग्रगामी. . बनाती नही हो क्यूँ. . . .

    विस्तार है अपार, प्रजा दोनो पार, करे हाहाकार, निःशब्द सदा, ओ गंगा तुम, ओ गंगा तुम. .. ओ गंगा… बहती हो क्यूँ . ..

  • अनपढ़ जन अक्षरहीन अनगिन जन खाद्यविहीन निद्रवीन देख मौन हो क्यूँ ?

    व्यक्ति रहित व्यक्ति केन्द्रित सकल समाज व्यक्तित्व रहित निष्प्राण समाज को छोडती न क्यूँ ?

    रुतस्विनी क्यूँ न रही ? तुम निश्चय चितन नहीं प्राणों में प्रेरणा प्रेरती न क्यूँ ?

    उन्मद अवनी कुरुक्षेत्र बनी गंगे जननी नव भारत में भीष्म रूपी सूत समरजयी जनती नहीं

  • Bhupen Hazarika
  • Much is said about his leftist leanings . If a person is writing odes to Mother Ganga and bemoaning about fate of current India and clamours for the rebirth of a warrior like Bhishma Pitamah , can he be called a leftist ? Bhupen Da was a true nationalist and Communists simply tried to appropriate his legacy but failed . During Chinese attack on India in 1962 , he sang KATO JAWANOR MRITYU HOL …… ( so many soldiers have died ) and bemoaned about shatrur poshuttwo ( barbarity of enemy ) . Can he be called a communist ? No way !
  • Even ULFA [ United Liberation Front of Asom ] tried to appropriate him . Bhupen Da sang during Quit India movement ” AGNIJUGOR FIRINGOTI MOI……… ” ( I am a spark in the age of fire … ) . and later on SURYODAY JODI LAKKHYA  AMAR , SURYASTOR PINEY DHABOMAN KIYO ……… ( if sunrise is what we seek , then why are we reacting towards sunset ) . Can he be called ULFA sympathiser because rising sun is ULFA symbol ? Then , rising sun is the symbol of Dravid Munnetra Kazhagam also . Does it mean that Bhupen Da was a DMK sympathiser or card – holder ? Utter nonsense .

  • In June my wife was admitted in ICU of Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital. Bhupen Da was in the adjacent room. That was the last I saw him .

Farewell Bhupen Da ! Your mortal remains are gone but through your songs and music , you shall always be with us . There shall never be another Bhpen Hazarika ever .

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