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Imphal Times

Imphal Times

NEFIS protests against MHRD on Manipur University V-C and HECI issues

IT News
Imphal, July 18,

North-East Forum for International Solidarity (NEFIS) activists today held a protest at Ministry of Human Resources Development (MHRD), GOI along with other organizations demanding immediate removal of Manipur University Vice Chancellor, A.P. Pandey, and scrapping of proposal to replace University Grants Commission (UGC) with Higher Education Commission of India (HECI). A delegation of NEFIS activists also met Principal Private Secretary, MHRD and submitted a memorandum addressed to Union Human Resource Development (HRD) Minister regarding the issues.

Regarding the Manipur University (MU) issue, it should be noted that the university students, students’ union, teachers and karamcharis have been agitating since last month, demanding V-C’s replacement. They are demanding his replacement for the irregularities committed by his office. It should be noted that V-C’s office has committed many irregularities such as making arbitrary and illegal donations from university funds to student group, ABVP. He has been guilty of not conducting meetings with Executive Council and Finance Council as stipulated by Manipur University rules and brazenly violates MU Act, 2005 by neglecting court meetings. He is also guilty of grave financial and administrative irregularities, including appointment to non-existent posts and vindictive denial of promotion to a large number of teachers by making illegal changes in the due process.
NEFIS also condemns the recent proposal to scrap UGC and replace it with HECI. The proposed act would ensure that political subservience becomes the basis for funding received by higher educational institutions. Also, the proposed HECI is tasked with promotion of financial autonomy in higher educational institutions, which would in effect bring in privatization in hitherto publicly funded universities. In areas such as North-East where already huge disparity exists in terms of lack of public educational institutions such proposals would expedite the launch of teaching shops and would mean debarring majority of North-East youth from higher education.
NEFIS delegation raised these issues with the Principal Private Secretary. The Secretary assured NEFIS delegation that it had received the earlier memorandum which was submitted by NEFIS and had already instituted an inquiry committee to probe the issue. However, NEFIS dissented as to the continuance of the V-C on his post, which would provide him ample space to influence the inquiry being conducted against him and demanded that he should be immediately sent on leave, till the inquiry is being conducted. The secretary also assured the delegation that the MU issue would be sorted out soon. The delegation also raised the issue of HECI with the Secretary and demanded that the proposal be scrapped in the interests of the youth of the country.
It should be known that NEFIS is conducting a signature campaign in Manipur and in several other areas of the country regarding these issues and has also resolved to intensify its movement in the coming days if its demands are not accepted by the Union HRD ministry soon.

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Tribal body says agiatation in MU is because of Pandey being a Mayang

IT News
Imphal, July 18,

Joint Tribal Student Bodies, Manipur in a statement hit back on MSAD for using the word Mayang . In  a statement the body said.
The recent public invitation letter by MSAD using the word “Mayang” Vice-Chancellor (VC) to refer to the current VC Prof AP Pandey is a clear indication that the present VC is judged based on his race, ethnicity or origin. This indicates that the achievements which the VC has brought into the university are not at all acknowledged by the agitating students and it is truly sad that they do not accept the VC due to his origin or ethnicity.

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Even Monkey falls from the tree

It could be recollected that Prof. Adya Prasad Pandey was appointed as the Vice Chancellor of Manipur University on 24th of October, 2016 and he assumed charge on 13th of December, 2016. He took almost a month and half to report for joining the university. In addition, his academic credential and administrative competence is doubtful comparing with the local candidates who got a call letter for the post of Manipur University Vice Chancellorship.  Despite all of it, all members and everyone in the fraternity of University community gave him a warm welcome believing in the vision of a new India by 2022 by providing new directions to the youths by building up the country’s educational infrastructure both in terms of human material as well as human resources. Since he was handpicked for the Manipur University by the ruling political regime, every in the university fraternity were expectantly looking up to him that university will afdvance and progress under his leadership as head of the institution. But as unfolded over a period of time, he started behaving like a dictatorial ‘Delhi implant’. Whatsoever he lacked in academics and administrative acumen he makes it up with his arrogance. It seemed, his attitude to the members in all the three wings of the university - teaching and non-teaching staff and also most importantly the students are not that of rendering service but doling out favours. He also allegedly made illegal appointments, awarded dubious contracts, misappropriate university fund and derelict his duty by habitually going in long outstation holidaying. It was from May 30 onwards of this year that the Manipur University Students’ Union (MUSU) started an agitation demanding the removal of the Vice Chancellor AP Pande. The agitation gained momentum in the following days with the joining in of Manipur University Teachers’ Association (MUTA) and Manipur University Staff Association joining in the chorus for removing a VC and commissioning an independent judicial enquiry to prove the allegation against him after he doesn’t give any response to the appeal for giving clarification to the allegation labelled against him by the MUSU. With the situation becoming aggravating, the Joint Secretary of the Union Human Resource Development (HRD) Ministry visited Manipur on 21 June to take stock of the situation. It turned out inconsequential and his attempt to drive a wedge terribly failed as he refused to meet MUTA and MUTA in turn forbid any of its members to meet him in private. Then there was attempt to fortify the university campus by deploying the large number of police personnels after there was arson and fire in university under suspicious circumstances. The Fact Finding Committee constituted by the HRD Ministry consisting of Joint Secretary of University Grants Commission and Deputy Secretary, ministry of HRD constituted on 12 July was also rejected by the MUSA, MUTU, and MUSA as toothless. After all these failed, there have even been sinister attempt to delegitimize all the fraternities of the university community as ‘anti-nationals’ stated by the VC and later echoed by the political functionaries in the ruling regime that the ongoing impasse is an outcome of non fulfilling of the Rs. Five Crore demand from a particular outfit. Though there seemed to have no reports from the intelligence agencies to substantiate it. The two officers so appointed for fact finding are protocol wise much below the status of VC. The Commission was reconstituted on 17 July by roping in one more member, Tayenjam Nandakumar, Retired Acting Chief Justice of Meghalaya High court as the Chairperson. When, on 15 February 2016, the President, who is the Visitor of all central universities, approved the dismissal of Prof. Sushanta Dattagupta from the post of Vice Chancellorship of Visva Bharati, it happened for the first time that the head of a central university has been sacked. In the said case, the committee comprises of Sakharam Singh Yadav (Justice of Allahabad High Court), BB Data (Chairman, Shri Aurbindo Institute of Culture, Shillong), and Dilip K Chakrabarti (Professor of South Asian Archaeology, university of Cambridge).  In fact, the other two members from the non judicial background are all persons of eminence with unquestionable integrity independent of the conflicting interest of holding office of profit which could be influenced by the HRD Ministry. Considering the huge political clout enjoyed by the VC Adha Prasad Pande by virtue of his wife and his haughty flaunting of his association with the political stalwarts from the ruling regime in the Centre at various social networking sites (uploading selfies with them), the question arises how the far the fact finding committee can be ‘independent’ in probing and establishing the authenticity of the allegations labelled against the VC Adha Prasad Pande, which he himself  found it hard to defend himself remains a big question. The issue is no longer of university alone. The University community and the people in the state would most likely take it only as a cosmetic change. The Union HRD Ministry is so far snail pacing in its attempt to address this ongoing impasse. More precisely put, the union HRD Ministry is doing a monkey business by responding to the impasse with a half baked token piecemeal perhaps with the intention to maintain a staus quo of the VC Adha Pande. Those in the Union HRD Ministry and VC, Adha Pande must know that unlike those in the Hindi-Hindu heartland, Manipuri as a community with advanced literary tradition cannot be fooled so easily so as to honey trap or trapped in whatever way. From time immemorial, we have a local adage, ‘Yong mamei Chappey’ which in the English proverb very much runs like, ‘Even monkey falls from the tree’. Beware¡ the Union HRD Ministry as well as the State Government so far remaining impotent in addressing this ongoing impasse. If your involvement and intervention doesn’t lead to the desired expectation of the people and the university community, you all also would experience the situation of monkeys falling from the tree.

Conversion into Hinduism and Burning Of Meitei Puyas

By: Dr. N. Birachandra

There was the trace of Hinduism in Manipur long before the reign of King Pamheiba alias Garibniwaz in the 18th century AD. Hindu Gods and Goddesses began to worship in the country from the time of King Kyamba (15th century AD) though there was no case of formal initiation into Hinduism. In the 17th century AD, King Khagemba took more initiative in the worship of Vishnu and in his last stage he was leaning toward Hinduism and began to neglect traditional faith. But we are not getting any information of his formal initiation into Hinduism.
The first quarter of the 18th century AD was a turning point in the history of the Manipuri culture. King Charairongba, the father of King Pamheiba commonly known as Garibniwaz took formal initiation into Hinduism. He was baptised by one Rai Banamali, a Brahmin from Orissa to Rudra Sampradaya or Vallabha chairs. His example was followed by other 300 person. Formal initiation of the king along with 300 persons took place on 6th Jesta 1704 A.D. His attempt to convert the whole population was brought to a halt by his sudden death in 1709 AD. Even though the attempt was fruitless, he was the first king of Manipur who brought Hinduism and planted on the soil of Manipur.
After Charairongba his son and successor Pamheiba was initiated by Rai Gangadhor, a son of Rai Banamali. Thus in the early part of his reign Garibniwaz followed the cult of Rudra. But the king soon changed his faith to another cult i.e. Goudya Vaisnavism (Sanak). He was baptized to the new faith-by one Gopal Das on the 10lh day of Mera (Aswin)1717 AD along with some of his followers (Cheitharol Kumbaba & Sanamahi Laikan).The king was a wonderful man having fickle mind that, after following the Goudya Vaisnavism for seven years, he changed his faith once more and adopted Ramandism or Ramayet cult.
Arrival of Santadas Gossai and Introduction of Ramandism in Manipur
Hinduism entered Manipur peacefully without any hue and cry in its early days. But arrival of Santadas Gossai and attempt to make Ramandism as state religion by uprooting the traditional faith and acts of persecution left an unforgettable episode in our history.
Pamheiba took formal initiation to Ramandism from Santadas in 1724 AD. But his subjects including his own son Chitshai and local priests led by Lourembam Khongnangthaba strongly opposed the new religion. Although the king was very eager to spread the new faith, he was aware of the great Maichous of the country-specially, Lourembam Khongnangthaba. So, the king sent messengers to seek the opinion of the Maichou. Accordingly, Khongnangthaba send one Moirang Lanhanba to communicate to the king his denial to accept the new faith. The king was so angry while receiving the reply of Khongnangthaba. He ordered to hang Moirang Lanhanba to death. It is said that, Khongnangthaba saved his disciple-through some miracle.
Nongkhrang Iruppa-1729A.D.
In this way Ramandism became state religion of Manipur. But his subjects refused to utter the name of Rama and took meat secretly. So, the king and Santadas devised a way to bring the Meiteis in the new faith by means of a promise called ‘Nongkhrang Iruppa’ on the 1st day of Wakching (Magha) l729 AD.  The king forced his subjects to perform the Nongkhrang Iruppa at Lilong and Nungjeng Pukhri simultaneously using the threat of punishment and torture (CK-and Khagemba Langjei). Thus the innocent peoples were bound by the promise to the new faith i.e. Ramandism. Then the Gossai started the work of investing the sacred thread (Lugun) stage by stage and the Meiteis were converted into Hindu Kshetriya.
Throwing aboard of the ashes of the skulk at Irravati River
The Gossai then started a series of works to Hinduise the Meiteis through and through. The traditional practice of the burial of the death body was ordered to stop and the skull of the deceased persons were dug out and cremated and thrown its ashes to Irravati River. Since then the Meiteis used to perform cremation in the disposal of the death. There also Khongnangthaba advised the king not to do so, as it might lead to the discompsture of the Meiteis. But the king did not pay any attention (Miyat & Cok) Burning of the Puyas
To uproot the traditional faith and to complete the work of Sanskritisation Santadas with the permission of the king, collected all the manuscripts of the Meiteis locally called ‘Puya’ and burnt them into ashes. It is said that about 115 books of different aspects were destroyed by the foolishness of the king.
Destruction of the Idols of the Traditional Deities and its Consequences
King Pamheiba ordered to destroy all the idols (Umanglai) of the old faith. All the idols of the Umanglais were collected, destroyed and were buried at Mongbahanba in 1726(C.K.). Then the two disciples of Santadas viz. Bhagavandas and Narayandas destroyed the bronze idol of Sanamahi made by and buried the same at Mongbahanba in 1732 AD.
The destruction of the image of Sanamahi was followed by some events of miracles in the state and in the royal family. The king’s son Siva Shai and his queen Paikhulanthabi got seriously ill and the diagnosis of their illness was not possible. But they were saved by Moirang Lanhanba when the king promises to reinstall the idol of Sanamahi. The same was done in 1733 AD on the initiative of Santadas. The two disciples of Santadas were turned out from the state.
The priests and protagonists of the old faith who were not converted into Ramandism led by Lourembam Khongnangthaba firmly stood against all acts of highhandedness of the king and his Guru. In the meantime bad omens and events of miracles started occurring frequently in the state. The king’s Guru could not boldly face all such events. Not only did he fail in saving many such cases, he also had to beg the Meitei Maichou for help (Sanamahi Laikan & Garibniwaz Laiming Louba). Above all his false stories to induce the king to accept the Ramayet cult automatically bound him to respect the traditional God like Sanamahi. Its effects had far reaching causes which led to the revival of traditional deities and worship of Sanamahi even by the Manipuri Brahmin. This led to the co-existence of the Hindu Gods with the traditional deities. Santadas realized the strong ritual potency of the traditional faith. Not only did he retreat on many occasions of removing traditional faith, but once his life was saved by Lourembam Khongnangthaba.
Thus his attempt to Hinduise the Meitei society could not be completed. He retreated from his earlier stand and decided to make a compromise. Thus he brought a compromise with the priests of the traditional faiths and decided to form a new taste of Hinduism, having elements of 50 per cent each from both the faiths. Traditional rituals, ceremonies, festivals etc. were all sanskritised. It included elements of both the faiths. But in some aspects, what was beyond the knowledge of Santadas were left unsolved with sanskritisation.
In the end, worship of the traditional deities was permitted and revived once more. Sanamahi and other Umanglais were reinstalled. Puyas were collected and rewritten. In the attempt to rewrite the destroyed Puyas, new elements might have been added by the enthusiastic scholars of the time.
In this way Ramayet cult brought a renaissance in the socio-religious life of the Meiteis. To make it known in future generation, Khongnangthaba advised the Meiteis to tear apart in the middle all the cloths to be worn as lower garment and stitch them again (Khongdai-taiba) to show that, Meitei culture has composite elements of two distinct theism and way of life viz. Hinduism and Meiteism. The new practice since then is continuing till date. So, Hinduism in Manipur is an interesting field for study.
During the long reign of 40 years, Pamheiba changed his faith so frequently. From 1709-1717 the king followed Rudra Sampradaya,from 1717-1724, he felled to Goudya Vaisnavism. Then he changed to Ramayet cult from 1724 and continued it upto l736AD.Then he got baptised to Nimandi cult and professed the same from 1736- 1739. In the fag end of his life, the king adopted Goudya Vaisnavism once again till he breathe his last but he could not influenced his subjects much.
Thus, Manipur became an arena for testing different religious cults from 1709- 1748 under Pamheiba alias Garibniwaz which made untold misery to his subjects.