The ” Manipuri” Question

In the post Sixties, with the power of the Manipur State behind them, the Meitei clan has been waging an organized campaign to discredit and disown the Bishnupriya counterparts.

There have been suggestions that Bishnupriya was never the language of Manipur and Meitei is the “Real” Manipuri language. These assertions are contradicted by historical and anthropological evidence. Unfortunately, some writers have repeated the ‘Official’ Manipuri line without thought or reason.

For example, Gait’s – Assam Census Report states “There is a also a degraded class called the Kalachya or Bishnupuria ..They speak a language which is different from that of the true Manipuris”. Now it is reasonable to ask what was the basis of giving a linguistic a nomenclature like “True Manipuris” or “False Manipuris”.The 1968 Language Bill passed by the Manipur Government making Meitei (A kuki-chin word) synonymous to Manipuri (An Aryan word) and the inclusion of Meitei language as the Manipuri language in eight schedule of the Indian constitution by the Indian Government was sufficient to damage the ethnical and cultural identity of the Bishnupriya Manipuri speaking people residing in Manipur, Assam and Tripura.

The Bishnupriyas think that was completely unjustified to give the nomenclature to Meitei as Manipuri, where in the Linguistic Survey of India , the only basis of language classification Dr. G.A. Grierson described the Bishnupriyas As “Bishnupriya Manipuri”. They think that is also illegal and irrelevant to consider only the Meitei language as “Manipuri” language where, in the statistics of School board, Cachar during British regime, in the Census report of India 1961 and in the Census Report of India 1971, the main heading “Manipuri” was sub-divided into Meitei and Bishnupriya and the nomenclature “Bishnupriya Manipuri” was strongly defended.