Forget the Telgi stamp paper scandal.
The Tiwari stamp “locha” is “herewa”.
A few months ago, the state of Bihar rejoiced in the achievement of Manoj Tiwari, the great Bhojpuri singer and the host of “Chak De Bacche” (Michael Jackson’s favorite program), for being the first living Indian to be honored with an international stamp from the government of Netherlands.
Yes the same Manoj Tiwari who was covered here at RTDM for his Bihar pride song: “Hum Bihari dil baante bhola bhala, Humre ke neta sabke nachawe walah.”
And now it is Tiwari jo sabko nacha raahe hain.
From Bihar Times [note the font size of the headlines—-now that’s state pride for you]
About a month back, I got a call from them (Dutch government) saying they needed my picture for a postage stamp. I guided them to my website and gave the matter no serious thought. When I got to know that they had actually issued a stamp with my face in the Netherlands I couldn’t believe it,” Manoj told IANS.
“Two Indian names were put forward for the honour. Pandit Hari Prasad Chaurasia and mine, the fact that I was chosen over a man of such stature and seniority fills me with both pride and humility.”
The Netherlands has a sizeable population of Bhojpuri-speaking north Indians who regard Manoj as an icon.
And if you thought that the Dutch masters were giving Tiwari an honor denied to Gandhi, Tagore, Amitabh and Hariprasad Chaurasia just for his singing talents alone, well think again.
Not just Bhojpuri cinema, but I’ve been toiling tirelessly to promote Bhojpuri all over the world wherever there’s sizeable Bhojpuri population, like in Mauritius and Surinam which is a former Dutch colony. I feel the postage stamp has a lot to with my popularity and the popularity of the Bhojpuri ‘bhasha’ (language) among Indians in Surinam and the Netherlands,” says the actor in Hindi.
Manoj feels the pride for regional languages is evaporating in the north. “That is why I’ve opened Bhojpuri academies in various cities all over the world including Surinam. I feel the Bhojpuri that Indians speak in foreign countries is hybridised and incorrect,” says the actor, who proceeds to the Netherlands May 22 to be honoured in person.
Manoj has now set his eyes on Bhojpuri cinema and language gaining credence all over the world.
“In Mauritius, where the Indian population dates back 150 years, I’ve been a regular visitor. In fact, I accompanied Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s contingent to Mauritius. If I say so myself, I paved the way for a political dialogue in Mauritius. Unfortunately, my work doesn’t get the recognition that it deserves.”
Well now this great musician, cultural icon and statesman has the recognition he deserves. Not only in the form of a stamp but also in a state function to felicitate Manoj Tiwari for getting this honor (just goes to show we Indians only honor our heros when foreigners do so)
Governor R. S. Gavai, at a function organized to honor Bhojpuri singer and actor Manoj Tiwari who was recently felicitated by the Dutch government that issued a postal stamp in recognition of his fame and talent, said he would do his best to push the agenda of getting Bhojpuri language included in the 8th Schedule of the Indian Constitution.
“Manoj Tiwari’s contribution to the world of Bhojpuri language is highly commendable and I would personally see that his talent is recognized nationally by recommending him for national award,” the Governor said.
“The honor that has been bestowed upon Mr. Tiwari by the Dutch government is not only a matter of pride for Bihar but for the entire nation,” he said.
An emotionally overwhelmed Tiwari thanked his fortune for being born in Bihar and acknowledged the love and honor the people of Bihar had showered on him.
Of course the great Economic Times found a larger historic context for this award.
The Dutch decision to honour Tiwari could also be a way of atoning for the trauma caused to 34,300 Bhojpuri peasants who were shipped out between 1873 and 1916 from western Bihar and eastern UP to work as indentured labour on sugarcane plantations in distant colonies like Surinam.
The trauma of being uprooted resulted in a folk culture called Bidesia, meaning Bhojpuris who left their homeland for ever and could only remember it through Poorvi Lok Sangeet and Ganga Geet — an oral tradition that is kept alive to this day in the songs sung by Tiwari
In unconfirmed news, as reported by RTDM correspondent Anirudh Bhatt, the Bengalis also have demanded an award from the British to atone for running Bengal into the ground from 1911 to independence, namely in the form of the title of Earl of MiddleSex for Rituporno.
Sadly however, like everything nowadays, even this amazing achievement has been touched by controversy.
First there was a public word of words between Manoj Tiwari and Bhojpuri legend Ravi Kishan where the intellectual cut-and-thrust was of the kind never seen outside the most exalted of academic circles. [Link]
For Tiwary, another retort was ready when he suggested that “Kishan has not grown a moustache, the symbol for a matured man and he will mature only when he grows one.
After such display of “maturity” from a moustachioed man, the manhood of “chikna” Ravi Kishan was naturally touched to the quick.
Sparks were bound to fly.
An attempt was made on the life of Manoj Tiwari. Fingers were pointed at Ravi Kishan.
The final straw on the camel’s back was the decision of the Netherland government to totally deny the honor they had bestowed on Manoj Tiwari. Finaly after the official felicitation of Tiwari, someone got around to verifying whether Tiwari had actually been bestowed the honor. The Dutch government, possibly at Ravi Kishan’s insistence, chose to deny they had issued a stamp in Tiwari’s name. [Link]
Not only that but they also hinted that what Tiwari had done was to go a Dutch website which allows you to upload your picture (for example, a picture of oneself ), pay a few Euros and get a roll of stamps printed with the uploaded picture. [Link]
What bull. A conspiracy I tell you.
I mean wouldn’t the Economic Times and the Bihar government have done a background check before reporting and felicitating?