E- barton for CM & Governor

    19-Jun-2022
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Free Thinker
These days we are receiving e-invite through e-mails, messages or WhatsApp.Youngsters feel quite normal about these invitations but the old generation people are not comfortable with this new trend. The elderly people quite often ignore such invitations. Whereas the younger ones do happily respond to such invitations.
In addition to E-invitation we have seen invites on various media – through radio, tv and newspapers. Such a practice has been encouraged by the Covid pandemic. Even after the pandemic is on the wane the practice of contactless invitation is still on.
A few days back I received an E- Barton or E- Invitation for a marriage anniversary from a friend of mind. I thought he was avoiding paperwork and physical appearance to avoid Covid spread. I told him over the phone that his E- Barton is the right thing to do during pandemic. He mocked me saying that it is not because of the pandemic but because of shortage of manpower and time. Actually, he sent the E- Barton to his 30 friends through WhatsApp. That way he is not only saving time, money, paper,energy, but also fuel.
 The sanctity of actual paper-based invites is on the way out. Old generation is used to paper invitation cards - ranging from plain paper to well decorated glazed ones. Until and unless they get such an invitation, they normally avoid attending any ceremony or function except for funeral and death related rituals or functions.That has been the practice so far in the last many years .
Before the advent of paper invitation,for the generation preceding Japan Lan (Second World War) invitation was extended by simply offering flower, betel leaf and nut.I am not very sure about the mode of invitation in the 19 th century Manipur. Perhaps it was mainly done orally.My grandmother who heard the story of paothang / paojel from her mother once told me that news of birth, death, marriage or important ceremonies in the village was conveyed from house to house. Only the elderly people were personally informed by the family concerned.
 When we were children, we used to distribute paper Barton for various ceremonies or rituals or functions. Only the senior citizens in the locality were extended an invitation by using betel leaf and nut. We never thought of the logic or reason for such special invitations. Perhaps that was done to retain our tradition and also to show respect to our elders.
 These days we are quite familiar with open invitations through newspapers and cable TV. This practice has been made extremely popular and acceptable by the pandemic. People start attending functions, ceremonies and rituals on the basis of media request/invite.
Invitation through WhatsApp, SMSs, e-mail etc, have become quite common and young people are quite comfortable with it. For the elderly it sounds odd and difficult to accept. However due to pandemic such e- invites has become a new normal. People in general have acknowledged such invitations or Bartons. Old generation people are still not very happy about this new development; but they are also gradually accepting the new format.
When my grandfather died in 1950 my father went to Gandhi Memorial Press, Gimson Road or Sadr Bazaar, to print the invitation card for Sorad.He recalled that the Press charged him Rs 3 for printing 200 copies of invitation cards. He waited for two to three hours and collected the cards. Printing was done manually by using hand and leg.
Before Japan Lan (Second World War) the culture of inviting people through printed cards was very rare; perhaps not in vogue. Moreover, there was hardly any established printing press to handle such a job/work. After the war printing technology had entered the town in a plausible way. The customers were also very few.
“Phiroi of my grandmother which is to be held on 18 June has been postponed due to the sudden flooding of my Sumang and Community Hall as a result of incessant rain. So, the earlier invitation has been withdrawn, for those who took the invite seriously - inconvenience is deeply regretted; a new date and time will be intimated accordingly as and when the water level recedes. According to the Local Meteorological Department the rain will stop in a day or two.Friends and relatives are requested to kindly wait for the next notification or invite on media”. This is just a sample of withdrawing an invitation through print media.
An interesting incident about E-invitation has also taken place in the last few days; an invite was extended by a Commissioner to an Hon.MP through WhatsApp for the release of the memoir of the former’s late father. Hon’ble MP graciously accepted the invitation. That means E-Barton or E-Invitation is now an accepted practice even among the VIPs. Hopefully people will happily follow this new trend without any hic-ups. In fact, E-Barton saves time, money, energy, paper and fuel. Let us make it more popular and more acceptable.
His Excellency Governor ji & Hon.CM Saheb may kindly take the lead.