The ties that bind

By Hoihnu Hauzel Note: This article was originally posted on June 4, 2011 at Down to Earth. Hoihnu Hauzel explores the similarities between Thailand and India’s northeastern part Some places… Read more »

By Hoihnu Hauzel

Note: This article was originally posted on June 4, 2011 at Down to Earth.

Hoihnu Hauzel explores the similarities between Thailand and India’s northeastern part

The vegetable market on the railway track in Samut Songkram province.

The vegetable market on the railway track in Samut Songkram province.

Some places in the world can make you feel at home. They have a strange way of striking a chord with you. Thailand is one such place. I feel connected to the country, its food, people and culture. This connection goes well beyond the physical aspect of looking like one of the natives Thailand. This is precisely why I keep going back to Thailand. It guarantees a certain kind of familiarity and a comfort that no other place in the world offers.

I remember my maiden trip to Thailand eight years ago. Tears welled up my eyes for reasons unknown. Was it the feeling of excitement to be a part of a larger group or was it the sight of those Thai ladies sitting in supermarket stores and eating their lunch; a portion of short-grain sticky rice with what looked like a side dish and soup that reminded me of home. Like us in the Northeast of India, they would first put the rice into their mouth followed by a small helping of the side dish. Then wash it down with soup.

Later, at a busy vegetable market it was all the green vegetables and herbs that brought another gush of excitement. It was then that I asked myself this question: If people living in two different worlds eat the same food, how different could they be?

Researchers, scholars and anthropologists have written heaps on the cultural linkages between southeast Asia and India’s Northeast but to actually see these linkages in real and live them was an emotional experience.

And so the first thought that came to mind was where have we lost the link? Or, where and when in history did we part ways to be so many miles apart yet so close. This time round, it was the same feeling that overwhelmed me. There I was at a busy vegetable market doing my usual round of looking at the vegetables even though I wasn’t buying anything. It was my way of exploring any city. I would go to vegetable markets in places like Barcelona, Paris, San Francisco and Beijing.

The vegetable market on the railway track in Samut Songkram province, about 70 km southwest of Bangkok, is called Mae Klong. It has all the ingredients of what I would call a local market in any part of Northeast. It could have been in Shillong’s Bara Bazaar, or Kohima’s super market where Naga women sell all kinds of freshly-plucked herbs and vegetables.

The Thai women brought all kinds of fresh produce from the farm. There was sun-dried fish, seafood and meat. Like the people in northeastern part of India, the Thais love dried fish which is an important ingredient for a side dish called nam phrik. Nam phrik is a hot sauce prepared with shrimp paste and chilli sauce like the malta meh or Naga chutney or what Meitei’s called morok met pah.

In rows of basket, I saw sun-dried shrimps, river fish and eel. These are relished by people in the Northeast who cannot do without their dry fish. Smoked eel is so popular in Meitei’s morok petpa which is a spicy chutney made of smoked eel, roasted chillies and tomatoes and garnished with fresh coriander. My first eel chutney was at my Tangkhul uncle’s house when I was a little girl.

The vegetable market on the railway track in Samut Songkram province.

The vegetable market on the railway track in Samut Songkram province.

I could not believe my eyes when I saw what the Paite’s in Manipur call khang khu. This green thorny leaves is called Cha-Om in Thai. Scientifically called Acacia Pennata this Thai herb is usually fried with eggs or dipped in chilli paste as a snack in Thailand. It is also believed to help in treating indigestion.

Then there was what the Meitei’s in Manipur called tham chet or a water plant that is usually used for salad and chutney. The Thai stir fry it and relish with rice. Needless to say, rice is another common thread that binds us.

I was equally amused by the very nature of the market itself. A two-carriage train travels between Baab Laem station and Mae Klong station eight times a day. This means each time the train passes through the track vendors would clear their things in a hurry and put them back once the train passes through.

As I went beyond Bangkok, at a faraway craft village in Chiangmai, I realised that our linkages go beyond food. In that make-shift model village are different tribes like Lisu, Karen and Lahu. They live in thatched roof homes much like the tribes in Northeast. I saw a Karen woman weaving. Her weaving tool wasn’t any different from what I saw in Manipur. A Lisu man weaving a cane basket reminded of my late paternal grandfather who was good at almost everything that needed skill. My late grandpa loved weaving basket of cane and bamboo. I also saw a Lahu woman in her colourful customary gear making beaded necklace. The colour of her beads and the motifs she chose to weave on those bracelets weren’t too different from what the people in the Northeast would do to make their ornaments.

One evening as I escaped the sightseeing routine and decided to sit back at Siam Niramet, an entertainment centre that showcases Thailand’s art and cultural heritage. I was only reaffirmed of the cultural bond. There are makeshift houses of different Thai tribes. Some thatched roof houses have cane baskets that are beautifully woven just like what people in the Northeast carry when they go to their rice fields. The basket is referred differently by different tribes. The Paites in Manipur would call these baskets seng. Even the wooden giant Mortar and pastle only suggests that just like the people of Northeast, the Thai tribes took to crushing their grains manually.

The cultural performance that was peppered with elaborately designed costumes and stunning gadgets had unmistakable elements of the Northeast. In their elaborate dance movements, I saw Raas Leela, Mizo Bamboo dance, Assamese bihu and Naga dance. After the show, I hit the street hungry and ate to my heart’s content sticky rice with chicken fried with ginger and garlic.

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Let There Be No More Delays

By: Khelsoril WanbeThangmeiband Tarung,Imphal.How shall we describe the rate of development process in Manipur? I feel either ‘slow’ or ‘very slow’ will be the right answer. If the progress of… Read more »

By: Khelsoril WanbeThangmeiband Tarung,Imphal.How shall we describe the rate of development process in Manipur? I feel either ‘slow’ or ‘very slow’ will be the right answer. If the progress of a work or project is extremely slow, its significance or benefit is diluted and gets lost on the way. We need to look at the world around us; we seem to be lagging far behind our neighboring states and countries. Let us look at the condition of our educational system, roads, electricity, water supply, medical system etc. Are they okay or are they in a mess? Even without comparing them with those of other states, we need to ask ourselves, “Are we satisfied?”. Let us first look at our educational system. Private institutions up to higher secondary level are doing quite well, although our government higher secondary schools seem to have taken the reverse gear. Our higher education, I mean, our government colleges are facing serious problems of neglect and indifference that makes it hard for them to compete with highly competitive colleges in other parts of India. So what happens is that, right after completing 10+2, most of our brilliant students flee away from the state in search of ‘greener education’ in other states so that they will be able to compete in national competitive exams like CSE, CDS, IES, IFS etc. And how many of our youth are studying in IT, engineering, medical and management colleges in other states. It’s true that here too we have few centrally funded technical institutions, but they are not more than special exceptions.  How many crores of rupees are we forfeiting ourselves and gifting away to other states just because we do not have good colleges and institutions? It is true that the general atmosphere too is not so conducive to education because of the high frequency of bandhs, strikes and boycotts. However, this should not be held as the pretext for neglecting education. Education seems to have been relegated to the bottom of the priority list of the government and also of the people (indirectly). Law and order and security are given the highest importance, although this area too is not in a healthy condition. We should not forget that education is the foundation of a society. Without it our land will be in darkness and we will get lost someday. We should not complacently look up at the prestigious institutions in other states and places where we can send our children by spending a heavy lot of money. Things are interrelated of course. So the overall condition of our state is by no means healthy. Look at the roads; how long have the development works been going on. For years and years now, we have been moving on the same rugged roads (there are few exceptions of course) and we don’t know when we will travel on roads that are comparable to those in Sydney or Bangkok. A road that has just been repaired will last only about a month. How come this is happening everywhere in this unfortunate state? Corruption is thriving and we are all swimming in this muddy water. In the high places corruption is blooming like roses of different colors. So when it comes to public property, not much is left. So meager is left for the roads, electricity, water and what not. Anything public immediately/ gradually turns into private. Good roads are converted into posh Boleros, i20, (BMW) and (Toyotas)! I can (not literally) also do that, everybody can do that; there is no restriction. Because it has been declared and demonstrated from the top that corruption is the only business that is thriving here: in this land where many a small industry has died their untimely death. Yes, we practically do not have any industry worth the name here. It is very difficult for the so many unemployed youth in the state to live a dignified life. So, many are tempted to go for illegal businesses and corrupt activities. Corruption leading to further corruption is also a special case for study here. If a young man wants to join government service, the common practice here is that he has to buy a job- which seems to be relatively more available in the security department because the land is still struggling with security problems. So a poor unemployed guy is willing to bribe lakhs of rupees to get a modest job that will earn him few thousand rupees a month, and the temptation is all around him- to snatch if necessary from unwary preys- and he easily becomes a predator. But, this is happening in other departments too. If you want a file to move smoothly, you have to grease the palms of humble public servants in the government offices. Is this a part of redtapism/bureaucrazy, I wonder but this is happening. And I still wonder if Jan Lokpal bill will be able to help the poor people of Manipur. It becomes increasingly confusing as to who is the predator and who the prey; who the saint and who the hypocrite. So we are all swimming so contentedly in this slimy muddy water of corruption-one of its kind in the world. Corruption is an all-encompassing institution that seems to have attained a venerated status in the state, for it dwells so pompously in high places as well as among the rank and file of the society. From the highest to the lowest rung of the society- the virus has affected all. The heartening development in the recent months, however, have been that of Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh’s pledge to punish corrupt official and the big catches that followed in the persons of Suresh Kalmadi and his associates at the central level. But, it remains uncertain when or whether our tiny state will ever be freed from this malignant virus. It will definitely involve a bitter and painful therapy if we ever want to see a cure from this epidemic or whatever we may call it. Old habits die hard- it is possible but difficult for an alcoholic to turn into a teetotaler. It is going to involve the overhauling of the whole system in which we are moving. And that too has to come from the top- from those who walk in the corridors of power and sit at the steering wheel of the government. “Government of the people, by the people for the people” seems to have perished from the earth and no longer seems to be applicable in the world around here. Other than corruption, there are other things too that we need to give serious thoughts to if we want to rise from this present plight we are in. We need to look at advanced countries and see how they had metamorphosed into what they are today. Nothing of this world is perfect but my desire is to think together how we can improve our present dismal condition we are living in.
     A month or so ago, during his visit to Manipur, the ambassador of Cuba proudly enumerated the great and impressive achievements of the Cuban Revolution. In Cuba, he said, free medical check-up are given to its healthy citizens for it is much better to prevent sickness than try to cure after a person has got sick. Free medical treatment to all. Free education up to master level was also what he mentioned is made available in Cuba. 65% of technical jobs in Cuba are held by women, he said. Cuba has made a really very impressive achievement in the area of Human Resource Development, even better than those in USA and Europe. Sincerity, dedication and discipline are obviously the hallmarks of the Cubans which we too should try to emulate. But here we seem to regard sincere and honest people as simpletons. Are we in need of overhauling our attitude and mentality? 

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Higher Education: For a better Manipur

By Khuraijam Jibankumar Singh, FLS Founder and Managing Trustee,North East Centre for Environmental Education and Research, ImphalEvery year colleges in different Universities across the country are increasing their cut off marks… Read more »

By Khuraijam Jibankumar Singh, FLS Founder and Managing Trustee,North East Centre for Environmental Education and Research, ImphalEvery year colleges in different Universities across the country are increasing their cut off marks for admission to under graduate courses. Students of states like ours are facing difficulty in getting admissions in good colleges like St. Stephen College, Sri Ram College of Commerce due to low aggregate in their marks in Board Exams. Only a few get admissions in reputed colleges and the remaining had to settle for correspondence courses or had to go for some certificate or diploma courses. Students of our state are very good in studies, extra –curricular activities and are well aware of the happening across the country or globe. In spite of all the turmoil in the state as the result of the prevailing situation in the state, students are still not losing their hope to achieve their dreams. We need to give them support, encouragements, appreciation and proper guidance. Not only these, our teachers and education system should change their approach in giving marks or grading system. Our students are second to none but are still facing problems in getting admission after XIIth. Manipur Education Board and Council should encourage teachers to give marks according to what the students deserves. Every year thousands of Manipuri students couldn’t get admission due to low grade in Board/Council Exams. However, the situation is different for students studying in other boards like CBSE, ICSE. Does it mean that students studying in CBSE, ICSE are better than students of Manipur Board/Council? Take example of Manipuri students (not only Manipuri students) studying in Assam Valley School (CBSE) in Assam get admission in colleges easily as compare to students studying in schools of Manipur Board. The only difference is marks/percentage. Every year Manipuri students topped in colleges and university somewhere or the other across the country. We have several Gold medallists and toppers in every field of sciences, arts, engineering, medical and commerce. However, the number could be increased if all the talented students get proper education and this can be achieved if they get admission in good colleges and universities. Manipur Government/Education Departments should hold regular meetings and interaction programmes with teachers, officials of Board/Council and principals to address the situation and problems faced by the students of the state in getting admission for higher education. Encourage students to pursue higher education for better Manipur. Education will bring peace and development to the state.

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Change the way you look at!!

By: G.S.Oinam Stop rejecting people; try to accepting people to bringing them on your side so that you can own the entire world. How soon the world had changed when… Read more »

By: G.S.Oinam
Stop rejecting people; try to accepting people to bringing them on your side so that you can own the entire world. How soon the world had changed when you remained so proud, egoistic and fallen into illusion`”experiences tell you. Learning without reflection is a waste, reflection without learning is dangerous. Another resurrection means they got extra power and has confidence to defeat their rival. The Ramayana (epic) tells-how two brothers`™ Raja Sugriva and Bali fights and how Lord Ram had favour whom and why? Do you believe in god? If you don`™t believe in god `“ there is no god. God is within the heart of believers. Believers know the rules of prayer. God was anger when hills people says `eikhoi khangba ngamdre; yam ware` (we can`™t bear the pains; suffering is out of limit.) and poor women vendors falls tears on their eyes. Why you make them cry and why don`™t you rush when dear needs? You always neglected small, small words of poor people. God loves poor and weaker sections of the society and women and children! So, god wants to give you a small punishment for stupid mistake and to control your ego and pride! But, god still loves you!

For the second time, SPF cabinet decision is outdated. Please change your advisors. SPF and Naga body have scored draw. Politically, both sides have win-win situation. Naga bodies have had the same feeling and pains when they had defeated to ADC election. Does your political party fear to fight assembly election against NPF? We all know how the non congress Naga MLAs got declared elected in the past and under whose influences. There is no any sea change and the change is only the name and banner of party `“NPF. Mr. Rios (CM Nagaland) coming in Manipur is not a threat; if he speak seductive, communal and against integrity-then it is called a threat, you can book him and put to jail according to law. Read what he had spoken at meeting from video footage. Tripartite talk is non sense- everybody can read ADC manuals. Ministry of Panchayati Raj will open their rules book. State government will support it and DoNER ministry will talk about development project `”that is all. Nagas are also having thinking capacity; intelligence and they have educated. But your rules book have no empathy- do you mean go and request to those men (ADC members) for my help who were protested and burnt their home for standing against the Naga body decision? Please give them life lines and support lines without hurting their ego`”every thing will cool down. Manipur has forgotten that Naga body took decision to stop highway blockade after publication of my article in this local daily and websites `“ but the promises made for development couldn`™t be filled up by the government in time. So how can I say them twice? I am nothing but a lay man. Naga integration is a good idea. Idea must be fight by better idea only. Small nation `“ Britons came and conquered India. Hills people of Manipur are saved change your fear attitude- the problem is for valley people. Article 371C Special provision with respect to the State of Manipur provides safety of hills people and formation of Hills Area Committee in the state assembly. The Governor shall annually, or whenever so required by the President, make a report to the President regarding the administration of the Hill Areas in the State of Manipur and the executive power of the Union shall extend to the giving of directions to the State as to the administration of the said areas. Meitei (valley) was/were khas Hindu (conservative Hindu) in the timing of legal framework- nothing more special interest for valley people are seen on special provisions of article 371(C). Please see-Article 371A Special provision with respect to the State of Nagaland`”includes many provisions like`” no Act of Parliament in respect of -(i) religious or social practices of the Nagas, (ii) Naga customary law and procedure,(iii) administration of civil and criminal justice involving decisions according to Naga customary law,(iv) ownership and transfer of land and its resources, shall apply to the State of Nagaland unless the Legislative Assembly of Nagaland by a resolution so decides;(b) the Governor of Nagaland shall have special responsibility with respect to law and order in the State of Nagaland for so long as in his opinion internal disturbances occurring in the Naga Hills-Tuensang Area immediately before the formation of that State continue therein or in any part thereof and in the discharge of his functions in relation thereto the Governor shall, after consulting the Council of Ministers, exercise his individual judgment as to the action to be taken. no Act of the Legislature of Nagaland shall apply to Tuensang district unless the Governor, on the recommendation of the regional council, by public notification so directs and the Governor in giving such direction with respect to any such Act may direct that the Act shall in its application to the Tuensang district or any part thereof have effect subject to such exceptions or modifications as the Governor may specify on the recommendation of the regional council.

Constitution has given special provisions in the state of Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Jamu Kashmir, Sikkim; Mizo etc etc are the common parlance. But, the constitutional special provision article 371(C) for Manipur valley people is just plain`”they are dealing in the manner of Khas Hindu (in the category of intellectual conservative Hindu.)
When I spoke about women vendors disperses from Imphal market- somebody wants to throw me out of the public domain. To protect the rights of poor and weaker section of society and the rights of women and children is your UPA-II`™s common agenda. Don`™t I have the rights to speak about Manipur? Because I don`™t know Manipur insurgency problem, right? If you are hurt, I am sorry; I will not speak but I have the rights to speak. I have a superior theory`”`world class citizen`. I want to kick starts from Manipur`”my birth place for which I have spent many years, money and labour on study. But I threw it out before my presentation to you because of your vision 2020. But, I am not disappointed- I agree your vision 2020. If any like minded person comes into power, I will make change Imphal city into Godown. Thangal bazaar, Paona bazaar structure is suitable for godawn. Market prize tags of average Rs.2 crore per plot will be reduce to Rs.50 lakhs per plot.

Connecting world through media`”I bet I won and I master the skills. I speak it for your understanding. Please read carefully how my articles communicate living people of the world, media (local, national and international), and officials through writing. My attachment of Hindi words and Manipuri words are called `Punch` in writing. Super hit Hindi songs have Arabic tune and words, lyrics never translate or modify the Arabic tune in the song`”this is because of punch on the theme but not alien culture. Example- `Chingda lanmei chakpa nate, Ahingda nongthang kupa nate; Officer singe thamoida chakpane; Singapore da Manipur officers singee thawai leihaure`” yam haiberoida, Singapore chamelei chilakpara yengkhege` translation will lost original theme. That is why my broken English was listening patiently and interestingly by the people not only in India but also world communities. I was the mirror but you want to break mirror- so you will not see how beautiful your face is! Unless you try to improve your writing skills your connecting world will be finish. Do you think that my writing was sponsoring by somebody else? It is ridiculous. I know many other perfect skills and still learning new skills but I never misused my skills and also, I respected somebody skills. One skill is enough for my earning and survival anywhere in the world. I don`™t fear for job lose or job less. Writing and analysis are dead arts for me `“ I gave up early 5-6 years ago. My mind is free and independent- I am the boss of my own. But, my skills are your skills- I hope I will able to teach you one day.

Public domain is not a place to advertise individual`™s character`”good or bad. Here, we can talk for more important issues about policy, programme and performance of dutiful public authorities. Of course -who are you? What are you? These questions are often asked from Imphal to Kolkata. Farther, no one cares `who are you and what are you`™. Take it or leave it as you wish, my writing does not force anybody to act nor had my writing hurt anybody`™s personal characters? Certainly, writers must be read the laws of defamation (whole book). That is what people want, and that is why people accepted it. Bhagavad Geeta says`your right is to work only and never to the fruit thereof; be not instrumental in making your actions bear fruit, nor let your attachment be to inaction`. Good ideas are most welcome by everybody, and even your enemy will respect you. Please don`™t look at me, I am not celebrity or hero or villain or politician to deserve your attention; I am not big man like you neither beauty nor powerful nor rich like you. Simply proud to be just a lay man, neither jail birds nor VIP. Of course, one unknown angry person was enquired about my writing and office where I was working last year but I don`™t think as threat, and I think he was satisfied my answer. The entire world is listening to unknown man`™s words but why your words are rejected despite of having power, wealth and many followers? Do you know the reason why? These entire questions come from your substandard pronouncements and nuisance.

Somebody ask me personally `Are you close with P. Chidambaram, Union home minister or home ministry?` I was surprise! Never- I never ever met them before in my life and I have no work and connection with home ministry at any ground; also, I am not central government employee. I write for them from my assessment reports from various interactions with people, media reports and their activities and performance. I like the coordination of these two gentlemen (G.K Pillai and P. Chidambaram)-that is all. Please let me speak freely and frankly. What the hell is going on this planet`”appreciate for known and helpful persons and rejected for unattached good person?

Second, people like to remove AFSP Act from the state of Manipur. I agree when people raise slogan but I disagree when local media reported. Your editorials will write about deteriorating law and order problems in the state for two three days continuously and on the next day will write to remove AFSPA. (Please check you editorials) How a man seating outside state can judge about your reports? Local media may please be check or review at least once in a month for what you had written in the month`”any good suggestions to improve law and order, any cooperation to security personals on duty, crime and progress report, ground reality between greater Imphal (AFSPA removed area) and the rest?`”you will understand what is the weakness on reporting. Local media will publish cartoon indicating law and order are not improving in the state once P. Chidambaram speak about law and order has improved in the state. If you don`™t have the integrity and understanding you should no criticize anybody. Media is respected because of integrity and not for your criticism. Journo are simply laymen. Please accept it then everybody will love media. Only few people can use media as a weapon. For them, any objects can be use as weapon. Everybody knows how and why AFSPA law comes into enforced in the state, is to control law and order and why it is extended for every year. Well, there is Justice Jeevan Reddy commission reports to remove AFSPA. But, what is the priority- control law and order or remove AFSPA; stop misusing AFSPA, stop atrocities to people, stop brutality after arrest? Because, there are more serious laws `“ Unlawful Activities and Preventive Act, TADA etc is applicable in the state. Why people and security personals are all cynic on AFSPA other than more serious law? And, why every past and present government had remained silent on AFSPA? Because, preceding governments are weak- they have no capacity to run government without AFSPA- and which has become a weapon to control law and order, political power and people as well. Shouting will not serve any purpose; instead, co operates your state government to improve law and order to remove AFSPA from the state. They are your elected members and people voted for them to form government. UPA alone can`™t remove AFSPA at the present juncture. You have to speak to opposition parties like BJP. Will pay fine for speaking truth? Today, Anna Hazari has spoke about fasting lady Sharmila`™s causes and removal of AFSPA from the state. Please do appreciate.

Third, government policies are framed by dude babus (IAS officers) sitting at the secretariats and ministries. And finally, cabinet will approved the policy. Policies are changes from time to time and government to government. Your state commandoes, SSP are not policy makers. Their duty is to obey command and enforce law to control law and order in the state. Certainly, they must be asking assessment reports and your newspaper reports, experts comment etc may be considering before framing policy. I am not policy maker babu but I was studying policies- anybody can study policy if you can spare time, money and labour. I have one reason to study policy- to prepare new development projects. Of course, I was providing consultancy to NGOs (reputed) and reknown institutions.

Fourth, from my experience, my work and my learning I saw a beautiful Manipur`”that I have confidence and certainly can give a hope to the people. Change is chains with continuity. Nobody can stop changes. But how the leaders give direction for the changes is the only question. ATM machine can be own by private even you are not banker. Rajesh Jethpuria doesn`™t own a bank, but that didn`™t stop him from buying an automated teller machine (ATM) to celebrate Dhanteras, becoming India`™s first individual owner of an ATM. RBI has liberalization policy to own private ATM machine. Manipur problems of ATM money transaction can be solving by you. If anybody interested I can help to write business communication letters. If any institutions (including media and DIPR) in Manipur want to establish knowledge/ information management unit, I can provide consultancy.

Fifth, there shall be no change of government in the state on the next term. Congress lead muli party collation government (khechari sarkar) will come into power from the study of the present political scenario in the state`”but, the government will not stabilized and have little progress because of multi party government. However, you have time, you can make change the scenario`”we want progressive and stabilized government and changes.

Most of our problems appear that way because of the way we look at them. You get back what you give. Twice as much! Is someone being rude to you? Maybe you need to change the way you behave with them. And no, don`™t wait for them to change; you need to change first! At work too, if you go in to work, hating every moment, it`™s unlikely that you`™ll do a great job. If you don`™t contribute, don`™t expect to get paid a fat salary. You get what you give. Resolve today then to change. Love your job and give it everything you have!

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Khathing & the taking of Tawang

By Yambem Laba TAWANG was lately in the news because of the unfortunate demise of Arunachal Pradesh chief minister Dorjee Khandu, who hailed from the area, in an unfortunate helicopter… Read more »

By Yambem Laba
TAWANG was lately in the news because of the unfortunate demise of Arunachal Pradesh chief minister Dorjee Khandu, who hailed from the area, in an unfortunate helicopter crash. But last year Tawang made headlines for a totally different reason: China`™s reassertion of its claim over the area prompted Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to declare time and again that Arunachal Pradesh was an integral part of India. The Chinese claim is nothing new. In 1962, they attacked India and occupied the entire area, almost reaching the foothills near Tezpur. The abrupt Indian withdrawal then prompted Jawaharalal Nehru`™s infamous statement that `my heart goes out to the people of Assam`, meaning that the Indian Army was withdrawing to defend the Indian mainland, leaving Assam and the entire North-east to the Chinese.

Why that country withdrew thereafter is for contemporary historians to ponder, but the fact remains that as late as 1951 the entire area up to Dirang Dzong was under Tibetan administration, long after the Indian tricolour had been hoisted at the Red Fort on 15 August 1947. Dzong in Tibetan means a fort, where sat the magistrates or dzongpens to administer the area. That is why the Chinese had once stated that Tawang would have been their territory had it not been for Manipuri adventurer Major Bob Khathing who, in 1951, occupied the area for India. The truth is that while the McMahon Line was laid as early as 1914 between British India and Tibet, with the Chinese refusing to participate in the deliberations, it had never been demarcated `” meaning the border lines were never laid out on the ground. That was when Khathing became a legend in his own lifetime.

Born Ranenglao Khathing on 28 February 1912 in Manipur`™s Ukhrul district, he was a Tangkhul Naga. He studied initially at Sir Johnstone High School in Imphal, completed his matriculation from Shillong and later joined Cotton College in Guwahati. Though he failed to clear his BA examinations in 1936, he was determined not to return home until he had his degree. So he went to Harasingha in Assam`™s Darrang district, founded a middle elementary school and planted a tree that stands to this day. He cleared his examinations in 1937, the same year SJ Duncan, the British subdivisional officer of Ukhrul, asked him to come back and teach. By 1939, Khathing was serving as headmaster of Ukhrul High School, and when World War II broke out over Europe and soon found reflections across Asia, he bade the blackboard farewell and enrolled at the Officer`™s Training School.

Commissioned into the 9/11 Hyderabad Regiment, he had General Thimaya as his company commander and there was another person who was later to became Chief of Army Staff `” General TN Raina.

By 1942, Khathing was transferred to the newly raised Assam Regiment in Shillong and became a captain. It was in the officer`™s mess at Jorhat that he acquired the name Bob. Apparently the Americans found it difficult to pronounce `Ranenglao` and instead called him Robert, then truncated that to Bob. It was also at this time that the Allied Forces fighting the Japanese decided to raise V-Force, a guerrilla outfit like Wingate`™s famed Chindits but comprising hill people of the region, led by an Allied officer. These people, because of the topography and their ability to live off the land, sometimes operated 150 miles from the nearest supply base and inflicted heavy casualties on the Japanese behind their own lines, acting as a screen for the 14th Army of the Allied forces.

Khathing was sent to command a V-Force group in the Ukhrul area, his happy hunting ground. He shed his army tunic, shaved his head like a typical Tangkhul tribesman, with a thick mane running down the middle of his scalp. Mohawk style. On his back he carried a basket with dried meat and salt, rations for two weeks, and concealed his gun in his Tangkhul shawl. It is believed that he himself killed some 120 Japanese soldiers. He was awarded the Military Cross and made a Member of the British Empire.

With the war won, he was, on request by the late Maharaj Kumar Priyabrata Singh, returned to Manipur in 1947 and joined the then interim government as minister in charge of the hill areas. In 1949, when Manipur merged with India following the now controversial merger agreement, the interim government was dissolved and Khathing, by his own admission, found himself `without a job for six months`.

That was when Sir Akbar Hydari, then Assam governor, asked him to join the Assam Rifles as a stopgap measure. He served with the 2nd Assam Rifles in Sadiya and by 1951 he was inducted into the Indian Frontier Administrative Service as an assistant political officer. Summoned by then Assam governor Jairamdas Daulatram, he was asked, `Do you know Tawang?` He was then given a `secret` file to study and told to `go and bring Tawang under Indian administration`. This task could not be implemented by the British for 50-odd years.

On 17 January 1951, Khathing, accompanied by Captain Hem Bahadur Limbu of 5th Assam Rifles and 200 troops and Captain Modiero of the Army Medical Corps left Lokra for the foothills, bound for Tawang. They were later joined by a 600-strong team of porters. On 19 January, they reached Sisiri and were joined by Major TC Allen, the last British political officer of the North East Frontier Agency. Five days later the party reached Dirang Dzong, the last Tibetan administrative headquarters, and were met by Katuk Lama, assistant Tibetan agent, and the Goanburras of Dirang. On 26 January, Major Khathing hoisted the Indian flag and a barakhana followed. The party stayed in Dirang for four days, during which time they received airdrops. On 1 February, they moved out and halted at Chakpurpu on their way to Sangje Dzong. On the third day, they made a five-mile climb to cross Sela Pass and pressed on to what was entered in Khathing`™s diary as the `Tea Place` where water could be collected from the frozen surface to make tea. By 7.30 pm, the party closed in on Nurunang.

On 4 February, they reached Jang village where two locals were sent out to collect information and gauge the people`™s feelings towards their coming. The next day, the headmen and elders of Rho,Changda and the surrounding villages of Jang called on Khathing, who lost no time in explaining the purpose of his visit and told them in no uncertain terms that they were no longer to take orders from the Tsona Dzongpens. That day, he, Captain Limbu, Subedar Bir Bahadur and Jamadar Udaibir Gurung climbed about half a mile on the Sela Tract to choose the site for the checkpost and construct a barracks.

On 6 February they camped at Gyankar and Tibetan representatives of the Tsona Dzongpens came to meet them. It was also Tibetan New Year or Lhosar, the first day of the Year of the Iron Horse. In the evening it snowed heavily and the villagers took this as a very good omen. Tawang was reached on 7 February and two days were spent scouting the area for a permanent site where both civil and military lines could be laid out with sufficient area for a playground.

A place was chosen north-east of Tawang Monastery and a meeting with Tibetan officials was scheduled for 9 February, but they had shown a reluctance to accept Indian authority overnight. Khathing told me in 1985 `” when I`™d accompanied him on his last trip to Tawang `“ that, left with no option, he told Captain Limbu to order his troops to fix bayonets and stage a flag march around Tawang to show he meant business. By the evening it had the desired effect and the Tibetan officials and elders of the monastery came to meet him. They were then given notice that the Tsona Dzongpens or any representatives of the Tibetan government could no longer exercise any power over the people living south of the Bumla range.

On 11 February, Khathing visited the monastery, called on the abbot and presented him and the other monks gifts that comprised gramophone players, cloth and tiffin-carriers. The next day all the chhgergans (officials) of the 11 tsos or Tibetan administrative units were called up and a general order was issued directing them not to take any more order from the Dzongpens or Drekhong or pay tribute to them any longer. That afternoon, Tibetan officials and the Nyertsang called for time and permission to exercise their authority till they heard from the Tibetan government in Lhasa. Khathing put his foot down and told them the `area is ours according to the Treaty of 1914` and there was no question of a reply from their government in Lhasa and, hence, no extension could be given. Thus did Tawang effectively become a part of India from that day on.

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Nobel Women Peace Laureates Urge Government of India, Manipur & Northeast States to Protect Women in Armed Conflict

Nobel Women Peace Laureates Urge Government of India, Manipur & Northeast States to Protect Women in Armed Conflict Toronto : From May 23-25, Nobel Peace Laureates Jody Williams, Shirin Ebadi… Read more »

Binalakshmi Nepram with 1976 Nobel Peace Laureate, Mairead Maguire.Photo by Jennifer Shepherd

Nobel Women Peace Laureates Urge Government of India, Manipur & Northeast States to Protect Women in Armed Conflict

Toronto : From May 23-25, Nobel Peace Laureates Jody Williams, Shirin Ebadi and Mairead Maguire led an unprecedented conference in Canada, to develop strategies for ending rape as a weapon of war. They were joined by over 120 civil society activists, corporate and security sector leaders, military and peacekeeping personnel, and academics to discuss and share ideas at the conference, entitled Women Forging a New Security: Ending Sexual Violence in Conflict.

According to Nobel Women’s Initiative who organised the Conference, “Sexual violence takes place in every region of the world, with the reasons for its use varying from conflict to conflict. It has been used as a tactic to terrorize communities suspected of supporting guerrilla forces, as a way to force population off land, and to punish human rights defenders”.

“Waging war on the bodies of women has got to stop,” says Jody Williams, who won the 1997 Nobel Peace Prize for her work to end anti-personnel landmines. “Like any tactic of war, it can be eliminated.The magnitude of the problem must be matched by our collective effort. Working together, we can finally bring an end to this scourge on women and their communities.”

Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and honorary member of the Nobel Women’s Initiative, Aung San Suu Kyi also sent a video message emphasizing the critical importance of ending sexual violence in conflict.

Binalakshmi Nepram with 2003 Nobel Peace Laureate, Shirin Ibadi. Photo by Jennifer Shepherd

On 26 May, which was declared as international day of action against sexual violence in conflict, the three Nobel Peace Laureates called upon concerned people and nations from around the world to TAKE A STAND to end rape in war.

Binalakshmi Nepram, Founder of the Manipur Women Gun Survivors Network who participated in the conference spoke about the situation in Manipur and in India’s Northeast Region and the non-violent ways of unique protests in which women in Manipur and Northeast India have undertaken to respond to sexual violence against women in conflict zones.

A declaration was also unanimously adopted at the historic conference which called up Government of India, Manipur and Other Northeast Indian States and also to non-state armed groups stop violence against women in conflict areas and work to protect women. Following is the resolution that was taken at the conference:

“We, 120 women from 33 countries including three women Nobel Peace Laureates gathered at the conference “Women Forging a New Security: Ending Sexual Violence in Conflict” in Montebello, Canada, May 23-25, 2011, call upon the Governments of India and the state of Manipur and other Northeast Indian states and non-state armed groups operating in the region to end violence against women in Manipur and Northeast India. We declare our solidarity with Irom Sharmila and hundreds of thousands of women in Manipur and India’s Northeast region who have non-violently resisted militarization in the name of insurgency and counter-insurgency. We call upon the Government of India to uphold its democratic values by repealing the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act of 1958. We call on all parties to cease attacks on the civilian population and seek peaceful solutions”

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North by northeast

Note: This article by originally published in The Telegraph on May 21, 2011 By Hoihnu Hauzel (hhauzel AT FOOTLOOSE Embark on a voyage of discovery in the northeast and… Read more »



Note: This article by originally published in The Telegraph on May 21, 2011

By Hoihnu Hauzel (hhauzel AT


Embark on a voyage of discovery in the northeast and explore many lesser known destinations in the region, says Hoihnu Hauzel

It’s the gateway to the verdant northeast but have you wondered what lies beyond the mighty River Brahmaputra that flows through Assam? There’s a whole new world waiting to be discovered and it’s dotted with offbeat places that have hitherto been low in priority in travel itineraries. But now, discerning tourists, looking for that ‘something different’, are hot-footing it to them.

Here’s what you can expect: countless natural hot springs, mountains to trek, islands and even stone monoliths dating to the 17th century. To top it all, you might even catch a music festival if you travel at the right time.

Rakesh Mathur, president, WelcomHeritage, which has five heritage properties in the region, says: “The northeast is a great voyage of discovery. It’s almost virgin territory as it remains to be discovered by the majority of Indian travellers.”

Subhash Goyal, founder chairman, STIC Travel Group of Companies, feels that people are suddenly turning their attention to the region. Says Goyal: “The northeast is perhaps Indian tourism’s best-kept secret. But all that will change with improved connectivity.”

A word of caution however: Be prepared to stay in modest but comfortable accommodation that’s high on the local experience. Also, getting to some destinations can be an adventure by itself.

So, get around to explore the exotic places tucked away in the interiors of the region.


Would you like to follow the path that was once taken by Guru Padmasambhava, a revered figure in Tibetan Buddhist history? And would you like to drink the ‘holy water or miracle water’ from a lake that’s supposed to have the power of granting children? That’s one of the
legends about Gurudongmar Lake, in north Sikkim.

Gurudongmar is a hotspot for devotees who come all the way to pray at the guru’s temple that’s beside the lake.

“Religious and spiritual sentiments are drawing a large number of travellers
to Gurudongmar,” says Anirudh Kajaria, director of Brother Tours, a prominent travel agency offering specialised tours of Sikkim.

You get to Gurudongmar via Gangtok, the state capital, where you have the option of staying for a night or two. From here, drive to Lachen, which is 108km or five to six hours away. Make this your base, and stay at any of its 3-star hotels. Plan a day trip to Gurudongmar, which is a two-hour drive, through high pastures dotted with thick rhododendron bushes. Another attraction is the proximity to the Tibetan border, which is just a few kilometres from the lake.

Another place to visit from Lachen is Larching, a two-hour drive. A must-visit in Larching is the Yumthang Valley and its famous sulphur-rich hot springs. People take a dip here in the belief that it will cleanse their sins and ailments.

BEST TIME TO VISIT: March to June and October to December.


It combines history and tradition yet redefines serenity. Arunachal by itself is an interesting state, what with sharing international borders with Burma, Bhutan and China. And the small town of Mechuka — perched high above the sea level at 1,829m — is one of the newer places on the state’s travel itinerary.

Located on the Indo-Tibet border in West Siang district, (one of the state’s 16 districts), getting to Mechuka is just what the adventurer in you needed. Oken Tayeng, of Aborcountry Travels & Expeditions, a leading local tour operator, promises an experience you won’t forget. Dibrugarh, 439km away from Guwahati, is the gateway to Mechuka. After an overnight stay in Guwahati, you’ll need to make the five-hour ferry journey to Oiram-ghat, a small border town between Assam and Arunachal.

From Oiramghat, you either hire a taxi or take a bus to Siang Valley in Pasighat where you rest for the night. The next day, you drive for four hours to Along, another small town, from where your last stop, Mechuka, is another six hours away. So, you’re looking at a total travel time of about two days from Dibrugarh.

Once in Mechuka, get set for high-altitude treks, fishing excursions and cultural safaris. You could also be checking out monasteries like the 400-year-old Galden Namgyal Lhatse Buddhist Monastery. Mechuka also boasts of a gurudwara that’s supposedly 350 years old. Homestays that are high on local flavour and a government circuit house are the places to rest your head. Make sure you have a few days to take in all that Mechuka offers.

BEST TIME TO VISIT: September to mid-March. The local New Year (Losar) is celebrated in the second week of March.


There’s much more to Assam than the famed Kaziranga Reserve. Lesser known places like the Majuli Island are now being put firmly on the tourist map. “Being the world’s largest inhabited riverine island, Majuli has lots to offer,” says Monalisa Goswami, director of Assam Tourism in Guwahati.

The island is connected to the world by a ferry service that operates twice daily. The best way to get to the island is to reach Jorhat (about 303km from Guwahati). From here, Majuli Island is just a 90-minute ferry ride. Go on a sightseeing excursion and visit any of its 22 Buddhist monasteries that date back to the 17th century. The island is also home to rare birds. Keep two to three days for the trip.

The picturesque setting and the colourful traditions of the local Mishing tribes make for a heady combination. The icing on the cake could be the experience of staying in one of the bamboo cottages run by the locals.

In February and March the festivities of the Ali-ai-lvigang, the spring festival of the Mishing tribe, take place.

BEST TIME TO VISIT: October to April.

The monoliths at Nartiang

While Cherrapunjee has earned itself the famous ‘wettest place on earth’ tag and is fairly well-known, its lesser known places in Meghalaya like Nartiang that are now coming into the spotlight.

Nartiang is easy to access and just 60km from Shillong. It’s a small Jaintia village located 22km from Jowai, the district headquarters of the Jaintia Hills, one of the seven districts of Meghalaya. It used to be the summer capital of the Jaintia rulers (one of the major tribes of Meghalaya) who took to erecting stones to mark their rule.
Since there’s no accommodation in Nartiang, tourists usually plan day trips from Shillong. Once you arrive in Guwahati, drive up to Shillong (about two hours away), where you can be based for a couple of days. There are comfortable resorts and hotels and Shillong itself has many interesting touristy places that you can visit.

Nartiang is the perfect place for those keen on history and culture. It’s called The Garden of Monoliths by the locals because of the ancient stone monoliths dating from the 17th century that are found here in abundance. Declared as an important archaeological site by the Ancient Monument and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act 1958, most of Nartiang’s monoliths are nearly 30ft high.

Get a local guide in Nartiang to get more of the place. The buzzy weekly local bazaar is interesting to visit, with Jaintia women selling everything from cane baskets to pineapples and even the freshly cooked and piping hot tit tung — wild mushroom cooked with black sesame seeds and pork.

BEST TIME TO VISIT: April, May, September and November.

A village in Kohima

The Nagas have always attracted scores of researchers. And today, tourists too want to get an insight into the life of the people of Nagaland and to revel in its unspoilt natural beauty. There are 11 fascinating districts in the state.

Kohima tops the list as it offers a wonderful mix of culture, soulful music, exotic food and adventure. Plan for at least three days to enjoy the destination.

Once you have checked into a hotel of your choice (Kohima offers lots of options), get set to discover the town. Visit a supermarket if you want to see freshly-plucked greens and herbs from the jungles that serve as delicacies for the Nagas. Or visit the World War II cemetery in the heart of town or even Asia’s second largest village, Bara Basti, which is right here in Kohima.

From Kohima, visit the Dzukou Valley 25km away or drive up to Mokokchung, a district about 150km away, that offers angling spots as the rivers Milak and Tula flow through it. Another place to add to your itinerary is Khonoma, a green village where hunting is banned — that’s a big deal for the meat-loving Nagas — and where trees are not cut down.

The homestays in Khonoma come with Naga hospitality where one can sample the best home-cooked local food. Go trekking to the nearby Japfu Peak, about 15km away.

BEST TIME TO VISIT: October to mid-may. For music buffs, the Hornbill Festival in December is a treat.


Anthurium farms, musical gigs, deep, dark woods and wildlife sanctuaries; Aizawl — one of the eight districts of Mizoram — has it all. “Besides being a complete tourist product, Aizawl can also serve as the base to explore the neighbouring areas,” says Noel Pari, deputy director, Directorate of Tourism, Mizoram.

Aizawl, the state capital, is a small but very lively town. It’s well connected and there are daily direct flights from Calcutta and Guwahati to the Lengpui Airport, which is 32km away. The town offers a handful of privately-owned, small hotels that are comfortable, if not luxurious.

At Bara Bazaar, you’ll find enterprising Mizo women selling handmade souvenirs. You can also set off on picnics to places like Bung (16km) or Falklawn (18km), a Mizo village, which is a major tourist attraction. To learn about Mizo history and culture, just hop across to the museum.

One of the highlights of your stay might be the Anthurium Festival held at a place 20km from Aizawl in September. And nothing can be more exciting than visiting some of the wildlife sanctuaries in different parts of the state.

BEST TIME TO VISIT: October to March.

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National Security Implications Of Assam Elections

By Utpal Bordoloi India`™s Security Managers `“ the Army, Intelligence Bureau, Research and Analysis Wing among others `“ will be taking a long and hard look at the implications of… Read more »

By Utpal Bordoloi
India`™s Security Managers `“ the Army, Intelligence Bureau, Research and Analysis Wing among others `“ will be taking a long and hard look at the implications of the AIUDF`™s performance in the Assam Assembly elections for national security.
The so-called ` minority `™ community in Assam `“ which has already become a majority in at least six out of 27 districts `“ have been a Congress vote bank since the first general elections of 1952, as reflected in the ` Ali-Coolie-Bangali

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Don Bosco, Moses And Bin Laden : Some Musings

By UtpalBordoloiOn April 29, 2011, a glass casket approximately 156 CM long landed at Tulihal Airport, Imphal, Manipur State, India. It contained a wax statue of ‘ Saint ’ John… Read more »

By UtpalBordoloiOn April 29, 2011, a glass casket approximately 156 CM long landed at Tulihal Airport, Imphal, Manipur State, India. It contained a wax statue of ‘ Saint ’ John Bosco, popularly known as Don Bosco, in whose chest was embedded a bone from the right hand of this well known 19th century educator of youth. The ‘ relics ‘ of John Bosco had arrived in India, the last stop on a  five continent, 130-nation ‘ pilgrimage ’ that began April 25, 2009, from Italy’s Valdocco, Turin, in the Basilica of ‘ Mary Help of Christians ’.
 From Imphal, the glass casket was taken in a 100-vehicle convoy April 30 to Tamenglong, Chingmeirong, Senapati and thence to Mao Gate, crossing into Nagaland state and reaching its capital, Kohima, on May 4. Then to Wokha and Dimapur, both in Nagaland; then Golaghat, Sivasagar and Dibrugarh (Assam) on May 12. On May 16 it reached Doimukh, Arunachal Pradesh. Scenes of mass hysteria may be expected when the casket reaches Shillong, Meghalaya, June 4. The ‘pilgrimage’ is to continue in North East India for two months, till June-end, and then go on to other parts of India. It was organised as part of the preparations for the  bi-centennial of Don Bosco’s birth in 2015 and also to mark the  Sesquicentennial (150th year ) of the founding of the Salesian Congregation of the Roman Catholic church.
In North East India, Tens of Thousands of People, Roman Catholics but also non-Catholics and non-Christians

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Why Do People Play Sports

Dr. Thamsing LamkangNagaland Sports Coalition   In today’s fast changing world we can’t deny sports as the ‘Universal Language’, because nothing contributes like sports can do to humanity. Some people may… Read more »

Dr. Thamsing LamkangNagaland Sports Coalition   In today’s fast changing world we can’t deny sports as the ‘Universal Language’, because nothing contributes like sports can do to humanity. Some people may not easily agree to my opinion, but as a matter of fact ‘it is and it does’. The statistic shows more than eighty percent of the world population plays sport.
And not to forget the spiritual harvest sports have contributed towards the church mission, particularly for ‘Discipleship and Evangelism’ to reach the unreach people for Christ. Moreover, young people involved more in sports than in any other generation. Well, “Sports & Music” has become a ‘Global Youth Culture’ that has brought so many holistic changes in churches and communities. It is very important to understand the basic values of sports so that sports can be benefited better more in future. And it is mandatory for youths to understand the basic sports values; to discover their identity in Christ first. So, we must create an opportunity for youngsters to unearth their hidden talents through sports.
It is important to understand the motivation behind why people participate in sports activities? They may play for two reasons whether a serious play or for recreation. But whatsoever, it is to know and understand the players better for playing. People play sports for multiple reasons. It has been said that eight out of ten people play sports to have a healthy self-image. Some simply play for the love of competition. Many play to find a purpose in life. Others play to release stress, lose weight or improve their general health, to make friends, or to enjoy social recreation and entertainment. All of these represent healthy, positive attitudes toward sport.
If people play sports for these positive reasons, there is a positive return from sport. Conversely, if people play for negative motivations, then there is negative return from sport. The negative aspects of sport come directly from hearts of the people who play. One such example would be those people who are motivated to hurt or to impose power over others, thus damaging themselves, their opponents, the spectators and the sport itself. The converse is true too, the positive aspects of sport stem out of the hearts and motivation of the people of sport who plays for any reasons.
Even if a sportsperson is playing sports to gain a healthy self-image, often times he feels he must win or beat the opponent to feel good about him self. If his opponent is more skilled then what can he do to win? This ‘Positive’ aspect of sport can quickly turn into a ‘Negative’ one. In fact, most negative aspects in sport come from unhealthy self-images. For when a person’s identity is tied up in winning, he will do whatever it takes to protect his identity and win. Winning at all costs has stemmed from the need to have a positive self-image. Cheating, lying, making excuses, unnecessary rough play, blaming officials, violence, eating disorders, and drug enhancements are all means he may take to ensure a win.
A sportsperson who is a believer should know exactly where his self-image comes from. His identity is found in Christ alone. He can compete with the complete freedom to knowing that his identity is not based on his performance. The Latin word ‘competere’ of the word ‘compete’ means to ‘come together to agree. Thus ‘competition’, in the best sense, is two opponents coming together to agree for the purpose of bringing the best out of each other, not the worst.
The believer can play his best with the intent to win while viewing his opponents as a challenge to improve his ability and skill. He does not view his opponents as the enemy, but as one who can bring out his best in all areas; physically through skills and fitness level; socially through his relationships with the teammates, opponents and coaches; mentally through strategy and plays, spiritually through motivation and actions; and emotionally through self-control.
He does not have to compete to defeat the opponents in order to feel good about himself; instead, he competes because of who he is. Thus, as believers in the world of sport, we have the opportunity to demonstrate our identity in Christ to people who are searching for healthy identity. ‘Sport is a strategic place and role the Christian competitor has as an agent of redemption in the world of sport!’
JOAO LEITE was one of the founders of the group “Athletes of Christ” in Brazil. He became famous in his country for wearing a small slogan on his jumper whenever he plays a match. This inscription said, ‘Jesus Saves’. Soon, the journalist asked Joao the reason for this, because at that time he was the best goal-keeper in all of Brazil. Joao made the most of that moment to explain what God had done in his life. Many began to say it was illegal to wear any slogans. The Federation Cup officials had the meeting to decide that Joao shouldn’t wear anything on his playing jumper.
On the first day of the prohibition, the journalist asked Joao ‘what do you think about the fact you can’t wear the inscription Jesus Saves? Joao answered; ‘They can take Christ off my jumper, but nobody can take Him out of my heart.’
I am giving so much of time and energy to bring out the best out of sports. We have been playing sports for very long time but we really didn’t know and understands the sports values, and what sports can contribute for the people. I am giving more research on sports not because sports matter much to me, but what sports can do more for the Gospel. So what I believed and convinced about sports is that it is very helpful, most important and much resourceful, because it lends to the gospel works.
Many traditional churches or church leaders are not willing to go out to reach, rather then doing discipleship only on the pulpit. We should always remember that only Good people and believers will come to church, but what about those non-Christians, addicted and non-church goers. They will never come to church unless you go and reach them. What does your church believing about the mission, only for people coming regularly to church, or go out for the sake of one precious soul’s? Jesus left the 99s, and went to search the one lost sheep, and we are to follow that mission concept.
Let me point you a pro-soccer team playing for Christ. There are such many teams ‘the best team of all time’ though but I chose to share about them. There’s a remarkable soccer team called Charlotte Eagles, hails from Charlotte in America, and it is like no other. They have so many success stories, in no time they moved up a success ladder, and never out for glory and trophies. But that’s not the most remarkable thing about the Eagles. What is truly astounding is that these Eagles are in business to be witnesses for Jesus Christ through sports. They play to make known Christ to others, because sports are so important and valuable for the sake of the Gospel!(This article is extracted from the book “BORN TO PLAY TO WIN”)

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The Unwelcome noise of Election

By  Khushi khuman“Use your voting right properly. Please vote for Sl. X , Miss / Mr. ABC for the coming election .  Elect him/her  as a representative of the public… Read more »

By  Khushi khuman“Use your voting right properly. Please vote for Sl. X , Miss / Mr. ABC for the coming election .  Elect him/her  as a representative of the public and make  her do some work for the public. Please give him/her your valuable vote. Please don’t forget  Sl. No. X, Miss/Mr. ABC “.
These are the only words the general public can hear now-a-days. Breaking the silence of the night ,these words comes from far and near as election comes nearer and nearer .Public hopes election to come as fast as it can so that they will be free from all this campaigning drama .Truly speaking, what’s the meaning of campaigning like this????
Candidate nominate themselves (in other places people /public nominate candidate but in ours, they do it themselves) thinking that they are one reliable, they are one dependable, one social work loving kind of person…. If they really believe they are , then can I ask something here???? Why are they giving such kind of stupid headache to the  public whom they act of loving and caring upto zenith… Why are they making so much noise that also not in morning, not in evening but in Night (Helloooo! I’m talking of hours like 00:00 hrs).Is this what they called being reasonable, being dependable, being reliable??? Oh! Come on please…  They don’t even know how to win the soft corner of people’s heart. They don’t even know how to win the public’s heart. They even don’t have the slightest idea about what’s the first thing that they should be giving the public. They don’t know what our public needs.. It’s not unworthy promises or cold/hot money but peace of mind in real that our public needs which also our public (try to) get at night….. Everyone wished of a peaceful land. Our public also wished of one… A peaceful land gives its people a peaceful thought. A peaceful thought will lead the way for the public to choose their right leader. If they go on campaigning (shouting) like this, I can say they are surely trying to confuse the public(voter). A voter will be meeting and facing number of candidates who will try to show their best (even if it is acting for the moment) and this will surely lead to confusion in the mind of the voter. A confused voter cannot and will not be able to choose the greatest leader. Everyone knows this and so does the candidate. And one funny thing (this is a secret readers, don’t tell this to candidates), in the process of —— votes if they go on campaigning like this they may even lose their reserved numbers of votes..Public wants peace. They need s peaceful mind. And they don’t really welcome all this sorts of campaigning at all.  Eligible candidates (according to my point of view) should not campaign at all. He should let the public judge him with a peaceful mind. As only a man with harmony and peace can judged what is right and what is wrong.. THE UNWELCOME NOISE OF ELECTION is a horrible thing which has become a competition among candidates and a new disease for the public which has no cure at all. If we have to judge our best leader in an honest and truthful way , then we should not get prompted by all these sorts of campaigning and we should not welcome them also. We are the masters of our own life and mind and we should be aware of the modern election campaign structure….Coz if somehow we are , we are just calling a USELESS FUTURE for ourself without no change at all……

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The Next Generation

By Awmtea Sailo Have you ever been in a Catch 22 situation? This is a place where no matter what you do, the outcome is going to be deadly! A… Read more »

By Awmtea Sailo
Have you ever been in a Catch 22 situation? This is a place where no matter what you do, the outcome is going to be deadly!

A man caught between a steep cliff behind him and a gang of murderers with guns in front is in that situation. There is no going forward – he will be shot. If he steps back he will fall to his death.

Catch 22 – what should he do?!!

That’s the place, generation after generation of youngsters in Manipur, and from other places in the North East, find themselves in. They can’t stay in Manipur – there is not much to look forward to. No universities for higher learning. No professional courses and very few jobs available.

In short no future. They have to leave.

But when they leave they go to cities like Delhi. Where they are uprooted from family, on their own, making their own decisions, their own relationships, to follow their own value systems. More often than not the outcome is terrible.

So many, are trapped into drugs, mafias, money laundering, prostitution. So many, die of overdose, of AIDS. Suffering the pain of loneliness and broken relationships, some become suicidal.

Catch 22 – what should they do?

My name is Awmtea, from Churachandpur, Manipur, living in Munirka, New Delhi. A crowded, bustling corner of Delhi, full of young people from the North East New Delhi. Without family, in a hostile city, they end up as easy prey for anyone who cares to exploit fellow humans for their own gain. Many are jobless, addicted to hard-core drugs, and hopeless. They end up in the clutches of money laundering mafias, and prostitute rings. Along with a committed team, we have been working with these young people for the past two years.

There is one way out of a Catch 22 situation. When concerned people get involved to help out what seems to be an impossible situation. The man on the cliff needs a net to break his fall, he needs friends who will stand with him against those who would destroy him.

We look to come together and stand against these terrible consequences of alienation. We need to help make the difference so that future generations are not lost. To stand against the destructive forces of drugs, addictions, easy money etc so that we build healthy generations for the future.

We also plan a ‘net’ to help those in emergency situations. We will shortly be opening the Jesiah Community Centre. Here we will offer free consultation and hospital care for anyone from the North East especially, suffering from drug related diseases, such as TB, HIV/Aids. Through the week, people will be available to treat the sick, help those ready to detox, look for jobs, teach English or just cook and hang out together. Along with this there will be more than one open home for these young men and women.

Is your child coming to Delhi and needs help? Is someone here already and you are worried about them? Please do not hesitate to get in touch with us. We will be happy to connect with you and work together for the good of our young.

They deserve it.

(Please get in touch with us at or phone 9818041859 or 9868911541)

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Now the Tripartite

By Heigrujam Nabashyam The question of threat to the spirit of Manipur came in the minds of the public around 1980s especially after the NSCN(IM) under the leadership of Thuingaleng… Read more »

By Heigrujam Nabashyam The question of threat to the spirit of Manipur came in the minds of the public around 1980s especially after the NSCN(IM) under the leadership of Thuingaleng Muivah started pushing for his top agenda – the Nagalim; though it was during the NNC period that the move made a beginning.
The call of AZ Phizo, the legendary figure of the Nagas were responded from the different groups inhabiting in the Naga hill district of Assam, NEFA and also from some neighbouring areas of Manipur. However the NNC were not as invective nor violent as the protagonists of the NSCN(IM) against other communities.  And the issue of Greater Nagaland was contained within the ambit of the governmental mechanism till Muivah’s Nagalim came up.
However, Nagalim spilled over into the public domain when Muivah became more and more aggressive and indulged in violent activities against other communities. The most condemnable act of Muivah was his mad policy of Kuki cleansing in the early 1990s, albeit under a different garb – the Nagalim Guard or Limguard. Then came the hard earned reconciliation between his men and the Kuki group in 1995-96 after the loss of a thousand innocent souls.
Around the time backroom parleys were taking place between NSCN(IM) and the home ministry; Muivah talked to Rajesh Pilot for a possible breakthrough. However it was after the United Front government came to power that the move to bring the NSCN(IM) to the negotiating table was crystallized. If I remember correctly Muivah called on prime minister Deva Gowda at Zurich and it was probably after that meeting that he finally decided to go for the negotiating table.
The ceasefire agreement between the NSCN(IM) and Government of India was signed on August 1, 1997 when IK Gujral was PM. Eventually on August 4, 1997 a peaceful rally, organized by AMUCO was taken out in Imphal which according to a report of the SIB, was attended by 4 to 5 lakhs people. Indeed the rally had turned Imphal into a sea of humanity. The message of the rally – the spirit of unity and integrity of Manipur  –  was loud and clear.
Sensing of the public mood the Government of India reassured the territorial integrity of Manipur. However the game was on; the peace-talk went on with the NSCN(IM) demanding a Greater Nagaland.
However, despite assurances by the Government of India, information received from various sources indicated that steps were being taken to extend the ceasefire which is detrimental to the spirit of Manipur.
AMUCO from the beginning had always maintained that the ceasefire should not be extended to Manipur because it is bound to have serious social and political ramifications. The apprehension became serious in May-June, 2001. Accordingly it had requested the Government of India not to take such a step by sending representations and reminders to the prime minister.
On June 13, 2001, AMUCO met the defence minister, George Fernandes, who was on a visit to Imphal, and apprised him of the apprehension and he was also reminded the call of the people : “No extension of ceasefire to Manipur” and another representation was also submitted to the prime minister through him on that day.
That day, the defence minister told that in his knowledge, there was no discussion in the cabinet and he expressed his opinion that such a step must not be taken. However he could not assure anything; but sensing seriousness of the matter he tried to make a point by talking to the prime minister. However he could not get the line to the prime minister who was in a Bombay hospital for a surgery.
Next day, June 14, 2001 around noon came the news from Bangkok that the ceasefire would be “without territorial limits”. On June 15, a meet of some 60-odd civil society organizations led by AMUCO and AMSU together called for a 3-day – June 16, 17, 18 – general strike in Manipur. And the rest was history.
During the meeting between the prime minister and the UCM – formed a few days after June 18 – to resolve the crisis, the home minister, who was believed to have given the go-ahead for the extension said “We were only” and then he stopped himself. It seemed what he wanted to say was that the Government of India did not mean to violate the territorial integrity of Manipur but that the government was only trying to make a move, although he never thought of the ramifications or of the fallout. There was no discussion or argument in the meeting. The prime minister and his colleagues only listened to what the two spokespersons of UCM spoke as to why the territorial integrity of Manipur should be honoured. During the meeting UCM had fervently appealed to the prime minister to withdraw the ceasefire as it had seriously undermined the very spirit of Manipur.
Finally the prime minister gave his word that he would “call a meeting of the political parties on (cannot be remembered, but it could be the day the Government of India had announce that it would remove the clause “without territorial limits”) and take a decision”. And the crisis was resolved.
Then came the phase of intense competition among the people over the issue of intrigity. The 52 days-economic blockade imposed by ANSAM in 2005 to protest government’s declaration of June 18 as “Intrigity Day” gave the much needed boost to Nagalim. However what had brought the people on both sides of the divide at loggerheads was the ban on Muivah’s visit.
Indeed that incident had precipitated into an open confrontational posture on both sides, that was never seen before – the most unfortunate development ever in Manipur. 
One may remember even during the June 18 upheaval, communication channels with the Naga bodies, especially the Naga Hoho – the apex body did not snapped altogether ; and what little remained of it helped find ways little remained of it helped find ways when the Manipur government machinery remained a mute spectator of the happenings in those critical days.
In the last episode, following the ban on Muivah, the civil societies on both sides were in today disarray ; and there was no communication between the two sides. In fact, after the Ibobi government had made our Naga brothers the enemy, by hurting their sentiments to serve his political end – to tide him over his Rubina-Sanjit murder image to the Intrigity image ; it was the CRPF and Assam Rifles that had played Good Samaritan to the people. In the process what T. Muivah could not do in decades O. Ibobi could in few years – communication of society – by his unimaginative and unlettered rule.
And chief minister who can look at Manipur with a little bit of understanding would not have created such a crisis. Now that it has come up to the Tripartile table – India government-Manipur government-Naga body ; it was set a precedent and O. Ibobi cannot erase it by creating another crisis, *as his wont.
Problems are bound to crop up ; but a leader must tackle it meaningfully with foresight ; Mr. O. Ibobi with his a near decade’s experience of being the Chief Minister, Home Minister and Finance Minister, all rolled into one must understand it better than anybody.
Honestly, looking at the near decade old rule of the SPF government, one is afraid, Manipur is not safe in the leadership of O. Ibobi Singh.
One wonder, where this Ibobi government would be taking us !

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Of Aspirations and Change

By Akendra Sana Epochal changes in society anywhere, transitions from an old order to new, with or without an interregnum are all there because aspirations take precedence over continuance of… Read more »

By Akendra Sana

Epochal changes in society anywhere, transitions from an old order to new, with or without an interregnum are all there because aspirations take precedence over continuance of the status quo. Inaction and continuance of status quo appear normal and easy and there will always be many takers but when the critical point is reached there is no stopping and the roll over to the next phase is only natural. Where that critical level is nobody knows but it is essential to tell ourselves that there are such things. But what then is wrong about status quo, one may ask.
Status quo in our context can, only mean continuity of a certain way of life, questionable or near acceptable at best, law and order situation depending of course on how you view it, whether you are comparing it over a longer period or for a few years. If you put the 1970s as the base, some may say it is over exaggeration. But if you say 2010 was better than 2009 or 2008 or vice versa, it can only mean comparisons of statistical data. All these have however little to do with how we perceive what living in Manipur is like. Because the reality is far more complex than data and the shadow of fear only enlarges with every passing day. Does somebody say a bomb was thrown somewhere yesterday? And simply how many of us are comfortable with so many gun toting security personnel amidst civilian population. 

Would a young man venture out and cross his gates without some identification papers? One really does not know how really unsafe it is to be out there at Paona or Thangal Bazar for a youngster without his Identity Card. For the average boy it is a nightmare of inconvenience if not worse. Imagine squatting down in the dust and grime, shoulders stooped waiting patiently for your turn to say who you are after handing over your ID Card to the armed menacing looking security personnel and enduring indignation. One only knows that his sense of insecurity and extreme anxiety for his parents are for real. Do we not therefore aspire for the day when our boys and girls to produce their ID Cards only when they, say have to open a Bank account and not at every street corner?Come summer vacations and in Campuses in Delhi, Pune, Bangalore, Hyderabad and elsewhere at plus forty degrees Celsius in some cities you still come across hordes of young boys and girls from Manipur when the rest have all gone home. You do not have to ask but they will tell that the choice is of against squatting in the streets of Imphal with an ID Card and the endless power cuts at home, sweet home.

It is now tempting to list out at least some of the other inadequacies of this status quo. Unemployment, do we need to elaborate, how boring. The word itself, if not a phrase is more than a cliché for Manipur. Last heard official figures are six point eight five lakhs registered as unemployed and this in the state’s population of twenty seven lakhs, roughly working out to over twenty-five percent, how impressive! Tackling unemployment is all about the state of the economy and meeting the challenges of capital deployment in employment generating sectors with imagination and ensuring that resources are optimised for growth. 

Availability or non availability of electric power, depending on how you look at it can be the single most appropriate symbol of hope or hopelessness. One hears of watching IPL cricket matches in TV with generators in Imphal which of course probably works out to be as costly as the tickets at the cricket grounds. Do we need to remind that electricity is necessary for many other productive activities even for such little activities as small motor workshops, a key component of the transportation sector and rice mills, and let us not forget a family may have to skip a meal if a nearby rice mill stops functioning? Talk of industrialisation for employment generation and then the next is what industries, however small they are where electricity is not necessary! To all this, of course we can meekly add how do our children study during powerless nights. Expansion of educational facilities in the state is welcome. Imphal today boasts of two Medical Colleges among others and the state has the potential of emerging as a centre of medical tourism. Lest we forget, electric power is of primary importance in any such hope.

To this twin issues of unemployment and inadequate electric power supply one can add all other inadequacies for our youth to aspire to overcome. Let us not forget many of them have travelled and seen a lot and they compare. And we cannot stop them from aspiring. Anger and frustrations are only natural when aspirations are beyond actualisation. It is incumbent on all right thinking individuals of this generation to show some sensible path. The challenges therefore are of meeting these aspirations and giving them hope. And the challenge is direct for all those politicians out there.
Is not Politics about leadership, articulation of aspirations and representation? Who leads well, the people never notice, it is said. Suffice it to say that people notice a lot in our circumstances. The most urgent challenge before this generation of political leadership apart from the mandatory sensible governance and guaranteeing acceptable law and order situation is to tame unemployment and ensure that electric power reaches those who need. Development is only a product of all these. Political formation of any kind in Manipur must now have a time bound roadmap to follow religiously at least for these two issues of unemployment and inadequate electric power if they genuinely profess to be of some service to the people. Otherwise they will be seen to be happily chaperoning our youngsters into an endless nadir of hopelessness. It has been too long that everyone has endured for hope with aspirations for gainful employment commensurate to the efforts our youth have put in competing with the very best in several parts of the world in their chosen fields. It is about time the wise and the enlightened of the land woke up to this silent call of our youth.

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Do Not Complain

By Bobo Khuraijam We believe we will never stop complaining as long as the sunshine and the rain are there in our life. As the summer makes its entry after… Read more »

By Bobo Khuraijam

We believe we will never stop complaining as long as the sunshine and the rain are there in our life. As the summer makes its entry after the spring is gone, we grumpily pronounce the uneasiness of hot weather with sweat and curse. We fuss to the extent, as if, we are nearing our end. “saabana sidoure”, have not we heard the line very often? We know, those who habitually make this kind of statement do not really mean it. We do not know when hyperbolism took its root into our lingual expression. Or is it in our DNA? Someone should find it out. Well, if they have the time for it. With the heat came the rain. A much needed relief for the farmer in the fields. Yet, there are enough room for complain from the urban dwellers, so to say. The Imphal town does not deem fit to be called an urban space per se. In rainy season it is not even a quasi-urban area. The rain has terminated the everyday dust bath. Nobody would disagree. Aftermath of the rain has flooded our narrow wisdom with sewage and filth. All thanks to the developmental circus going on in the town. Profiteering philanthropist, over working; with the determination of Shylock; with the namaste of concocted innocence has greet us with the rain. We overheard a keithel ema complaining, “sarkar nena angang mathi phaibaga chap manaradana”. In this case, we would challenge, there is no dirt of hyperbolism. Truly enough, the establishment behaves like small babies, who lack the sense of time and space. They would defecate anywhere to their wish without qualms.

SING A SONG: Amidst these complains, a few days back, we set out to witness a gathering filled with celebration and musical extravaganza. As expected, the programme kicked off with the ceremonial everything. Then it was followed by, as you know, the desultory set of speeches by the mithunglen(s). The chief mithunglen was so happy to be invited to the celebration. It was pertinent from his part to dwell on cultural aspects. Why not? The celebration was to mark the dawn of video films in the state. That our state is a powerhouse of culture and sports. That we should be able to make quality movies, both technically and aesthetically sound. Good enough. A right view on a right occasion. A host of artiste, producers, directors, cameramen and technicians from the film world were present. The musical extravaganza was the centre of attraction. Our mithunglen was invited on the stage to present a few songs. He obliged immediately. Before the song, he poured out his modesty to the public. He is not a good singer. But he loves art, performing art. Next, he said he will have to sing on public demand; demand from his constituency. Or he will not get vote in the nearing election. He also said that. Honest enough. First song, second song – it went without any hitch. He was requested a very special number then. Before the third song he gave a confessional statement. He told that his singing on the stage is inappropriate. That his sinpham does not match with what he is doing onstage. We do not know what Lata Mangeshkar would say to his confession. She was also a MP in the upper house of the parliament. Before the advent of the special number he cracked a joke. He said he feared that people might take him as an ngaosanaba. Thrash! That much love for art and culture. Here is our heartfelt sympathy on his quandary – to balance between a joke and a profession. HA!

THROW A NOTE:Ever since our return from the extravaganza, we have been wondering how and when the culture of peisathaba did got started. It is very much a part of meitei social life. Birth – death, take any ritual, it is smothered with peisathaba. In earlier days, we are told, that there was no offering of money to the sankirtan artiste. A set of beetle nut along with a piece of cloth was offered to the artist; a token of appreciation and respect to the artist. And moreover, reverence to the holy sermon sang along with devotion and prayer befits respect. We do not know whether we should blame that individual who came out with the idea of print money. We need not explain that it has been used and misused to unimaginable extent. There is variable degree of abusing it. For more detail, take any musical shows for a better comprehension. The musical event which we have mentioned earlier was a crude illustration. As well meaning/moneyed producers of films were present along with a host of stars; it was a perfect blend of showmanship and false pride. Anybody who sang on that very day was showered with currency notes. Sometimes we would fail to recognize who the singer was. There was a sort of competition among the moneyed invitees. A show of strength and endurance; strength to climb up the stage an uncountable times, and endurance to move the middle finger of the right hand as fast as one can. Remember, the middle finger should move rapidly so that the currency notes should fly like a umaibi. Some of our Leipung member tried to influence the organiser. They failed. One member tried to bribe the person who was comparing. What our member thought was that if given a chance to sing on that day, they would not worry to earn any income for their lifetime. Some of them did not show up to attend the Leipung. We hope, we are not complaining.

FOOTNOTE: caution all fake encounter specialist of the state: some fake encounter policemen in Delhi were given dead sentence by a court, terming it as the rarest of the rare. But will there be justice here as well? Leipung Ningthou calls it, “thawai matpana thawai senagadaba matam”.

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Nursing the dawn and soothing the dusk: Parenting and `Soning`

By Dr. Ksh. Imokanta SinghLong before my father became terminally ill, I had been trained to be a good nurse, if not excellent, by virtue of being a hard working… Read more »

By Dr. Ksh. Imokanta SinghLong before my father became terminally ill, I had been trained to be a good nurse, if not excellent, by virtue of being a hard working father of an angelic daughter. I am not claiming that I am doing more than what my wife has been doing since the coming, and even before, of our baby into this world. It is unimaginable for me what my wife has been engaging herself to make our baby healthy and lively even at the face of her own worries pertaining to her career. In fact our baby became her world and somebody meekly told me that mothers were blessed with certain hormones to be able to devote themselves selflessly to their babies during their growing years, at least during the breast feeding years. I am obliged to give my obeisance to the motherhood in general and my wife’s motherhood in particular. Comparing to hers my contribution was just a miniscule. As a matter of fact, most of the fathers contribute just only one sperm (some two or more) and leave the rest to the mothers. But comparing to many in our locality do, mine is some 100 metres ahead if not a kilometer, given the archaic tradition that fathers should not show emotion for their children, should not take their babies in their arms or backs, should not help in feeding milk from the bottle, should not help in changing the diapers, clean the dirt from the babies’ bottom, should not wash the soiled baby clothes, should not fetch water, should not cook etc.. The list is exhaustedly long. All this is despite the fact that the mother is also engaged in other household chores than taking good care of her baby. The social pressure mainly comes from the female members of our society, seemingly because they want to remain carrying the burden for eternity defying any help from the male members. For me such pressure is less of a pressure than just a sheer jealousy that their own husbands are ashamed of or not ready to do what I do. Lately, I feel some fathers have followed me in my own locality and also I feel that my perseverance has paid off. I think the times are changing and we cannot stick to our rotten tradition.
My perseverance and training as a father came handy also as a son during the ailing days of my father. The defining moment came one day while my father became bed-ridden and vegetative. On that day I found my father urinating on his bed since he became increasingly unconscious of what he was doing. Suddenly I thought to myself, ‘what a similarity with my baby’s toilet behaviour.’ Without any hesitation I took out the wet bed sheet lifting the body of my father and changed with a dry one which was similar to what I had been doing for my baby. Then came the days when he was too oblivious of this world and was serene in his own world, if there was one since we did not know what was in his mind. The urine was followed by stools. Cleaning his bottom with wet napkins, changing bed sheets day and night became a routine chore for me and my family members. My baby would occasionally come and call out ‘pupu’ from her little lips in her sweet voice but my father would not answer her and was still away from the maya of this world. My father was never able to break the walls of his other-worldly abode and come back to the midst of maya. One day his pulse was irregular and we called our local maiba fearing of what could be the worst (the service of maiba is indispensable when a Meitei dies). Maiba searched the pulse and was trailing its receding flow gingerly but he would not tell us the truth at that moment. Finally my father’s breath bade adieu to his body with his eyes and mouth still open. Tears would not come to my eyes feeling disbelief and also having the impossible feeling that he would breath again. (People iterated me to cry in public as a sign of my love for my father. In fact crying is regarded as a social ritual and not entirely a personal matter. Crying also for others to cry, which means creating of wave of emotions, becomes a part of after death affairs. This social phenomenon notwithstanding, for me grieving is purely a personal engagement, even if there is none to console me.) Even though he was unconscious for days at least we could attend to him. The day he stopped breathing forever was the last day to see him in person. Even though his body had been consigned to the holy fire and had merged with the earth and water, I still remain his son and father of my baby. The tree of ancestry and legacy still grows with its roots interconnected. Friendship between the death and living becomes immortal.
For death to be existent living becomes more important, living for oneself and also for others. Living as a son and a father true to their definitions, I feel, is the basis for solidifying other relationships in the society. Learning to be one, if not self taught, becomes an essential ingredient for a satisfactory living.  There are so many literatures on ‘parenting’ (the term itself is very popular) in the market but very few, I suppose, on how to take care of parents or ageing people. I have not come across the specific term for the latter and for that reason I would humbly call this special relationship as ‘soning’ i.e. a person performing the duty of a son (‘daughtering’ might serve as the antonym).
There are similarities, and of course differences too, between dawn and dusk; and being a baby and becoming old. Similarities first, both are passengers flowing with the stream of progression; are contents of circle of nature and life. Both are in the threshold of light and darkness; and agility and docility. Here I am reminded of what we often say of death or old age as ‘angang onba’ (turning to babyhood). I was literally amazed to personally witness the profound similarity between my baby and my father during his last days, though I heard and saw it somewhere before. Both babbled; had to be fed; had to be nursed etc. In terms of chronological progression both followed the same trajectory. However, the differences are obvious. One is dusk, resigning himself into the silence and oblivion of the deep night never to see the light of the day and the other is dawn rising its fangs into the high sky of brightness with increasing degree of intelligence and energy; curiosity to discover the world around; gaining of self confidence and self-reliance subsequently; eagerness for promotion from one stage to another and then facing the hustle bustle of life before the dusk calls into its home.                               
Now that my father is gone and I do not have any regrets. What mattered most from my part had been performed as a son during his living years. It is least of a matter whether his shraad or sorat was performed with ‘pomp’ (considering the culture of conspicuous consumption in our society) or other rituals were performed true to their specificity or monthly Usop is arranged. I am least bothered of those who are addicted with the after death rituals when they did not care for the dead before his/her death. For me my father lives in me and I live in my daughter. This means caring for parents is caring oneself (to be selfish, if you want) and it does not need any demand but a responsibility. If I regard bringing up my daughter as my responsibility then my daughter should also feel that taking care of her parents when our days are done is her responsibility. The same feeling must have been there in my parents’ mind though they did not express that. The defiance of nature’s course through human’s unwanted culture will defeat the nature itself and we human beings are not immortal.
When decay comes callingFragrance fades away into hollowness;Into the western sky glued are the eyes with tears,Distant are the morning hymns,Just a voice for lullaby andA hand to sooth is heart’s desire!

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