Manipur Student heading to White House, United States for workshop

A 15 years old student from Imphal, Manipur, Farooq Alam, who is presently studying at 11th Standard (Arts) in Olean High School, New York, has been selected for a workshop called “Civic Education Week” programme conducted by AFS (American Field Service) from March 1 to 7.

A 15 years old student from Imphal, Manipur, Farooq Alam, who is presently studying at 11th Standard (Arts) in Olean High School, New York, has been selected for a workshop called “Civic Education Week” programme conducted by AFS (American Field Service) from March 1 to 7.

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Signs Of The Times : Humra Quraishi

By Humra Quraishi Sitting in the midst of this terrible heat and dust , all that I’m somehow able to mutter and murmur is ‘ only a couple of live-able… Read more »The post Signs Of The Times : Humra Quraishi appeared first on

By Humra Quraishi Sitting in the midst of this terrible heat and dust , all that I’m somehow able to mutter and murmur is ‘ only a couple of live-able… Read more »

The post Signs Of The Times : Humra Quraishi appeared first on

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Dr Irengbam Mohendra Singh The proper name in Burmese for Ava is Ratnapura (Sanskrit) – the Cit of Gems, built in the 14th century CE that lasted for nearly 400… Read more »The post OBJECTIVE BURMA III INDIGENOUS BURMESE ORGIN & BURMESE…

Dr Irengbam Mohendra Singh The proper name in Burmese for Ava is Ratnapura (Sanskrit) – the Cit of Gems, built in the 14th century CE that lasted for nearly 400… Read more »


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Jobs in Delhi Public Library May-2012

Delhi Public Library  invites applications from interested and eligible individuals for following posts : Library… more »

Delhi Public Library  invites applications from interested and eligible individuals for following posts :

  1. Library & Information Assistant : 02 posts
  2. Library & Information Assistant (Tech. Braille) : 02 posts
  3. Library & Information Assistant (Braille Proof Reader) : 01 post
  4. Junior Stenographer : 02 posts
  5. Library Clerk : 13 posts
  6. Lower Division Clerk (Ty) : 03 posts
  7. Motor Driver : 03 posts
  8. Junior Library Attendant (JLA) : 05 posts

How to Apply :  Duly filled application form along with copies educational/experience/caste etc. certificates duly attested / self-attested should reach Delhi Public Library (DPL) within 30 days.

Click  detailed information


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Jobs in Delhi Public Library May-2012

Delhi Public Library  invites applications from interested and eligible individuals for following posts : Library… more »

Delhi Public Library  invites applications from interested and eligible individuals for following posts :

  1. Library & Information Assistant : 02 posts
  2. Library & Information Assistant (Tech. Braille) : 02 posts
  3. Library & Information Assistant (Braille Proof Reader) : 01 post
  4. Junior Stenographer : 02 posts
  5. Library Clerk : 13 posts
  6. Lower Division Clerk (Ty) : 03 posts
  7. Motor Driver : 03 posts
  8. Junior Library Attendant (JLA) : 05 posts

How to Apply :  Duly filled application form along with copies educational/experience/caste etc. certificates duly attested / self-attested should reach Delhi Public Library (DPL) within 30 days.

Click  detailed information


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Why Tibet Matters

  By Bianca Jagger (Founder and Chair, Bianca Jagger Human Rights Foundation) His Holiness the… more »


By Bianca Jagger

(Founder and Chair, Bianca Jagger Human Rights Foundation)
His Holiness the Dalai Lama is in London today to receive the Templeton Prize in recognition of his outstanding achievements and spiritual wisdom.

Tibet has a long-standing connection to Britain. Prior to the Chinese invasion in 1949-50, Britain was the only country to formally recognize Tibet as an independent nation. British representatives were stationed in Lhasa from 1904 to 1947 to liaise with the Tibetan government. In 1949 the newly-victorious leader of the China Communist Party Mao Zedong announced, over the radio waves, his intention to “liberate” Tibet from this “foreign imperialism.”

Over the past 60 years, Tibet has been anything but “liberated” by the Chinese Communist Party.

On the 10th of May I delivered two reports to 10 Downing Street. The reports, by the Society for Threatened People and the International Campaign for Tibet, document the devastating impact of Chinese Communist Party rule in Tibet.

I appealed to Prime Minister David Cameron to support the Tibetans at this critical time in their struggle.

In recent months we have seen harrowing images and footage of Tibetans who have set fire to themselves as a form of protest. Since February, 2009, 35 Tibetans have sacrificed themselves, in an act of desperation, which emerges from the anguish of oppression. Tibetans who have self-immolated include monks, nuns, a 19-year old female student, a widowed mother of four, and a Tibetan reincarnate lama in his forties.

This is one of the most significant waves of self-immolation for the past 60 years, eclipsing the number of self-immolation protests by Vietnamese monks, those associated with the Vietnam War and the pro-democracy movement in South Korea.

The Vietnamese Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hahn has observed, “To burn oneself by fire is to prove that what one is saying is of the utmost importance.”

Although we do not know the last words of all the Tibetans who have poured kerosene over themselves and lit a match, we do know that most have died offering prayers for the Dalai Lama to return home, and for freedom in Tibet.

It is time for us to listen to what Tibetans inside Tibet are saying. It is time for the international community to listen to them and to act.

Over the past four years, the Chinese government has engaged in a comprehensive cover-up of the torture, disappearances and killings that have taken place across Tibet. They have engaged upon a virulent propaganda offensive against the Dalai Lama.

On the international stage, Beijing has subverted and politicized international forums where its human rights record has been challenged and refused to answer legitimate questions from governments about the use of lethal force against unarmed protestors, or the welfare of individual detainees.

Over the past 60 years, the Chinese government has instituted increasingly hard line policies that undermine Tibetan culture and religion. The Tibetan people have been denied freedom of expression. Their language has been downgraded. And their economic resources have been misappropriated by the Chinese state, with increasing numbers of Chinese migrants moving to the Tibetan plateau.

China`s economic strategies are literally re-shaping the Tibetan landscape and endangering the fragile ecosystem of the world`s largest and highest altitude plateau. The survival of one of the world`s only remaining systems of sustainable pastoralism is under threat, as nomads are being displaced from their ancestral lands and settled into remote concrete encampments under an urbanization drive.

Why should Tibet matter? It matters because of the terrible suffering of its people, and because of the need for this ancient religion and the Tibetan cultural identity to survive. This is a culture based on the concepts of wisdom, compassion and inter-dependence. These are valuable teachings for the Tibetan people, and for the world.

The survival of Tibet is not just a moral issue. The country is situated in a strategic geopolitical position, between two nuclear giants, India and China. The future of Tibet is tied to Asian and international security.

Tibet is known as the earth`s `Third Pole`, with the largest supply of fresh water in the world outside the two Poles. Most of Asia`s major rivers have their sources in Tibet, meaning that development policies, damming and land degradation in Tibet can affect hundreds of millions of people elsewhere. China cannot claim that Tibet is their `internal affair.`

This is a critical year for China. Divisions in the Chinese Communist Party have been exposed amidst a new clamor for genuine reform. At this historic juncture the international community should be actively engaged in finding a solution to the crisis in Tibet.

In our letter to David Cameron, we urged him to lead a multilateral effort in support of Tibet. The UK government should coordinate its efforts with other like-minded countries and call on the Chinese government to review the policies towards Tibetans that are the root cause of the self-immolations, the ongoing tensions and unrest, and which are threatening the unique culture, religion, and identity of the Tibetan people. The UK government, together with the European Commission should maintain and where possible expand targeted programmatic assistance for Tibetans including support for sustainable, culturally appropriate development assistance to Tibetan communities; educational and cultural exchange programs targeted to Tibetans both in Tibet and in exile.

Amnesty has also requested that the Chinese government allow independent monitors, for instance the UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, into the country.

The international community should engage in regular dialogue with Tibetan representatives, including the Dalai Lama and his representatives, and Lobsang Sangay, the new Tibetan Prime Minister in exile, to address the immediate crisis in Tibet.

I urge President Obama to take concrete steps to demonstrate his commitment to the fundamental human rights of the Tibetan people, and stand by his words of January 19th 2011, when he professed `America`s fundamental commitment to the universal rights of all people. That includes basic human rights like freedom of speech, of the press, of assembly, of association and demonstration, and of religion — rights that are recognized in the Chinese constitution… Even as we, the United States, recognize that Tibet is part of the People`s Republic of China, the United States continues to support further dialogue between the government of China and the representatives of the Dalai Lama to resolve concerns and differences, including the preservation of the religious and cultural identity of the Tibetan people.`

The religious and cultural identity of the Tibetan people is under threat in Tibet today. The Tibetans are standing up to the vast and expanding power of the Chinese state with nonviolent resistance through religious practice, song, literature, and even self-immolation. They are struggling to preserve their religion and cultural identity. As a consequence they are subjected to imprisonment, torture, deprivation and worse. Yet they persevere. Their bravery should serve as a call to action. I call upon the international community to act now on behalf of Tibet. Time is running out. The very survival of the Tibetan people hangs in the balance.

Bianca Jagger is Founder and Chair of the Bianca Jagger Human Rights Foundation, Council of Europe Goodwill Ambassador, Member of the Executive Director`s Leadership Council of Amnesty International, USA, and Member of the Coalition for the International Criminal Court.

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By: Dr Irengbam Mohendra Singh  First, I would like to thank SALAM CANBRUCE SINGH who… more »

By: Dr Irengbam Mohendra Singh

 First, I would like to thank SALAM CANBRUCE SINGH who wrote: “Dear Sir, Thanks for writing such wonderful articles about Manipur and its people. I have been trying to understand the origin of the Meitei. While doing so I came across your website with an article by Geeta Sapam which was enlightening. From your articles I am getting a lot of opportunity to learn many new things about Manipur. Thanks for making it public.”


I write not only of Manipur but about a variety of subjects. They are aimed at the younger generations with whom I want to share my knowledge. I take pains to describe words and phrases for them. For example: in this article, I explain the meaning of the Spanish word “Trinidad”, which knowledgeable adults might construe as displaying a patronising attitude or a waste of space. This is not my intention. They will know all about my articles anyway.


The bronze and gold autumn leaves were falling inLondonwhen I went to see the Grand Canyons inArizona, in their gorgeous colours. There was a broad rusty zigzag belt spreading halfway up theSan Francisco Peaksas if a blazing fire was everywhere.


The enchanting sight mad me think of Christopher Columbus who was thrilled to bits when he first sighted the most enchanting island.


Columbusdid not discoverAmerica. He got confused and died confused thinking that he found a new rout toIndiaafter discovering an island by fluke, in what is now known as theWest Indies.


Christopher Columbus, an Italian was born in Genoa in 1451. He knew the world was round. He got the money from the king and Queen of Spain for the expedition.


Columbus was not looking for America. He was looking for a shorter route to the Far East (East Indies) for silk and spices. He set sail fromPalos,Spainwith three ships in 1492.  He believed that by sailing west, instead of the current route east, he would reach the Far East sooner.


Columbuslanded on a small Island in what is now known as theBahamasnearBarbados– a group of islands southeast ofFlorida(America) on October 12 1492. He named itSan Salvador(Holy Saviour) in honour of Christ. He thought he had landed on the Spice Islands near India and called the islands “Indios” (Spanish for India).


Columbus’ mistaken ‘India’ was stuck for centuries. When the first white men arrived in America from the “Old world” (Europe) in the 16th century they encountered highly ‘sun-tanned’ natives. They called them “Red Indians” because they wore red war paint when they went out.


Columbus made four voyages in 1492-1504. He reached South America in 1498 and Central America in the fourth voyage. On July 31 1498 he discovered an island, which he calledTrinidad(Spanish for Trinity – God, Jesus and the Holy Ghost).


About the time of Columbus’ discovery of Trinidad – part of groups of islands, which the British, during their occupation, called the British West Indies, there were 10-30 million native people living in America ie the present day Mexico, United States and Canada for tens of thousands of years during the Ice Age.

Columbusdied in 1506 still believing that he had found a new route toIndia.

Unknown toColumbusanother Italian was correctly planning to sail to whereColumbusjust has been. He suspected that there was land to be discovered. He was Amerigo Vespucci.


AmericaorlandofAmerigowas named after Amerigo Vespucci who was born inFlorenceinItalyin 1454. He was very rich. He owned a business inSeville,Spain, furnishing supplies for ships and preparing them for mercantile expeditions.


Seventeen years after Columbus’ first voyage, Vespucci accompanied an expedition consisting of four ships. Amerigo was cleverer than Columbus. That’s how America was named after him.


Amerigo educated himself as a young man and collected books and maps, and studied them intensely. He began working for local bankers and was sent to Spain in 1492 (the year Columbus sailed), to look after his employers’ business interests.


While inSpainhe taught himself navigation. When Columbus returned from his first voyage to the New World (North & South America to the Europeans) he helped Columbus get ships ready for his second and third voyages to the New World. He was also learning from Columbus.


He went on his first expedition as a very skilled navigator in 1499. The expedition easily reached the mouth of the Amazon River and explored the coast of South America. He was able to calculate how far west he had travelled by observing the conjunction of Mars and Moon


Amerigo sailed again from Lisbon, this time under the Portuguese flag in 1501. It took only 64 days to cross the Atlantic Ocean because of favourable wind. His ships followed the South American coast within 400 miles of the southern tip –Tierra del Fuego.


Amerigo was a very keen observer. He studied and kept a travelogue. He described the culture of the indigenous people, their diet, religion, sexual, marriage and child birth practices.


On return, he wrote two letters to a friend in Europe describing his travels and claiming that he was the first to find the New World. These letters were very popular and published in many languages all over Europe. He was becoming quite famous.


Proud Amerigo announced: “I was more skilful than all the shipmates of the whole world”. He was named Pilot Major of Spain in 1508. In 1512 he made his third and the last voyage to the New World before he died of Malaria in 1512 at the age of 58.


After his exploration in 1501-1502, he was one of the first few explorers to come up with the idea that the places he visited were not part of Asia (as Columbus thought). It was a “New World”.


In Europe, a German clergyman and scholar Martin Wald Seemuller was working on a contemporary map, based on Greek Ptolemy’s geography. He had read of Vespucci’s travels and knew that the New World was indeed two continents.


H e wanted to honour Vespucci’s discovery. So he printed a wood block map called “Carta Mariana” (Spanish for Chart of Navy.) with the nameAmericaspread across the southern continent of theNew World. He sold a thousand copies of the map across Europe.

In 1507, a pamphlet was published called “The Four Voyages of Amerigo”. In it the author suggested that the new land that Amerigo discovered be named in his name.


Geradus Mercator’s world map of 1538 was the first to include North America and South America. Thus the continents named for an Italian navigator would for ever live as Americas.


After his explorations Amerigo returned toSevilleinSpainand became its Master Navigator. He stayed in his job until he died.


For those who have not been toSeville, it is a beautiful city inSouth Spain. It has regular bull fights. It became famous after theHollywoodfilm, The Loves of Carman. I watched it in Imphal. It’s a classic.

It is based on the true story of Carmen de Triana – a Romani gypsy girl from Triana, who used to work in a cigarette factory in Sevillein the early 19th century.  Any tourist to Seville will be shown this huge old cigarette factory where Carmen worked.


The Technicolor film starred Rita Hayworth as Carmen – a seductive and beautiful woman, and Glenn Ford as the doomed lover Don José.


Rita Haworth’s married Prince Ali Khan (Aga Khan III) in1948 and divorced in 1953. She died with Alzheimer’s disease that started in her 40s.


“Aga Khan” is the title of the spiritual head (Imam) of a small sect of Muslims known as Ismaelis or Khojas. Originally fromPersia, there are 20 million of them, mostly in Mumbai andKarachi. Their mosque is called Jammat Khana.


When I was in college in Bombayin 1952, my best friend was Mohamed Patel. He was a Gujarati Khoja. Mohammad Ali Jinnah (Father of Pakistan) was also a Gujarati Khoja – lived at ‘Jinnah House’ in the Malabar Hill.


These Muslims are very liberal as the followers of Sufis or Pirs – evangelist preachers of Islam, such as Khwaja Nizam Uddin whose Daraga (burial place) is inDelhi. Both Muslims and Hindus go to pray at his Daraga. They tried to bridge the gap between Islam and Hindu Bhakti movements.


Young men and women drink alcohol if they like, which is taboo for Muslims. Not that all Muslims do not drink. Urdu poets drink a lot. That gives them inspiration.


All the Mughal emperors drank a lot of wine except Jahangir who smoked a lot of opium inKashmir, often relaxing in the black marble pavilion in the Shalimar (Sanskrit= abode of love) Gardens.


Bombayfilm Urdu songs such as “zahid (Arabic- pious), sharab peene de masjid main baithkar, ya woh jaga batade jahan par khuda na ho… In English: (oh) pious, let me drink wine sitting comfortably in the mosque or, tell me a place where there is no God (Mirza Ghalib), tells that drinking alcohol is anti-Islam.

Columbuswas preceded by the Norse expedition led by Leif Ericson, but his voyages led to European expeditions and colonisation ofAmerica.


The writer is based in the UK





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Mulund Forest Land Issue, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India

Letter to the Honorable Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singhji, Sitting 10,000 miles away here in… more »

Letter to the Honorable Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singhji,

Sitting 10,000 miles away here in USA I keep on dreaming when I will return to my motherland and will get my dream home. With every passing day my dream is becoming a nightmare.
It all started in year 2006. I invested my life’s saving to buy a flat. Many of us have to take bank loan and with every passing year interest rate is going higher and higher. Project was undertaken by  Runwal Group, who are leading builders of Mumbai. We were shown all the clearance paper approved by BMC, also all the loans were sanctioned by the nationalized banks and project was going on smoothly, as per the agreement we were paying loans in installment based on casting of each floor.
Then suddenly there was a bolt from the blue. One NGO Bombay Environmental Action Group” filed a Public Interest Litigation in the Mumbai High courts claiming that these tracts of land on which these housing projects was constructed was forest land prior to 1955. Mumbai High Court stayed any further construction on these lands in June 2005 which subsequently halted the construction.

Five years has passed. We are running from pillar to post, we have tired all possible avenues but so far nothing has happened. Case is swinging in between High court to Supreme Court. Several Committees have been looking into matter with no result.

Mr. Prime Minister please, tell me as a common person how will we ever know that prior to 1955 land was forest land. In that case how BMC gave all the permission, how bank sanctioned all the loans? We all are honest simple person, why should we undergo all these agony?

My other friends have lost all the hopes and they have requested me to write to you that if not during there life time at least after our death put some small roof on their dead body, but I am very optimist, I have been hearing that chief justice of India Respected Shri S.H.Kapadia is an excellent human being. I am sure you will use your good office to see that we get our home and I can return back to my motherland.
We have put our plight on internet.
With warm regards
Malathi Krishnan

This  notifcation was sent to by Malathi Krishnan
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By: Dr Irengbam Mohendra Singh Below is an email letter from one Mr Haokip (22nd… more »

By: Dr Irengbam Mohendra Singh

Below is an email letter from one Mr Haokip (22nd August 2011). It explains all.

Thanks for replying. i would also like highlight that we kukis has history of fightin against the Britishers to saveguards its land. I have also came across a history book by one British historian talking about geographical expansion of kuki inhabitat areas expanding from west bengal till myanmar. though it has become a past and political overturn has made kukis as one of major population of Manipur. Now as KUKI ,i wanting to coexist with people of all communities residing in Manipur is not surprising though bt since i am aware that divisions in the same state will lead us to no whre .but one problem that we do face as hills men is that concentration of the infrastructure in imphal city ,the state govt eversince has shown ignorance towards the hill area.. a stepmotherly treatment given to them . at this 21st century they still long for basic amenities. a hungry man is bound to revolt. The prolonge undue attention not given to hill areas n its people is one of the root cause behind the existing division, according to me. My hope for better MANIPUR is overall growth.

Sir do correct me if im wrong somewhere, i want to do something for the state n im in learning process. HOPE , u will guide me.


L Haokip

With the NH 39 blockade entering into the 5th week the Meitei should now be ready to bear the wrath of the tribal hill people forever.

Iboby Government’s development priority is beyond the pale. It hasn’t learned from the crippling blockade of highways for 52 days by the ANSAM in 2005. Six years on the NH-37, previously known as NH 53 or Imphal to Cachar Road is still a dirt road. Ibobi should be concentrating more on the means of survival than on luxury like the establishment of IT College or another Medical College.

The fury of the Christian hill people is like that of the biblical Christian God who declared: “And thou shall love thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might” (Deuteronomy 6:5), and struck those who did not obey him with thunder and lightning.

God had a reason and so have the hill people. Therefore, the Ark of the Covenant is to explore why they are unhappy.

Many years ago, in the late 1950s while I was a medical student, my friend, late Moirangthem Gojendra and I, drove a German and an American woman who came to see Manipur, to Churachandpur. We drove uphill where there was a church.

A Kuki man came out to meet us. He was pleased to see those two white women. He shook hands with them. Then instead of shaking hands with us he threw a bolt from the blue, entirely unconnected with the visit. He said: “You’ve got all the meat and we have got the bones.”

This is just to demonstrate that there is a loathing – better termed prejudice, deeply rooted in the psyche of the hill people against the Meitei. And it is not without justifications.

The Meitei cannot condemn these hill people who hate the Meitei because condemnation condemns the person who condemns as well as those people whom
the condemning person has chosen to condemn.

That will only accentuate the mutual prejudice. “There are more ways than one to skin a cat.”

The hill people do not want lip service such as the Tangkhul are the elder brother of the Meitei or “Meitei-Hao-ichin–inao” ie Meitei and hill people are brothers. They regard it as hypocritical respect. They want funds to improve their lot.

Meitei, Tangkhul, Kuki, Kabui and other hill peoples were never more brothers than they are now. But it had dividends.

It is said that brothers and sisters are the accidents of birth while friends will stick to each other to the end. It is the friendship I am hoping for, not the brotherhood.

The ethnic minority hill people have now gained a strong enough position to challenge the Meitei. They have a thumb on the Meitei jugular, which they can press at will and with surprising ease.

It will take only 15-20 members of the ATUSM backed by a few Naga gunmen to block a small stretch of the highway by heaping stones on the road to block the goods-laden lorries and then intimidating the drivers with a few showers of stones from the top of the hill.

In my search for the root causes of this loathing I have come up with three major ones.

(1) Historical roots: the events of the past history of the Meitei and other hill people though ephemeral have not only characterised ethnic prejudice and hatred but have also fuelled their growth. The prejudice was a tool whereby each ethnic group built its identity as a group for social benefits.

(2) Sociological causes: an inheritance from the past prejudice that accrued from competition for resources due to scarcity or greed that initially made ethnic people hate each other for positive social benefits associated with hatred.

(3) Economic causes: This is the most important cause. I am now referring specifically to the anger and frustration described by Mr Haokip above, which are true but with some reservations. They arise from need on the part of the hill people or alleged greed on the part of the Meitei.

In the historiography of Manipur before the British dominion all the ethnic groups were living in Manipur. It was then in the nature of humans as social creatures to band together to act in groups to advance the prosperity of their group and to then share in that prosperity.

During British Rule, the Meitei did not have any hand in depriving the Hill people of their due share of Manipur’s economy. They were directly administered by the British administration.

Since Independence on August 15 1947 Manipur has been ruled by Delhi with an annual largesse which has been very small in the First Five year Plan. Following the
insurgencies in Manipur and the better growth of the national GDP, the Delhi
Government has been increasing its annual allocation of money to Manipur, culminating in Rs. 300 crores for the year 2011.

It is also partly because mayang Indians in the Delhi Government, who clubbed together all the Northeast Indians as a single entity in the same way the colonial anthropologist did, have now come to understand that the five Sister States have different problems of their own.

In Manipur, the main problem that has been causing turmoil among the hill people concerns the “disparity” in the distribution of this money from Delhi. Manipur has no substantial productivity in any form or kind.

Imphal seems to be having more and more “bright lights” while the hill people continue to survive with only the bare necessities of life. Is this a fact? I don’t know exactly.

Who can answer this question? The incumbent government especially the minister with a portfolio for finance can. Every year during the budget session of the Assembly there should be declarations about the allocated sums of money for each district.

What I do know is that Meitei living in the far flung villages in Manipur are slightly better- off than the Hill counterparts only because of easer accessibility to Imphal to buy essential commodities of daily living.

“There is a demand for a new deal in the management of the affairs” of the hill people. I have borrowed this phrase from President Franklin D Roosevelt (1930), who borrowed it from the British campaign of David Lloyd George, who ran for prime minister in 1919 with the slogan “A New Deal for Everyone.”

Any incumbent government of Manipur will need a collection of political and economic policies, and programmes to deal with the economic miseries of the hill people.

As I suggested in my article – Causes of ethnic conflict in Manipur…July 3 2011, the Manipur political system could be based on the Swiss model by improving the current autonomous district councils. Each council should be allotted a well-proportioned
budget that they can juggle at will.

There should now be two districts for the Meitei in the Imphal valley, leaving a certain square miles of Imphal city that belongs to the Meitei, Pangal and every tribe in the plains or in the hills.

It should be named as Imphal City, Imphal ADC East and Imphal ADC West, in line with Washington and Washington DC (District of Columbia) governed by the same Municipality Council.

The current bright lights of Imphal city must be distinguished from the lights of Imphal valleys which the Meitei mostly inhabit.

Imphal is the capital of Manipur and now a city. It needs “bright lights” as does any capital such as Kolkata, Delhi, Mumbai or Chennai. This means it should have a better infrastructure.

This is because a city or a town is a relatively large and permanent settlement. It has complex systems of sanitation, utilities, land usage, housing and transportation. It
has government institutions, colleges and universities, prisons, hospitals and the police headquarters.

The concentration of development facilitates the interaction of all the people living in different districts and rural areas. It must have modern hotels for people to come and do business in Manipur or for tourists who would bring in a lot of money for everybody.

Imphal has colonies of Kukis such as New Lambulane and for Tangkhuls, Dewlaland and so on. There are many Kabui villages such as Sahib Manai, Major khun. The Langol Hill areas are entirely occupied by the hill people.

The Hill people who live in Imphal city enjoy the same privileges as the Meitei.

We need to study what is going on in India outside of Manipur. Once we have learned the differences between a city and a village we can open our hearts and free ourselves from the chain of intolerance which we have learned from our native cultures by default.

So, now we know what the hill people want – equity.

The writer is based in the UK

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Our social clock is ticking faster than the rattling machine guns in these midnight hours of our collective lives, disturbing every little tranquillity that we supposedly possess as modern human… Read more »

Our social clock is ticking faster than the rattling machine guns in these midnight hours of our collective lives, disturbing every little tranquillity that we supposedly possess as modern human beings. But the irony is, without any hope for a coming dawn, we are getting lost in the darkness — one foot on murky water, another on fleeting, listless time of a lost generation. At this critical moment, we need to make some decisive resolutions and we need to vote for resistance.

In less than a year, we will be having the general election. A festival of the unknown majority. A celebration of false political freedom. Are we going to repeat the usual mistake again? It is an error that we go to cast our vote with some squashy realisation that we live in a modern society of computers and space technology, when we are aware of the incorrigible and obvious failing of governance and administration plus the all-round grime and grunge. We have to learn to say no against bluffs. Say no against primitive living. It will be a blunder if we cannot see our own mistake even after all these elections which we have in the name of democracy, when Manipur exists as a small branch to the tree of the Great Union of India while the big tree sees us not more than a frontier area, where it is all about military and authoritarian roots.

If we are too pessimist that we are just a small branch, then we will have to continue with our miserable lives and only have to wait for a miracle that will come one fine day, when we will stop equating life with simply fighting for survival, but live and compare it with blooming flowers and limitless skies. And if we are too lethargic that we can find contentment in election fever, calling it dearly as a five-year affair that comes only once in a while, so be it. But this cannot continue forever. We know it. The decadence of values in our society is nothing but our own defect.

Our collective lives are desperate for some rationality. The only logic, if we would ever care is the idea of oneness, the belongingness to humanity. Let us stop the blame game. Let us stop going to the election campaign. Let us vote for freedom.

Our purpose is to find a way ourselves and a lesson to teach our political masters in a plain political sense: A means to get rid of the mundane anarchy which we see in our time, in a general sense, as lawlessness and disorder. But if we look at ourselves honestly and the issues and matters around us, we can see clearly we don’t have enough time in this darkness to dig deeper into the political philosophies and engross ourselves into rhetoric and deliberation. Simple put, it’s time to act. It’s time to act against the injustice and lies of our time.

When the government has failed us, when the insurgent groups have lost their plots miserably, when the authority has turned their back on us, we have only one choice: Look after ourselves. Why should we always victimise ourselves? Why should we always vote for the open-secret, illicit relationship between the politicians, contractors and militants? We must vote for resistance, not simply with a thumb impression on a piece of paper with several meaningless party symbols promising us half-baked lies, but for the real change that we aspire for and would love to see around us. The blot on our finger is a blot on humanity; nothing can be worse than this blot in our voiceless generation.

We are too naïve when it comes to election on two counts: firstly, we are gullible as well as immature to vote for the right candidate, if one exists at all; and secondly, our voices are too silent in the cacophonic mainland parliament. Overall the argument is not about the dictatorship of the proletariat or an uprising of the masses for good, but rather the rekindling of hope from the lowest strata of the society — in stoking the embers of an awareness that we are living in the 21st century and that we can expect a lot more from our collective lives, by transforming ourselves into a peaceful and just society.

Let’s talk of no reason when there is none. Our collective lives are desperate for some rationality. The only logic, if we would ever care is the idea of oneness, the belongingness to humanity. Let us stop the blame game. Let us stop going to the election campaign. Let us vote for freedom. Our society is our group. Our group is made up of individuals, thence everything depends on us, each one of us. If election is the thing we care, then the outcome is ours. Looking back, looking sideways, however, we can see there is no one who is happy with it and that each one of us long for a real change. The change is us and only us.

On hindsight — to the delight of the cynics, the pseudo-believers of democracy and the prying eyes of the sadists, all of them who are found galore in every leikai and leirak — nothing is going to change for us. But we can just give it a try. In the name of humanity. In the name of peace. In the name of liberty. We can see, yours truly believe, we are not approaching from a textbook approach, but from the most realistic idea: stop going to the election booth for a new world, to forsake the despicable society we live in today. The same cynics mentioned above would suggest an ‘action-able’ overture, like fighting face to face at the ground. But we need a starting point and this write-up only means to be the initial push-button, free of street politics and kowtowing to the dictates of the several masters: captain New Delhi, the spineless state government and the rudderless militant groups. Ironical this is again, though we are helping them by dint of our decadence and indifference while we let ourselves getting drowned in the currents of our time.

Can we have an alternative plan to the common tried-and-failed attacks with violent protests on the streets that occur once or twice every year, that explode only after a major issue? Can we have a durable agenda to find a lasting solution to the mess and maze of our neglected, battered hinterland? Can we just go beyond the freebies which come so cheaply around election time? Dispirited civil and frontal organisations here and there. The commoners everywhere. We know we are the first group, the buck can be easily passed onto, and we also know there are only two results: either we continue living the lives of the great unwashed in these filthy surroundings of blood, bombs and bullets as if we were destined to, or stop participating in the election mess while we write the stories of our lives with the help of sweat and conscience.

Fortunately, it’s only a matter of choice. We can divert our way from the local primary schools and elsewhere where polling takes place, and instead we can vote for a shared consciousness that will last long, much more than these lightless midnight hours in which we have forgotten the time, simply fighting for a piece of land and this and that, competing for how much we can amass, stealing and looting and killing, all in the name of the land. Folks, the choice is all ours.

The  article is sent to by TAOTHINGMANG LUWANGCHA, The Society of Liberal Radicals

Contact Him @  thesolirad[at]

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The Voice of Dissent

By: Maisnam Chanu Liklainu Liu Xiaobo ,the Nobel Peace Prize winner is one of the dissidents languishing in the Chinese jail. He was never afraid to disagree with the military… Read more »

By: Maisnam Chanu Liklainu

Liu Xiaobo ,the Nobel Peace Prize winner is one of the dissidents languishing in the Chinese jail. He was never afraid to disagree with the military might of the Chinese Communique. The voice of dissent is the most potent force.Its not easy to be different amongst those who are out to crush you.

Many a dissidents serving life sentences in this part of the globe. Their voices are crushed many a times .They have to pay the price for being outspoken. Either you are thrown in the dungeon or either you have to meet an untimely death. Its a risky proposition… They have the guts to be different, to be critical and to be objective .  They have to take risk for being different…. They are sceptical,they love to question the authority even at the risk of their lives… They are the ones who do what other people dream of. They never do the predictable. They are instinstive and compulsive questioning the authority….They give a hard time to the authority….

Its time we have more spunky people to take on the powers that be…

Be it the government or the parallel government….

Lets not be homogeneous in our thinking….

Conformity will kill us….

Lets take risk…

Lets not be afraid to disagree….

We surely want a vibrant society…….

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Devil’s Advocate: Deranged Man and Protestors (PART 2)

By: A Bimol Akoijam The deranged man reads the leaflet again and scratches his head, and looks up at the leader of the protestors, and says, “So, she has been… Read more »

By: A Bimol Akoijam

Previously on Devil’s Advocate: Deranged Man and Protestors

LP: What do you mean?

DM: If she decides to call off the fast or something happens to her, what will you do?

The leader shots back, “Then, you will see a civil war if anything happens to her! Government of India will be solely responsible …God forbid, if something bad happens to her!

DM: And Armed Forces Special Powers Act?

The leader and protestors look at each others.

The deranged man reads the leaflet again and scratches his head, and looks up at the leader of the protestors, and says, “So, she has been fighting against the Armed Forces Special Powers Act, uummm…I see”

“Yes, she has been fighting against this draconian Act”, replies the leader of the protestors.

DM: I know

LP: How do you know?

As their leader asks the question, looking at the clothing and disheveled hair of the deranged man who keeps on scratching his head, the other protestors smile.

DM: Oh, it’s written here…this leaflet that you have given me.

LP: Oh!….So?

The deranged man scratches his head again as he continues to read the leaflet all over again. Then he looks at the protestors and their leader.

DM: So? Ummm…do you support Sharmila because she is fighting against the Act?

LP: Yes, we support her because she is fighting against AFSPA

DM: You should have told me that. Instead, you said, you are supporting Sharmila because she is ON A FAST!

And the protestors again look at each others.

“Why is she against this Act?” asks the deranged man.

LP: It deprives us of our basic human rights like the “Right to Life”

DM: You mean, AFSPA deprives you of your “Right to Life”?

LP: yes

DM: How?

LP: It allows the army to shoot, even causing death, on the basis of mere suspicion! It’s there in the leaflet.

DM: yeah…I see that but this is wrong…

LP: That’s it…we have been wronged…

DM: No, I mean what you are writing here is wrong. You write here and also say that AFSPA deprives you of the “Right to Life”, but it does not!

LP: What!?

DM: Yes, AFSPA does not deny “Right to Life”!

LP: How can you say that? This Act gives power to security forces to shoot to kill even on the basis of suspicion, it’s unconstitutional…

DM: But that was what those who fought against the Act have said in the Supreme Court and the Court has given its judgment that says that the Act is constitutional and the soldier cannot shoot and take the life of a citizen arbitrarily. He must have reasonable ground to justify the suspicion because the Constitution still protects the citizen’s “Right to life” as the Constitution is not suspended while the Act is in operation.

The leader and protestors seem to get puzzled by this observation of the deranged man. And they look at each other. Looking at the leader, the deranged man continues, “Have you read the Supreme Court Judgment?”

The leader stares at the deranged man for while and then uneasily looks at his followers. Slowly turning towards the deranged man, he says, “Errr ahh err…well…errr…yes…long time back!”

As they hear their leader, the followers look at each other. There is an element of disbelief in their glances on what their leader has just said and their own experssions also seem to indicate that they haven’t probably read the judgment even though they have been protesting against this Act for years, repeatedly shouting all these while, the same slogans as they did before their challenge against the Act in Court was rejected by the Supreme Court in 1997.

DM: Then, why are you saying that AFSPA denies “Right to Life”?

The leader keeps quite for a while and looks at his followers, then says, “Well…I don’t agree…you know it is democracy, people have the right to disagree”!

DM: True, but under the democratic system, Judiciary is important, and the Highest Court has given its Judgment which has rejected the view that the Act denies “Right to Life”. Anyway, you must have a reason to disagree? Why do you disagree? What are your reasons behind your diagreement?

LP: Ummm err…leave the Judgment…reasons and all that…it’s all talks…those are all “theories”. We have to understand the “ground reality”!

One of the protestors says, “Yes, yes, “theories” are not important, we must know the “ground reality”!

DM: “Theories”? All talks? Aren’t you also only talking, your slogans and this leaflet?

LP: What!?

DM: Anyway, is “Right to Life” a theory or ground reality? Is there such a real thing called “Right to Life”, people do get killed in reality anyway, not only in Manipur. So is “Right to Life” a reality or a theory?

The leader seems to be taken aback by this question of the deranged man. Just as he seems to ponder over it, one of the protestors says in Meiteilon, “Tok-o yaare..angaobasiga waari touranu…kari kanndoino” (it’s ok, stop it, there is no point in talking with this mad man). Another chips in, “Masi mee-se ngaosinnaba oiramganee…Govt ki agent oiramgani…intelligence  agency-sing-gee mee soidana oiramgani…ngaoragabu kamaina maana mee-gee judgment-kado paramdoi-no” (this man must be impersonating as a mad man…he must be an agent of the govt…a member of the intelligence agencies…how can a mad man read judgment and all that)!

Masi nupa-se moi-gee atoppa group-ki mee oiramgani…Iche Sharmila-da support touganu, AFSPA-ki fight-ta oina support tou kai-na ngashai haikhrido

Still another protestor looks at the deranged man suspiciously, then turns to his other colleagues and says, “Masi nupa-se moi-gee atoppa group-ki mee oiramgani…Iche Sharmila-da support touganu, AFSPA-ki fight-ta oina support tou kai-na ngashai haikhrido” (This guy must be from the other group, that’s why he was saying that we should fight against AFSPA, not support Sharmila)!

Then the deranged man interrupts them, looking at them and then at their leader, he says, “What are they saying?”

Looking at the deranged man, the leader replies, “Nothing”!

DM: They are saying something though?

Saying this he smiles at the leader. The leader also looks at him.

LP: It’s not important!

DM: Really? What they are saying is not important?

The leader seems to be flummoxed by this pointed question from the deranged man and he seems to ponder on the remarks of the other protestors for a while. Then looking at the deranged man, he continues.

LP: well…err…anyway…what were you asking?

DM: I was asking as to what your friends were saying just now?

LP: Leave that…before that, what were you asking?

DM: Oh that! Well, I was asking, is the “Right to Life” a theory or what you called a ground reality?

LP: Ummm errr..errr…

One of the protestors intervenes, “You must know ground reality”!

LP: Yes…you must know “ground reality”!

DM: That’s ok but you haven’t answered my question and you are trying to avoid…

Before the deranged man could complete, the leader says, “see, people have been killed…you know extra-judicial killings…you must know…”

Just as the leader was saying this, a protestor interrupts, “call Engel-lei, she is there…her husband was also killed in a fake encounter”. And he sends someone to call Engel-lei.

LP: Yes, you must know the “ground reality”…we have amongst us a victim of extra-judicial killing, a young girl in her early 20s whose husband was shot dead right in front of her by Manipur Police Commandos”!

DM: God! That’s terrible!

The deranged man seems to be disturbed by this information of a young widow.

LP: See, you must know “ground reality” to understand AFSPA!

DM: But to the best of my knowledge, Manipur Police and its Commandos are not covered by AFSPA; they do not operate under the AFSPA!

The leader looks at the deranged man and then to his followers who also look at each other, as if the remark of the deranged man seems to have unsettled their “ground reality”!


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Marriage Payment: An Aspect Of Marriage Institution Practiced Among The Chikimis In Manipur

By Priyadarshni M. Gangte. The Chin-Kuki-Mizo is a grouping of people comprising of several ethnic groups who are closely allied to one another. For the purpose of this paper, Chin-Kuki-Mizo… Read more »

By Priyadarshni M. Gangte.
The Chin-Kuki-Mizo is a grouping of people comprising of several ethnic groups who are closely allied to one another. For the purpose of this paper, Chin-Kuki-Mizo is clubbed together as the CHIKIM that literally means ‘all nationalities’. These ‘nationalities’ have a common culture, tradition, language, custom, mode of cultivation, form of government, etc. They inhabit entire Chin Hills of Myanmar and are known ‘Chin’ in that country. These same groups of people are known as ‘Kuki’ when they are in the Indian states of Manipur, Nagaland, Tripura, Assam, etc. and also Chittagong Hill Tracts of Bangladesh. Similarly, in recent times, these people inhabiting erstwhile Lushai Hills District of Assam preferred to abandon the term and called themselves as ‘Mizo’ which is recognised by the Government of India and granted the state of Mizoram as belonging to the Mizo people. The present study will discuss the marriage payment, an aspect of marriage institution, among the following Chin-Kuki-Mizo people: Lushais, Thadou/Kuki, Lakher, Zomi/Chin and Old Kukis.

Marriage Payment

Marriage is a form of social arrangement by which a couple is legitimized in their physical relationship and their child is given a legitimate position in the society which is often determined by parenthood in the social sense1 . Marriage payment forms parts of the social institution of marriage. Making of payment of marriage by the bridegroom either in the form of kind or service to the bride’s kin is an essential part of establishment of legality2 . Marriage payment was held officially in South Africa as per native custom with payment of Mithun in general. Some people believe that ‘bride-price’ is a completed word of marriage payment, alleged to have been coined by British administrators during the colonial British period in India3 . In our study, marriage payment will be consistently used to mean marriage price or bride-price.

The Chikimis do not think of marriage necessarily, as a union, based on romantic love although beauty as well as character and health are always sought in choice of a wife. Secondly, in Chikimi society, a marriage involves making of payment by the bridegroom or his kin to the father or close relative of the would-be bride in case the father had expired. Such system of understanding of the nature of marriage alliance was also prevalent in a great number of societies in ancient and modern times in all parts of the world. Among few Chikimi tribes, practice of marriage payment is prevalent and is known as ‘bride-price’, which is paid in cash, kind and ‘mithun’. Our study of the marriage payment system among the Chikimi tribes has revealed that it is a widespread social practice in the northeast India and had significant sociological dimensions.

The Lushai

Marriage payment or bride-price or marriage price is the most important factor in a Chikimi marriage. No marriage can be performed unless part of marriage-payment is made in advance by the bridegroom to the bride’s family. It was paid in terms of mithuns when barter system was practice of the time. A mithun used to cost rupees forty as fixed by the British India administration in 18th Century when currency system was first introduced in this part of the North East. Some clans had fixed the prices for their maids in the past4 . It varied from four to ten mithuns depending upon the antecedents, blood and beauty of the bride. Marriage-payment for a chief’s daughter was as many as ten mithuns or more5  for the Dulien (Lushai) speaking Chikimis. Minor concessions could be given during the time of payment. In this connection, marriage payments were practically never paid up in full at once at the time of wedding for the reason that hardly anybody had enough money to pay the same at once6 . Generally there was the custom of marriage-payment only in instalments and the remaining to be paid after some time i.e. twenty years or more7 . The customary laws of Thadou, Gangte, Vaiphei, Paite, etc. in this regard are quite widely different from the ones described hereinabove8

Marriage-payment is a sacred institution prevalent in Chikimi society. It is however not to be understood as a sale-price9 . It is not a commercial transaction.  Marriage payment was sometimes used as a weapon for a clever parent to reject a suitor10 If it is really felt that the usual payment of any part of the same was unduly delayed or was not intentionally paid, the aggrieved party could seek the chief’s permission to seize any of the property of the debtor against the claim11 .

The marriage payment consisted of two parts12  (i) the Manpui and the Mantang. The Manpui is the price that has to go direct to the girl’s father or in his absence, to her brother. If she has none of them, it has to be received by her nearest male relative. The general rate of Manpui is five mithuns or Rs.100/- if the girl had dowry or ‘Thuam’ in the Dulien language but in case she does not carry, the rate of it was four mithuns each Mithun being fixed at Rs. 80/- by the British administrators. The custom of increasing Rs. 20/- was prevalent if the girl was provided with Thuam.

It is pertinent to mention that the Lushai (Dulien speaking Mizos) custom is slightly different from others in dealing with matters relating to marriage payment. It happened in circumstances where the girl was adopted by a man since childhood then the price went to him. In cases where male relatives failed to receive the marriage payment, the mother of the bride did not marry again and had taken all the responsibilities for her daughter (bride) she would let her mother receive the payment or she could select anyone to receive her marriage payment. In case her mother remarried and had gone to live with her husband under whose care the girl was brought up could be entitled to receive the marriage payment13 . In case she is a ‘Falak’ or illegitimate child, her mother could receive the marriage payment14 .

During the course of our survey, we found that Parry was right about the ‘Mantang’ or the subsidiary price of the bride, which was normally distributed to different categories of persons15 .
(a) Sumhmahruai, Rs. 20/-, this price is payable to the bride’s father or brother.
(b) Sumfang, Rs. 8/- is payable to the bride’s father or brother.
(c) Pusum, Rs. 6/- goes to the bride’s ‘Pu’ (the maternal uncle of the bride).
(d) Palal, Rs. 5/- is to be received by any person, selected by the bride as adopted father. The Palal in reciprocal has to give the bride a fowl and Zubel (pot with rice beer) as Lawichal (wedding feast given by recipients of Mantang).
(e) Ni-ar, Rs. 2/- has to be received by the parental aunt.
(f) Naupuakpuan, Rs. 2/- is entitled by the bride’s elder sister in consideration of her having carried the bride about in her cloth when the child was a baby.

The above-mentioned subsidiary price or ‘Mantang’ are the integral parts of marriage payment. In addition to this, there are also two optional ‘mans’- they are Thianwan and Lawichal16 .
(i) Thianwan Rs. 2/- or Rs. 3/- is payable to a friend of the bride, it is from the Manpui. Thianman is refunded in case the bride left her husband sumchchuah (divorce of husband by wife) or Uire (adultery).
(ii) Lawichal Rs. 2/- is a payment (not compulsory) payable only when the bride and the bridegroom are from different villages. When the bride is escorted by a group of friends and a man, who leads them to the bridegroom’s residence. This man is known as ‘Lawichal’ in the language of Dulien speakers. He is sometimes rewarded Rs. 2/- which is also to be refunded in case the bride later leaves her husband ‘Sumchchuah’ or ‘Uire’.

Moreover, the following rates of marriage payment are realized:
(i) Tlai means head of one mithun’s price Rs. 20/-.
(ii) ‘Tlai Sial’ means half mithun Rs. 20/-.
(iii) ‘Sepui’ means a full grown mithun Rs. 40/-.
(iv) ‘Seding’ means a full grown mithun or Rs. 40/-.
(v) ‘Senufa’ means a mithun and calf or Rs. 60/-.
(vi) ‘Puikhat’ means Rs. 20/-.
(vii) ‘Puisawnsial’ means Rs. 20/-.

The Lakher

Marriage payment among the Lakhers was quite high and this worked as a deterrent to easy divorce and fortified the position of the wife. Like the Lushais, marriage payment in the Lakher-customs was shared by a long line of relatives even aunts of the bride have to receive part of it. Sometimes, sharing of the same was so complicated that litigations continued endlessly17 . The main price was called ‘angkia’. Higher clan Lakhers also adopted the custom of taking higher rate of ‘angkia’, which varied from 10 to 70 rupees. The different parts of the marriage payment, are the ‘angkia’, the ‘puma’, the ‘nongcheu’, the ‘nangcheu’, etc. All these prices have their own subsidiary prices18 .

The ‘angkia’(‘Angkia’ means house enter) as the main price is taken by the father of the bride. In some Lakher society, the ‘angkia’ is received by the eldest son (brother) for the eldest daughter. Likewise the youngest daughter’s angkia goes to the youngest brother.

The next payment is the ‘Puma’(‘Puma’ has the same significance of that other prices.) which is payable only to the bride ‘pupa’ who is her maternal uncle. The rate at which ‘puma’ is payable depends on the rate of the angkia and if it is 60 rupees the rate of the ‘pumapi’ or ‘puma’ payment is also 60 rupees and is generally claimed when the couple settles down as man and wife.

The third marriage payment is the ‘Nongchue’.( ‘Nongcheu’ is found to have exist only in the Lakher society.) which means ‘the mother’s price’. If the mother and father of the bride have been divorced, it is payable to the bride’s mother. If they are still married, it is payable to the bride’s mother’s sister.

The fourth marriage payment is the ‘Nangchue’‘Nangcheu’ is equivalent to Niman or Niar, and it is sometimes replaced by ‘Tini’), which means the aunt’s price and is payable to the bride’s eldest paternal aunt.

The Thadou / Kuki:

Among the Thadous, the marriage payment has an interesting legend19 . Chongthu was the younger brother of Nongmangpa, the Chief of the underworld. As per Thadou custom, in the presence of the elder brother called ‘Upa’, the younger brother called ‘Naopa’ cannot become a chief. So, Noimangpa, being the elder, was the chief, Chongthu also intended to become the Chief. Therefore, he went out in search of a suitable land where he could establish himself separately as a Chief. He found one. On his plan to become a chief, he wanted to go with his own closed friends whom he could trust. Thus, he arranged for the marriage of each of his selected men. In doing so he made the marriage payments of each bride to their parents. In those days, no valuable property or cash was available. All the valuable items that one could think of was a ‘Paigen’. This was a belt made of leather and decorated with a kind of beads, called ‘Longchang’, in seven lines. This was then considered to be a very rare and valuable item of property.
This could only be afforded by the chief alone. So, traditionally it became associated with the sole property, the right of which was vested only in the chief and was venerated very much being associated with a certain amount of superstition20 .

Chongthu being the younger brother of Noimangpa, the chief, had access to it and when he arranged for the brides of his friends with whom he planned to go to his newly found land, he paid the ‘Paigen’ to the parents of the girls as marriage payment. It so happened that though the commoners dared not refuse to accept the ‘Paigen’ when offered to them as marriage payment subsequently, they could neither dare keep it with them owing to their superstitions attached to it nor could they dare refuse the bride in marriage. 21 Thus,  along with the bride,  the parents returned the ‘Paigen’ to Chongthu saying that being a valuable property associated with the Chief exclusively, they dare not keep it or else, the wrath of the unseen supernatural power visit them and bring misfortune to them22 . This process went on and on until Chongthu was able to arrange 30 of his best and closest friends with the payment of ‘Paigen’ as the marriage payment.

Hereafter, marriage payment of every clan was paid in terms of seven mithuns based on the seven lines of ‘Longchung’ on the ‘Paigen’. This however needs further investigation and confirmation, the prevailing different versions on the matter among the Thadou tribes needs specific enquiries. Our research into ethnicity and folk lores reveal that since then marriage payment came to exist though in actual practice there are variations among the clans in terms of kind and number of mithuns. However, assuming that the following structure is the broad base for marriage payment as propounded by Crawford.

Bride-Price Structure of Thadous:
Clan Price
1. Doungel i) selsom (10 mithuns)
ii) dahpi ni (2 big copper gongs)
iii) dahbu ni (2 sets of three different small sizes of copper gongs)
iv) Khichang ni (2 ear beads)
v) Khichong ni (2 bead necklaces)

2. Sitlhou

3. Singson i) Selsomlanga (15 mithuns)

4. Kipgen i) selsom (10 mithuns)
ii) dahpi ni (2 big copper gongs)
iii) Khichong ni (2 bead necklaces)
iv) Khichang ni (2  ear beads )

5. Haokip

6. Chongloi i) Selsagee (7 mithuns)
ii) dahpi khat (1 big copper gong)
iii) dahbu khat (1 set of three different small sizes of copper gongs)
iv) Khichang khat (1 ear bead)
v) Khichong khat (1 bead necklace)

7. Hangshing

Though Crawford’s work is not comprehensive it serves an useful study on Thadou customary law for further exploration on the customary laws of the Thadous25 . Shaw,26   in his study on the Thadous, observed several deviations from what Crawford had specified in his work. He contended that the question of amount of marriage payment among the Thadous was not definite and commented that the chiefs and wealthy persons usually claimed and paid the equivalent of ten mithuns, Rs. 200/- in cash, 23 dahpi (large gongs), 2 dahpu (set of two gongs), 2 khichang (ear beads), 2 khichong (necklaces). He did not name any specific clan of the Thadous. He further opined that ordinary person often actually pay a couple of mithun, khichang and khichong. As in an instance, he said that a pig in some cases may be taken as one mithun and that as per his personal experience he had come across cases where Rs. 40 had stood for 4 mithuns, a jar of ‘ju’ for a khichang or khichong. Thus in actual practice the parent of the bride hardly ever received the marriage-payment in full but in the form of more or less fictitious substitutes. He was emphatic in this regard to the effect that the parents loved to name large amounts as the ‘man’ not with any idea of getting it, but to be able to boast that their daughter was married for so much. Often when enquired as to what precisely they had received, it was found that actually a much smaller amount had been accepted in full satisfaction by a system of fictitious values. This is very similar to the practices among the Lushais, Zomis, etc. Fictitious values have more often created false pretensions of wealth and richness, which became bones of contentions later and led to unhappy marriages.

It must also be mentioned that Hutton27  was convinced to have observed the fact that the first and last number of the marriage payment by mithun must necessarily be paid in mithun (selkeng-liding by this it means that marriage payment has to be by live-mithun). The first and the last marriage payment must in no case be substituted in any form of cash or kind.

Gangte28  another authority working on the marriage payment of the Thadous maintains that the marriage payment of the Singson Thadou is 30 mithuns without any other items added to it unlike the other Thadou clans. The higher rate of marriage payment among the Singsons has no origin according to him. It is said, the Singsons are the direct junior collaterals of the Sitlhous. So when their senior collateral (Sitlhous) increased the marriage payment the junior also deemed it proper to follow suit.29

During the course of our research we found that one common conspicuous missing fact is that of ‘Lutom Laisui’, a very important and compulsory item in the marriage payment. It signifies the importance of father and mother of the bride. ‘Lutom’ is given to the father of the bride in token expression of gratitude. Likewise, ‘Laisui’ is an exclusive item to be given to the mother of the bride for having given birth to her daughter from her naval. Here, it must be said that, while the father is shown respect for his paternal masculinity, the mother too is highly respected for giving birth to the child. In this regard, it is interesting to state that there cropped up differences between William Shaw and J.H. Hutton, who out of confusion literally dealt with the two terms out of ignorance of the language and meaning provided to the two items. Shaw30   attributed ‘Lutom’ as a gift given to the mother and ‘Laisui’ to the father. Hutton31  contended otherwise and explained that Shaw got it the wrong way round. In doing so, he explained saying that Laisui means a woman’s waist-band, while Lutom is a man’s loincloth. They were cloths for bride’s parent and further contended that it could be accounted for a money payment of Re. 1/- and Rs. 2/- respectively, that a woman can claim for property and that a Thadou woman can make in her own account.

Similarly, we found another feature that has not been dealt with by the several authorities in regard to Manpi which stands for principal marriage-payment that consists of one mithun on the tail of which one piece of big bead ‘khichang’ through the ear of which the tail of the mithun can be made to pass through as a decorative piece (Ibid). This bead is counted as equivalent to one mithun. Therefore, the Manpi or the principal mithun is counted as to bear the price of two mithuns. The principal mithun is expected to have given birth to as many calves as possible. It is believed that with such principal mithun included in the marriage payment similar number of many children are in return given birth by the bride. Therefore it is insisted that such principal mithun should necessarily reveal calf bearing32 .

We also observed that the broad based marriage payment as shown above is not totally followed by different clans. As for an instance, the Haokips of Chassad lineage known as the seniormost (piba) of the Haokip take ten mithuns inclusive of the principal mithun33  However, as for other junior lineages of the Haokip clan of the Thadou, the marriage payment is fixed at eight mithuns.

Another pertinent point we have observed i.e. the fact that though the marriage-payments of different clans are fixed it is customarily not paid in full throughout the life time of the bride. The practice of marriage payment is that provided the principal mithun accompanied by one or more subsidiary mithun can be paid, the remaining marriage payment be not necessarily in terms of mithuns. They can be substituted in kind. Symbolically the counting could represent mithun depending on the agreement between the groom’s and bride’s parties34 .

The Zomi/Chin

Among the Zomis the payment of marriage price also forms an integral part which has a high social value. In their custom, it is also called ‘Manpi’ (principal price). In every society of Zomi (chin) or Kuki or Chikimi tribes, unlike the Meitei’s, marriage ceremony process takes two days, one for sending off the bride by the parents, and another day for wedding, which is to be performed at the bridegroom’s place. A would-be bride cannot be send-off unless and until the question of ‘Manpi’ is settled as mentioned earlier. This is paid by the bridegroom side to the bride’s parents and has to be received by the father of the bride. In case he is dead, the price goes to the nearest male relative on his side, preferably, to the eldest or the youngest male member who is the heir-apparent.

In general, among the average Zomi, marriage payment ‘Manpi’ or principal price is fixed normally on the following four factors35
(i) the clan to which the bride belongs,
(ii) the amount of dowry the bride carries,
(iii)  the beauty of her
(iv) mutual understanding.

If the bride belongs to chief’s clan or aristocratic family, the normal price of such bride is ten mithuns or equivalent value of ten mithuns in terms of rupees but only in name. Once the principal marriage payment i.e. one life-mithun is paid, the rest of the price can be substituted in kind like gong, even valuable household utensils made of copper, silver, alluminium, etc.36  When marriage is solemnized the parents of the bride offer a sumptuous feast in bidding fare-well to their daughter by sacrificing a pig or a cow or two pigs or two cows depending on their capacity and quantum of guests. This is a normal standard followed by an average Zomi. In symbolic significance of final settlement of marriage negotiation all the elders from both the sides gather with a mug of rice bear each in their hands would partake specific portions of the sacrificial meat together. This is known as ‘witness supper’ of the marriage. This ‘witness supper’ is preceded with formal handing over of the marriage payment. After deliberation they have to agree finally by accepting the marriage payment or totally refunding the same in good faith, which occur rarely.

The following is the generally accepted agreement by Zo or Zomi or ‘Chin’ as far as the marriage-payment is concerned.. It is practiced even today.
Sialsuam (ten mithuns) – Chief or Aristocratic clan.
Sialthum (three Mithuns) – Commoners.

Though virtually covered under the Zomi Customary Law as described hereinabove, marriage payment of the Paites is a bit different. The marriage-payment among them is normally one mithun and a calf, ‘Sial Nuta’. As per fixation of the British administration, one full grown Mithun costs Rs. 40/- and Rs. 20/- for a Mithun calf called ‘Tai’ or ‘Tlai’ which means half. Zomi clans like Zou takes only ‘Sialnga’ (five mithuns) only. The Zous stick to maintaining their customs since time immemorial. The obligation of the bridegroom towards the bride’s party is significant in their social and cultural life. Any relationship between two clans who are involved can also play a role in determining marriage. Thus we find that sometimes the marriage payment can only be symbolic which means the expenses of the wedding ceremony are counted as marriage payment. If a poor boy is not in a position to pay he may be allowed to pay later. A boy may also be exempted from paying the same if he causes elopement of the girl and also if he simply moves to the house of the girl and waits until the girl is ready to marry him37 .

In addition to ‘Manpi’, there are also the other subsidiary marriage-payments. They are as follows:
(i) Puchum Rs. 4/- goes to the maternal uncle of the bride.
(ii) Niman is equal to that of Pusum, which is to be accepted by the paternal aunt.
(iii) Thaman or Palal equal to that of Pusum is the labour or service price to be reciprocated for taking the charge of the parents of the bride and is usually given for the head of the family. It is prevalent among the Gangte, the Paite, the Simte, the Thadou, the Vaiphei also.
(iv) Thallouh ‘sum’ (price goes also to the nearest relative of the head of the family.
(v) Lamman or Thiansum is a small amount of money that goes to a bride’s friend as a token of love.
(vi) Nuapuan puak ‘man’ is the price for the cloth used for carrying the bride when she was a child by her mother or elder sister. It varies from Rs. 4/- to Rs. 20/- as the class of the clan she belongs to. These payments in cash or kind suggest complete cessation of ties of the girl who is getting married with her family as she has to start her own family with full devotion and understanding.

Thakur38  contended that a wealthy commoner can often pay a high marriage price and so marries a woman of high class, and if his descendants continue this practice they will achieve high status rank with many privileges of the aristocratic class, except, of course, the same in the line of possible succession to hereditary headmanship or chieftainship.

The Old Kukis

Among the Aimol, Anal, Chiru, Chothe, Kolhen, Kom and Purum, the marriage payment is also divided into several parts. To mention a few of them is that, among the Aimol, the bride’s eldest brother gets Rs. 6/- and each of the other one rupee less than his immediate senior. The paternal and maternal uncles receive Rs. 2/- each, the aunt and the elder sister also receive Rs. 1/- each as niman.  Among the Anal and Purum the marriage payment must not be less than a pig and a piece of iron a cubit in length but the girl’s relatives try to get as much as they can. The bridegroom has also to feast the family of his bride three times on pork, fowls and rice washed down of course with plenty of Zu. But a Chiru girl has a marriage payment of only one gong. A Chothe girl’s marriage payment comprises of a spear, a dao and a fowl and the same is sealed by the consumption of much Zu. The marriage payment of a Kolhen girl is a gong and Rs. 7/- to her mother and Rs. 7/- each to the elder and younger brother and the maternal uncle.

The marriage payment of the Kom girl is very high, the father receiving one gong, four buffaloes, fifteen cloths, a hoe, and a spear, the aunt taking a black and white cloth. The Lamgang bridegroom has to pay his father-in-law three pigs or buffaloes or cows, one sting of conch-shell beads, one lead bracelet and one black or blue petticoat. A Tikhup father of the bride receives a gong, ten hoes, one dao and one spear and also Rs. 7/- by maternal grandfather. Apart from paying all items of marriage payments such as mithun, cow, pig, gong, bead, necklace, spears, dao, money and whatever ought to be paid by the bridegroom, three years service is to be served to the bride’s family. This practice is prevalent among the Aimol, Anal, Chiru and Purum. During this period of service he works with dedication as if he were a son of the house.39

Our survey has shown that the low rates mentioned as marriage-payments are certainly due to the sluggish economic wealth generation and poor economic condition of the tribes. Even today the plight of the many tribes is not better off. These monetary gifts became rational but the responsibilities that the marriage entailed for both the bride and the bridegroom was enormous. Responsibilities were indeed domineering over both the parties. The spirit of sharing responsibilities was reflected in the methods of gift exchange and their acceptance.

In conclusion, we want to say that in none of the Chin-Kuki-Mizo tribes (Chikimis) not a trace of customary law relating to women succession and inheritance was found to have been mentioned whatsoever40 . To bring a change in the mindset of masses, certainly, education is the only weapon by which social trend is made to a twist steadily or suddenly. In this regard we cannot solely depend on women only; here male participation is considerably essential. Despite the winds of change brought about by modernism, Christianity and innovations of all sorts of comforts and development in life by science and technology traditionalism still stands firm in the dynamics of system of marriage. Marriage payment is, of course, the pivotal part in a Chikimis marriage, however, with the advent of globalisation, so also with a democratic set up norms have somehow impacted these ethnic groups. The traditional systems never recognised the rights of women as primary decision-makers in matters of community issue take inter-ethnic conflict crises management, social sanctions, etc. Their customary laws prevalent among these ethnic groups, though portray an egalitarian socio-economic structure is discriminatory when it comes to women’s right in traditional governance and customary laws.

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Time to look within and have some shame and self-respect

By: A. Bimol Akoijam To all those denizens of Manipur who are offended or hurt by the manner in which the “mainstream”, the “national media” and “politicians” at the “Centre”… Read more »

By: A. Bimol Akoijam

To all those denizens of Manipur who are offended or hurt by the manner in which the “mainstream”, the “national media” and “politicians” at the “Centre” have “neglected” or “marginalized” Sharmila’s fast…


THINK ABOUT THIS: Only a few years back, one of your brothers burnt himself to death while some of your “Imas” (mothers) had stripped in public and yes, Sharmila has been on a fast for a decade now…”the people” in traditional attires (such as pungou faneks, feijoms and colourful ethnic dresses) and children in school uniforms formed human chains in protest against AFSPA…







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Meecham Praja: The forgotten common men in Manipur

  By:  Amar Yumnam The basic purpose of having an administration and a governance system anywhere needs to be recalled and analysed at this moment of history when we are… Read more »


By:  Amar Yumnam
The basic purpose of having an administration and a governance system anywhere needs to be recalled and analysed at this moment of history when we are celebrating six and a half decades of independence from foreign rule. This is because, despite the recent more or less impressive track record of good growth performance, the meecham praja (common people) seem to be at the receiving end of every mechanism of governance.

Manipur Scenario: The situation is worse in Manipur than elsewhere in the country. Whereas the rest of the country has reaped the benefits of modernisation, although the dispersal of the benefits has been an issue, the case is different in Manipur. We have not had the kind of economic expansion experienced elsewhere whereas we have had more than our share of the inflationary trends and growth disturbances. Further, while in the case of other States in the country there are people in the administration who are alive to the fundamental purpose of governance as facilitating the access to administration and livelihood efforts of the common people, we are pained to observe the complete reversal of this principle in the case of Manipur.

We can have multiples of daily life exemplars to drive home this subjugation of the common people. First look at the daily dose of alertness they have to have at their command in order just to be in the business areas of Imphal and cross the streets. They have to bear all the costs of insensitivity of the official vehicles and arrogance of the private ones as well. What I would love to see is the kind of scenario where my senior-citizen “mother” and my aged “father” would feel at home and cared for whenever they set foot in any area of the Imphal city; well, a very unlikely and unrealistic expectation.

I would consider myself as someone who is fairly conversant with own rights and responsibilities. I am also fairly conscious of how to resist encroachments into my personal space and rights arena. But pretending and behaving as if like any of the common men in the street in daily dealings and assert when violated has taught me how hard the daily lives of the commoners are in Manipur. Let me start with an example from an office of the Central government. In a personal post-paid mobile connection for which I have been religious in paying the due bills every month, there occurred recently an interesting development. Even after payment of the dues as reflected in the latest bill, there used to be reminders for payment of dues for at least three to four times a day for about ten days. In the beginning, I had the impression that it must be just machine problems or routine issues. But within a few days, I found all out-going calls barred besides the STD and ISD. When I had sent one of my office assistants to enquire into the status and reasons for the barring of all outgoing calls, two things of great interest emerged. First, the daily multiple reminders for payment of dues stopped immediately after the enquiry for reasons best known to the staff of the department only. Second, the concerned officials sent back my boy with explanations which any reasonable person can immediately establish as nothing more than a bluff. Dissatisfied and angered by this, I did call up a higher ranking officer of the department as a prelude to going for full scale grievance correction complaint. On his intervention, I got the barring removed. But that was not the end. The ISD and STD were still blocked. I had to go for another round of telephonic contacts to get the ISD and STD barring removed.  Now the question that arises here is what might be happening in the case of a commoner who is not so conversant on the various recourses to actions to get his due services delivered.

Further, once the barring has been removed, why does not there exist a system whereby the connection is restored to its full functionality instead of requiring further contacts? Still further, it needs to ponder why the indulgence in full blown bluffing when an innocent person was enquiring about the issue. Similar experiences are undergone daily by the common people while dealing with the offices of the State government as well. Now these suppressive features of governance are superimposed on the rising difficulty of the common people to eke out their living.  The rise in the prices of commodities of daily consumption in an atmosphere of shrinking livelihood opportunities is a reality everybody is living with.

Now the Resolve: Now in the celebration of the August 15, we need to be very sure of at least one resolve. There is no point in making many promises. The need of the hour is reminding ourselves the existence of a majority of the common people in circumstances un-conducive to their functionings. The administration would be doing a yeoman’s service if it at least resolves and ushers in a period where the facilitation of the survival of the common people is the yardstick of the success or otherwise of governance. We all should remember that not only do we all have a common beginning, but we also have a larger set of relatives among the commoners. Let us all try to facilitate each other’s existence, particularly of the commonest of the common people. Nobody would be a loser in this, and the society would be the gainer in terms of peace and stability.

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300 Trees Planted at 109BN CRPF Complex: Lions Club of Imphal Greater

Imphal, the 13th August, 2011: The Lions Club of Imphal Greater in collaboration with 109Bn CRPF organized a Tree Plantation Project at Mongsangei on this very important day “Patriots Day”-… Read more »

Imphal, the 13th August, 2011: The Lions Club of Imphal Greater in collaboration with 109Bn CRPF organized a Tree Plantation Project at Mongsangei on this very important day “Patriots Day”- the 13th August, 2011.


Trees Planted at 109BN CRPF Complex

Trees Planted at 109BN CRPF Complex. Photo By Lions Club of Imphal Greater



The tree plantation programme is undertaken by the Lions Club of Imphal Greater in earnest response to the call given by the International President, Lions Clubs International to all the Lions in 206 countries and geographical areas to plant a million trees
in this lionistic year. This project is also a step towards making this place more beautiful and greener which is the need of the hour to make a more greener Manipur. Around 300 trees were planted in and around the 109Bn CRPF Campus, Mongsangei.


Trees Planted at 109BN CRPF Complex

Trees Planted at 109BN CRPF Complex. Photo By: Lions Club of Imphal Greater



In the said project our District Governor, Lion Amar Barooah(PMJF), Dist 322-D and the Commandant, 109 Bn. CRPF Shri H. Premjit Meitei also joined us.

The Press Release was sent to  by Mr. Lion Thongam Arun (PRO, LCIG, Dist.322-D)

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Lions Club of Imphal to organise Tree Plantation Project at Mongsangei on 13th Aug., 2011

Lions Club of Imphal Greater Lions Clubs International, Distt. 322-D   The Lions Club of Imphal Greater in colaboration with 109Bn CRPF is organizing a Tree Plantation Project at Mongsangei… Read more »

Lions Club of Imphal Greater

Lions Clubs International, Distt. 322-D


The Lions Club of Imphal Greater in colaboration with 109Bn CRPF is organizing a Tree Plantation Project at Mongsangei on 13th Aug., 2011 from 7am onwards.
The tree plantation programme is under the environmental project undertaken by the Lions Club of Imphal Greater which is one of the Humanitarian Clubs serving in more than 180 countries. This project was taken up on the ocassion of “Patriots Day” remembering the brave heros of Manipur. We are planting aroud 300 trees in and around the 109Bn CRPF Campus, Mongsangei as a step towards making this place more beautiful and greenery.
Our District Governor, Lion Amar Barooah(PMJF), Dist 322-D and Commandent, 109 Bn. CRPF Shri H. Premjit Meitei will also join us.
Your press/media coverage will enable the very cause of LIONISM and also will help other organization to take up similar works which is the need of the hour to make a more greener Manipur.
In this regard, I, on behalf of Lions Club of Imphal Greater would like to request you kindly to extend your kind cooperation by covering up this Project.
Programme : starting 7.00 am
Preferred coverage timing : 9-10 am
With warm regards
Sincerely yours,
(Lion Thongam Arun)
Lions Club of Imphal Greater

The above press release was sent to Kanglanonline by Mr. Lion Thongam Arun ( P.R.O)


The Official Press Release:

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Doctor rounds

By Chitra Ahanthem Once upon a time, a trip to a doctor meant a pretty decent time interval where the doctor would take patient history and then follow it up… Read more »

By Chitra Ahanthem
Once upon a time, a trip to a doctor meant a pretty decent time interval where the doctor would take patient history and then follow it up only with required medication instructions. Looking at those times, it is also a matter of great irony that though there were lesser doctors then and few private clinics, there would never be a rush of people waiting for their turns to be medically examined. But they say changes are the only constant of life and the scene has changed and how! For one, the number of doctors and specialized ones has increased and so has the number of private clinics and hospitals and doctors on private service. But along with the number of doctors increasing (and we are talking mainly of urban centers), there is also an ever growing number of people who are becoming inclined towards seeking health services.

There are interesting insights into the phenomenon of seeking health care. There is of course, the fact that people are becoming more aware about the need to be concerned about their health and to take medical opinion. But on the other end of the spectrum is also the fact that urban life styles have added to new medical ailments. Over and above these areas, there is a disquieting tendency for doctors to treat their patients like money spinning enterprises. There is rarely any doctor (doing private practice) in Imphal or for that matter, in the district headquarters who do not charge a set patient consultation fee. Most of these doctors have a family member or a relative manning a sort of ticket table. They allocate serial numbers and take the consultation charge. The going rate at present is Rs. 200 on the first consultation and Rs. 100 for every follow up medical check up. 99.99 per cent of the time, the doctor will give a list of medicines that you have to buy and the ticket attendant will lead you to the in house pharmacy. Chances are also that you will find free doctor samples of medicines being sold.

This piece today is certainly not a chest beating or vitriolic rant against the medical community in Imphal but a mere mirror image of the practices that has become totally normal. It is certainly not a stand-alone practice for the same situation exists in urban areas and cities. But one wishes that there was a standard set of rules or code of conduct and ethics that the medical fraternity here would stick to. Most private clinics that I have seen functioning outside the state have a social responsibility program where they give subsidized health care to senior citizens and people with poor economic backgrounds. I happened to take my son for a surgery for plugging his leaking tear sac at the Nethralaya Eye Institute and was very impressed by the standard of health care and quality that justified with the amount of money they were charging. They had a patient counseling session where they explained the operation and what would follow later on. But what impressed me most was the fact that they had free surgery and medication policy for senior citizens and people from poor backgrounds. For the later, they checked with BPL cards and when I asked what would happen in cases where people do not come with any official documentation specifying that so and so is poor, I was told that the one thumb rule to check such cases was the desperation of people seeking services and the state of their appearance. I was told that it was as simple as that!

Personally, I have nothing against doctors on private practice so long as they are not shirking their Government work timings. It is I as a consumer, and customer and patient party who is aware that I can also seek his service at a subsidized rate at the government hospital where he/she is practicing. And if this “I” feel that waiting at a hospital is not in the order of things, it is only fair that “I” pay for the time that the doctor has devoted to me. But having said that, there are many areas that need to be considered from the doctor’s viewpoint that justifies the money that is being charged for his consultation. For one, it would do well to have a strict order of who gets in first. Very often, doctors have a set consultation time, which is known or announced. Patients troop in and an attendant, who allocates a serial number, takes down their names. But mostly, the serial numbers do not matter because someone they know or some one in their social circle drops in unannounced for a check up. Also, there are certain doctors who will give first priority towards the patients they have been administering at his/her government hospital set up but who follow up with him later on a private consultation basis. This would mean that they would jump the waiting list and ruffle up a few feathers.

They say that an apple a day keeps the doctor away but either, something is wrong with the apples or the doctors have become indispensible for on an average basis, about 4 people out of 10 would most definitely be seeking medical attention or consultation at any given time: if not for his own self, for a family member, for a child etc.

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If Bankimchandra Chattopadhyay Were a Manipuri?

var addthis_product=’wpp-252′;var addthis_options=”Google+1″By : Bimol Akoijam In a seminar held at Manipur University recently, a gentleman who happens to be a ‘mayang’ (outsider) dares to say that…

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var addthis_product=’wpp-252′;var addthis_options=”Google+1″By : Bimol Akoijam In a seminar held at Manipur University recently, a gentleman who happens to be a ‘mayang’ (outsider) dares to say that…

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A Meitei’s Dream

Dr Irengbam Mohendra Singh     June 10 2011 Last night I went to sleep in Bradford City. I dreamt about my mama and green rice fields of Khurukhul, their tall blades… Read more »

Dr Irengbam Mohendra Singh     June 10 2011

Last night I went to sleep in Bradford City. I dreamt about my mama and green rice fields of Khurukhul, their tall blades fluttering in the gentle breeze, giving the green grasshoppers
a free joyful rollercoaster ride.

I had a spendid dinner in the comfort zone of our house, cooked by my wife who is a Cordon Bleu cook. I had Black label with soda while my wife had Glenmorangie on the rocks.

The starter was cauliflower and white stilton soup and the main course was cod fish wrapped in Parma ham, with roasted peppers, tomatoes and aubergines. A glass of red wine – Sauvignon Blanc enhanced the enjoyment. For dessert we had bread and butter pudding with rum and prunes.

I went to bed thinking of my childhood and growing up and career. In the mist and shadow of sleep I saw my native land, Manipur.

I swam in the dirty Nambul River in spate and dived in from the suspension bridge connecting Uripok with Sagolband. I strolled and played among the rows of tamarind trees along the dusty Uripok road. I went with the Uripok scout Party led by Moirangthem Gojendra to the Baruni Hill for the safety of boys and their girlfriends on the day Baruni ching Kaba – annual pilgrimage to the Baruni hill of our ancestors.

I heard the crow crowing at the break of dawn. I went to swim with friends in the ponds at Lamphel Pat under the shadow of the Langol Hills. I watched the cows grazing at Lamphel where sometime, I plucked a rare purple Konbirei (Manipuri Iris)

The epic tale of pride and passion overwhelmed me with shouts of liberty. I smiled at my tempestuous glee. But alas! I woke up in the middle of the night and recollection at hand brought me to despair. It was the political reality in Manipur.

Events seem to be flashing by at a gallop rather than the gentle hand-canter of yore

The political reality is that liberty is not going to come to Manipur in the foreseeable future and that the survival of our grand children depend on nothing but the hideous hope that one day peace will prevail.

In the erstwhile sovereign state of Manipur human rights and individual liberties were protected. But since India has forcibly annexed Manipur there has always been a risk that Manipur would defend itself by armed resistance, hurting its own people both in the short term and long term while hoping that the world’s “policeman” whether in the form of the USA or the UN may arrive to sort things out.

There will always be a government in Delhi that will not let Manipur regain its sovereignty and the government will function in the same way as the one it replaced. Because there are procedures of running a democratic government and they do not change.

“To be governed is to be watched, inspected, spied upon, directed, law-driven, numbered, regulated, enrolled, indoctrinated, preached at, controlled, checked, estimated, valued, censured, commanded, by creatures who have neither the right nor the wisdom nor the virtue to do.”  P.J.Proudhon.

“No government is ever in favour of freedom of the individual. It invariably seeks to limit that freedom, if not by overt denial, then by seeking to constantly widen its own functions. All
governments, of course, are against liberty…”–H.L. Menckenso.

But in Manipur there is an incremental feeling of loss of liberty by incrementally eroding peoples’ right to freedom because of the Delhi Government and the dictates of the insurgents.

Though there is no country in the world where the people in it are equally happy but in Manipur all the people are equally unhappy.

For Manipuris, the idea of an independent Manipur is an immensely noble idea and is nobler for those insurgents who have been sacrificing theirs and their families’ life. Manipur is not like Kashmir that wants to join Pakistan.

As life takes unexpected turns we don’t always get what we hope for and a meaningless hope comes to pick us up only to break us at the end.

The revolutionary movement or insurgencies began many decades ago. It is not going forward, if not backwards. The leader of a major group UNLF, RK Meghen is now in police custody. So is the leader of ULFA.

There is no revolutionary activity in Manipur. The agitation against the AFSPA is now in cold storage as there are no seditious activities apart from commercial activities like extortion, kidnapping and shooting of innocents, as the remnants of insurgency in the failed state of Manipur.

Still, New Delhi will not remove the AFSPA and is waiting for Irom Sharmila to succumb to her force feed.

Everyday, many insurgent cadres are arrested by the security forces and their arms seized, decimating the already minuscule insurgent strength. The Manipuris are in a state of inertia with no prospect of peace in sight.

Nobody in Manipur is safe and the education of school children is affected. There are so many young widows with their children in abject misery. So many grand projects remain unfinished because of corruption and undergrounds’ share of the funds.

A revolution (Latin revolutio, “a turn around”) is a fundamental change that takes place in a relatively short period of time. Its use to refer to political change dates from the scientific revolution occasioned by Copernicus’ famous De Revolutionbus Orbium Coelestium.

Aristotle described two types of political revolution: 1. complete change from one constitution to another and 2. modification of an existing constitution.

A revolution does not mean it has to be violent. And it can’t go on for ever. There will come a time in every Manipuri’s life when they get sick of trying to go for a change.

The progress to civilisation in Manipur has been delayed year by year. Restricted area permits discourage tourism in Manipur as well as non-resident Manipuri Indians. Tourism is the only Industry which will be viable for Manipur, giving employment to thousands.

The prevailing corruption and lawlessness in Manipur have shied away any mayang investor in Manipur’s economy while many qualified Manipuris seek jobs in mayang India and abroad, adding to other various causes of economic downturn in Manipur.

The question is how long will this political reality survive? In revolutionary terms, how long the Meitei revolutionaries who have been fighting for the independence of Manipur would go on while the civilian population who are fed up to the back teeth, will continue to live under the Indian military rule. Manipuris have no liberty unlike the rest of Indians.

Isn’t time for the revolutionaries to wear their hearts on the sleeves? Isn’t time for them to do some arithmetic and reassess the evolutionary survival chances of all Manipuris? The revolutionaries may come and go, while the public in Manipur remain in fear of when the next bullet is coming for them.

On the Plebiscite front, shouldn’t it be circumspect to find out its feasibility or infeasibility before the GOI takes further police action. Like all democratic methods, plebiscite requires
certain conditions for its successful operation. It has to be viewed from a background of
political, economical and psychological factors. Won’t it be prudent to have a gallop poll of a
cross section of 1,000 people in the plain and another 500 in the hills to test the temperature?

Likewise, for the Manipuri Nagas who are clamouring for secession from Manipur, isn’t time for them to revaluate the chances of their succeeding? They also can’t go on for ever. It will only delay their economic progress.

They have now devolution with limited power to exercise over their own welfare as a devolved sovereignty in an ethno-federated Manipur, though it is intended to work at the level of adherence to governmental institutions.  The combination of devolution and local sovereignty preserves both majoritarian democracy and individual liberty. This allows liberty to exist independently and simultaneously.

As independence or secession is not a commodity that one can buy, how long will the people of Manipur wait in misery while the insurgents themselves are sacrificing their lives in hiding? How long will the Manipuri Naga people wait while their own people are living in abject poverty?

It has been many years since Meitei insurgencies began. Manipuri Naga secessionist activities
have taken much longer. There is no light at the end of the tunnel. There are only dark clouds on Manipur.

An insurgency can go on for decades as defeat is an unacceptable dishonour. However, in the interest of insurgents and the Delhi regime it can be brought to an end with an honourable compromise acceptable to both sides.

Lead kindly light amidst the encircling gloom. Lead thou me on. The night is dark and I am far from home. Lead thou me on.

The writer is based in the UK

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