IMPHAL, Aug 18: No one knows how strong the power of legend is to get success in every aspect of life. Even as the Queen of Maram Apei Hinga, an old lady of 86 years, is seriously ill, people in the community with the belief that it is very auspicious to get the blessings of the queen are thronging her house and seeking her blessings. The queen is sick with problems related to the abdomen, heart and lungs and is being looked after round the clock by her only surviving son, K. Namba and her grand-daughters.
On paying a visit, the Maram Students’ Union (MKS) team found her health condition to be deteriorating and critical. She was said to be on medical treatment at the JN Hospital in Imphal but was compelled to rush back to her home in Maram Khullen village after she felt the urgent need to perform timely customary rituals.
Known for her justice and her role as a peace loving mother, the Naga Women’s Union Manipur (NWUM) has conferred the title ‘Best Mother’ in 2006 on her. Pioneer Health Club Manipur with its office at Khurai Tinsid Road, Imphal has acknowledged and awarded a citation to the queen on the International Day of Older Persons in October 2009.
Being the only female chieftain among the Naga tribes, the old Queen graced and blessed this year’s Naga seed-sowing festival (Lui-Ngai-Ni) at Katomei village in Senapati on in February organised by the United Naga Council (UNC). Though frail in body but with an indomitable spirit, it is noteworthy to mention that the Queen has carried out all the customary and traditional rituals and practices very efficiently and is respected by all.
The Queen has brought about many social changes in the Maram society by abolishing in 1968, the evil-traditional practice of “M-Bung Katai” under which law a pregnant women undergoing a difficult labour is ill-treated, thus upholding the status of women in Maram society. In 1975, the Queen also lifted the restriction on inter-clan and inter-tribe marriages. She also proclaimed the freedom to villagers to start cultivation works in their own convenient season even before or after the Saraha Kati Lura Manai (seed-sowing).
As a kind hearted Queen and a loving mother, even when a criminal runs into her house, protection and shelter is ensured. She is known and recognized as the link to the primitive way of life and the present generation by upholding the indigenous culture and traditional identity. Living a disciplined life, the Queen cannot eat what others cook for her, rather she cooks by herself and does all work on her own as per the customs.