Leader Writer: Paojel Chaoba
The animation film “Kabui Keiyoiba” based on popular Manipuri folklore deserves kudos for its excellent portrayal of the Meitei traditional lifestyle of a bygone era. It can be said that the animation film has all the essential elements and is an enjoyable movie, a welcome change from the somewhat monotonous digital films having the usual romantic themes.
One ponders after watching the movie. The Kabui Maiba (Shaman) helped the ailing with his expertise in traditional medicine, he has a loving family. Later, engrossed with his mystical prowess, he turns himself into a beast having the head of a tiger and the body of a man.
Afterwards, he no longer fits in the society and starts to repent. He laments losing his family and becomes a misfit, a threat to his own society. The underlying moral here seems to be that ‘power can corrupt even the best amongst us’ and that power should be used responsibly and for the betterment of others.
Manipur at the present juncture has its fair share of unwanted problems and there is no need to elaborate on the myriad issues. The failure of the various government establishments and the elected leaders’ lack of public concern, rampant corruption and lawlessness has birthed many a Kabui Keiyoiba into our society today. The interesting notion is that, some are re-elected to power, the drug lords and the most corrupt officials are being revered. Instead of out casting the Kabui Keyoiba’s, many among the citizenry warms up to them. Whether it is done so for getting personal gain or out of fear or does every individual carry a ‘price tag’ remains a rhetorical question.
On a different front, the War for independence is still waged against the Indian nation by the ‘Yawollois’. The terminology itself signifies of bringing about a positive change in the political structure of the region through revolution. The Struggle for an independent Manipuri Nation started with ‘Lamyanba’ Hijam Irabot’s armed revolt against the Government back in 1948.
Abandoning a life of luxury at King Churachand’s durbar, Hijam Irabot selflessly sacrificed himself for the downtrodden society. The fact is forever etched in the annals of History and his martyrdom is paid fitting tribute even more today.
It is fact that the success of a revolution depends on the co-operation given from the public to the revolutionaries. To justify and comment on the different strategies of waging war for the movement of right to self determination is clearly not within one’s ambit. However, to observe incidents and report facts without bias to any entity is the objective of an independent media, of a free press.
The introspective question here is the right to life of the citizen in an internal conflict area. The jurisprudence of Humanitarian laws during armed conflicts notwithstanding, combat between the insurgents and the military in highly populated civilian areas are felt better avoided.
The UNLF, the oldest revolutionary group of the State carrying out the clinical bomb attack on Assam Rifle personnel on September 5 at Keisampat left two security personnel injured, and there were no civilian casualties.
Still, there is the possibility of causing unintentional harm to non combatants or suffering collateral damage which might have been inflicted by some trigger- happy personnel. If such had happened, there would have been a different story reported in the papers.
The stance of the UNLF in the press statement mentioning that utmost care had been taken to avoid civilian casualties is lauded, and the fact is not debatable that the armed liberation movement is for the people’s benefit.
However, a felt for reinventing the model of combat in unpopulated areas would be more in the interest of the public. The insurgent movements of the State have seen its various ups and downs as at elsewhere. The general feeling and the need of the hour is to build up the image of the revolutionaries and seek co-operation rather than creating a sense of alienation from the populace.
It is a humble suggestive appeal to all concerned not to jeopardize the valiant images of the true revolutionaries. It is said that Heroes die and the Revolution marches on, let us not unintentionally risk the lives of the people, lest one may be looked upon as a ‘Kabui- Keiyoiba’.