For almost a week, my circle of friends were excited by the very thought of taking part the peace rally organized by AMUCO, CCSK and UCM on the 6th Feb of 2016 aiming at rebuilding a common future of Kangleiyeits as desired by them cutting across ethnic barriers.
We hoped the rally would be one quite distinct from the ones we had witnessed earlier in its context. Besides retelling the long forgotten romantic myths of Ching-Tam-Machin-Manao, we thought it would seek new reasons giving more meanings to Kanglei people’s historical vocation of reunification of Ching-Tam re-defining their whole idea about themselves re-linking to the roots.
The night before the rally, every single one of us spent every minute talking about the necessity and significance of such a rally at this crucial moment of socio-political crisis in Manipur where we, the people of Kangleipak, have been virtually fragmented along ethnic line by an invisible hand or a ‘bigger other’ leading us to a point near extinction.
But in an ironic twist of event, shattering all our dreams on the floor, we saw some of our elders marching the rally with portrait of Baba Ramdeva on the banner they were carrying, paradoxically shouting the slogan ‘Manipur gi ‘Ngamkhei kaiba yaroi, Chingmee Tamee Ichin Inaoni’.
Sickening! This was exactly what one of the marchers exclaimed the moment he saw them. ‘With this banner, what words or ideas are they going to spread to our people’, a man in the crowd shouted.
In some ways the highly emotionalized slogans they shouted resounding the sky of Kangleipak during the rally seemed to have rekindled sparks of love in our heart, the love died decades ago, while the placard that they hold rallying the march evidently said about the rootlessness of the marchers reducing their idea of hill-valley reunification to some sort of package, nicely wrapped up and ornamented but void of its basic content.
Amidst the cries and shouts, looking blankly in the sky, not wanting to remember those rootless old guys but not able to help it, I thought, they are wrong, there is something wrong in their psychic system distorting everything even their ideas about themselves linking wrongly where they never belong to.
Soon after, adding fuel to the flames I encountered a troupe of ‘Mayang Tellis’ marching like 26th January March-past sloganeering “India na divide and rule touba leppu’ knocking me for six.
But suddenly a potent idea struck me enabling me to refer the whole phenomenon to the prolonged domination of the region under Indian cultural super-structure mystically designed by Delhi mandarins as often claimed by Kanglei nationalists. Now the domination have reached such a stage that we begin to think ‘Mayang Tellis’ as our own people even allowing them to participate in a rally basically organized for the common future of Kangleipak.
This could be one of the many reasons why we often fail to let our children to the continuum of our forefathers’ national character linking to the values flourished on our actual Kanglei way of living. This prolonged disconnection of Kanglei people to their roots sometimes results in other issues rendering certain efforts meaningless as we have noticeably seen in this rally.
True that the slogans they have shouted while rallying the march invoke feelings of love for hill-settles in the hearts of valley-dwellers, while shouting the same slogan against whom we have been fighting since long seems to have distorted people’s idea about themselves blurring the thin line between we-group and they-group.
This is not just allowing a group of people who we do not like to see in the rally, it is something more than that impacting negatively on the minds of young Kangleiyeits who really love Kangleipak. The impact was so great that it even changed the chemical composition in our blood making us physiologically disturbed asking wild questions like ‘who the hell do they represent?
It also reminded me of Hansen’s law that argues ‘what the son wants to forget, the grandson wants to remember. So true, here are boys and girls less than twenty years old flying the ‘seven-color-Kanglei flag, always talking about identity, culture, forefathers and territory, while some of our elders are carrying Baba Ramdeva’s portrait singing Vedic hymns “joyo joyo Radhe’ forgetting where they come from.
I think now is the the time to help them grow and shine in the world as a man or woman who knows ‘who they are’ and ‘where they come from’ instead of spoon-feeding them with traded-in values making them more and more alienated from their own beings—the self.
The presence of such a man, although not physically, whose sole interest lies in infusing ideals that quarantined hill from valley centuries ago in a rally essentially organized to bring love, peace and solidarity between both hills and valley, seems to be out of place.
I am still clueless to the questions ‘why did the organizers allow ‘Telli people’ to take part in the rally’ and what do they like communicate to the people of kngleipak with the placard that reads “INDIA GOVERNMENT NA DEVIDE AND RULE POLICY LEPPU’’?
To me it is more like teaching ours sons and daughters the idea of Indo-kanglei brotherhood rather than infusing in their mind the notion of ‘Chingmee-Tamee-brotherhood’.
Do you really think it a good idea to teach them the idea of ‘Chingmeee-Tamee Anigi Apunba Leibak’ wearing BJP cap or flying tri-color? What premium message will a political party based on the idea of Greater India or Akhand Bharat communicate to the people of Kangleipak. The task of finding answers to these questions is yours.
The necessity of teaching our children (both chingmee and tamee) to need of loving each other has been spawned by numerous assaults on the aged-old hill-valley brotherhood in the last two/three decades fragmenting the state along ethnic lines especially in the post-merger political landscape of Kangleipak. This necessity will also entail equipping of our boys and girls with sense and sensibilities rooted in the soil discoursing them on the question ‘who are our real enemies’.
Relooking at the ‘Chingmee-Tamee’ dichotomy from a historical point of view, we will unmistakably see how hindunization of valley people by a yogi coming from mainland India in the early part of eighteenth century quarantined hills from the valley, the beginning of hill-valley dichotomy. So, how can we so naively believe that the same set of ideas which delinked us from our own hill-people some 280 years ago will re-unite us?
So, allowing devotees of Ramdeva, whose sole intention lies in feeding us with imported values of Vedic ideals attractively boxed with alien elements having potentials to further widen the fissure between ching and Tam, in the rally cannot be taken as an idea appropriate to the position of present Kanglei society.
Now all we need is to produce a ‘meerol’ where both Ching and Tam would be ready to protect Kanglei national territory, bigger or lesser than present territory drawn by colonial cartography, rediscovering the lost love we had for each other before we were made to hated each-other. So we need to rethink, revise and re-evaluate our every step or action that aims at something greater where we could build our common future.