TODAY -

Our Common Crisis: What are We to Do?
Part - 1

Niketu Iralu *



The write up reproduce here is an excerpt from the lecture delivered by renowned Journalist Niketu Iralu on the Arambam Somorendra Memorial Lecture

"Nothing in life is to be feared. It is only to be understood"
– Marie Curie

Arambam Lokendra and I were together in Madras Christian College, Tambaram, way back in the last century, almost in the first half of it! So when he phoned me a few months back I was so happy we were picking up the threads again. He invited me to give this lecture as part of the series in memory of his brother, Arambam Somorendra.

I told him he was giving me an assignment I am not qualified enough to handle, but I was accepting the invitation because I regarded neighbours reaching out to one another to be more important than anything else. So with deepest appreciation I am standing before this distinguished gathering in Imphal today believing we share the same perception.

Needless to say I feel highly honoured to be given the privilege to be associated with the lecture series that seeks to pay homage to the enduring memory of a rare son of Manipur who was a patriot, a poet, a thinker and a writer who passionately loved his people and fought for what he believed to be important and right for them and himself.

I was very grateful that Lokendra said I could invite others also to come with me. So taking advantage of the kind offer I urged some of my close colleagues, youth leaders and relations to consider coming to this occasion, not to listen to my talk, but to meet, listen to, and get to know you, our neighbours.

On behalf of all of us who have come from Kohima I do want to thank you most sincerely for giving us this opportunity. I should add here that we have come keenly conscious of the well-known caution that love is blind but neighbours are not, and we do not see ourselves as others see us!

The Arambam Somorendra Trust has made possible this coming together. If we will thus learn to listen and think together, we may find the way to evolve the wider common stability we now need for this region. If our commonsense and wisdom will not do it because it is still tied to the comfort zones of the past, although they are no longer comfortable, our dire needs are compelling us to develop mutual good will, compassion and understanding to nurture the future we must bring about together.

What I will say today will not be adequate to do justice to this occasion. I propose therefore that before I go further, we observe a moment of shared silence to try and discern the potential of this occasion. In addition let us also think of all who have died in Manipur and Nagaland over the past decades in the upheavals of our desperate struggles for our aspirations. For if we will learn to shed tears for one another we will shed less blood of one another.

I would like to start by describing the wider setting of which we are a part. I think it gives a helpful perspective to what we will be discussing this afternoon.

We are on the edge of the infamous and dreaded Golden Triangle of Burma, Thailand and Laos, one of the two main sources of heroin in the world. But we are on the edge of another triangle that is even more extraordinary which we need to become aware of.

If we connect Kolkata, Lhasa and Rangoon with three straight lines, we discover this other triangle! The Lhasa – Rangoon line cuts across where we are. No name has been given to this triangle yet. But one of these days it is going to get one because 7 Nobel Prize winners have come from within this triangle.

4 of them are for Peace: Mother Teresa of Kolkata, the Dalai Lama of Lhasa, Aung San Suu Kyi of Rangoon, and Mohamed Yunus of Dhaka. The other three are CV Raman for Physics, Rabindranath Tagore for Literature and Amartya Sen for Economics!

I shall leave it to you decide what the thinking, values and achievements of these great men and women from our part of Asia should mean to us as we search for ways to solve our problems. I personally think we are very fortunate indeed to share with them the mental and moral environment they have created for our part of the Continent and the world by their steadfast loyalty to their values.

The theme suggested to me for this talk was "(my) concerns about the strategic challenges facing the Naga polity today and the foreseeable future", and "the Naga people's response", whether it is "adequate or otherwise." As these are issues I do try to understand I welcomed the suggestion.

I realize to say something adequate on this occasion, I should be a highly qualified professor of history, who is knowledgeable also in a host of other subjects! Alas, I am nothing of the sort by any shot. Therefore, I regret that a scholarly paper of the kind you are right to expect from such a lecture is not what you will be getting from me today.

So bear with me, and let us see where this discussion may take us?

After reflecting on the points suggested to me and the society we have produced I decided to call my talk "Our Common Crisis: What Are We to Do?" After seeing the title some perhaps have felt that for me to say we have a common crisis is presumptuous and unjustified. Some may feel I am too naïve and out of touch with reality to think that anything can be done about our crisis and problems. When we have the time for interaction at the end of my talk, I hope what you feel will be expressed and discussed.

I have tried to understand what "the strategic challenges facing the Naga Polity today and the foreseeable future" means. I take it to be referring to the struggle by the Nagas from about 70 years ago till today. It represents their decision to construct their history on their consciousness of themselves and known facts of their roots, rather than on what others thought they should be or not be, and their struggle to get India and the world to recognize that position.

Trying to understand the struggle of the Dalits in modern India, James Massey writes, "…only historical roots can provide the clue to the lost identity of the Dalits". ("A Concise History of the Dalits"). The same perception has, I believe, operated with the Nagas also. It was an instinctive struggle to get the foundation right first. This has I think resulted in the foundation becoming permanently set and rigid, tending to paralyze the future.

The sub-title of author Namthiubuiyang Pamei's last book on the Naga struggle ("Naga Crucible") is - "A movement in search of its people". This seems to aptly describe what this crisis is at this stage. This happens in all human struggles. What we need to do is to find the way out by understanding it together first instead of blaming one another, or denying there is any crisis at all.

What does this "consciousness of themselves", from which the Naga struggle germinated, mean? I shall try to explain how I see it.

Rajagopalachari, the first Indian to be Governor General of India and the last man to hold the post, came to Shillong in 1947. Two Nagas went to see him, Pfurhitsu Terhuja and A.Z Phizo. They joined the line-up of representatives of tribes and communities from the region outside the Raj Bhavan to see Rajaji.

The Secretary to the Governor announced that each group was allotted only a few minutes. Pfurhitsu was resplendent in the full regalia of a village elder, complete with thick ivory arm bands and his striking shawls draped over his shoulder. He stood ramrod straight looking into the distance.

When their turn came Pfurhitsu started to speak with Phizo translating his words. Looking straight into Rajaji's eyes he conveyed the position of his people to the visiting leader.

Turning to the translator Rajaji asked "Who is he?" Before Phizo could translate it, Pfurhitsu replied loudly with deliberate emphasis, "I am a man!" He had learned some English when he was a Dobashi attached to the British Deputy Commissioner in Kohima.

The Secretary butted in to say their time was up. Rajaji sharply told him not to disturb saying "Don't you see I want to listen to this man?" The rest of the queue waited and Pfurhitsu completed what he had come to say. Phizo said later Pfurhitsu did what no one else could have done by being fearlessly himself.

To be continued.....


* Niketu Iralu gave this speech at Arambam Somorendra Memorial Lecture which was later published at Imphal Times
This article was posted on June 25, 2018.


* Comments posted by users in this discussion thread and other parts of this site are opinions of the individuals posting them (whose user ID is displayed alongside) and not the views of e-pao.net. We strongly recommend that users exercise responsibility, sensitivity and caution over language while writing your opinions which will be seen and read by other users. Please read a complete Guideline on using comments on this website.




LATEST IN E-PAO.NET
  • Mera Chaorel Houba #2 : Gallery
  • Anglo-Kuki War 1917-19 : Gallery
  • Tribes, Castes & Development :: Book
  • Durga Puja celebration in Manipur
  • Multidrug-Resistant Tuberculosis
  • Life did put me into darkness :: Poem
  • Matrimonial sites: Dangerous proposals
  • Absentee in history
  • Of KTC and demand of UMLA
  • Pari Imom (Film Scenes) #1 :: eRang
  • Chunglenyanba, Awa Leima :: eMing
  • Manipur State Constitution Act, 1947 #1
  • 7th anniversary of PCRM
  • Funding TB response is smart investment
  • The Broken Stone:: Poem
  • 15 Ceremonial Horses handed to Myanmar
  • Needs for realizing the truth
  • Time to put education on track
  • Bor khoiramba @Hiyangthang #1 : Gallery
  • Kuki Black Day: desperation to Nagas #2
  • Finance knowledge to make better decision
  • Naga Peace Process :: News Timeline
  • Bunglawn Remembers Dr Kalam's Visit
  • No baab tree :: Poem
  • Official website of Sangai Photo Festival
  • Beauty care with natural ingredients
  • Deportation of Rohingya against intl law
  • Noting efforts to put MU on track
  • MU: Teachers/students released : Gallery
  • Death Anniv - Bhagyachandra #3 : Gallery
  • Ithai Barrage Impact on Environment
  • Rural development as career option
  • Put the kibosh on ochlocracy
  • Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) in women
  • India International Cherry Blossom Festival
  • Marketing Assistant @ PiCiDi, Canchipur
  • 'Ram Madhav is wrongly briefed' : NPF
  • Uniforms for school teacher: What purpose?
  • Marangwon at @Mt Khorung #3 : Gallery
  • Police Day Marathon #1: Gallery
  • I call it life :: Poem
  • International day for Disaster reduction
  • Contested territorial demands in Manipur
  • WhatsApp & mobile usage study results
  • Physics Programme in Nowgong College
  • Rejoinder to NDPP [15 October]
  • Stop bluffing Nagas
  • The state of the states
  • Gearing up for Oct 31 rally
  • Historical Evaluation of Puya Meithaba #4
  • MU: Student/police clash -10 Oct #2: Gallery
  • X-Jam -Extreme Sports & Music festival
  • Urban Local Govt in Mizoram :: Book
  • 3 perspectives in context of present Manipur
  • Figures in the Shadows :: Poem
  • To UNC, Zomi Council, Hmar Inpui on ST
  • HC acted in good faith for MU
  • Jarnail Singh @ MU : Gallery
  • Heikru Hidongba #3 : Gallery
  • The undeniable subtlety of Atingkok
  • Kuki Black Day: desperation to Nagas #1
  • Let me shower moonlight :: Poem
  • On allegations issued by NPF : NDPP
  • Challenges to the digital dreams
  • Eyes now on K Yugindro
  • Lamyanba Irabot- March Past #3: Gallery
  • Death Anniv - Bhagyachandra #2 : Gallery
  • Meetei Tribe wont grab land of Hill Tribes
  • Making a tangible difference
  • Contradicted journey of IPC Section 377
  • Free open defecation & open pee
  • Act East & Importance of Myanmar & NE
  • Vacancies at Multimind Software
  • Waiting for "Sorry"
  • Out Yugindro in Jarnail Singh
  • Mera Chaorel Houba #1 : Gallery
  • AMAND Pune: Cultural evening : Gallery
  • Management Convergence at Mizoram Univ
  • Observation of World Mental Health Day
  • Cry of a Dying River - 49 :: Poem
  • Buddhism is free from compulsion...
  • 7th AGM / Cultural evening of AMAND, Pune
  • Forsaken farmers - food for thought
  • Second police raid at MU
  • NESO opposes Indo-Nepal Treaty in NE
  • British Council, NEC sign MoU
  • MU: Student/police clash -10 Oct #1: Gallery
  • Death Anniv - Bhagyachandra #1 : Gallery
  • Anglo-Kuki War 1917-1919
  • University :: Poem
  • Remembering class boycott 2009-2010
  • Hair stylist as career option #2
  • Training of Trainers on Gender Justice
  • Manipur University fresh violence by police
  • MU Crisis- admissions and omissions
  • Issues besetting State before LS polls
  • Langban Heitha Leithaba #2 : Gallery
  • Sizo Festival @Saikot : Gallery
  • Opening of Moreh-Tamu Border Gate
  • Forest Cover of Nagaland :: Book Review
  • Ingocha Chingtham: Cycling from Mumbai ..
  • Blood Transfusion service- future in Manipur
  • IT Enabled Employment Generating Course
  • NDPP condemns statement of NPF
  • Beyond the reality
  • Need for MUTA to approach Court
  • Kang Tournament @Kongba #2: Gallery
  • Elangbam Sonamani : Sahityaratna 2017
  • Celebrating the rights of wildlife- Are we
  • The sky's gone wonderful :: Poem
  • Communal Harmony and Integration
  • Opportunity for India in Indo-Pacific Region
  • To be a good man
  • Education : Why no private players here ?
  • Tarpon Sonba : Gallery
  • mtM :: Seireng
  • MN Singh promoted as IG of CBI felicitated
  • Loktak from different perspectives #2
  • The Killing Fields 2013-18 : News Timeline
  • The Journey of Happiness :: Poem
  • A personal discourse of Manipuri people
  • Improper use of loud speakers in Manipur
  • Art Exhibition @Art College #3: Gallery
  • Sudip Kongbrailatpam -recording engineer
  • Dismantled 9th times & safer in 10th times
  • Remembering Irawat: Are we following ..
  • State Level Archery Championship 2018
  • Stop religious encroachment at Kangla
  • Navratri (festival) make up
  • khongjang changsinnaba sem sarey : ST
  • MU crisis: Emerging questions
  • Lining up five days blockade
  • Dhol Chollom @Sangai Fest: Gallery
  • A Road Trip to Myanmar #2
  • Maroi napakpi in Manipuri dishes
  • National Integration Tour Team
  • Cry of a Dying River - 48 :: Poem
  • Ending antimicobial resistance to #endTB
  • Condoles death of Pu Kaikhokam Kipgen
  • Rejoinder to NDPP (5th Oct) : NPF
  • Responsibility required - not restriction
  • After Thuingaleng Muivah who ?
  • Paddy dry up due to deficit rainfall
  • Lamyanba Irabot- March Past #2: Gallery
  • Binalakshmi Nepram : RAW in WAR Award
  • Agribusiness & Carbon Management : Book
  • Is Gandhi (ian) relevant today ?
  • Guidelines for Hostels for Children
  • ATM based frauds : Router compromise
  • 'Rio's announcement as just mockery'
  • Training Program on Mushroom Cultivation
  • 'Chadong' - the victim of development
  • Poles apart : Pandey and Singh
  • Manipuri Diaspora in Myanmar #2
  • Why has Egg become Danger for Manipur?
  • Speech by Atif Anik on Irabot Day 2018
  • Wounded tree :: Poem
  • Hair stylist as career option
  • Synopsis of Sizo Festival 2018
  • Traffic regulation still a Flop show
  • In the evening of his life : Th Muivah
  • Langban Heitha Leithaba : Gallery
  • World Bamboo Day #2: Gallery
  • Where have all the lights gone ?
  • Mahatma and non-violence
  • Detention of students/professors of MU
  • Gandhi Jayenti at Itanagar
  • IBSD cleans Imphal City
  • MU: Abide by wisdom of Sr citizens
  • Power of humility
  • Ghost of Pandey : Four teachers suspended
  • Lamyanba Irabot- March Past #1: Gallery
  • October Calendar for Year 2018 :: Tools
  • Looking at Loktak from perspectives #1
  • Morning - a Haiku :: Poem
  • R&V Art House curates 'Land of Polo'
  • Show for football fans at NEUFC Fan Park
  • Indigenous People: Stand against Fascist
  • Clarification on Tamei Residential School
  • Organic Farming Tour to Sikkim
  • System error- or is this real democracy
  • Autonomy for Naga- Stakeholders on board
  • Th. Muivah hospitalized
  • Lamyanba Irabot- Floral Tribute #1: Gallery
  • Choidev Chongba @Kang Fest : Gallery
  • A Road Trip to Myanmar #1
  • The day after Sahnit-Ni
  • Cry of a Dying River - 47 :: Poem
  • Observation of World Alzheimer's Day
  • Benefits of almond oil for the hair
  • NEUFC Fan to host musical performances
  • ..but Irabot may still shed tears in heaven
  • Heikru Hidongba #2 : Gallery
  • Lamyanba Hijam Irabot :: Read all about
  • Tingmila Doungel : Manipuri Boxer
  • Tarpon: Annual offerings to dead by living
  • Manipur: Past & Present (Vol.2) :: Book
  • Genesis of Naga-Kuki clash in early nineties
  • 9th Children's Cultural Meet 2018
  • Parakram Diwas : 2nd Anniversary
  • International Visitors Leadership Program
  • He calls state Govt as unrecognized..
  • Tough stand of Govt noted
  • Historical Evaluation of Puya Meithaba #3
  • MU: General Srtike [27 Sep] #2 :: Gallery
  • Tribute to Oja Nandiram with 'In Memoriam'
  • The resurgence of Hijam Irabot
  • Love for post of MU vice-chancellor
  • Condemns arrests of MU student/teachers
  • Spot Enquiry by MCPCR Team
  • Seriousness with sincerity matters
  • 48 hours bandh on, then what ?
  • MU: General Srtike [27 Sep] #1 :: Gallery
  • Hijam Irabot - Our 'Icon of Revolution'
  • Food preparation among Zeliangrong
  • Is it the final countdown to #endTB?
  • Let's give time a chance :: Poem
  • If Buddhism Is Not A Religion Or Philosophy
  • Using false identity to mislead
  • In response to CM's appeal
  • CM's call against bandh
  • MU: Hunger Strike[25 Sep] :: Gallery
  • Irabot's letter to Assembly :: 18 Oct 1948
  • Ringui Village, Ukhrul :: Gallery: Gallery
  • Front Page Photo 2018 #4: Gallery
  • Tuilha Kol waterfall #2: Gallery
  • Eyek Tamba :: Learn Manipuri script
  • Kuki Black Day @CCpur : Gallery
  • Sit-In: Naga Peace Talk #2 : Gallery
  • Inner Line Permit (ILP) Demand :: Timeline
  • Jangou Rah : eRang Classic
  • Manglandasu Nang - OST :: e-pao Radio
  • Old Manipuri Movie #1 :: eRang Classic
  • SPONSORED ADS