TODAY -

Seminar on 'Life and Contributions of Prof. Gangmumei Kamei'
- Part 2 -

Aheibam Koireng *

Prof. MC Arun, (Director, Centre for Manipur Studies, Manipur University) Seminar on 'Life and Contributions of Prof. Gangmumei Kamei'
Prof. MC Arun, (Director, Centre for Manipur Studies, Manipur University) : Seminar on 'Life and Contributions of Prof. Gangmumei Kamei'



Proceedings of A Daylong Seminar on
Life and Contributions of Prof. Gangmumei Kamei
organized by Kalyan Ashram, Manipur (KAM),
at the venue of Linthoingambi Girl's Hostel, Palace Compound, Imphal
on Sunday, the 30th April 2017 Time: 10.30-4.30 pm.

Rapporteur:
Aheibam Koireng,
Assistant Professor,
Centre for Manipur Studies,
Manipur University

In the Second Session Shri PA Theko, ADC Member Senapati, spoke as the rersource Person. Prof. is such a personality vital to the health and welfare of our state. He is always viewed as a symbol of secularism who gave much required importance to the indigenous faith of the tribal people which was derisively interpreted by the western writers and social anthropologists as animism and as a matters of the Satan which is today opposed by every serious researcher.

Professor established his own pre-eminence as indigenous religion as primordial religion which is today widely accepted by the social anthropologists of the world to the pleasure and pride of the world's indigenous people. He was all through his life a fighter for the rights and justice for the weaker sections and the minorities besides his own political battle.

He was also an upright and patient upholder of secular democratic ethos and contributed much to keep the body polity of the BJP and the state of Manipur safe and secured, though he did not lived to see the fruit of his patience. He builds strong bonds amongst the different ethnic groups forming a unifying force amongst the tribal indigenous people and a bridge between the hill and the valley people.

He refused to accept the idea that Christianity is the highest form of civilization believing that even the indigenous faith which he calls primordial religion is a highly evolved system of faith and civilization which must of necessity be interpreted in its correct perspective for the self-pride and confidence of the indigenous people.

After the presentation of paper, Prof. MC Arun, (Director, Centre for Manipur Studies, Manipur University) while sharing his views, expressedreservations over the use of prefix 'Late' before Prof. Gangmumei's name in the title of the seminar as he feels that his contributions transcends all barriers and continues to remain relevant for all time to come.

According to him, he belonged to the Second generation of Historians in Manipur, who by going ahead of the first generation trends of remaining obsessive with the collection of records and documents, had made serious attempt to critically interpret history. What sets him apart from other historian is approach for unity of ideas and action. His entering into social service as evident by his association with MCIC and political arena could also be viewed as putting his idea into practice for social transformation.

PA Theko, ADC Member Senapati Seminar on 'Life and Contributions of Prof. Gangmumei Kamei'
PA Theko, ADC Member Senapati : Seminar on 'Life and Contributions of Prof. Gangmumei Kamei'



He, in the prime time of his career, had also greatly contributed in giving the regional history, at a time when the mainstream history was all eminent and omnipotent in the Indian History. Prof. Gangmumei nurtures and welcomes new ideas in academic exercise and pursuit. The Centre for Manipur Studies, Manipur University, which at present is taken care of by him, is a brainchild of Prof. Gangmumei, saying this, he also acknowledgingly stated that he personally owes a tribute to the revered teacher, Prof. Gangmumei Kamei.

Prof. Kshetri Bimola (Former Head, Pol. Sc. Dept., & Dean, School of Social Science, Manipur University) said Prof. Gangmumei in his quest for knowledge was always curious and ever accumulating. He doesn't mind discussing with his junior colleagues on issues of academic and social importance. And in the process if he found anything new to him, he readily acknowledged it. His adhering to Secularism is without question. He firmly believed in women's empowerment and gender equity. His works and contribution will continue to remain relevant in all times to come, she stated

Chaoba Kamson, General Secretary, Tingkao Ragwang Chakpriak (TRC) Phom, spoke as resource Person in the third and final session of the seminar. His paper which gives a brief background of the difficulties faced by theZeliangrong people in preserving and promoting the Zeliangrong religion and custom, and the constructive role of Prof. Gangmumei Kamei in relation to it is reproduced as follows:

"Alien religious followersand organisations took advantage of the absence of common and collective religious authority at the community level and converted the followers of indigenous faith to their religion by means of temptation, imparting free education, free gifts, free amenities, etc. Despite devoting their whole lifetime by Haipou Jadonang and Rani Gaidnliu to protect and preserve their Zeliangrong religion, for quite a long period of time, there was no specific organization to continue that legacy. The Zeliangrong religion was under threat as valley based underground killed two 'innocent TRC people' in the name of prohibition in 1990.

In the year 1994, the hill based underground harassed the TRC people of Khoupum Valley, Nungba Sub Division in 1993-1994 and they threatened the Chinikon Villagers alleging why they had still remained in the TRC religion. The Zeliangrong people of Manipur were helpless in those days. Day by Day Zeliangrong people converted into the religion of Christianity due to heavy suppression of the hill based underground but the valley based extremist never interfered in the religious matter of TRC people. Prof. Gangmumei Kamei, at his initiative organized a public meeting at Majorkhul on 7th April 1991 and in order to preserve, propagate and promote formed a religious organization called 'Zeliangrong Custom and Religion Protection Committee'.

Prof. Sadananda (Functionary, United Religious Initiative, Manipur Chapter & Senior Citizens for Society, Manipur)  Seminar on 'Life and Contributions of Prof. Gangmumei Kamei'
Prof. Sadananda (Functionary, United Religious Initiative, Manipur Chapter & Senior Citizens for Society, Manipur)



Subsequently, a memorandum drafted by Prof. G. Kamei and signed by the valley Khullakpas was submitted on 22nd March 1991 to Shri RK Ranbir, the incumbent Chief Minister of Manipur requesting his good office to forbid outside forces from disturbing the rites and rituals performed by the TRC people. Prof. G. Kamei convened a meeting on 14th November 1992 at Manipur University and discussed on the philosophy and theology of Zeliangrong religion. Another public meeting on 22nd November 1992 at Ragailong, Imphal was called and discussed on how yto strengthen the religious organization and how to protect and preserve the said religion.

On 27th December 1992, a seminar on Zeliangrong religion and youth was organized at Majorkhul, Imphal to discuss on the sub-theme of cosmogyny and rites of passage. After formation of the Zeliangrong religious organization, Prof. G. Kamei suggested to convene a meeting for further discussion on Zeliangrong religion. Accordingly, the Zeliangrong Custom and Religion Protection Committee, Manipur organized a Public Meeting on 8th March 1993 at Haipou Bhaomei Bishnu Rakai, Bhuvan Hills, Assam to discuss the contemporary situation of the traditional religion and to find out the ways and means to constitute a common authority of the Zeliangrong religion.

The congregation was addressed by eminent personalities of Zelianghrong community including scholars, Govt. Officers, religious divines, village elders and youths. The religious congregation was presided by over by Gaiphunnang Thaimei of Binnakandi and Shri M. Maringa, Chairman, Zeliangrong Custom and Religion protection Committee, Manipur. Prof. gangmumei Kamei moved the resolution, 'The Religious congregation of the Zeliangrong people having deliberated on the Zeliangrong religion and custom resolved to express that there is a need for the formation of a common authority of the Zeliangrong religion to preserve, study, systematize and propagate the Zeliangrong religious philosophy, customs and tradition.

The Congregation is of the opinion that a conference on Zeliangrong religion should be held for a wider and deeper discussion on the theology, rites and rituals and festivals and formation of a representative and authoritative body of the Zeliangrong religion. The zeliangrong people who are the followers of the traditional faith should not accept any other alien religion. Zeliangrong people should not change their religion.

Therefore, this congregation resolved to constitute a steering committee to organize the proposed religious conference at Imphal. The steering committee shall be named and styled as the steering Committee Conference on Zeliangrong religion. The Steering Committee is empowered to take up the appropriate action for the organization of the religious conference. The congregation resolved to elect office-bearers and members of the steering committee with prof. Mangthoi Thaimei as the president. The organization of the Zeliangrong Custom and Religion protection Committee, Manipur was dissolved on 8th March 1993.

To translate the resolution into action, a mass campaign contact programme was conducted led by Prof. G. Kamei covering most of the valley villages. The participants of the meeting underlined the need of the formation of a common authority of the Zeliangrong religion to preserve, study, systematize and propagate the Zeliagrong religion on philosophy, custom and tradition. The aim of the steering committee was to form a common religious authority and to elect new office-bearers, to draft a constitution of the religious organization and to name Zeliangrong religion.

The religious conference was fixed to hold in the month of December 1993, but it was postponed due to ethnic conflict of Naga-Kuki and was refixed on 14th -16th April, 1994. Accordingly, the religious conference was carried out on the date mentioned above with the mass support of village authority, elders, educated persons, officers, womenfolks, youtrhs and students. The Steering Committee formed a Finance Committee headed by Shri A.P. Golmei and Shri k.G. Aphunna, both retd. EE, PWD & IFCD respectively, Govt. of Manipur as Advisors.

The three days conference (from 14th to 16th April, 1994) on Zeliangrong, the first of its kind in the religious history of the Zeliangrong people was actually convened by the steering committee conference on Zeliangrong religion. The Conference was attended by about 1500 delegates from 150 Zeliangrong villages of Assam, Manipur and Nagaland. The important topics prepared by Prof. gangmumei Kamei and discussed in the conference were: i). Zeliangrong Theology and Philosophy; ii). System of worship; iii). Religion and Culture; and iv). Religious Organisation of Zeliangrong.


[With inputs from Dr. Hanjabam Ishworchandra Sharma (Economics Dept., Manipur University), Dr. Beeju Kamei&Dr. Hanjabam Shukhdeba Sharma (Dept. of Social Work, Indira Gandhi National Tribal University, Regional Campus-Manipur]

To be continued,..


* Aheibam Koireng wrote this article for e-pao.net
The writer can be contacted at akoireng(AT)gmail(DOT)com
This article was posted on May 17, 2017.


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