TODAY -

Kut Must Remain a Unifying Force

By Nehginpao Kipgen *

State level Kut celebration at 1st MR Ground, Imphal on November 1 2009.
State level Kut celebration at 1st MR Ground, Imphal on November 1 2009.



Introduction

Kut, the post-harvest festival, is an embodiment of the mosaic culture of the Kukis. The festival has been celebrated not only in the state of Manipur, but also in the states of Mizoram and Chin under varying names, depending on dialectical usages. The festival has become one of the most anticipated events of the year.

Kuki is used here as an inclusive nomenclature, as documented by the British ethnographers, to refer to all the hill peoples of Manipur other than the Nagas, which included 22 tribes in alphabetical order: Aimol, Anal, Chiru, Chothe, Gangte, Hmar, Koirao, Koireng, Kom, Lamkang, Maring, Mizo/Lushai, Monsang, Moyon, Paite, Purum, Ralte, Simte, Sukte, Thadou, Vaiphei and Zou. More tribes have been recognized by the Indian government since then.

Although the general perception about Kut celebration is cultural, each individual person may have his or her own reason for participation. Since it is an official state holiday in Manipur, the event has been celebrated on November 1st every year. This, however, does not necessarily mean that the event was traditionally celebrated on this particular day, nor does it portray that it is an exclusive event for the Kukis of Manipur.

Due appreciation must be given to community leaders and the successive Kut committees for promoting the state level program to its status quo one of the most important social events in Manipur. With the arrival of Kut 2012, I would like to discuss the importance of the event under three subjects Cultural Heritage, Community Building, and Diplomatic Relations.

Cultural Heritage

With the rapid pace of globalization, it is getting easier for the younger generation to be influenced by the dominant cultures of advanced societies implicitly or explicitly. In this regard, Kut has served as an important platform for showcasing one's culture, and more importantly for preserving them. It is paramount that this tradition is continued.

When performing cultural dances adorned with traditional attires, it is not just showing talents but also displaying one's unique identity to the international community. Promotion of one's culture should show respect for the cultures of others. While it is essential to adapt to modernity, it is also important to retain the originality of one's own unique culture.

One fundamental objective of the event should be that participants return with understanding some basic concepts of the Kuki culture. This can be expressed in the form of speeches or by making it prerequisite for questions posed to beauty contestants.

One must show respect to his or her own culture before expecting others to do the same. It is the responsibility of each community member to safeguard the culture if he or she wants to promote. It is also the responsibility of the older generation to pass on to the younger generation in order to preserve them. The process of continuity needs to be maintained.

Community Building

The fabric of a community is strengthened when its members come together for a common objective. During the British colonial rule, the administrators classified the Kuki tribes into 'Old Kuki' and 'New Kuki'. Later, the unity of the Kuki people was shaken which led to the formation of different tribal identities.

Such division within a family has affected the well-being of the people. This is evident from the fact that a common political platform is difficult to achieve until today. If bickering over issues such as nomenclature or tribe imbroglio is not resolved, the people will continue to face the consequences in socio-economic and political fronts. Community building along the line of tribes or clans may not be an issue in Western societies that are driven by individualism, but it still apparently matters in the Kuki society.

Amidst ideological differences, Kut brings together family members from far and near. The event has become one of the few avenues to show the world that these people belong to the same family. While striving for unity, alienation or prejudices based on minority-majority in terms of numerical strength must be avoided.

Community building should start within oneself, and branch out to families, clans, and tribes. When every level of society begins to engage, community will automatically progress. In the process of community building, more inclusive socio-cultural programs need to be encouraged before political cooperation can be achieved.

Diplomatic Relations

As much as it is important to promote and preserve cultural heritage, and community building, it is equally important to establish relations with others. Technologies have made communications easier and efficient ever than before. The proceedings of Kut celebration should be live-streamed, especially for the Kukis in Diaspora. The Kut committee should use the event to reach out to others.

In the context of Manipur, the immediate neighbors are the Naga and the Meitei with whom the Kuki people have lived together for decades. One should acknowledge the fact that nobody on earth is a permanent settler of any geographical region. Migration has happened in all parts of the world, at different times and under different circumstances, and so are the Kuki, the Naga and the Meitei.

Since Kut becomes a state festival, it concerns the entire people of Manipur directly or indirectly. On this auspicious day, the Kut committee should continue to invite other community leaders and members for the event. Not just inviting them but also getting them involved in activities such as cultural dances or short speeches. Such initiatives can develop mutual trust and friendship across inter-ethnic groups.

Primordial elements such as blood relationship, culture, and language affirm that the Kuki in Manipur, the Chin in Burma (Myanmar), and the Mizo in Mizoram are inseparable. The Kut committee should invite brethren for this occasion. Now that Burma has steadily transitioned into a democratic society, regular contacts need to be established with brethren in Sagaing Region and in Chin State through formal and informal channels.

Conclusion

I have briefly discussed three subjects how the Kukis of Manipur can better utilize Kut to walk beyond the usual practices of the day. I do not in anyway mean to suggest that this is the exhaustive list of what can be done to maximize the positive effects of the celebration at the state level.

Kut has been a unifying force for the Kukis of Manipur. This cohesion must continue to remain and be developed with the changing time. The priority of the celebration should focus on promoting peace, love, and harmony among the different tribes of the Manipur Kukis in particular, and for greater understanding and cooperation among the Chin, the Kuki, and the Mizo in general.

The spirit of oneness in celebrating Kut needs to be nurtured. Community leaders and intellectuals have a pivotal role to play in advocating mutual love among brothers and sisters of the same group of people, who are known or called by different names in different geographical regions. The momentum of unity shown during Kut celebration needs to be followed by activities such as seminars and conferences at local level as well as at the international level.

Kut Chibai to you all!


Nehginpao Kipgen
* Nehginpao Kipgen is general secretary of the United States of America-based Kuki International Forum (www.kukiforum.com) and author of several articles in academic journals, international newspapers and magazines. His latest peer-reviewed academic article entitled "The Politics of Ethnic Conflict in Manipur" is scheduled for publication in July 2013 issue of South Asia Research journal, published by SAGE in the United Kingdom. On a special invitation from the Kut committee, the article was written for the 2012 Manipur State Level Kut souvenir released during the Kut celebration on November 1, 2012 in Imphal, Manipur, India.
This article was posted on November 1 2012



* 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
  • A Voice From Khurkhul
  • Violence in Manipur 2023 :: News Timeline
  • Has appeasement towards Kuki backfired ?
  • Roaring through the Frontier
  • 3rd June is World Bicycle Day
  • Witnessing the resurgence
  • Setting the narratives right
  • Pinning hope on judicial probe to end crisis
  • Human-chain @ Keishampat #1 : Gallery
  • Wanted : The Idea of Manipur
  • Post of DGP Manipur
  • Fallout a legacy of colonial British rule #2
  • Workshop: Integration of Communication
  • Union Home Minister's visit is a step too late
  • Manipur in flames since one month
  • Random use of firearms debunks communal
  • Amit Shah visit to Manipur [31 May] : Gallery
  • Fallout a legacy of colonial British rule #1
  • Day 3 report of Amit Shah's visit
  • 8000 surrender since 2014; Manipur burning
  • Breast Cancer! What all you need to know
  • No magic formula spelt out
  • Armed attacks corroborate irrelevance of ST
  • Singju Fest @Heingang #2 : Gallery
  • June Calendar for Year 2023 : Tools
  • Memorandum to Union Home Minister
  • Condemned Vandal, Media Misinformation
  • The voice of India's traditional handlooms
  • Amit Shah in town
  • Task cut out for Centre to prevent battle
  • A family of painters & their works
  • Peace first - Solution next
  • Concern over ongoing ethnic violence
  • Condemnation of Act by Armed Militants
  • Nation building through Jan Bhagidari
  • Playing the victim card
  • Internet ban serving no real purpose
  • Relief camp @ Khundrakpam #2 : Gallery
  • How Nehru accepted ... a religious head
  • Observation of present unrest in Manipur #2
  • When rage hijacks sanity
  • Why internationationalisation of education
  • A case of Nero fiddled while Rome burnt ?
  • Beginning of Life in the UK #4
  • The Good Old Days :: Poem
  • Status of Mithun farming in NE
  • Beauty essentials for your holiday
  • Chaudhary Charan: The Voice of Rural India
  • Manipur crisis on centre's menu, at last
  • Curfew : Night time in Imphal : Gallery
  • Manipur turmoil - Dynamics and misgivings
  • Debate on Art 371-C, new facet to violence
  • Sausage as a value added product
  • Gender & anti-corruption : G-20 Agenda
  • Waiting for the Union Home Minister
  • Insecurity among MLAs as violence continues
  • Advanced INA Headquarters, Moirang #2
  • Mt. Khangchendzonga and me
  • Awakening call to our leaders :: Poem
  • The unseen costs of Internet shutdown
  • An open letter to PM Narendra Modi
  • Best choice of career options after 12th Arts
  • Time to think for the children
  • Gunmen loose in foothill, military in city
  • Sit-in-Protest [21 May] : Gallery
  • Manipur situation mentioned at UN
  • Observation of present unrest in Manipur #1
  • Man, woman, sex, sexuality and the truth
  • Japanese koi fish: Farming in Manipur
  • Khurakki Eena Lai Saba
  • Time to tilt the balance
  • The Story of Leishemba : Fungga Wari #2
  • Press Meet at Dispur Press Club, Guwahati
  • Condemns assault on media by armed forces
  • What/who is tearing Manipur apart ?
  • The fast & ugly spread on social media
  • Separate admin call: Acceptable to the Nagas?
  • Task for men in uniform to restore peace
  • HSE 2023 Toppers :: Science
  • HSE 2023 Toppers :: Arts
  • HSE 2023 Toppers :: Commerce
  • Why should Meitei be included in ST list?
  • Books are our Best Friends
  • Forced peace not viable line
  • Expansionism agenda at play
  • Sit-in-Protest @ Ima Keithel : Gallery
  • International Tea Day : Jimli
  • CSO meet at Manipuri Basti, Guwahati
  • History - A New Perspective :: Poem
  • Posers to New Delhi and Imphal
  • Beginning of Life in the UK #3
  • Silent murmurs longing for answers
  • Perturbed about the future of Manipur
  • Take immediate action to bring normalcy
  • Can Myanmar-B'desh cooperate in disaster
  • Reopen national highways before it's too late
  • Tree's greatest strength lie in its roots
  • Press Conference at Press Club of India
  • Solidarity meet in support of women wrestlers
  • Management of Fall Armyworm
  • Benefit & drawback of Taka-Rupee exchange
  • Time to set right the narrative
  • Sit-in-Protest in Imphal : Gallery
  • Writer of 'CCpur da khundariba Meetei sing'
  • Landing in Sikkim, 1983
  • Request for lifting ban on Internet
  • Farm income through efficient farm mgmt #2
  • Condemns rape of a minor girl in Assam
  • SoO pact under scanner
  • Price of cooked up stories & hatred
  • Angamba & Samuel: Friendship beyond riot
  • Supreme Court ruling on Manipur High Court
  • Bijou Thangjam in Kannada film: Chilli Chicken
  • Do you want a "New Nagaland" ?
  • Our nurses, our future
  • Attempt to seize ancestral Meetei land
  • Significant stand of TNL
  • Relief camp @ Khundrakpam #1 : Gallery
  • Featured Front Page Photo 2023 #2: Gallery
  • Instigating violence for narrow political gain
  • Agri-Tourism: Approach to rural development
  • Manipur on the boil since May 3
  • Time for introspection on communal riot
  • Ground assessment to expose riot plotters
  • Relief camp @ Moirang #2 : Gallery
  • Appeal to people who are blocking highway
  • Plantation drive of medicinal plants
  • People spirit to help each other shone bright
  • Useful tips for healthy teeth & a happy smile
  • Suspension of internet
  • Violence subsides, tension persists
  • The Story of Leishemba : Fungga Wari #1
  • Mother's Day calls for Peace
  • Farm income through efficient farm mgmt #1
  • Nari Shakti : Empowering the Nation
  • From streets to political corridor
  • Onus on SF to justify normalcy claims
  • Beginning of Life in the UK #2
  • Impact of Internet Ban on Students
  • An open letter to citizens of Manipur
  • Help Rebuild Manipur
  • Nutrition garden for food security
  • Condemns lack of efforts by state govt
  • Curtain Story
  • Shirui Lily Fest 2022 #2 : Gallery
  • The only way forward is peaceful coexistence
  • Advancing Indo-Naga peace process
  • The courage to be 'yourself'
  • Mass culturing technique of nematode
  • 3 decades of Panchayati Raj Institutions
  • Blacking out stand of 10 MLAs
  • Need to present a strong case
  • Bye to cashless transactions for now
  • Accelerate probe into communal clash
  • Mithingai Amagi Meeshi @ Drama : Gallery
  • Fight to end corporate capture of healthcare
  • Mother to all :: Poem
  • International Nurses Day - 12 May
  • NPF condemns same sex Marriage: Azo
  • Commercialized artificial insemination in pig
  • Not all in designated camps
  • Relief camp @ Moirang #1 : Gallery
  • Mass gathering for peace & harmony at Pune
  • Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind :: Rvw
  • 'Demographic threat' to indigenous inhabitant
  • Galvanising Swachh Bharat Abhiyan
  • Uneasy calm as state limps back to normalcy
  • Probe inevitable to expose mayhem instigator
  • Time to focus on rehabilitation
  • Spare women and children, medical
  • Kangkum Village in Kamjong : Gallery
  • Appeal to all the people of Manipur
  • Genesis of Manipur crisis
  • Of people and communities
  • Scholarship for civil service aspirants
  • Understanding IES/ISS Examinations
  • Catalyst & solutions to ethnic clashes
  • Appeal to restore normalcy in Manipur
  • We need groundwater in Manipur
  • Just a little courage for the word 'No'
  • Working journalist movement
  • To SC against HC directive
  • 'Peace Appeal' by Women of Northeast
  • Celebrities urge national media not to publish...
  • To our Brothers and Sisters in Manipur
  • Calling for peace and relief
  • Importance of post harvest technology
  • Watermelon a Summer fruit
  • From May 3, 1993 to the present
  • COVID-19 : Impact in Manipur :: News Timeline
  • Beginning of Life in the UK #1
  • Ishanou : Film recognised as World Classic
  • Meghalaya government launches helpline
  • Manipur & NE - PM's favourite on MKB
  • Comfort Zone and Days of Yore :: Poem
  • Singiri Kona, the solitude Narasimha Temple
  • Advanced INA Headquarters, Moirang #1
  • Candle light vigil at Delhi
  • Restore calm & prevent further escalation
  • Appeal to give up violence
  • Refrain from violence
  • How to go for quick revision for JEE Advanced
  • It is not Tribals Vs Meiteis
  • MANITEX @ Nilakuthi #5 : Gallery
  • Designers : Interact with creative leaders
  • An appeal for peace
  • Call for cessation of violence
  • Appeals for communal harmony, peace
  • Mopping approach is not enough to end TB
  • An Ode to my House :: Poem
  • Suspending social media services
  • Three Mothers Art Gallery : Wood Art
  • Public Curfew Orders in Manipur
  • Use of drugs & precaution in Veterinary
  • COVID-19 Status 03 May : Govt of Manipur
  • Legal Aid Defense Counsel System Thoubal
  • Colposcopy, LEEP Services launched
  • Careers in improving public health
  • 30th Anniversary of Pangal's Black Day
  • Tension simmers as ST demand, eviction...
  • Opposition to ST demand for Meiteis
  • Lui-ngai-ni@ Chandel #2 : Gallery
  • The phenomenon that is Radhakumar
  • COVID-19 Status 02 May : Govt of Manipur
  • Jobs @ CNBT worklinksystem, Imphal
  • Press Freedom Day: Journalism independence
  • Legal Aid Defense Counsel System Bishnupur
  • Value addition to fish in the context of NE #3
  • PM Modi's Mann Ki Baat reaping fruit
  • Politics along community line
  • Gakripu : A Naga Folk Tale
  • COVID-19 Status 01 May : Govt of Manipur
  • MKF at C20 Conclave in Sikkim
  • Workshop : Youth20 Engagement group
  • Lament over peace process stretching 25 yrs
  • Wind of Change
  • Khongjom Day @ Khebaching : Gallery
  • 100th Episode of 'Maan Ki Baat' : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 30 April : Govt of Manipur
  • ADB financing in Manipur & accountability
  • 'Mann Ki Baat' screening at Raj Bhavan
  • Embracing Chaos in Jewelled Land :: Poem
  • Same sex marriage & popu control
  • Education commissioner take on Govt teacher
  • Wetland conservation needs holistic approach
  • My Memories of Imphal #20 : Download
  • Ranjeet Chingtham : Martial art performer
  • Id-ul-Fitr @ Imphal #2 : Gallery
  • Thabal Competition #3 : Gallery
  • Lembi Leima :: Movie Review
  • N Tombi's contribution to Anganghal #4
  • Research Officer @ Amethyst
  • Ningtam Lan Ningshing Numit : Gallery
  • Shajibu Cheiraoba @ Pune : Gallery
  • Mangka tour of Switzerland & France : Gallery
  • Sajibu Cheiraoba Chak Katpa #2 : Gallery
  • Houses @ Thalon, Tamenglong #2 : Gallery
  • English Pronouncing Skills : Book Download
  • Downloadable Manipuri Calendar for 2023