TODAY -

Aftershocks Of The Earthquake

Free Thinker *

Manipur Earthquake January 4 2016  : Aftermath seen at Ema Keithel
Manipur Earthquake January 4 2016 : Aftermath seen at Ema Keithel :: Pix - Deepak Oinam



If the internet information is correct (many times wrong), in contemporary history the biggest earthquake struck Chile in 1960 which had a magnitude of 9.5. Ours was 6.8 in the Richter scale. It is quite natural to have some aftershocks after a major shaking. Letís not go strictly by the lexicon meaning of the word aftershock. So, aftershocks vary from place to place and from people to people. Some of the noteworthy aftershocks may be highlighted and analyzed for future mitigation and preparedness.

The first aftershock was the beating up of an Engineer by the emotionally charged Imas (women) of the Keithel(Bazar/ Market) whose building was badly damaged by the natureís fury. Everyone knows that the Engineer was neither responsible for the quake nor for the construction of the Ima Keithel. The only mistake was he out of curiosity went there immediately to see the damage.

VULNERABILITY OF VIGILANTE ATTITUDE

Our Honíble CM and Respected PWD Minister visited later. Otherwise they could have had the same fate as the Engineer. By that time the Imas were somehow appeased and convinced that these buildings were erected by Companies and Agencies, not by a particular Contractor or Thikadar. See the farsightedness of our leaders. If these buildings were made to be constructed by a particular Contractor, he would have been in ICU.

Contemplating the vulnerability of our ever active vigilante approach, one has to be very careful. Imas(women) of Manipur are very courageous, emotional, influential , but they are also equally gullible and easily swayed away by rumors and manipulations. The Britishers were threatened and frightened by them in two occasions, first during the First Nupi lan (1904) and subsequently by the Second Nupi Lan (1939).

In both the Lans the Imas of our Keithel played major role. We came to know from the older generation of pre-independence era that the British Political Agent in Implal used to deploy spies to keep a watch on the activities of the Imas of the Keithel, because the pulse of the people of Manipur could be ascertained from the news and views of the Ima Keithel.

AFTERTHOUGHT, IMA KEITHEL BY STEEL NOT BY RETROFITTING

Ima Keithel is as old as our civilization, this is our oldest surviving institution simultaneous to the moribund monarchy. We are duty-bound to protect and preserve it. The age old tradition and sanctity of Ima bazar will certainly continue. At the same time the infra-structure must also be as robust as the institution itself. I frankly donít subscribe to the view of the experts from Roorkee as they simply suggest Ďretrofittingí of the damaged structure.

Taking advantage of the fragile situation why canít we reconstruct all the three structures by steel. Please donít worry about the funding; for such an important institution the ADB or World Bank will be more than ready to finance the project. Even the Central government will be happy to complete the construction with all its resources within a year, before Feb. 2017. We know the reason.

Why should the State Government give away such an opportunity to others? If hangers could be brought from Paris for the Sanjenthong why canít we import the best steel rods and frames for Ima Keithel. If it is built only with steel rods and frames like the Eiffel Tower, Ima keithel will last for centuries.

The name of the Builder shall be written in golden ink at the entrance of each building.Whose name will be written, Ibobijiís or Modijiís or Venkayajiís or Ratanjiís? Decide now, time is running out. For the time being Ima Keithel may be operated from Mapal kangjeibung or Kangla.

ANOTHER AFTERSHOCK IN THE HILLS

After the quake people of some hill-villages are shifted to relief camps. There, they are provided with beds, blankets, food, medical aids and security. Now they are not willing to go back to their respective villages for obvious reasons. Long time back I saw a Charlie Chaplin movie, in that movie the protagonist (a poor man) was inadvertently put in a jail, when the jailor released him, he refused to leave and pleaded the jailor for his further stay in the jail.

If the people start feeling that life in a jail or a relief camp is better, then it is high time to seriously ponder where we have gone wrong? Are we learning from these aftershocks?


* Free Thinker wrote this article for The Sangai Express as part of 'Poking nose without malice' column
This article was posted on January 13 , 2016.


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