E-Pao! EI - Cultural shift

Cultural shift
- Why people look at me? -

By: Joy Shaikhom *

The first human who hurled an insult instead of a stone was the founder of civilization."
-- Sigmund Freud

A beautiful lady with full of fabric, mehendi in hand, payal in ankle wrist, with a yellow saree, looks so gorgeous. The facial expression shows that she is near to us, near to you and near to me. I talk to her, we chat then I come to know that she is in the city for the last two years.

Throughout her ages she is brought up in a beautiful state, my Manipur. Its just two years that she stay out of state. Her lovely tongue curl while speaking our own langauge.

I asked “Do you wear fanek sometime”, she replied “I haven’t worn since my childhood”. My goodness, I was surprised. Really! You don’t wear, then my stupidity annoyed her.

Our conversation goes as we move...sometime people says I put question mark on my forehead as I usually asked too many question. I am talkative like a girl, she told me, but I suddenly reply, “Karigino nasa nathanta hanthana yengjaridi, nupi malligana hairidubo, nupi oiba tallbaro, nangdi angang oirina khongjeega si

Our next conversation is about thabal and jagoi which I love so much, here I got a sudden shock, a Manipuri lady don’t know thabal and jagoi. She even said she haven’t seen any thabal or jagoi.

I was surprised and suddenly clear my doubt by asking are you meitei, where is your birth place?. After hearing and knowing her profile, it hurts ny heart. My lady is born in Manipur and she did her graduation from Manipur University and she belongs to Meitei community.

Within the span of 4 to 5 years I have seen 4 -5 articles talking about NE people mostly girls in leading news paper. What does this mean? There must be something wrong with what we do.

A simple example, while I was doing management studies, my colleague said people have wrong perception against the "chinky look" mostly NE girl. They put themselves in a cheap status. Its not only about girl, even many of us are not put ourselves in proper manner, it seems to other mentality that we don’t dress and eat in proper manner.

I know its one’s life but we must also think that we are all social being and have to exist in societies within the environment. Change is the only constant, change will be there.

There is saying for every culture, female play a leading role, they are the mirror of our culture, the darkness or brightness of our culture depends on them. If people talks about them so much or if leading news paper wrote about them, there must be something wrong with what we do.

One more incident I would like to narrate, I could not remember the exact date and time of that particular incident. I was going to theatre for "Don", with my juinior, all from Manipur.

We were standing in front of the theatre before the film starts, suddenly I show a young lady of 24-25 ages with blue T-shirt and tight jean, getting down from a white maruti, with 4 other non Manipuri guys. She is the only lady in that troop. Every one in the gate turns eyes on her. Do you think people look because of her beauty .

This is a big “?”. As we are standing nearby to gate, after sometime everyone started looking on us again, I don’t know why people look on us, but very soon I know why other people look on us, its because that young lady is similar to our looks, I know she is from Manipur and she is Manipuri lady.

I feel sorry not because she is with 4 non Manipuri guys, it’s because how other people look on us. We are in the theatre gate before she came, but no body look us with any wrong perception, only after her arrival, people started their big eyes on us.

There will be lots of happening if we really observed. Sometime you will surprise to hear that..”Eikhoi class ta eikhoi meitei nupi manga khak yaowe, eikhoi masen amata kounede”. Good to hear such a wonderful dialogue.

It’s very useful for my simple article. They usually go to temple, for what reason I don’t know but one thing is for sure that they wear saree, lots of bangles, beautiful mehendi and payal. But many of them if you see in Manipur, they hardly go for prayer, forget this you wont see even this girl doing morning prayer which we can be proud of.

If you talk so much about this they will say you are narrow minded, they will asked us to know the world, people are changing. They will even said " don't be in Stone Age". Let us change in better ways, let our behaviors may not contaminate our beautiful culture. Lets not make people look on us because of you.

Sometimes people say boys are boys, girls are girls, men are man, but this is also wrong perception. Many men in the societies are in the mindset that females should do households work.

Forget this perception, they are equally competitive with us (men), they are already overtaking in every field and we must respect them. Why only female to take care of house work? Is the caring of child is just her responsibility; no we are equally part of this.

If I am not wrong, many of us acts with so much freedom as we move out of the home. Take the ratio of student going out of the state for studies and take the return on investment on this product. We will see that less then 10% of the students come back with proper return, other are just wasting their way of living, the new culture they adopted.

My article is not meant to hurt anyone; it’s just the situations that I would like to narrate which I came across. If it hurts someone, I would apologize in advance, but lets face the reality also.

"We are born princes and the civilizing process makes us frogs" - Syrus

"We should distrust any enterprise that requires new clothes" - Henry David Thoreau, Walden.

* Joy Shaikhom, an HR Professional, contributes to regularly. The writer can be contacted at j_shaikhom(at)rediffmail(dot)com . This article was webcasted on August 24th, 2007.

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