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E-Pao! Essay - A perfect venue for Thabal Chongba!

A perfect venue for Thabal Chongba!

Mohammed Sirazul Haidar *



It's very difficult to cut a long story short, more so if you do not have the flair for writing. The same is the case with me here I am finding it utterly difficult to narrate a long story short.

Let me take the liberty to present the whole story in its longest possible form.

To start with let's play a game of G.K. (General Knowledge). Only one question, those who give the right answer may skip to the next paragraph.

So, get, set and go! Tell the name of my hometown, which is famous for "Kwa, Kwa Mana, Yongchak, Theibong, and Lafoi etc." Any guess!! More clues coming your way!

About a decade back it was famous for its cane and bamboo products. Now a non-existent "sinfam" there, no idea what those "sinmi's are living with. Got the place? O.K.

Here are more clues. It's got a non-operating "bamboo chipping plant" with all the unpaid employees and laborers. A tea estate spread across acres of beautiful landscape, one and only in Manipur, with the same credentials as the former, the same story, unpaid laborers.

No idea how much economy it earns for Manipur. Finally the last clue "It has the only train head in Manipur", used solely for the purpose of camping the Indian Army and the Revolutionaries vice versa.

If you guessed it right, don't feel proud and happy. It's not a "KBC/cropati" competition. Here you lost everything forget about winning. And by the time you learn about the place, we have already lost crores of public money flowing down the JIRI River.

Yes "JIRIBAM", most of our brethrens of mainland Manipur call us Jiri kasaar or Cachar. I am safe.

Its very sad and humiliating that with the entire available infrastructure my hometown is glooming day by day. Successive politicians ruling the state made tall claims to develop the town.

You knew better what these claims turn out to be in Manipur. Well as every one does, let me blame the Manipur Government.

Is that over? Those sensible few or the majority may say a big "NO". I am proud to be among the few or majority who say "NO". It is the basic duty to develop our homeland in whatever small way one can contribute. Much has been said about the role of the youths in every aspect of development.

My story reaches the junction when we talk of youths. Few years back I was on a vacation trip to my hometown. It was exactly during the festive season of "Yaushang".

The following is the perplexing account of such a group of youths organizing a "Thabal Chongba" around the IRAWAT statue on the lounge of the only Rural Hospital/CHC, junction of Tipaimukh or Man Bahadur Road with New Cachar Road, a National Highway, in front of the Police Station and more over a few meters away from the state borders. Any sensible human being can argue with the intriguing implications of the venue.

One, the foremost humiliating situation, I strongly denounce the dancing in front of IRAWAT statue with all the fanfare at the "tantha" of "dhol".

We know IRAWAT's active interest and participation in drama, theatre and most of his plays were said to be to cleanse the society. IRAWAT might not wish to live and see this utter disrespect!

I am sure His "Thawai" must have shed a tear. I did, while the show goes on with the guard of the POLICE as well as the ever famous.... (I cannot risk my life to mention the name.) Sorry to say not even one of the office bearers of both the "Irawat Statue Construction Committee" and "Irawat birthday Celebration Committee" opposed the "Thabal Chongba" there.

Two, will your conscience permit yourself to dance with all the fanfare, loud music etc .in front of your fellow countrymen/human being dying/recuperating at the hospital. You say NO NEVER, so what?

The learned IAS ranked Officer, the so-called SDO permits. The savers of precious Human Lives, the Doctors and the Medical Officer are not complaining.

Third, is blocking the National Highways acceptable for such a custom, which rather is far deviated from the traditional form. I don not know how much difference it is with the present day "thabal Chongba". Are we securing or breaking the culture.

And finally, our neighbors the Bangalis both in Manipur and across the border who recognize and respects the contribution and dreams of the statesman called IRAWAT, must have laughed on us.

Just because of the ignorance of a group of youths we are degraded to such depth that we may never come out of it.

At a time when the government and the people of Manipur is showing some signs of interest in developing NH53 and JIRIBAM in the aftermath of the severe blow received due to the economic blockade on their much loved and preferred NH39 by some section of people, the youths of JIRIBAM has an important role to play in the development of JIRIBAM.

No doubt our hometown may someday become the hub of all the economic and financial activities of the state. The development of JIRIBAM will squarely solve all the transportation and communication problems faced by the people of Manipur by depending on never supportive Nagaland Government and people.

(While every care has been taken not to hurt the sentiments of my fellow countrymen, any outrageous statements made to anyone living or dead in course of the story may deemed to be nothing personal.

My apologies to the readers and those concerned appearing in the story in advance. It's an earnest effort to give a message to our youths to learn lessons from our past mistakes and help build a respectable Manipuri Society.)


With submission to IRAWAT for all our misdeeds.


Mohammed Sirazul Haidar, a Librarian for Real Estate developer, EMAAR Properties in Dubai, contributes regularly to e-pao.net
You can email the writer at MHaider@emaar.ae
This article was webcasted on 21st October 2005.


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