E-Pao! Essay - Instrument of Your Peace

Instrument of Your Peace
Joseph R. Hmar

Lord make us; Instrument of your peace
Where there is hatred; Let your love increase
Lord make us; Instrument of your peace
Wall of pride and prejudice shall cease
When we are your instruments of peace.

Where there is hatred; We will show his love
Where there is injury; We will never judge;
Where there is striving; We will speak his peace
To the peoples, crying for release
We will be His instrument of His peace

Where there is blindness; We will pray for sight;
Where there is darkness; We will shine His light
Where there is sadness; We will bear their grief
To the million cry for release
We will be His instrument of peace.

During the height of Hmar-Dimasa conflict, a few months back an advance level workshop on Peace Building and Conflict Resolution was held in Manipur. More than 40 tribes/peoples participate with a facilitator from abroad. I was invite to not only participate but give a report on the conflict and the situation in Cachar and North Cachar Hills as I was documenting the conflict from the Hmar side at that time. My heart was very heavy and my mind always preoccupied and could not contribute as much as I want to. During the concluding session, a young elegant lady Miss. Elizabeth Haokip sang us the song. It touched everyone Naga, Kuki, Meetei, Muslim, Bodo, Karbi, Hmar, Paite, etc.

I am writing his song today the 13th of September wishing that it would touch some heart too. Indeed it is a sad day and no word could express the sorrow in our heart of that fateful day. True I am not in a position to even attempt to comprehend the magnitude of loss that has been suffered by the near and dear one. But at the same time I just cannot sit back and let this day go by without sparing a few moments thinking about the conflicts that are happening among the tribals in Manipur and Manipur in general and also of the conflict that is engulfing the whole of Northeast India.

Unlike the Indian governments which simplified the reason of conflicts in the Northeast India to just plain insurgency and underdevelopment. I feel that the reasons are many and different from conflict to conflict. Even if the insurgency problem is solved by some miracle by bring all the armed groups to the peace negotiation table; I doubt that the conflict in Northeast India will end. Yes, the magnitude of the conflict will be very much reduce but not end. Development of the region will also not solve the conflict in the northeast; in fact, it will bring the conflict to just another age, more sophisticate and violent. But yes I agreed that without small arms and a better economy northeast will be a more bearable place to live.

Our Creator has gifted us a high spirit and blesses us with rich natural resources. The high spirit that we possess could not be tame even by the white European businessmen. Therefore, they turn us against one another to lord over us. After the white men left, the India government carry on the same policy without any change for sometime unintentionally and later pushes the policy intentionally to the limited when they came to know the riches of the region. The land that was mean to be only a barrier from outside aggression turns out to be rich natural resources reserved. So here we are struck with an old colonial administrative system and policies of the white peoples and an unlimited natural resources. Just only the rivers (which are called renewal energy reserve is 32,000 mega watts) of the northeast are worthy keeping us under and fighting among ourselves. I pray our conflicts are not just the beginning.

To me not all conflicts are not negative, to change conflict need to happen and sometimes they are violent which are very unfortunate. If a master continued to exploit his subjects, there may not be any other alternative left to them. But when people turn violent it mean that they have gone to the point of no return, so violent conflict are hard to heal and have a lasting impact esp. when innocent victims are the largest casualty. Conflicts will continue to happen in our land but if we could ever follow in the footsteps of our ancestor cherish conduct of war “to spare the children, women and the aged” we would be able to held our head up in front of children who are coming after us. “To the million cry for release” How would you answer ?

I am writing to heal and not to blame anyone one or community for conflicts in the past.

* The author is a social activist from Manipur.
He can be contacted at

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