The USP of Churachandpur

Lunminthang Haokip *

 Churachandpur (Lamka) town on  23 December 2017
Churachandpur (Lamka) town on 23 December 2017 :: Pix - Thangpu Samte

A FAST-GROWING TOWNSHIP: The occasional visitor, mistakenly judging by the bohemian lifestyle of a few slipped-disc type lasses-gone-berserk, may draw bizarre conclusions of their own about the southern Manipur Eimi township's lifestyle.

It's not for nothing that Church-bells chime audibly every other day from their high-rise spires rowed chock-a-block in the by-and-large concrete-creamed localities of Churachandpur.

The regular messages delivered in worship services may not have churned out great soul-winners like global faces, but had leveraged the fear of God in the average Church-goer; so much so that resorting to the carnal privilege of open passage into embraces indecent is frowned upon as a sacrilege.

LESSER PULL OF MOTHER-TONGUE: In this rapidly urbanized DHQ, any inhabitant feels free to communicate in his own mother tongue to any other citizen, over any issue, without having to worry as to whether what he coveys is being understood or not. Such is the magic of one of the fastest growing hill towns in Asia.

The dynamics of ultra-consciousness of one's original identity may have made one to be a half-hearted chauvinist reluctantly championing for one's own old fold. But the confluence of inter-tribe marriages coupled with the influence of mixed-tribe settlements, had rendered all locally spoken dialects corrupt to the extent of futile struggle to regain their original undiluted twang.

This peculiar factor, in essence, sub-consciously sets the tone for the invisible super-structure of Eimi brotherhood. An upwardly mobile favour-seeking Eimi can switch on, at will, to any dialect to please a prospective favour-giving Eimi, as demands the value of the favour sought.

UNMATCHED PASSION FOR EDUCATION : Be it the man with the hoe, or man who owes heavy debt, every parent in CCpur district leaves no stone unturned, even when detractors leave no turn of his or hers un-stoned, to get the children make a mark in the field of education.

However, credit must also go to the efficiently administered Government and Private Schools, Higher Sec Schools and Colleges which produce huge batches of candidates for big and small jobs every year with factory-like precision.

Noises about unfair means in election time may have lowered the prestige percentage of CCpur, but when it comes to HSLC and BSE exams, fair means in writing papers had earned laurels for the spiritually discerned super-district.

One may come across ambitious saleswomen speaking stranger than Cockney-English to bemused customers, incorrigibly corrigible local slangs in some SE Asian cities like "Cannot", and "no have". Going by the law of average, CCpur does much better in managing the Queen's tongue. Things that rock the senses may not come easy to this land-locked burgeoning DHQ, but the collective IQ of its citizenry is the stuff big metros are made of.

GRIP OF ENTREPRENEURSHIP: CCpur is yet to get its act together to become an E-District to reckon with. Nevertheless, the typical Eimi mindset gel well with four other Es– Education, Entrepreneurship, Evangelism and Employment. Devoid of infra to plan out big business, the human resources of this enterprising Christian town, upsetting setbacks, creates a business climate of its own to keep the home-fires burning.

Daily bread stuff, baked with a passion usually reserved for religion, by Tunnu Bakes and Cakes, sells like hot cakes. The diversified in taste can pamper their 'hatke' palate in Rengkai Road's Life Café, run with the 'thirst for souls', in partnership by Joseph Zote and Michael Esh, as the main ingredient.

JK Gin business chain, the Pudaite Educational ventures, the Muolvaiphei Nursing School, the NGO-run orphanages and children homes, the private clinic, shop, garage, masonry, stone-carving, Media, wood work, catering, handloom, agriculture undertakings etc set the pace for CCpur's race to stage and taste boom time.

WHERE EVANGELISM IS AN 'ISM' : The most cosmopolitan Eimi town, CCpur may cast a shadow of pessimism when other 'isms' are mooted, but skewered skepticism paves way for theism when things spiritual are viewed from the calming prism of Evangelism.

Worldly development came from the north, yet Gospel movement came from the south. The revival fire that burnt up the tin and dross of pre-Christianity malpractices in the then 'Lushai Hills' spread across Tuivai river to set hearts afire afresh at Senvon in 1910.

The evangelical wild-fire consumed a few houses at Phaitong in 1914. The seed of life transplanted by the early 20th century converts, made hybrid by the Spirit's power, germinated to change lives in all the villages and hamlets of CCpur district.

It may not be wrong to remark, that this spiritually temperate believers' township where Church buildings mushroom and grow on diverse denominational branches, among Manipur's administrative segments, is the fore-runner in import of the Truth and export of Missionaries to other States and Nations. Evangelism, apart from being a mesmerizing 'ism', here, is a departure from age-old culture that all Churches love to nurture.

STUDIES TREND IN EMPLOYMENT: My heart aches when I think about the plight of unemployed young educated boys (I too was one of them, once) and girls who go tap-tapping from office to office, ad to ad, knocking the often closed doors of job opportunities. Fate sadly plays truant with the mediocre job-seekers here.

This accounts for the exodus of many frustrated local job hunters to the dense jungles of places that promise to provide easier placement. The waves of fortune take the emotionally intelligent from the shallow waters to the deep seas of prosperity; yet, the upwardly immobile get washed ashore by the backwaters of anonymity. NGOs, CSOs and COs (Church organizations) have done their bit to make many DGJs (Denied Govt Jobs) to barely make both ends meet in highly taxing but lowly paid jobs.

The brainy lot, either latch on to AISs or CGSs with some measure of hard labour, or just make do with doing nothing. Those who prefer not to work under a nosey boss choose to get self-employed with their craft and talent as the capital. Yet, a good chunk of CCpur's deserving educated class wake up from sleepless nights to another hopeless day, to place faith on which is like chasing the mirage.

A LOT MORE DREAMS TO CHASE: All said and done, what are we to do from now ? Shall we brag about our past and sit on idle to tom-tom over the achievements of gen-last that we don't have a stake in ? Or, shall we dream to go global by tightening our belts and tapping whatever resources we have at our disposal ? The first option is the lazy guy's easy way out but will make our future hazy.

We have had enough of slow growth, hackneyed surroundings and boring status quo. The second option sounds challenging, out of the box, and not commensurate with our stocks. To turn dreams into reality, we will have to shock and coax our own folks. From the ashes of war and poverty, Korea rose like a phoenix in the 1960s to create a niche for themselves in the A-team list of world economic players.

Entrepreneurship was the key that opened the doors of greater avenues. If they have the sea on their shores, we have a sea of sensible, capable and 'sail-able' human resources awaiting to be launched out to the deep waters.

AN APPEAL FOR VERDICT: To become talked about group of people in the slippery world of fox-trotting developmental fluctuations, we Eimis need to reinvent ourselves, upgrade our outlook, get hooked on to hard work and above all, be bless-able in tune with the diktats of the Book of life that says, "The Most High ruleth in the affairs of men…..(Daniel 5:22)."

History is witness that wherever the finer contents of the Gospel gained momentum, the people's per-capita income shot up. More than anything else, to hover above status quo, and move over to global level, we need to be on the right side of God's favour.

* Lunminthang Haokip wrote this article for The Sangai Express
The writer is an IAS (Retd)
This article was webcasted on May 14 2022 .

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