TODAY -

The tribal way of fortification against Covid-19

Bindu Thomas *



If we rise above all divisiveness there can be a ray of hope for our future.
It is the voice of the head man in the village echoedover and over.

The Naga Tribals of Senapati District of Manipur is presenting a new paradigm of combating the Covid-19 pandemic calling them to unity and vigilance. They realise that the need of the hour is unity and cooperation among themselves.

In line with nationwide lockdown over Coronavirus pandemic, several villages in Senapati district of Manipur are taking the entire responsibility upon themselves to safeguard them by blockingthe entry and exit gates of the villages against visitors.

Residents of some remote village like New Magamei and Willongkhullen have gone into a sort of hibernation to keep the Coronavirus at bay. They have been quickly proactive in taking precautionary measures without waiting for government to plunge in.

Locals in the remote villages opined that temporarily disconnecting themselves from the rest of the region and society is the best way of social distancing.

Moreover, due to lack of proper healthcare facilities in the remote areas, locals feel that it is best for them to completely stop visitors or outsiders from visiting them.

Most of the villages in Senapati district had voluntarily gone into lock down preventing vehicular and public movement as precautionary measures against the Covid-19 pandemic.

In case of emergency, or to venture out for grocery shopping, locals are notified to take permission from the village authority.

Local body of each village takes on the responsibility to monitor every incoming and outgoing person in the locality because without this procedure the disease might easily transmit into the area.

“Prevention against Covid is the way to save family and the world, we save family.” Reads a board in one of the temporary entrance gates.

On another, it said: “COVID-19 awareness, no trespassing.”

Barricades are raised with tin sheets and bamboo and nobody is allowed to step out of villages while outsiders are a strict taboo. The lockdown is strictly implemented by the local leadership in many villages and the inmates are strictly adhering to the norms and guidelines.

The relatively easy identification of the members in many villages, compared to cities, make it convenient for them to stop the virus spread through social contact.

Majority of the people in remote villages are living under very stringent conditions of poverty. Many villages of Senapati district have constructed an eco-friendly temporary home to quarantine those who return to the village from outside.

Such members are on self- quarantine in a hut for 14 days constructed in the paddy field in their own capacity. For instance, a resident of the New Magamei village said that following the directives of the government about quarantine, the villagers led by the village headman, constructed small cottages or huts outside the village to prevent the spread of coronavirus infection.

This eco-friendly quarantine hut is made of bamboo and hay has a capacity to accommodate 4-5 persons.

On the first day of the nation lockdown, people in the district while maintaining social distance and avoiding mass gatherings were seen completely shut indoors, the first step towards breaking the COVID-19 infection cycle.

Two Covid-19 cases have surfaced in Manipur but due to timely intervention and cooperation of the simple tribal folk no single case is reported till today in the Senapati district of Manipur.


* Bindu Thomas wrote this article for The Sangai Express
The Writer is Assistant Professor, Department of Chemistry, Don Bosco College, Maram, Manipur
This article was posted on May 04, 2020.


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