TODAY -

Future Meira paibis (torch bearers)

Free Thinker *

 Meira Paibi Protest at Uripok demanding implementation of Inner Line Permit System on July 28 2014
Meira Paibi Protest at Uripok demanding implementation of Inner Line Permit System on July 28 2014 :: Pix - Shanker Khangembam



The whole world knows that the women folk of Manipur are extremely courageous and outspoken. We had already seen two women’s rebellions / wars in the last century, first in 1904 and another in 1939.

Again in the last three or four decades the women Meira Paibis (torch bearers) have been very active fighting social evils and politico-economic injustices. They always stand for the cause of the common people.

But only a few of our mothers and sisters are well educated and many are not so. Their role would be more powerful and effective if they become more enlightened and knowledgeable through higher education and better exposure.

There is no denying the fact that an adequately educated girl can bring about considerable change in the society. We have heard the story of Malala Yousafzai, the Nobel Laureate; she is now a force for change; her passion and commitment is to educate the girls everywhere. She has given the right message to the girls world over that, “let us pick up our books and pens; they are the most powerful weapons.”

A number of studies suggest that sufficiently educated girls provide positive effect on every sphere of life. Educated girls are most likely to enter the formal job market where earnings are higher than the informal or homebased occupations. Again educated women have greater control over family resources. They are more likely to spend money judiciously on food, education, healthcare and entertainment.

Education also empowers women to fend off domestic violence. Moreover, an educated woman has a higher social standing, more independence and greater prudence.

Today, in Manipur, women’s active participation in politics is lacking though they play an active role in all socio-economic and cultural activities. Educated women with proper understanding of their political, constitutional and legal rights may enter politics.

Thus they themselves can be made part of the political and policy decision – making process. When a journo asked one of our women leaders about the issues relating to ILPS Bill, the reply was amazing; she said, “whether bill or no bill, we will throw out all the outsiders from Sanaleibak”.

The same journo enquired her about the movement for ST. “Ibungo emadi siramdaisida jaat tabadi pamjade”, she said (son, I don’t want to climb down the social ladder when my end is near). Better education certainly ensures better understanding of issues. Once a girl is educated she is a being with senses, rationale, imagination and thoughts and she will be able to express her free will freely.

Proper education gives her the self –confidence to articulate and assert the power to negotiate and decide. Again education propagates awareness of opportunities, rights, duties and obligation. Educating a girl means empowering her with the knowledge, skill and self-confidence necessary to participate fully in the struggle for change and progress.

Only a well-educated person can comprehend the ground realities and also have a world view. When education is so important for us (for girls too) we are having perennial bandhs, curfews, forced-holidays/closures etc. Can we think of agitations, movements, rallies, strikes etc. without impacting studies in our schools, colleges and universities?

If we fail to impart good education to our children our future is bound to be bleak and gloomy. It is a well-known fact that our women folk (Meira Paibies) rise to undo any injustice in the society.

They move forward to challenge the authorities when they feel that people are harassed and exploited. They are always sympathetic to the cause of common people and their sufferings. They emerge as nisha- bandh-activists against alcoholism and drinking menace. They appear to stop the excess and atrocities of the men in uniform both khadi and khaki.

So, in order to make our Meira Paibies more commanding, effective and more sophisticated we need to impart good education to our girls today. The girls of today are the Meira Paibies (torch bearers) of tomorrow. If they are adequately educated no one can mislead them or misdirect them or misuse them.

A few years back our Meira Paibis met the then Prime Minister Shri Manmohan Singh. When the meeting was over one of the Emas (mothers) pressed Manmohan’s turban (headgear) and blessed him saying that “ibungo  nungsida, punshi nungsangna pallu ko”(son, we love you,  live long).

Touching the turban of a Sardar by a stranger is taboo. Shri Manmohan Singh simply smiled; he is an erudite and he could make out that the act was innocuous and blessing.


* Free Thinker wrote this article for The Sangai Express
This article was posted on October 3, 2016.


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