TODAY -

Oh, Manipur! Can you see this photo?

Ningombam Bupenda Meitei *

The abok in the world of Manipuri society
The abok in the world of Manipuri society :: Photo courtesy: Manoranjan Hajarimayum



Manipur is a state where the present Chief Secretary's mother is considered to be a humble woman who raised her children by fishing and selling fishes. It is a world in itself where any old aged woman - who is, or almost, of the age of one's grandmother is honourably addressed as "abok" ("abok", in Manipuri, means "grandmother"). "abok" is even used to begin any conversation even with a grandmotherly woman who humbly sells her home-grown vegetables, not in a market but mostly sitting besides the footpath,that joins a road. The space of honour for abok in Manipuri society is measureless, but today the same Manipuri society needs to introspectively inquire whether the same honour is still being bestowed on abok in today's world of Manipuris. "abok", which may semantically mean "grandmother" in English, has larger connotation with a sense of the guardian of "cultures, values, ethics, morality, principles and civilization" of Manipuri world. To meet and talk with abok, in Manipuri world, is almost akin to meeting and talking with Socrates, in Greek world. abok is, indeed, the living treasure of Manipuri civilization.

What has happened to Manipur? Is it Manipur or Bandhpur (the land of Bandhs)? Is Manipur a laboratory of national highway blockades? Is Manipur a chemistry laboratory of testing the spirit and energy of different sections in competitively calling bandh or blocking of roads connecting districts or towns? There is even a joke of calling a bandh to demand that all the bachelors of Manipur, till they get their suitable brides, shall sit on a dharna and call for the bandh to meet their demands positively. To add more to this joke, the state's Chief Minister the elected Leader of the people of Manipur, under the Indian Constitution stated, publicly, "Bandhs happen every time (in Manipur) and it is not new."

The people of Manipur are also so used to Bandhs and Blockades that they also find hardly of any use even in discussing about Bandhs or Blockades, and this "hardly of any use" attitude is humbly and, perhaps - helplessly also, presented publicly by none other than the Chief Minister himself.

The fundamental question is asking the people of Manipur who are "not" used to Bandhs and Blockades, not because they cannot become used to them, but because they cannot afford to become used to them as that would put an end to their physical, biological and socio-economic existence on this planet. Who are these people of Manipur who are "not" used to Bandhs and Blockades?

Those who are not used to Bandhs and Blockades in Manipur may be a few, or none, or many, or all in the entire state of Manipur. But, there are two persons in which one is sure that that one could afford to become used to Bandhs and Blockades, while the other person cannot afford to do so at all. The one who could afford is the Chief Minister, notwithstanding who the Chief Minister is, at present. Then, who is the other one who cannot afford to do so like the Chief Minister?

This writing of mine is dedicated to that person who is sure of both the inability and impossibility to afford to become used to Bandhs and Blockades in Manipur, and that person is none other than "the abok" who is seen in the photo presented, here. I don't know her, I don't know her name, I know nothing of her. I know one truth, and that truth is: she is "the abok" of Manipur. To me, she is not merely abok, she is the Socrates; through her, I could sense and feel the civilization of Manipur. But, when I see my Socrates the abok - decaying but not ready to decay, dying but not accepting to die, I would like to know why she cannot look up, if she is at all alive on her own motherland.

The abok makes her every attempt to sell a handful of vegetables grown, probably with her grandchildren and daughter-in-law, at her house and carries them on her shoulder to be sold in a capital city called Imphal which could almost become the birthplace of the 21st century's Bandhs in the world. Her hands' thinner, paler and aging skin becoming a support of her grey-haired head's wrinkled temple, she chooses not to sit either on a government's footpath or on a road constructed by the state, but on a land which is usually a place to throw garbage from the nearby shops. Taking out her old feet that have travelled through the dusts of Manipur's roads - from a pair of sandals, she has deeply thought and decisively determined to sit there and there itself. She, likes Socrates defying the Greek law, openly challenges the existing Manipuri society, which is being slowly poisoned by the madness of competing in calling Bandhs and Blockades, by not looking up to see herself. Deliberately, she chooses not to look up; she chooses to worry about her dying family but swallows the death by her courage to live not only for her but also for her family; she chooses not to look up, not because she cannot look up to see, but she does not desire to see the decaying Manipuri society, at present. She cries not because nobody has bought her vegetables, but only because she has every right to mourn the beginning of the demise of Manipuri society. She mourns because she can mourn; she can mourn because she knows; she knows because she is the abok, she is the Socrates of Manipur. If she does not mourn when today's Manipuri society is poisoned by Bandhs and Blockades, then who on the earth would ever mourn for the world of Manipuri from getting extinct by almost continuously engaging Bandhs and Blockades, as if "those bandhs and blockades" are almost made to become synonymous with "oxygen of Manipur"?

The abok is also not looking up, not because she cannot look up; but because she does not want to look up to pragmatically realise the real existence of the Elected Leader of Manipur who says, "Bandhs happen every time and it is not new." It could be, indeed, true that the poisoning of Manipuri society is taking place in a rapid swiftness every time, through bandhs and blockades, and such poisoning of the society is nothing new, and therefore, since they happen every time, the continuation of such poisoning will only further in the world of Manipuris. What would happen after some point of time from the effect of such continual poisoning? Will not it bring an end to Manipuri civilization? Will not it justify the dawn of the demise of Manipuri world? Will not it uproot the Manipuri society from furthering its generations for the next 22nd century? Will there be any future for Manipuri? Could Manipur exist without the world of Manipuri?

To some, the abok comes to sell some vegetables for the livelihood of hers and her family. To that "some", she, instead of encountering the world of trade, needs to be cared and looked after at this age of hers. But, I do not have "that sympathy" of her being economically poor, financially not so sound, and hence, she has to come out to the world. Why do not I have "that sympathy"?

I also began writing this piece of mine, by being sympathetic about the abok but later got evolved into a maturity to understand why she comes out in the world. To those who think that she comes out in the world of markets, she is not. She comes out in the world, in the world of both ideas and actions where Manipuri society witnesses its own vibrant civilization and culture, in the world where the old people are not kept as "old people" but honoured as the liberated guardian of the society. I started this piece by feeling that the abok's physical, biological and socio-economic existence on this planet would come to an end as she cannot afford to become used to that poison in today's Manipuri society, but I have failed myself in that feeling as an understanding has captured my mind. And, that understanding is the necessity for Manipuri society to wake up to put an end to getting used to that poison in the society. Since the abok cannot afford to witness the dusk of Manipuri civilization, therefore she cannot afford to become used to that poison.

I, too being an ordinary soul, could not stop my tears flowing while seeing this deeply moving photo, but while writing this piece of mine, not those rolling tears have merely rolled down but flowing tears have cleansed my eyes. And, only with those deeply cleansed eyes, I could see why this abok needs no sympathy from Manipuri society but Manipuri society, instead, must cleanse its eyes to understand why she does not look up, why she hides her face. To those who have not let their tears naturally flow when they see this emotionally touching photo, and who have not cleansed their eyes with those tears to clearly see and understand the wisdom in the abok the Socrates of Manipur to introspect the existing Manipuri society, it is undoubtedly clear and rightfully admissible that you either have not visited Manipur or are not a Manipuri, or are not a humanist.

Oh, Manipur! Do not see the photo as you see. Can you really see yourself in the same photo as you see the photo in front of you, at present?


* Ningombam Bupenda Meitei wrote this article for e-pao.net
This article was posted on August 29 , 2016.


* Comments posted by users in this discussion thread and other parts of this site are opinions of the individuals posting them (whose user ID is displayed alongside) and not the views of e-pao.net. We strongly recommend that users exercise responsibility, sensitivity and caution over language while writing your opinions which will be seen and read by other users. Please read a complete Guideline on using comments on this website.




LATEST IN E-PAO.NET
  • On the Naga Framework Agreement
  • GIS day at NIT Manipur
  • Pangal Leader Mohammed Hanif Shah
  • NPF questions Speaker convening meet
  • Painting Exhibition by Babli Das (Tripura)
  • Indo-Naga Talks 2017 :: News Timeline
  • Looking out for possible measures
  • Manipur Sangai Festival 2016 #7 : Ooba
  • Cultural Program @ MCA :: Gallery
  • Parihal, Nimshimphy, Neilianthang: eMing
  • Ningol ChakKouba @MBC #3 :: Gallery
  • Oh dear Daddy, see I a Native Proud: Poem
  • Buddha's metta and karuna #3
  • Narendra Modi will never play Nehru
  • Photo Caption Contest by Whakal.com
  • General Call to All Former NPF Leaders
  • Penguin Readathon & Book Gifting
  • ENNG opposes inclusion of TCL..
  • Report alarm for Arunachal
  • Loktak witness drastic fall in migratory birds
  • Lecture on 'Rohingya Resettlement'
  • 'Weaves of Ching-tam' @London :: Gallery
  • Opening: Jadonang Football #1 :: Gallery
  • Robert's Weaves of valley & hills at London
  • Remembering boy..felled by fake encounter
  • Reorganisation of North Eastern Council #1
  • Sangai Photo Awards 2017 : Contest
  • The Killing Fields (2013-17) :: Timeline
  • Meeyam meekup nahum singna leibiyu
  • HighWays : Govt. needs seriousness
  • Singcha Wuya Won @Kamjong #4 :: Gallery
  • SDG Consultation: NE :: Gallery
  • North East Fashion Week #1 :: Gallery
  • Distribution Patterns of the Asian Eye
  • Sustainable Development Goal Consultation
  • Wrangle in Mapithel dam: Legal perspective
  • In the Slums of Heaven :: Poem
  • Wreath Laying Ceremony for AR Martyrs
  • Time to take a bow, Robert
  • Create jobs for NE to stop trafficking
  • March: Mera Houchongba #4:: Gallery
  • Sin-Lang Fest @DM College #2 :: Gallery
  • Sangai Festival: Ideas for a change
  • A shadowy dreamer :: Poem
  • Winter - A blessing in disguise for us ...
  • Course in Nanotechnology at NEHU
  • Pamel : Serene Natural Hub, near Lamlai
  • Vacancy at YVU Financial Services, Thoubal
  • System Operators @PR Enterprise, Khurai
  • Just by showing concern will not change..
  • Food Stall @Phayeng #2 :: Gallery
  • Miss Kut #3 :: Gallery
  • The moment :: Poem
  • Board exams decoded
  • 3rd NE Fashion at Itanagar: Day 2
  • Conference : North East in Globalized Era
  • NE-IAS launched to support Startup India
  • Painting Competition on Conservation
  • Ramkung Pamei is new MHJU Chief
  • Charuangc 2017: Rongmeis in Delhi & NCR
  • Priyogopal (Senior Artist)- Photo :: eRang
  • Kabui Dance @Jadonang Football:: Gallery
  • Fashion @NE Festival, Delhi :: Gallery
  • Deviance and Corruption in Kangleipak
  • Applied health research is vital to #endTB
  • 3rd NE Fashion at Itanagar: Day 1
  • Tri-nation Motorcycle Rally reach Imphal
  • Traffic woes continues
  • Kwatha festival #1 :: Gallery
  • Kokkhum Festival #1 :: Gallery
  • Special Rapporteur on Human Rights
  • The threat to balkanize Manipur
  • Cry of a Dying River - 6 :: Poem
  • Biological based integrated Congress grass
  • 3rd Audition of Fagi Unplugged
  • Sadar Hills District Demand: News Timeline
  • Of clean environment
  • Paonam Lily (Archery) Reception :: Gallery
  • North East Fest @ Delhi :: Gallery
  • Girls Football- Nov 4 #2 :: Gallery
  • IBSD, India & VITO, Belgium signed MOU
  • First angioplasty for in-stent restenosis
  • RIST Popular Talk-33: Quantum Hall states
  • Commonwealth alumni event of NE
  • Lecture on The Rohingya Conundrum
  • Tri-National Motorcycle Rally
  • 3rd North East Fashion Week at Itanagar
  • ILP Nov 30 deadline: Why not only for valley
  • Expected changes, do we see ?
  • Festival of Raas Leela #2 :: Gallery
  • Sin-Lang Fest @DM College #1 :: Gallery
  • Hari Uthan- Kang Chingba #2 :: Gallery
  • Code of silence: Concealing gender justice
  • God Rules Over All :: Poem
  • Five day 'Flower Show' at Ukhrul
  • Go birding to honour Bird Man of India
  • Inner Line Permit (ILP) Demand :: Timeline
  • Uphul Waiphul and Leikhom Leinang
  • A reminder to Central Govt.
  • Assam, Manipur bid to better ties
  • Ningol Chak-Kouba @Pune :: Gallery
  • Miss Kut #2 :: Gallery
  • Meitei Pictographic Writings :: Book Review
  • Careers related to mental health
  • Beauty & Money for a purpose
  • Human rights infractions in Mapithel Dam
  • AMAND Ningol Chakouba at Pune : Report
  • Chef Required at Kakching
  • NHPC Raising day at Loktak Power Station
  • Mary Kom enter Asian Ch'ships final
  • Of ST demand, ILP, peace talk
  • For elderly people
  • Prof. Nongmaithem Tombi Singh : A Profile
  • Hazari/ Tombi Polo Tournament #2:: Gallery
  • U-17 Footballer honored by Guv :: Gallery
  • Just in favour of nocturnal life
  • Dance of Fire Flies at Autumn :: Poem
  • North East Festival bids farewell
  • Protest over Naga pact
  • Agenda of Govt spelt out at DBC, Maram
  • Nurturing the future
  • Ningol Chak-Kouba @Delhi #2:: Gallery
  • NE Fashion Weekend @Delhi #1 :: Gallery
  • History will not forgive us
  • A girl :: Poem
  • Pre-merger political party struggle
  • JRF wanted at NIT Silchar
  • Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party
  • Welcome to Southern Nagalim greeting
  • March: Mera Houchongba #3:: Gallery
  • Girls Football- Nov 4 #1:: Gallery
  • Taxi- raising Air Pollution in Ukhrul
  • Back to basics to #endTB: Do it right
  • Man with Flower's Life :: Poem
  • Skill development training with MUDA
  • Quiz Competition at NE Festival
  • Free cataract operation at Loktak
  • Traffic control- still a flop show
  • Pui Thangamliu -Photos #1 :: eRang
  • NH7 Weekender [28 October] :: Gallery
  • Surjalal: Fellow of American Physical Society
  • Ithai Barrage for Irrigation: Beautiful Promise
  • NE Festival 2017 starts off
  • The Sun & the Cloud :: Poem
  • Land encroachment at Lamka College
  • Salesian College Grabs UK Project
  • Nagaland CM met Rajnath reg. Naga issue
  • Ranked 5th in women safety: stereotyping?
  • Prime focus
  • Miss Kut #1 :: Gallery
  • Hari Uthan- Kang Chingba #1 :: Gallery
  • Kangujam Chinglensana (Hockey) feted
  • reach the tipping point for childhood TB?
  • A round of applause for N Biren, CM..
  • Link Research with Education for NE
  • Culture is beyond Religion: Najma Heptulla
  • Vacancies @ Chirag Estate, Gurgaon
  • Defection of some party workers : NPCC
  • ST for Meiteis: Final say rests with Delhi
  • Understanding responsibility
  • Chavang Kut @Tengnoupal :: Gallery
  • Sub-Junior Girls Football #2:: Gallery
  • A crusade for a greener Manipur
  • Tourist Guide as career option #2
  • 'Govt working for inclusive development'
  • Namsai gets Buddha relic from Thailand
  • 5th NE Festival at Delhi: Program Schedule
  • 20th Asian Charter for Human Rights: Video
  • National Unity Day at Ukhrul
  • NPF MLA present at all parties meet
  • Of three Ws and Politics
  • Ningol Chak-Kouba @Delhi #1:: Gallery
  • Happy Kut Wishes :: e-pao Flash
  • Let's be racist
  • 3rd Ningol Chakouba, Delhi : A Report
  • Dr. Rahejuddin Sheikh : Best Director Award
  • I Am In You To Feel Myself :: Poem
  • Conference: North East in Globalized Era
  • Seeking contributions : Library Centre
  • RGU Celebrated National Unity Day
  • Run for Unity organized by AR
  • Of traffic chaos and mad rush
  • What if Pan Naga Hoho is final settlement
  • Chothe: Shabu Hong Rein :: Gallery
  • Eyek Tamba :: Learn Manipuri script
  • IT Employment Devlp Course :: Gallery
  • NH7 Weekender [27 October] :: Gallery
  • Red Light Area in Manipur ?
  • IT Enabled Employment Skill Development
  • Football in India needs encouragement
  • Indo-Naga Peace Process :: Articles
  • Meeting on Hornbill Festival 2017
  • Territorial integrity : No to separate admin
  • A confusing solution, if happens
  • Hazari/ Tombi Polo Tournament #1:: Gallery
  • Candle light for Belinda Morse :: Gallery
  • Hills are Better
  • Wedding :: Poem
  • Candle lighting in memory of Belinda Morse
  • NH7 Weekender: 2nd Day Report : 28 Oct
  • RGU launched Clean and Green Campus
  • Territorial integrity: All party meet sans NPF
  • Exhibition of Pottery Crafts #2 :: Gallery
  • Phayeng Cultural programme :: Gallery
  • Khongjom War Memorial #3 :: 360 ° View
  • Ichangi Laidhi #1 :: eRang
  • Ningol Chakkouba by Paomee:: Gallery
  • Ningol Chakkouba @Kolkata :: Gallery
  • Tourism Day @ Phayeng #1 :: Gallery
  • Ningol Chakkouba @Sikkim :: Gallery
  • Ningol to her mapam lamdam :: Gallery
  • Manipuri Calendar for 2018 : Download it
  • Mera Men Tongba :: Gallery
  • FIFA U-17 Profile :: Kh Ninthoinganba
  • FIFA U-17 Profile :: Thounaojam Jeakson
  • FIFA U-17 Profile :: Nongdamba Naorem
  • FIFA U-17 Profile :: Dheeraj Moirangthem
  • FIFA U-17 Profile :: Amarjit Kiyam (Captain)
  • FIFA U-17 Profile :: Thangjam Boris
  • FIFA U-17 Profile :: Wangjam Suresh
  • FIFA U-17 Profile :: Md Shahjahan
  • Featured Photo for 2017 #4 :: Gallery
  • Old Manipuri Movie #1 :: eRang Classic
  • Landscape of Manipur #7: Wallpaper
  • SPONSORED ADS