TODAY -

E-Pao! Opinion - Beyond the Guun Valley

Beyond the Guun Valley

By: Haumuanlun Samte *



Somewhere deep in a Myanmar prison camp, a heart cries out for home in utter desperation: “Have they left me to rot in this place?”

Somewhere in a distant land, a daddy lays in the lonely silence with his only company – the memories of his children, family, and home and of his buddies who would, perhaps, never return back again.

And back home, sorrow-filled eyes gaze at a photo on the wall, draped in a traditional robe – a dad, and a husband – whose hope of return dwindles with each passing day.

It has been over four months now that some 21 helpless daily wage earners from Muallum and the surrounding areas within Singngat sub-division in Churachandpur, Manipur were captured by the Myanmar Government for illegally intruding the international boundary. So far no positive developments have come to the surface.

MP Mani Charenamei raised the issue in Parliament and pleaded with the External Affairs and Home Ministry for their immediate and safe release. They were arrested on May 6, 2006 along the Indo-Myanmar border near Aisih village in Tonzang area of Chin State.

It’s true that either side of the border is inhabited by the same ethnic Zo people. They use to cross over the border in search of their livelihood without any disturbances from any quarter as they use to return to their respective homes on daily basis. An international boundary may demarcate them, but deep within their hearts, they are one people.

While the anticipation for a concrete outcome is still running high, a rather disturbing news has emerged. Our worst fear begins to transform into reality.

Reports recently came in that 19 out of the 21-odd persons were sentenced by the Tonzang Township Court to 12 years imprisonment for their alleged timbering activities.

One person was sentenced to 15 years rigorous imprisonment for poaching and Pauminthang, a six-year-old kid, was being freed on humanitarian grounds. The 20 convicted are being incarcerated in the Inndainggyi prison-cum-labour camp in Sagaing Division, Myanmar.

No wonders that the largest democratic Government in the world turns a blind eye to the plight of its citizens all through these months. We are ‘here’, the Government is ‘there’, and the fact that 20 north-easterners get over 10 years jail term out there in Myanmar has nothing to do with the national security.

A similar incident took place last year. This is not the first of its kind and may not be the last either. So, rather than a fire-fighting approach, it is desirable to take a longer perspective. Economically. And ecologically.

Due to relentless jhuming and deforestation for timber trade, our hills are increasingly getting bald-headed. This naturally leads to soil erosion, decreasing fertility, climatic change and landslides.

We clear our forests to provide food for our increasing population. The timber trade exists because of the demand for domestic fuel and brick industry in urban centres like Lamka and Imphal. Without adequate power supply, there is a handsome market for timber and charcoal.

This business has been going for almost a decade within Manipur. Villages in the ‘Zodawn’ area had survived on this trade for a whole generation. Due to the depletion of forest on the Indian side, we are beginning to invade the other side of the border. This eventually leads to embarrassing situations.

While it is crucial to bail out the helpless victims of poverty, it is important to highlight the need to change our attitudes towards our environment. Similar problems confront tribal communities in Mizoram, Madhya Pra- desh and Western China. But many of them successfully overcame these challenges.

With a little help from the Government and training in innovative methods of farming, many tribal communities managed to move out of poverty. Distress migration into relatively better off places across the Tuivai river in Mizoram or into urban areas may be a way of coping with the economic problem.

But this cannot be prescribed as a solution for all. Rural areas or the countryside needs new designing for this. In order to have a viable economy, some kind of grouping may be helpful. But I know the practice of jhuming cannot support big villages.

That is suitable only for scattered families over large tracts of thick forest. But jhuming cannot give any income or even food [generally understood as “rice” among us] for one year.

In another sense, jhuming devastates our environment and drives people into both ecological and economic poverty. This is a deadly trap.

What is important is to shift from jhuming to alternative and more productive methods of farming. Meanwhile, people need something to eat during the transition period.

Moreover, indigenous and outside investors cannot be attracted in rural farming unless the state provides basic infrastructure like roads and health care to our villages. There are entrepreneurs interested in investing in farming and related activities like fishery and animal husbandry.

But they were pestered by some unwanted social elements, who demand taxes and even forced them to move the hell out of our land.

Till the reforms in 1991, our country had been indoctrinated in the doctrines of Nehruvian Socialism. That was totally anti-entrepreneurial.

It was against enterprise-culture. The contempt for entrepreneurs is deep-seated within our society – especially within the church. This resulted in a dependency culture where everyone aspires for Government jobs, sanctions or all kinds of sarkari privileges.

To some extent, we are chained to poverty by our social attitudes and outdated education. While our training in English is the most marketable skills we could get, the outdated content of our education crushes and paralyses most people. It made them utterly useless – or rather harmful – for the society.

The solution for the villagers and townspeople remains the same. We urgently need to develop our infrastructures. Any politicians who can do deserve public support. Election agendas should be dominated by our real economic problems.

And not by some imagined elements, foreign threats or the like. The threat of political corruption is the greatest threat for our helpless villagers along Tedim Road and Guite Road. This threat will surely lead to more economic and ecological poverty, physical and spiritual deprivation, malnutrition and slow death itself.

Meanwhile, far away in the valley of despair, beyond the Guun river, the quavering cries of the 20 helpless victims refuse to die down - all the while being heard by deaf ears, and seen by blind eyes.

(Note: Guun river is the other name for the Imphal river. It enters River Chindwin from Manipur and flows into the Irra-waddy in Myanmar.)


Haumuanlun Samte wrote this article for The Sangai Express
This article was webcasted on October 20th, 2006.


* 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
  • Arts Exhibition @ MU #2: Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 05 Mar : Govt of Manipur
  • Women's Film Festival 2021 at MSFDS
  • Totem of natives of North East India #2
  • As I see the world in one page :: Poem
  • AMWJU Meeting Resolutions : 05 March 2021
  • Breaking down silos to look beyond exams
  • Mova Cave @ Hunpung, Ukhrul #1: Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 04 Mar : Govt of Manipur
  • PROMYS, a summer program in mathematics
  • Meeting of AMWJU : 05 March 2021
  • Dissecting Bird flu
  • Will Bengal vote for a poroborthon ?
  • Job @ Cobigent Technologies
  • Film : Is it a medium or an art form? #2
  • COVID-19 Status 03 Mar : Govt of Manipur
  • Emergency Meeting of AMWJU : 04 March
  • Golden Jubilee of Manipuri Cinema
  • Impact of Climate Change in Agriculture
  • Paradigm shift in role of public sector
  • COVID-19 : Impact in Manipur :: News Timeline
  • The God Lainingthou Thangching Koylellai
  • COVID-19 Status 02 Mar : Govt of Manipur
  • When all goes wrong
  • Are we failing children in the HIV response?
  • Counter-cyclical fiscal policy
  • Where will ST demand stand in next election?
  • Ningtham Kummei: Dance Drama #1: Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 01 Mar : Govt of Manipur
  • Wungreikhan, Chao Shang Un: eMing
  • Empowered teachers for local efficiency
  • First step towards regulation of social media
  • Of resignation dramas & disqualifications
  • Today's Manipur as reflected in media
  • Bongbal Kholen, Kpi District #1: Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 28 Feb : Govt of Manipur
  • Totem of natives of North East India #1
  • 5 days with Bhaktisvarupa Damodara Swami
  • National Science Day 2021 at Lilong
  • Themes & objectives in National Science Day
  • More teeth to war against drugs
  • Mayang Imphal Keithel #2: Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 27 Feb : Govt of Manipur
  • Manipur COVID Vaccination Report : 26 Feb
  • March Calendar for Year 2021 : Tools
  • Road from Imphal to Yangkhullen #2: Gallery
  • Best Panel Lawyer, Best DLSA in Manipur
  • Sustainable Agriculture: Key to Food Security
  • Film : Is it a medium or an art form? #1
  • COVID-19 Status 26 Feb : Govt of Manipur
  • Buyer Seller Meet @ Hotel Imphal: Gallery
  • Job @ Makok Technologies, Keinou
  • Should Meetei belong to Minority or ST #2
  • Colour your hair, limit the damage
  • Medical camp at Lamlaba Village, Tamenglong
  • Japan Lan: Life In Kangla Sangomshang
  • COVID-19 Status 25 Feb : Govt of Manipur
  • AMWJU Meeting : Resolutions [Feb 25]
  • Positions @ KIIT-Tech Business Incubator
  • 'Seeding Gampreneurs' transforming villages
  • Orchidarium at IBSD Shillong is reopened
  • Cracking down on 'errant' teachers
  • Chadong Village/Chadong Lake #1: Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 24 Feb : Govt of Manipur
  • Folktales of Mao Maram & Poumai : Gallery
  • Guwahati Session : World Meetei Convention
  • HIV science has advanced but ...
  • I will rise :: Poem
  • Not the time to let the guards down
  • Journalism is not everybody's cup of tea
  • Foot bridges in Imphal #2 : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 23 Feb : Govt of Manipur
  • AIFF recognised Andro Girls Team : Gallery
  • Relief @ Songlung, Kangpokpi : Gallery
  • Lecture on medicinal plants at IBSD
  • Jobs @ Neopath Technologies, Imphal
  • Students on the protest path
  • Ignoring the core issues
  • My memories of Imphal from 1941 #18
  • COVID-19 Status 22 Feb : Govt of Manipur
  • Implementation: Climate Change : Gallery
  • KAPU Meet: Tribute to Late Benny Khongsai
  • Career options in beauty industry
  • Meet on capacity building on energy efficiency
  • Need to establish cause of death
  • Don't break the bone
  • Shirui Lily Festival 2019 #2 : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 21 Feb : Govt of Manipur
  • Nakamh-Riangsuanneic - Folklore Film Fest
  • Should Meetei belong to Minority or ST #1
  • Aspergilloma of lung
  • From wetlands to dry lands
  • Ipudhou Pakhangba Puruksoubi #2 : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 20 Feb : Govt of Manipur
  • Sit-in-protest against bomb threat : Gallery
  • Young Generation and Modernization
  • The Mansion :: Poem
  • Netaji's DNA & INA Moirang
  • Demonstration demanding to cut Price Hike
  • 'Condemn hurling grenade at Governor'
  • Fulfilling the long cherish dream
  • Churachandpur Profile
  • Eyek Tamba :: Learn the Manipuri script
  • COVID-19 Status 19 Feb : Govt of Manipur
  • Paoyi villagers with CM : Gallery
  • Predicament of Journalists & Media Houses
  • A day of stardom for Thoiba Singh at Seoul
  • Lay off hands on the media
  • Smiles of the Emas
  • Cherry Blossom at Mao #2 : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 18 Feb : Govt of Manipur
  • Basak: A dying art form
  • World War II, INA & Manipuri Literature #2
  • Meeting of AMWJU : Resolutions [Feb 18]
  • CM & Governor urged to cut down price hike
  • Union Minister for Social Justice meet CM
  • Seram Neken joins Congress party
  • Snowfall at Shirui, Ukhrul #2 : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 17 Feb : Govt of Manipur
  • Meitei-Pong Relations & Conquest of Khampat
  • Dying of Yongchak: declare National Disaster
  • Protection of tribal land in Manipur #2
  • Is policing pandemics different... ?
  • Home remedies for winter hair problems
  • Facets of human trafficking in Manipur
  • COVID-19 Status 16 Feb : Govt of Manipur
  • Road from Imphal to Yangkhullen #1: Gallery
  • Understand prerequisits for ST tag
  • When all goes wrong
  • Centre Head @ JCRE School of Hospitality
  • Khamba Thoibi Jagoi #2 : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 15 Feb : Govt of Manipur
  • Re-Opening of Ima Keithel : Gallery
  • Emergency Meeting AMWJU: Resolutions
  • ICERME-2021: Intl Conference on SDG-7
  • Law in Motion : Basics of Law
  • Discussion on Koubru Chinggoirol #2
  • COVID-19 Status 14 Feb : Govt of Manipur
  • COVID-19 Status 13 Feb : Govt of Manipur
  • Lui-Ngai-Ni - Naga Seed Sowing Festival
  • Wung-Hao of Tangkhul & Chinese Counterpart
  • World War II, INA & Manipuri Literature #1
  • 3rd Jump Rope Championship : Result
  • My memories of Imphal from 1941 #17
  • Book: Manipur-Myanmar connections: Gallery
  • Mushroom training at Tentha Heibung
  • Workshop on GeoGebra at IISER Bhopal
  • Indian Women & Maths annual conference
  • Walking through final lap of my life :: Poem
  • Can BJP strategy win in Tamil Nadu ?
  • Granting minority status to Meitei
  • Snowfall at Shirui, Ukhrul #1 : Gallery
  • Shanti Thokchom's Life Experiences #44
  • Inspection at Kangla & Cheiraoching : Gallery
  • Protection of tribal land in Manipur #1
  • Oxford and Aatmanirbharta
  • Education in Mother Tongue will strengthen
  • Impressive shows from young MLAs
  • If it is for the people...
  • Ipudhou Pakhangba Puruksoubi #1 : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 11 Feb : Govt of Manipur
  • Relief at Yangkhullen, Senapati: Gallery
  • Restored Wetland : Yaralpat
  • Appeal: WG to monitor crime against women
  • Distress Relief at Yangkhullen, Senapati
  • Sensitization on constitutional obligation
  • ST demand for the Meiteis
  • Democratisation of Education
  • Licypriya in 'Forbes 30 Under 30' List 2021
  • COVID-19 Status 10 Feb : Govt of Manipur
  • Sushila, Indubala selected for Asian Judo
  • RIST Talk 48 : Microplastic is everywhere
  • Productivity revolution of farmers in Manipur
  • NEC Secretary meeting with CM Manipur
  • Valentine's Day beauty tips
  • College teachers on strike!
  • Are you fooling people of Manipur Mr FM
  • RK Jhalajit's contribution in historiography
  • COVID-19 Status 09 Feb : Govt of Manipur
  • Keibul Lamjao: today in deplorable state
  • Nadda's hailing 'War On Drugs' Campaign
  • Sachi Gurumayum called on CM
  • She really can be trusted for fiscal prudence
  • Child Marriage: Stigma for a civilized society
  • Fate of hostellers
  • Ema Gi Wari by Imphal Talkies : Review
  • COVID-19 Status 08 Feb : Govt of Manipur
  • Projects Inauguration - Tamenglong: Gallery
  • Budget: Perspective on Gender Budget
  • NPF meeting with NSCN (K-Niki)
  • Mushroom training program at Nagamapal
  • Solace me, chap ! :: Poem
  • Active cases below 3 figure mark
  • Mother Nature is still unhappy
  • Discussion on Koubru Chinggoirol #1
  • COVID-19 Status 07 Feb : Govt of Manipur
  • Packaged Organic Product launch : Gallery
  • Naga American announces Scholarship
  • Prize distribution for 9th MANIFA held
  • Range of options to prevent HIV is key
  • Paoyi village setting an example
  • Churachand Maharajgi Imung : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 06 Feb : Govt of Manipur
  • Churachand Maharajgi Imung published
  • Grab the given opportunities
  • A poet :: Poem
  • Supports farmers' movement call
  • Gaan-Ngai @ Iboyaima Shanglen #3 : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 05 Feb : Govt of Manipur
  • Financing burden of lifestyle diseases in NE
  • A budget that lays foundation for growth
  • Sports & Physical Fitness as career choice
  • Volunteers' Meet at Irong Bazar
  • Limping towards the New Normal
  • Is India prepared for Chinese aggression?
  • Re-openning of schools #2 : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 04 Feb : Govt of Manipur
  • Is Compulsive Shopping a Mental Disorder ?
  • Ex-Tempore Competition at Lilong
  • My hundred deaths :: Poem
  • Fragile - Handle with care !
  • Stand off over taxi, auto fares
  • Restructuring the society without disparities
  • My memories of Imphal from 1941 #16
  • The ring has finally arrived!
  • Study of growing traffic congestion in Imphal
  • World Wetlands Day 2021
  • Bringing Equality for Women in Armed Forces
  • Ima Keithels: Closed since March 21
  • Imoinu Erat Thouni @ Imphal #2 : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 02 Feb : Govt of Manipur
  • Understanding panic disorder
  • Life, It is ! :: Poem
  • A pinch of blessing with a tonne of a curse
  • COVID-19 combine to clobber MSME sector
  • Single digit spike of just 4 in last 24 hrs
  • Impact in India after coup in Myanmar
  • Remembering Kuki singer Benny Khongsai
  • Was Netaji really in Manipur ?
  • Environmental impacts of COVID-19 pandemic
  • Memo to CM concerning transportation
  • Fertilization in cultivation of broccoli
  • Need to stop meddling with nature
  • Learning to live with changing time
  • Gaan-Ngai @ Iboyaima Shanglen #2 : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 31 Jan : Govt of Manipur
  • Helicopter Service in Manipur
  • Pray for 2021 to be peaceful
  • Dwell in me - Oh ! human :: Poem
  • Adverse impact of rampant use of plastic
  • Studying prospects ahead of 2022
  • Re-openning of schools #1 : Gallery
  • Edu'treat 2021 in Ukhrul concluded
  • Exhibition @ Fine Arts, MU #1 : Gallery
  • Gaan-Ngai @ Iboyaima Shanglen #1 : Gallery
  • Imoinu Erat Thouni @ Imphal #1 : Gallery
  • Food items @ Waithou Keithel #2 : Gallery
  • Narcotic Drugs disposal @Lamlai #2 : Gallery
  • Prison Diary of Lamyanba NK Sanajaoba
  • Nine Hills, One Valley : Special Film award
  • Naga Peace Process :: News Timeline
  • COVID-19 vaccination [Jan 16] #2 : Gallery
  • COVID-19 vaccination [Jan 16] #1 : Gallery
  • Day light Thabal Chongba #3 : Gallery
  • Downloadable Manipuri Calendar :: 2021
  • Featured Front Page Photo 2020 #6: Gallery
  • Sory Wahengbam - Actress Gallery :: eRang
  • 'Zehara' - Manipuri Movie :: eRang Classic
  • SPONSORED ADS