TODAY -

Nupi Lan is now history but the battle continues for the women folk
Looking at the reality in the land of Nupi Lan
Source: The Sangai Express / Josephine Chiphang/O inam Julie

Imphal, December 12 2013: Nupi Lan was fought way back on December 12, 1939 and the British colonial rulers left Manipur several decades back but tens of thousands of Manipuri women are still fighting an unending war against poverty, prejudice and male chauvinism.

It is not only poverty.

Many have been fighting twin or triple battles at the same time against poverty, human rights violation and the scourge of drug abuse.

The State today observed the Nupi Lan anniversary and paid fitting tributes to the mothers of yesteryears who fought valiantly against the atrocity of foreign rulers.

Indeed, Manipuri women won the historic battle against British rulers but women today see little hope of ever winning the battle, particularly the battle against the all pervasive misery of poverty.

Yet, they have been struggling against all odds like their progenitors.



Fighting for survival
Fighting for survival


Whereas the Government has been eulogising the historic event every year, it has not bothered to give a single thought to these underprivileged and struggling women.

Interacting with The Sangai Express at Khwairamband Keithel on the occasion of Nupi Lan anniversary, some of the women said that Nupi Lan anniversary falls today but they have no time to spare for Nupi Lan functions because for them, keeping the kitchen fire burning is more important than attending Nupi Lan functions.

"But this does not mean we don't want to sing paeans to the glorious deeds of our brave mothers", said one of them.

Octogenarian Moirangthem Tampha from Uripok has been vending local made ornaments for more than 30 years to support her family and help her widowed daughter-in-law.

"My youngest grandson came to me and demanded Rs 2000 for his next admission.

I am at my wits' end thinking how I can collect this amount", Tampha said.

Another octogenarian Lairikyengbam Apabi of Khurai Lairikyengbam Leikai remarked that Manipur occupies a prominent place in the world history on account of the valiant battle fought against British rulers by unarmed Manipuri women in 1939 .

Lalam (51) from Gwaltabi is another woman struggling for a daily livelihood at Khwairamband Keithel.

She would board a bus at Yaingangpokpi every morning at 2/3 am, come to Imphal and sell her merchandise till late evening.

As such, she returns home in the last bus.

With her husband being an alcoholic and staying away from all family responsibility who has now expired, Lalam was constrained to look after the needs of her children as well as her late husband.

"We are Manipuri women and today is the anniversary of the historic Nupi Lan but the significance of the day seems to have lost on many of us because we are always occupied in the battle against hunger", she said in a voice full of melancholy.

Thoubalmayum Raham lives in a rented house at Hapta Kangjeibung and is the sole bread winner for her five children.

She was a street vendor before she got a plot in the temporary market shed.

For her, everyday is a battle against hunger and poverty.

She said that the 'mothers' of Nupi Lan era are her idols.

Even though they have little time to attend Nupi Lan anniversary functions, the vegetable vendors sent a few representatives to offer floral tributes to the Nupi Lan brave hearts on behalf of all of them.

The State Government and a large of civil organisations have been observing Nupi Lan anniversary every year, but the economic condition of thousands of women and their families have been degenerating every year.

Observance of Nupi Lan anniversary would not be meaningful enough, until and unless the society extends a helping hand and the Government devises some sound policies for economic alleviation of the underprivileged women.

Like Tampha, Apabi, Lalam and Raham, hundreds of women have been toiling hard throughout the day and in the evening they must attend to the needs of their families.

With little hope of victory, these women have been fighting a life-long war.

Yet, they are optimistic that they can surely win the war if they are equipped a little bit by the Government in the forms of loans, aids, grants or some effective welfare policies.


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