The problems of insurgency in Keisham Priyokumar's short stories
- Part 2 -

Thingnam Joyshree Devi *

 Keisham Pryokumar
Keisham Pryokumar :: Pix - Hueiyen Lanpao

5. Fake revolutionary armies

The short stories 'Ngaiba' and 'Bomb' in 'Lan Amasung Mang' [2000] depicted the unfortunate condition of the poor, powerless unemployed and disoriented youths turning into fake revolutionary armies. Ngaiba sets its background on two fake insurgents who, on a stormy night wait for the money they have demanded from quite a rich man.

So, in their act of waiting, the desperate lives of their past and of their unsettled future yet to come could be seen. They know well that what they are doing is not right, but they want to have the last attempt thinking that they could make the last attempt thinking that they could make the better of their lives with the whole lot of money they are going to get.

While showing hesitation over their act, they can see a vehicle coming towards them. When they come closer to it, the persons inside it turn out to be more powerful and able and they lose their lives in those unknown hands immediately. Instead of depicted the punishment owing to facing insurgents, the reader could feel genuine sympathy for these unfortunate youths for their helpless situation trying to make a well off destiny.

'Bomb' shows the confused mind and life of Mohon who is an educated unemployed and who has lost all hope and ways to get employment. Mohon has a confused state of mind because his sick father, divorced sister and their property on mortgage for getting a secure job. Consequently, he wants to have a test of power after testing a bomb which has been left by a young man owing to inconvenience. The flow of his wild quick thought ends when the young man comes to recover the bomb.

'Shiba kiba Amasung Kidaba' reflects the situation in which one needs to hold a gun in order to survive and live. The writer shows the unfortunate condition of those young contractors' whose cheques have not sanctioned whereas the powerful contractor's cheque has been sanctioned. In such a situation, the powerless ones are conditioned to get guns and pressurize the authority to sanction their required cheques.

The story drifts down with a great pace. The writer even brings in the incident of two youths stuffing an engineer inside a sack and hiding him at a bushy side of a river. The description of the gun which frightens the engineer could be seen at the end of the story.

"The gun off his belly has been thrown away into the river. The dark gun flowing down at the moon-lit night could be seen clearly."
[Priyokumar, 2000: 52]

'Mang Macha Amagi Khongchat' in Nongkhong Tamna has been represented as the double faced look of insurgency. Whether the insurgents are making money on the pretext of revolution or whether they are really fighting for their motherland is being displayed in front of the readers.

The writer shows that some of the insurgents are doing revolutionary business and making a huge amount of money in the name of fighting for freedom. The protagonist Amu in the story is a young man who has sat in many interviews but has not yet got a job. However, he enlists himself in the insurgent army after encountering the leader of seven insurgent parties.

Then, he gradually realized that their leader is a multi-faced one. But he gets involved in the activities of making money lose trust on one another blaming each other with an extremity that they try to kill one another. Later on, he tries to survive hard instead of making money. Finally, he succumbs to his death pit and ends the journey of his short dream.

6. The painful effects of ethnic and communal conflicts

The Naga-Kuki conflicts in the hilly areas in the 1980s spread like a wild fire in the hills. Such a fiery incident was depicted in Nongdi Tarakhidare for the first time. Nongdi Tarakhidare reflects the sorrowful and agonising condition of hilly people who have becom victims of communal riot and clash.

When they were accounting their income in a hopeful moment waiting for the seasonal rain the writer depicts a heartbroken Chongnikim remembering how Lungjahao was killed by crucifixion in the communal war between the Nagas and Kukies.

Chongnikim's heart could not be soothe even if the seasonal rain could bring greenery in the surrounding hills. She had to leave her village to an unknown one in order to survive when she was still unable to cope with her husband's separation.

The theme/idea of communal conflict which started with Nongdi Tarakhidare took a new form in Lan Amasung Mang. The images of heart and mind could be clearly seen as compared to the incidents. In Ahing Ama [Lan Amasung Mang] the setting is the consequences of killing due to communal conflict of a night.

Stephen (Naga) and Lingpao (Kuki) were living for four years as brothers. But the bond of lone and trust between them were destroyed due to the communal killings in their village. When Lingpao's brother was killed by Nagas, Stephen's mind was filled with doubt that Lingpao might want to avenge his brother's death. The writer clearly depicts the restless minds of both Stephen and Lingpao.

From the stories discuss above, we can't find any insurgent protagonist. The writer depicts the pain and miseries given to various people in the state and community due to the emergence of armed insurgent groups. The distress of common people between insurgent and the power to subdue it, misery due to communal clash, thought of the youths involved in insurgency, testing life by the doubtful and hesitating youth and the wavering mind of the surrendered youths are depicted in Priyokumar's works.

In the story, Mang Macha Amagi Khongchat, which is in his last published book, 'Nongkhong Tamna', the issues between the ideas whether the war is fought for the motherland or the insurgents are earning money in its name is very confusing.

The writer has shown that the 30 years long insurgency conflict is a mere war for earning money. If we discuss the writer's works, we could see that the issues and problems of insurgency is in a chaotic and confusing state.

Concluded ....

* Thingnam Joyshree Devi wrote this article which was published at Imphal Times
This article was webcasted on February 18, 2019.

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