Twin statues of Akaba and Suisha towards A tie of love, peace and fraternity

Nando Luwang *

8th death anniversary of Chingsubam Akaba at Wakha Leimaching and foundation stones for twin statues of Akaba and Suisha :: Jan 13 2014
Foundation stones for twin statues of Akaba and Suisha :: Jan 13 2014 :: Pix - Daniel Chabungbam

To establish a love and harmony among the peoples of hills and valleys of Manipur, they organised several association and held peace talks to help one another in putting their cultural heritage intact in the name of bringing the solidarity. However, in between the hill and valley people especially between the Nagas and the Meeteis, remedial measures for eradication of misbelief and conflicts is hardly possible.

The discriminating activities of the NSCN (IM) towards the Meeteis on one side and on the other side plain peoples reaction against the activities of such unsatisfactory incidents have accelarated the quantum of furiosity and misbelief in between the Nagas and the Meeteis in recent years. General Secretary, Thuingalen Muivah's past activities, performed with the helps of likeminded Nagas led by NSCN (IM) have caused the valley people especially the Meeties annoyed at no bounds.

And as a result, innumerable effigies of Muivah were set on fire at several occassions. Some years back Muivah made a plan to visit his birthplace, Somdal in Ukhrul District and to deliver lectures in public, but the people of Manipur raised slogans and made strong movement not to allow Muivah to enter Manipur. As a result, the Govt of Manipur banned his entry in Manipur.

Citing the name of late Chingsubam Oja Akaba who was recognised by both Muivah and his many NSCN (IM) associated leaders has enlightened a new dream, it is hoped to tightened the love between the Meeteis and the Nagas. Muivah has already expressed his recognition of the Meetei leader late Chingsubam Oja Akaba as a person who knew well about the ancestral history of the Meeteis and the Nagas and who respected the rights of the Nagas. similarity among the Nagas a person who was well acquinted with the ancestral history of the Meeties and recognised the rights there of was in the name of late Oja Rungshung Suisa.

As the said two leaders who studied deeply about the Meeteis and the Naga identities, it would be another oppoutunity for laying the foundation Stone for erection of a strong tie of love for both the Nagas and the Meeties in the name of then departed soul. For the present Oja Akaba in the person who is openly accepted by Muivah. In this regard, Muivah's positive gesture may be taken an approval from almost all the Nagas in Manipur and when the question of the name of a Naga leader acceptable to the Meeteis, Muivah has mentioned the name of Rungshung Suisa. Who were Chingsubam Akaba and Rungshung Suisa -a brief accounts are given.

Chingsubam Akaba Meetei: He was born on 9th Nov, 1944 at Meri Leirak, Soibam Leikai in Imphal. He was the then President of Meetei National Front (MNF). He was a leader in taking a big role in resurrection of the Meetei religion. A mass agitation under the banner of Mongba Hanba Umanglen Kanba Lup against the change of nomenclature as Hanuman Laipham Mahabali Umang from Mongba Hanba Umang was launched violating the government Prohibitory orders not to do so and accordingly the ten persons including Oja Akaba were arrested for violating the government orders on 3rd July 1979.

To commemorate a day, on which the Puyas (Purans) deemed to be souls of the Meeteis were set ablaze, a function was performed at Mongbahanba at an early hour after midnight with the help of a handful of people for the first time on 23rd Wakching of 1978. As the function was performed at an early hours many people had no idea of it. However, for the second time, to commemorate the day of setting the Puyas (purans) on fire, an open function including general public was performed under the leadership of Meetei National Front (MNF) in front of Kangla Utra on 23rd Wakching of 1979.

In 1980, the promulgation of Meetei script was published in Manipur Government Gazette. However, in no time under Ojha Akaba's leadership, enthusiasm for Meetei script was rising enomorously among the people and as a part of that enthusiasm mobilisation after mobilisation were carried out in Manipur in the year 2005. As a result, the government of Manipur prescribed the books written in Meetei script for standard one and standard two. Now books in Meetei script have been taught upto standard Ten.

At the time of the demise of Oja Akaba, many inhabitants of hills felt a sense of sadness in their hearts. participation of many hills people among others at the funeral function of Oja Akaba and floral tributes and shedding tears from their eyes show a sign of love towards Oja Akaba. In short, Oja Akaba was a pioneer in nourishing the old language, Script and sacred culture and tradition of this threatened group of people.

Over and above this, he experienced a great deal of difficulties in creating a combined effort for making remembrance of the one time pathetic stories of the hills and plain for making a bond of love between each other.

Rungshung Suisa: He was born in Somdal Village in the Western side of Ukhrul District in 1907. He may be identified as a teacher, missionery, politician, revolutionary and thinker. In other words, Suisa was a Paster, M.L.A., M.P. (Lok Sabha) and a Naga Revolutionary. And then at the later age he led a simple life by selling vegetables in Dimapur Town of Nagaland.

He was one of the three who tried to unify the Nagas of Manipur and those Naga Hills (now Nagaland) into one. The other two persons were Athiko Daiho from Mao and Teba Kilong from Tamenglong. He was nominated as a member for Constitution Making Committee by President of State Darbar in 1946. He was elected M.L.A.uncontested from No.7 Tolloi Hill in the first time general election of Manipur in 1948.

After that he was elected M.P from outer Manipur in India's second Lok Sabha Election (1957-62). He was interested in the Unification of the Nagas who were forcibly disintegrated by the British. While creating unification of the Nagas, Rungshung Suisa did not take up any movement provided it makes hearts of other groups disheartened. He narrated to his close Naga friends that he had many Meetei friends and they loved one another. Here is a patheatic story told by Suisha at the time of his last journey to heaven.

"After my death, my dead body may take rest for some time at the House of my Meeteis friend, Soyam Amu of Khurai Lamlong and after that my dead body be brought to Kulla Kaphung (Mount of Mirror) at Hongman Village in Senapati District for burial. At the time of my burial, my face be faced towards the valley, so that one day my younger brothers of the valley will look for this brother."

The death body of Suisa was said to be brought at Soyam Amu's abode and rested there for half an hour. After that it was then brought back to his place. Eventhough he was born in Somdal Village Ukhrul, his death body was buried at a village in Saikul.

The leader of NSCN (IM), Muivah who was then camping at New Delhi for Peace talk was met by Evening Newspaper "PANDAM'S" Executive Editor N. Tomba, Huiyen Lanpao (Meetei Mayek) Editor M. Shivadutta and the spouse of Oja Akaba who is the leader of Meetei National Front (MNF) Ch. Wangambi Leima. They had a brief talk about installing the statues of the two leaders at both hill and valley.

In that meeting Wangambi had a proposal that "if the statues of the two leaders (Akaba and Suisa) who had respected each others be erected at Ukhrul and the valley, it would be a great help in making a strong bonded relationship between hills and valley with unity and integrity." Muivah had also agreed to this proposal. So, it is thought that there is nothing wrong in erecting the two statues at both hill and valley as Muivah had also consented to it. So far it can be said that there is no better step taken than this to make solidarity and love between Naga and Meetei. Yes, it is also questionable that will erecting the two statues at both hill and valley will bring peace and harmony among Meetei and Naga?

So without shedding down the violences and the demand (affecting the territorial integrity of Manipur) by the NSCN (IM) to the India Government and on the other hand without correcting the wrong notion of the Meetei towards the Naga, erecting thousands of such statues at different parts of the State will never ever bring peace, harmony, prosperity and development between the two brothers.

The need of the the hour is that the present leaders of both hill and valley should respect each others history and dignity like the two past great leaders Oja Akaba and Suisa who had nurtured a very beautiful dream of bringing peace, harmony and development between the two brothers, Naga and Meetei. If NSCN (IM) particularly Muivah had respected the dignity and history of Meetei by stopping their approach or step of threatening the integrity of Manipur and the Meetei, on the other hand, stop prejudicing the Naga will surely bring peace, love and harmony. Then there will be no more misunderstanding but love and trust.

So, it is the right time to sow the seed of peace between the two community by following the step of the two leaders. Muivah needs to go in the way of Rungshung Suisa who had tried to bring integrity of the Naga without hurting other communities. Many unwanted happenings might have happened in the past between Naga and Meetei but now we have to forget the past and try to seek a way to tread peacefully with love.

So, the peaceful way would be erecting the two statues together at both hill and valley is the belief of R. Suisa Trust and Luchingpurel Chingsubam Akaba Ningsing Lup. This venture needs to be encouraged. It should not be wrongly taken that the Statue of both the leaders be first erected in the valley as Muivah had told (they would erect later on at Ukhrul which is the birth place of Suisa).

Further, the NSCN (IM) had agreed to erect the statue of both leaders at Hongman Village, Senapati district where the body of Suisa was burried. It is a good sign of love and understanding between the two brothers. The priviledge of having a talk between the NSCN (IM) and some valley people for bringing peace and love between the two community is rather priceless phase and golden opportunity. So, it would be a wise thing for both the pioneers of the two community to snatch this golden chance for bringing peace, love, harmony, and trust between the two communities.

* Nando Luwang (and Translated by Dr P Sanjeev) wrote this article for The Sangai Express
This article was posted on January 02, 2015.

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