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E-Pao! EI - A son of the soil of Kangleipak

A son of the soil of Kangleipak

By: J.P. Sinha *



Sometime back, 'The Telegraph' carried out an article about Manipur written by Patricia Mukhim. I was aghast at the musings of the author on a race and society about whom she may know very little. All the same her reflections about the Manipuri society of today are a real eye opener, as this comes from a Non-Manipuri.

For a person like me who owes her birth to the soil of this jewel of the north east, it was always a nostalgic journey to my childhood, when I traveled to Manipur, owing to my posting there in a private company in 1980. Since then it was the charm of the land as well as my subconscious belonging to its soil, its people, its culture and to some extent my job I choose to stay there, even after I was forced to quit my job in 1998.

It has always intrigued me at the indifference us the Manipuris - even though my being calling myself a Manipuri may cause some angst in the heart of few people who disclaim such claims. It is another story, who the Bishnupriyas are and whether they are Manipuris or not, since I seem to belong to this creed of people, who have very little history of themselves.

However I have always felt I was a Manipuri, since I could not find any difference on our total similarity – both in body and mind. I acted and thought as a Manipuri (Meitei). Their pride, their resilience, their honesty and integrity, their anger, their sorrow, their tryst, their destiny – everything was there in me. Sadly enough I find this qualities in very few Bishnupriyas of today. For the Bishnupriya, who may be once a pure stock of Manipuri breed seems to have lost their identity. They are a lost creed of people with no history.

Why am I, condemning these people, no not because, I am trying to discredit whatever claims they are making (whatever creditworthy it may be). But It is because, I feel their history is of consequence to the people who now live in Manipur and call it their motherland. I am certainly not very proud of the present day Manipur, with its tryst with the present day history.

A history steeped now in gory misdeeds of its politicians, young minds gone astray and chasing a false dream in the name of revolution, its meirapaibis once revered and considered guardian of the society, but now left to nothing but stooges of few corrupt politicians. So, we find people getting used to being denied basic amenities like water and electricity.

It is really painful to see all this and to see a hardy and resilient race, a proud race, a rich culture being slowly turned into a race of people with indignified pride of self belonging, a self belonging to oneself and one’s own selfish existence – with a false belief that it is wise to live with all the indignities and plights rather than fight for their right of a dignified life.

I see a history of Manipur where one day the Manipuris may themselves find it difficult to call themselves Manipuris – as the present day Bishnupriyas find themselves, for like all Manipuris of today it is indifference of self belonging – a belonging to a proud race of people, a rich heritage and culture and above a big indifference to their own identity, which has turned this group of people to a caste and creed of people with no roots no origin and no identity.

It is a discomforting therefore that this indifference is what we see in the present day Manipur who call their motherland Kangleipak.



PS: Writer's end Note

Thanks for including my article. I am sure surprised and feel at the same time more poignant at the article being titled 'A son of the soil of Kangleipak', although the original article was titled something else.

This brought a glint in my eyes, a glint of joy, a glint reflecting on the moist warmth of a teardrop which swelled up and gushed out of my heart to wet my eyes. I have not felt this feeling for a long time. The resilience of adapting ones life to the surrounding and environment immediate to you, has left us devoid of all feelings of reaching out to the hearts of the lakhs of people who are your true brethren in body and mind.

However, I felt more pride, more self belonging and more resilient at being called a 'son of the soil'. I am sure there are scores of people like me who have been rootless in their self belonging, its a message to them through me that there is a land, a land markedly different from others, a people markedly different from all, a people who still pride in themselves for 'who they are' not 'what they are'.

Let us reach out, let us seek out and let us embrace each other forgetting our petty indifferences and make this beautiful place and this beautiful people, to shine again.

"Let us rise,
rise from the muck,
clean our souls,
and let others see that we are a gem,
a jewel, well deserved to be given
a place in the apostle of history,
not just leave our mark as an epitaph".




J.P. Sinha, a proud Manipuri, writes for the first time to e-pao.net
You can contact him at [email protected]

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