Belshazzar's feast - A failed mission

Dr Robert Shimray *


Feasting is a time of celebration after having acheived certain period of assiduous attempt or effort towards a specific goal. It's the time of merrymaking associated with various programs such as dances, songs, and especially with good food where people enjoy to their fill.

The proclaimation of the CENTENARY CELEBRATION of the WWI Tangkhul Naga Labour Corps- 1917 - 1918 & Other Labour Corps of the 22nd Manipur Labour Corps Company, which was held on 6-7 November, 2018, at Tangkhul Naga Long Ground, Ukhrul, to the people, especially the Tangkhuls, came with the greatest delight, expectations and anticipations.

Indeed, it was a time of great celebration, commemorating the herioc deeds of our great fathers. Contemplating on the past, one can vividly reminisce of the people's excitment, the vigorous physical preparartion of the long awaited celebration.

The paraphernalia of the town, especially the venue of the centenary celebration, could be seen in a wide range of atractions, i.e. from having most of the shops better furnished, colourful baracades displayed under the instruction and care of the authority, as assisted by timely uniformed police on all the lanes.

One could see the flocking in of the people from different directions, colourfully dressed, trying to be presentable as everyone took their turn to see each other as fully geared up in traditional attire.

Congestions to the traffic regulation came with the additional force of pedestrians in every lanes, nooks and corners. Getting into the Long Ground (the main venue), one could see the stalls lined up displaying various items attracting the customers and passers-by. The stage was beautifully and colourfully decorated to its best. Indeed, it was time taking effort put forth along with financial worthwhile spent in beautifying the hall so as to accomodate the people during the celebration.

One may not mention every individual or may not have given due honour and praise to who ever was invovled in bringing the program to a success, but it is observed of their hard work, and especially the program co-ordinators.

As the proverb goes saying, 'To err is human,' it is reminded of us that, as human, there could always be flaws in all of us. But it is wise to be more careful in the future, as learned from the past experience.

Likewise, contemplating on the past Centinial Celebration of the Naga Labour Corps, which was held on November 6-7, 2018, there could come out different opinions and sharings. For which, as part of the sharings, we would like to ponder on it as to what the lessons are those that we can learn from it.

A taste of wine/ Forbbiden drink: No one is to judge anyone else, as to what he/she does, so long as any individual gets along with/ adheres to the existing regulations in a given domain. As sensible citizens, we execute our duties in our day to day life but within the given space of time and place limit.

Crossing which, we are bound to face consequences. What does this imply in connection with the context ? We shall ponder upon it together.

Speaking from the Christian perspective, Proverbs 20:1 reads, "Wine is a mockerů" In short, the praxis through which, as a debauchery, facing the consequences is inevitable. With the escalation of civilization, having reached the climax to this the so-called modern age/communication age/computer age, it has done away with barbaric civilization in every sphere of life, yet paradoxically, adding to its seriousness in every act of indulgence. Likewise, though of the the same cause and effect, yet the application differs from one to another.

Culture, traditions, norms and food habits pertain to the identity of a person. It is crucial preserving one's identity, but as standard raises with the passage of time, its application in practices comes into refinement too. Besides the standing principles, many practices are done away with the ingress of Christianity and the advancement of civilization.

Coming to the point, it was a day of celebration with festivity. Presence of the digniteries from abroad made all the difference. Anxious audience awaited the most excited moments as the digniteries graced the function- walking through the ailse with pride, as the sea of people thronged the ground anticipating the ceremony of unveiling the monolith.

Next, comes the presentation of colourful programs of dance and song. Dignitaries were offered - the "Belshazzar's Wine" (Belshazzar's Feast & Fall - Daniel 5:1-30). Brethren, it is not a question of whether they have ever touch with their lips or are acquinted with. But the concern is whether they were comfortable with the utensil/ jar offered with.

Personal observation indicates the notion of animosity/ distaste by the concern dignitary. We may individually be practicing in our own homes in our own rights, but to prove one's identity, we no longer need to bring back the bygone civilization, exposing one's lowliness in such occasion.

Passing on the torch: Wise saying goes - "Like Father Like Son." Denizens! What have we instored for the future generation? Mind you, for what you do today is what you would do to imprint upon the minds of the future generation. Hospitably, it was a welcome cry to come and taste of the - whatever locally brewed wine.

The question is, haven't we seen, heard and experienced enough of the problems caused by drugs and alchohol, leaving cicatrice - causing dilemma within the family and society? Having taken for granted just for a day's program could cause drastic impact upon the future generation.

Great expectation: Of old, preservation of information was done mainly through oral tradition- handing down from generation to generation. One can surely recall, including the writer, the stories told of those many great herioc deeds, by our parents. Importantly, one of those is about our fearless grandparents who participated during the World War I. Many went, some came back and some sacrificed their lives never to return again.

With the announcement of the CENTENARY CELEBRATION of the WWI Tangkhul Naga Labour Corps- 1917 - 1918, the news went wild along with the Calendar (as a souvenir), reaching every home through co-ordinators. Luckily, whose ever grandparents were found in the list or added as having participated in the WWI awaited for the day expecting a medal as an honour.

But paradoxically such great anticipation came with the opening of the pandora box, in which, the representing personnel coming from abroad could not complete the mission as targetted for the reason that, some warned the organizers of tire consequences for not having included some of the names, as they wished or assumed to be, in the shortlisted page.

Appeal/ Conclusion: Gone are the days, but as we deeply introspect, one has a great lesson to learn from. It's up to you in foreseeing the future prospect in any given angle, that is, either for the better or worse. So, what have we learnt from the Belshazar's Feast ? As an opinion sharing, 1) We need to realise of facing the reality.

We are in this Modern Age, don't let others grade us being still barbaric as of old. 2) Be watchful, for you are reponsible in living an exemplery life. Younger ones are observing every move of yours. 3) Who ever deserves should get the share. Let alone selfishness. What have we learnt? Some part of our own dignity has been spared to no avail. Impact upon the youngsters, in being an exemplery action, has been displayed.

Of the great expection by the deserving denizens, as dreamt, on behalf of the grandparents, could not be fulfilled till then. For which, the representing personnel coming from abroad could not complete their mission.

Therefore, all in all, trilaterally and inevitably, till then, it's a failed mission.

* Dr Robert Shimray wrote this article for The Sangai Express
The writer is Principal, Maringmi Memorial School, Phungreitang, Ukhrul.
This article was webcasted on February 24, 2019.

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