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Items filtered by date: Monday, 21 December 2015 - Imphal Times - A Daily Eveninger

Assembly session adjourned for 3 hours due to sound system failure

The second sitting of the ongoing winter session of the 10th Manipur Legislative Assembly which began on December 18 was compelled to adjourn for 3 hours due to failure of the sound system fixed in the Assembly House.
As scheduled, Speaker of the Manipur Legislative Assembly Th. Lokeshwar tried to announce the business of the day today, but had to stop for 15 minutes as the microphone he was supposed to deliver experienced some technical error. Later, as the sound mechanic could not fixed the problem the Speaker announced the adjournment of the house for 30 minutes starting from 11.15 am.
“The House will begin from 2 pm due to technical defect”, said Speaker, Th. Lokeshwar as he was left with no other option.

The technical problem could not be fixed even after 11.45 am so the Speaker of the House again adjourned the  House till 2 pm today. The sitting begins at 2.00 pm.
Staffs and officials of the Manipur State legislative Assembly were seen engaging in hectic work trying to fix the sound system. When enquired about whom to fix the responsibility, Liaison Officer for Media, RK Bhagat said that the staffs had already checked the sound system before the commencement of the Assembly and was Okay. But then exactly at the time when the session was to begin some electric problem occurred and suddenly affected the sound system, RK Bhagat added. He further said that Assembly staffs has nothing to do in any of the defect to any of the infrastructures, electrifications or office building as the Assembly building and other construction works has not been handed over to the State Legislative Assembly by the Simplex Company which is undertaking the construction work.

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Health Director assures to declare result of nurse recruitment test

Around 50 members of the All Manipur ANM/GNM Written Test Faced Candidates’ Association finally get relief after the Health Director  Dr O Ibomcha assured to declare the result of the written test examination for the recruitment of 200 ANMs and 21 GNMs conducted on 18 August 2013 at his office chamber during a forced meet.
Sanasam Malemnganbi, a result awaiting candidate informed reporters after the meet inside the office complex that the Director informed them that the files are under process and gave his word to declare the result within January 2016. She further said, the Director also told them that the department will soon arrange a meeting between representatives of their association and Health Minister who is out of station right now. The Director also stated the members that the Directorate is consulting with the Law department regarding the declaration of the written test. 

Earlier before meeting the director, a large number of the candidates thronged to the Directorate office by knocking down the main gate of Health directorate and locked up the entry gate to the main building. The volunteers confronted the securities who intervened them.

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SUK decries release of 3 non-locals who were handed over to them for assaulting 2 student

Student Union of Kangleipak (SUK) today sought clarification from the state police regarding the release of 3 non- Manipuris who were handed over to them for assaulting 2 volunteers of the students’ body on December 16. It also questioned the reason for taking remand of three other locals who were handed over to them for the same crime.
The 2 SUK volunteers Chingkham AjoyKumar (21) son of Ch. Kumar and Ch. Okendro (21) of Andro who were presently staying at a rented room at Palace Compound for their studies were reportedly assaulted by the six persons when returning to their room near the gate of Maharaj Budhachandra College at around 7.30 pm of December 16. 
Speaking to media persons at its office, Jantakumar Khuman, President of SUK said that the 6 persons including the 3 non-Manipuri, all drunk, identified as Dipak Chakrabati son of Ram Chakrabati, Sanjoy Das son of Debendra Das,  Deep Das, Rahul Kamei son of Ashu Kamai, Bahadur Palmei, and Wangkhem Olendro son of W. Shamu singh of Waithou Khongang Kokin, who hailed from Mahaballi Kabui Khul assaulted the 2 volunteers of SUK without giving any reason.
He said some local people of the area took the two SUK members to JN hospital and later referred to Shija hospital as their condition deteriorated. The six culprits were rounded up by the locals and handed over to Police, he added. All the 6 accused were produced to court on December 19.
Jantakumar Khuman said that among the six persons the 3 non-Manipuri - Dipak Chakrabati , Sanjoy Das and Deep Das were released on bail and the three other locals were remanded till December 28.
The president of SUK said that if no amicable solution is brought between the culprits and SUK within December 23 besides asking clarification from the police, the students’ body will launch serious formed of agitation.

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Albert Einstein and his theory of General Relativity brainstormed

A two day national seminar on Great physicists Albert Einstein’s 100 years of General Relativity kick off at Department of Physics, Manipur University.
Speaking to this reporter on the sideline of the program, Prof N Nimai, convenor of the seminar informed that academicians and scientists from various colleges and universities North East states and other states will be presenting papers. Prizes of painting and quiz competition for school and college students which was organised on last 19 December in commemoration with 100 years of the invention of theory of General Relativity by great physicist Albert Einstein were distributed during the inauguration of the seminar.
Prof HNK Sarma, VC, MU, Prof Sudhakar Panda, Director, IOP, Bubhaneswar, Prof Th Jekendra,HOD(i/c) Department of Physics,MU graced as presidium members in the inaugural session.  

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DSSS tones campaign against toy guns ahead of Christmas in Ukhrul

R Lester Makang
Ukhrul, Dec 21: Taking aim at the growing toy gun market in Ukhrul district during this Christmas season, Diocesan Social Service Society (DSSS) Ukhrul has called for concerted efforts to dissuade parents from buying toy guns for their children through its sustained ‘Anti-War Toy Campaign,’ saying the use of such toys help breed a culture of violence among the children.
Talking to media persons during a press conference held at UDWJA Office today, TS Elvis peace activist of DSSS Ukhrul who leads the campaign, said that: “The campaign was launched in Ukhrul district in 2014 by DSSS as a part of its peace education program to curb the menace of toy guns that promote violence and create negative impact on the child behaviour.
“Ukhrul is one place where parents are indiscriminate in buying toy guns, pistols  for their children, while they miserably fail to realize the danger that such toys pose to the psychological and behavioural disposition of their kids,” he said. “ Taking serious cognizance of the dangerous trend, DSSS has been campaigning at various levels of the community including the Churches, schools, colleges, SHGs among others,” Elvis maintained adding that through its intervention, the number of children buying or using toy guns in Ukhrul has been brought down by 30 percent from 50/60 percent since last year.
“But of late, with the coming of Christmas this time, the toy gun market in the district has received a boost again,” he lamented saying that creating adequate awareness among the public is  vital in reversing the evil trend.
Alternatively, a ban could be imposed by the local authorities to discourage buying or using of toy guns, Elvis felt,while urging all the frontal organisations of the district to extend cooperation to DSSS in its fight against the popularity of the destructive toy guns among the children.

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MEEU threatens stirs for demanding pay hike for muster role and work charge employees

Manipur Electricity Employees’ Union (MEEU) has threatened to launch serious form of agitation if the state government fails to increase the pay and allowances of the Muster Role and Work Charge Employees of the department by December 31.
Speaking to media persons at Keishampat, Y. Ranapratap, working president of the MEEU, said that the present pay and benefits provided to the muster role and work charge employees of the department is not suited with the present day.
“They are not getting any allowance, medical or promotion benefit”, he said. And added the salary skilled employees is Rs 3078, for semi skill the pay is Rs 3899 and for those unskilled the pay is Rs 3663 which is against the directives of the State Labour Department. According to the directives of the State Labour department the salary should be not less than Rs. 8190, 7440 and 6780 for skilled, semi-skilled and non skilled labourers respectively.
He said the union had submitted many memorandums to the state government , the last on December 7.

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Think for something innovative

The Strife torn State of Manipur, inspite of the unenviable tag of a disturbed area, has much more potential and unexplored potential than that of being one with the most prolific and industrious system for churning out militant groups, thought the tag is unlikely to come off anytime soon in the foreseeable future. On a brighter note, we have some of the most diverse and varied vegetables, fruits, pulses, cereals and grains. Condiments that has not yet been regular ingredients in Mainland India has been in use in the North East for centuries. The introduction of Korean channel “Arirang” revealed an astonishing similarity, both in the ingredients as well as in the methods of preparations, in the diets of the two regions. Our elders, much to our chagrin and resentment, used to refer to the imported hybrid vegetables and fruits as those from the “Block”, and preferred the local varieties of everything. That preference has now started to make sense, more than ever, with the perceptible difference in the aroma and taste between the imported hybrids and the local varieties. Anyone who had a friend or near one from outside as a guest in Manipur will surely have received compliments on the distinct aroma and taste of the dishes of the state. All these has been a clear indication of the unique qualities of the plants and vegetables grown on the soil of the State whose more than 70% of it’s population is still engaged in agriculture and other allied activities. So what does all these discussions point to? And how do we utilize these to the fullest? There is no doubt that the distinct aroma, varieties and extent of availability of these plants, herbs and vegetables has been confined to the local market. While the reasons are many and varied, yet it is pretty clear that there is an apparent lack of enthusiasm and earnestness on the part of the Government to explore and exploit markets outside the State and beyond. The latest confirmation of the interest shown by people outside the State for products grown in the State is the report about a certain person from the United States inquiring about the possibility of exporting the black rice (Chak Hao) through a processing factory in India, and this is just one instance. This positive development should be an eye opener of the potential the State holds for earning through exporting of it’s varied and unique agricultural products after due finishing processes. It would be a blunder and a shame for everyone if the State is reduced to a supplier of raw products only. The need of the hour is for developing a tertiary sector that provides value addition to the products and thus provides double benefit to those involved. The products are there. The steps to mass produce them, to process them and to market them needs a systematic approach that coordinates and complements each of the components in the chain of process. It is time to make a radical change in the approach towards agriculture from that of a subsistence one to that of a highly rewarding, financially lucrative and emotionally fulfilling occupation. That change needs to be initiated by those who are assigned just to do that, else our people will just be the farmers who produce the things others outside the State will buy who will then convert these raw materials into finished products who will then sell it to the State at an exorbitant price. Heard the story before? Got the drift?

Role of oral history in building communal harmony in Manipur

Oral history helps in building the history of a community or group of people. Oral history may comprise myths, legends and actual historical events. James H. Morrison, in the essay called ‘Global Perspective of Oral History in Southeast Asia’, wrote “all societies have a history and all history begins as oral.”
There are still today many groups of people who do not yet have a written history. However, these societies have their own oral histories. Oral history encompasses the accounts of the origin and historical materials related to their culture, community, lifestyle, etc., although it is difficult to ascertain the dates of the events. Even when there are written histories or chronicles, many accounts of history are found in the oral histories even though they are not mentioned in the chronicles. In many of the royal chronicles, like the ones in Manipur, only those of events are written down which have the assents of the kings and rulers, and thus lots of events are omitted. The wishes, sufferings, aspirations of the general population and other events that take place at the social levels are mostly not included. Thus, some folklorists have coined the term “Palace Paradigm” for those kinds of histories that are written with the sanction of the rulers which are ‘palace-centric.’ Therefore, in order to get a fuller picture of the history of a land, one should study both the written chronicles along with the oral history available.
Sometimes similarities are found between oral history and written history of a society; however, there could be conflict between the two also. The written history in the form of chronicles written with state sanction, tend to exclude or modify those accounts that could be damaging to the prestige of the king or the ruler. On the other hand, oral history is the first hand account of the events as they take place and they survive through the generations by word of mouth. Accounts of such events persist in the oral form in secret or in the open and later there could be conflict between the two versions of history. For example, there is one event connected to King Pamheiba which we know from oral history, but is not mentioned in the Cheitharol Kumbaba or Ningthourol Lambuba. These two chronicles are written by sanction of the palace. It is said that King Pamheiba forcefully took a woman as his wife by killing her husband. This account represents Pamheiba as a dictatorial king who would do anything to get what he wants. However, Cheitharol Kumbaba and Ningthourol Lambuba do not make any mention of this event anywhere. This does not necessarily mean that oral accounts are not true. In fact there are lots of instances of the presence of accepted evidence and events that goes along with oral history that certainly makes it profoundly important to study it in order to get a bigger picture of the history of a society. With this fact in mind, the oral history of the different communities of Manipur is being studied to find out the similarities and trace commonness in the origin of these communities.
If the population of Manipur is divided on the basis of the topography of the land, we can see that there are two types of populations – those living in the hills (Chingmee) and those living in the plain (Tammee) in the middle of the state, also called the Imphal valley. There are evidences that the plain area was filled with water in the ancient times and the people lived only in the hills surrounding the valley as they were higher and dry. As the central area filled with water began to dry, some people from the surrounding hill region came down to stay in the dry valley. Although it is not known which group of people settled first in the valley, it is evident from the oral literature and the written chronicles and manuscripts that the general Meetei community, which is an amalgamation of seven clans, has stayed the longest in the valley. That the present Meetei community once lived in the hills around the Imphal valley can be known from the fact that many of the important places of sacred worships are located in the hills surrounding the valley and the story of legends related to these places of worship.
The written history of Manipur starts with accounts from 33 AD when Pakhangba became the king of the Ningthouja clan and started his reign from Kangla. The unification of the clans started during his time. During the reign of King Pamheiba (1709-1748 AD) the name ‘Manipur’ was given to this land. Cultural and religious differences between the chingmees and the tammees, and also among the tammees began to take root when King Pamheiba introduced Hinduism as the state religion. These differences were quite pronounced when Manipur was captured by the British in 1891. More divisions were made due to the constitution as Scheduled Tribes, Scheduled Castes and General, etc. within the population of Manipur after Manipur was formally merged with the Indian union in 1949. In the present situation of Manipur, we can see noticeable differences, distrust and disunity among the various communities in Manipur.
In order to bring out the unity and the similarity in origin of the communities of Manipur from the oral histories of the different communities, an attempt is made here to study the oral history of Tangkhul, Mao, Maram, Thangal, Paomai and Kabui communities that are mostly settled in Ukhrul, Senapati and Tamenglong districts.
All the above mentioned communities of Manipur are said to have originated from a place called Makhen in the Senapati district. The people from this place were said to have moved out and settled in the South-eastern regions of the state.
The Kabui people inhabit many parts of the valley and most parts of Tamenglong district. The Kabuis, also known as the Rongmeis, have a very close relationship with the Meeteis. They form a part of the bigger group called the Zelianrong which is made up of Rongmei, Zeme, Liangmei and Puimei. According to oral history these four groups lived together at Makhen, after which they migrated to different places and based on the direction of their migration, they were named into their respective names. Those who went south came to be known as Rongmei; those who went west were called Zeme; and those who migrated to the north were called Liangmei. The Kabuis call their supreme god as Haipou Ragong (also Tingkao Rangong or Tingkao Ragwang). He created Dampa Pui and gave him the task to create the world. Dampa Pui created the world and all the creatures that will live in it, but he was not able to create the human beings. At last he created human beings after seeing the image of Haipou. In the beginning human beings lived together with the gods. When the time came for the gods to leave, they kept them in a cave and closed it with a big stone because they thought that the humans were weak and had inferior intelligence. When the humans became more intelligent, they wanted to come out of the cave. They could open the entrance of the cave only with the help of a bull. The cave was called ‘Ramting Kabin’ or ‘Mahou Taobei’. The cave is still present near Salong in Senapati district. After coming out of the cave they lived in a place called Makuilongdi. There were supposed to be 7,777 families living in this place. From here they migrated to different directions.
The beginning phase of the history of origin of the Kabuis bears lots of resemblance with the story of the exodus of Poireiton of the Meeteis; the difference being that Poireiton’s exodus is available as written history in the form of manuscript and is called “Poireiton Khunthokpa”. The Kabuis, like the Meeteis, worship Lainingthou and Lairembi. Both the communities have accounts of their stay at the Koubru hill a long time back. Another oral history of the Kabuis say that in the ancient times there was a man named Iboudhou Khunthoulemba who had two sons. The elder brother stayed back in the hills and remained as the Kabuis, while the younger brother moved down to the valley and became Meetei.
According to the oral history of the Tangkhuls Meetei, Thangal and Tangkhuls had the same origin. In the old language, Tangkhul was called Hungoumwo, a name which is no longer used. One group stayed back at Makhen and they became the Thangals. Another group migrated and passed through Khongte, Kachai, Phungtham and settled at Hundung. There were two brothers in this group. One day the younger brother went searching for a pig and found that it had given birth to its young ones at a place bordering the hills and the valley. The place where the pig gave birth came to be known as ‘Oknao-pokpi’. This place is now called ‘Yaingangpokpi.’ The younger brother asked his elder brother to let him live in the valley as it was fertile and had plenty of water. Thus he came to the valley and became Meetei. The three brothers met every year and presented gifts to each other so that they remain close to each other. This event has continued till date and it is now known as ‘Mera Hou Chongba’.
The oral history of the Thangals is more or less similar to that of the Tangkhuls. The old name of Thangal is Koirao. In the beginning after they came out of the cave, they stayed at Makhen. Then they changed places to Angkaipang and then to Angkailongdi. It is said that while staying at Angkailongdi, they could never reach 1000 families and the maximum number of families would always stop at 999. There are close historical relations between the Thangals and the Meeteis. The sacred place in the Thangal cave forms a part of the culture of the two. Legend has it that the Thangal cave is connected to Kangla through an underground tunnel.
The Mao people believe that Makhen is the first place to be settled by human beings. In their language, Makhen is called ‘Makhriphi’ the last place on earth where the gods talked with humans. Mao oral history says that god created woman who gave birth to three sons of god. The youngest son married a goddess and gave birth to three sons by the names of Khephio, Choro and Shipfo. Shipfo also gave birth to three sons named Emepfope, Kolapfope and Mikriipfope. Emepfope remained back at Makhriifii (Makhen) and the others moved away. Mikriipfope went south taking with him a food packet, eggs and yam because it was believed that the place where the yam germinated and the eggs hatched was a good place to settle. The place where the food packet was eaten was clled Mikrii Todu. ‘Mikrii’ is the Mao word for Meetei and ‘Todu’ means the place where food was eaten. This group followed the Barak river and stayed at settled at Karong (also called ‘Krafii’ which means the place where Meetei got lost) for some time. When the group reached Karong, the Senapati river which flows from the north to south, meets the Barak river and then takes a sharp turn to the west. Because of this they got lost and didn’t know where to go anymore. So they settled at Karong. From there they climbed a tall peak and saw the Imphal river flowing. They tried to find the Imphal river and on their way reached Senapati from where they were led by a big snake to the Imphal river. They followed the flow of the river and reached the Imphal valley. When they reached the valley, the eggs hatched and the yam germinated. Thus they settled at the valley. The oral history of the Mao community invariably proves that the Maos and the Meeteis are related through origin.
The Paomai community is also another group that has its origin at Makhen. They believe that many other groups of people living in Manipur and Nagaland also had their origin and Makhen. There is a pear tree at Makhen which the Paomais legend says was planted by the first ancestor named Pou after he planted his walking stick to the ground. Pou is also called Shipgo by the Maos and the Angamis call him as Shapvo. The name ‘Paomai’ is also derived from the word ‘Poumai’ (pou = old, mai = people). Therefore, the Paomais are also called Shipfo by the Mao people. In the oral history of the Maos, Shipfo is the person who gave to the ancestor of the Meeteis.
In the oral history of the Marams, god created the world and the first people were placed at Makhen. When the population of Makhen increased, they formed groups and migrated to different directions. Two brothers by the names of Tingsimaraba and Makikhangba also went out in search of new places to settle along with their families. The planted sticks of the heimang (Chinese sumac tree, Rhus chinensis) along their way as they went on their journey. They came to Maram and settled there for a long time. Later Makikhangba, the younger brother, went to live in the valley while the elder brother stayed at Maram. Those who went to the valley became the Meeteis while those who stayed became the Marams. One thing we can know from the oral histories of these communities is that all these communities along with the Meeteis are in fact very close to one another and have the same origin. Studying the culture, music, dance and religion could also give more evidence in this advocacy.
There are also other communities in Manipur whose oral histories say that they also originated from a cave. The Aimols call cave as ‘chinlung’. The story of the time when they lived in a cave is still sung in songs. It is said that they tried to come out of the cave by moving the stone at the entrance, but they couldn’t. Then they used a pangolin and a cow to dig out a tunnel underneath the stone and thus they came out. After coming out of the cave, they lived in many places like Mongmangjol, Rangrengbung, Runglewaisu and then they came to Manipur. They worship pythons as a god. The Kharam community also has a similar history. It is said that they also once lived in a cave which they call ‘Khurpui’. A big python ate whoever came out of the cave. So they made clothes with designs of a python and then they could come out of the cave by deceiving the python. The place of Runglewaisu is also found in the migration route of the Kharams. They are also fire worshippers like Andro. Lai Haraoba is performed. Their god is in the form of a dragon, very similar to god Pakhangba of the Meeteis. In fact, their oral history has stories of god Pakhangba marrying a Kharam girl. They also worship the god Sanamahi by building shrines inside their houses, a tradition followed by the Meeties also.
The oral history of the Chiru community is also similar to the Aimols. They entered Manipur through Aaikhapui and Runglewaisu. Before the advent of Christianity, they had a form of religion which is similar to those of the other close communities. The Chothes are a group of people who also has a similar history saying they once lived in a cave. Their traditional attire, religion and culture bear lot of similarities of those of the Meeteis. The Chothes were once called as the Purums and they inhabit many parts of Chandel district.
Aimol, Anal, Chiru, Chongloi, Hangsing, Chothe, Doungel, Guite, Gangte, Haokip, Hmar, Kom, Kipjen, Lungdim, Lamkang, Lunkim, Changsen, Lenthang (Teleyn), Mang-eo, Kolen, Langum-Lang-el, Minem, Maring, Mate, Moyon, Monsang, Paite, Shitlou, Louvom, Singsit, Shimte, Tarao, Touthang, Vaiphei and Zou communities are together called the Zale’n-gam group as they have similar histories of origin and are also closely related in terms of language, dress, and culture.
In the study of the oral histories of all the communities in Manipur, it is found that they all have some similarities in the origin. An overall perspective shows that they could be of the same origin.

Courtesy: Centre for Manipur Studies, Manipur University
Dr  Chirom Rajketan Singh
Asst. Prof., Manipuri Dept.,
Kha-Manipur College, Kakching

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