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Items filtered by date: Thursday, 04 January 2018 - Imphal Times - A Daily Eveninger

Understanding the indices of life

The world over, with advancements made in various spheres encompassing the whole spectrum of life be it social, technological, economic, political, educational, health and medicine or arts and culture; traditional measures of different aspects of life- both personal and social- have come up short of truly expressing the changes and the factors effecting those changes. In today’s evolved world characterized by heightened awareness of one’s surroundings and social implications, increasing attempts are being made to measure and analyse different aspects of life in order to create as perfect a society as humanly possible. Social thinkers, psychologists and analysts, and even concerned heads of states have come up with different yardsticks to try and uncover the real situation and the reasons behind it. Indices such as The Satisfaction with Life Index, created by Adrian G. White, an analytic social psychologist at the University of Leicester, using data from a metestudy is an attempt to show life satisfaction in different nations by calculating subjective well being which correlates most strongly with health, wealth and access to basic education. Gross National Happiness (GNH) is a phrase coined in 1972 by Bhutan’s fourth Dragon King, Jigme Singye Wangchuck. It represents a commitment to building an economy that would serve Bhutan’s culture based on Buddhist spiritual values broadly categorized under four heads: Sustainable development, Preservation and promotion of cultural values, Conservation of the natural environment and Establishment of good governance instead of western material development gauged by gross domestic product (GDP). The GNH concept has inspired a modern political happiness movement. Through the contribution of several scholars from around the globe, economists and politicians, the concept evolved into a socioeconomic development model, and in July 2011, the United Nations passed Resolution 65/309, that was adopted unanimously by the General Assembly in July 2011 placing “happiness” on the global development agenda. Another set of criteria, The Social Progress Index published by the nonprofit Social Progress Imperative measures the extent to which countries provide for the social and environmental needs of their citizens and the well-being of a society by observing social and environmental outcomes directly rather than the economic factors. The social and environmental factors include wellness (including health, shelter and sanitation), equality, inclusion, sustainability and personal freedom and safety.

Our part of the world has evidently not started warming up to these concerns that promulgate the holistic development and progress of life. Right now, we are still struggling to make do each passing day without having to have our vehicles and belongings stolen or snatched, standing in serpentine queues to avail services rendered with grudging incompetence, running after officials to expedite routine work as favours, keeping ourselves and our family safe from the violent whims of the state security, the volatile mob and the swarming vigilantes.
Quantity of like still takes precedence over quality of life. It is high time to burst the bubble of self-accorded greatness as a collective society and embrace the reality. The rest, as is often said, is bound to follow.

Use Swachhata App to Make Imphal No. 1 For Swachh Survekshan 2018

By : Sanjoo Thangjam
Mahatma Gandhi said, “ The lethargy of government has for too long allowed us to be inured to unhygienic spaces outside our immediate homes, although every Indian must accept the blame for his own slovenliness in public spaces. The garbage bag, the dumpster trucks and landfills can be better monitored to ensure better results. To give the next generation a cleaner India is a task we cannot duck anymore. The time for action began the minute the photo opportunities with politicians and bureaucrats got over.
In all probability, because of the above statements of Mahatma Gandhi, Tomar had criticised the previous governments’ approach towards cleanliness saying if they had not “neglected” this aspect of governance, he would not have been talking about it even after 70 years of Independence.
A Swachh Bharat is the greatest gift we can give to Mahatma Gandhi and perhaps because of his statements, a one day media sensitization workshop was done on 27th December, 2017 so as to give an effort to Mahatma’s dream and further support the government’s initiative for achieving Imphal city’s continuous target and also to secure the top position in the upcoming “Swachh Survekshan 2018”.
Imphal will be taking part in ranking competition of 500 cities with more than 1 lakh population of the country while the remaining 27 towns in the state among 3041 towns with less than 1 lakh population, Swachh Survekshan is a ranking exercise undertaken to assess rural and urban areas for their levels of cleanliness and active implementation of Swachhata work in a timely and in an ground-breaking comportment. The ranking will be conducted from January-March 2018.
The media sensitization workshop was held at City Convention Centre in Imphal, Palace Compound, jointly organised by Directorate of Information and Public Relations (DIPR) and Municipal Administration, Housing and Urban Development (MAHUD). Journalists from both print and electronic media including editors of local vernaculars attended both the day’s inaugural session of the workshop and its discussion session.
MAHUD Minister Thounaojam Shyamkumar, Director Meghachandra Kongbam of DIPR and Director Nepram Gitkumar Singh of MAHUD attended the function as Chief guest, President and Guest of Honour of the formal inauguration of the workshop respectively.
However, it is worth recalling that on 2nd October 2014, Shri Narendra Modi had at all times explicitly lauded the participation of people via social media of what the Father of Nation once said - “But the greatest fear about the Swachh Bharat events of October 2, Gandhi Jayanti, in which more than three million government employees are said have taken the “Swachchhta Shapath (cleanliness pledge)”, is that the mass movement may lose momentum once the grand tokenism of leaders wielding brooms disappears. However it did not happen when  Hon’ble PM Shri Narendra Modi did and said, “A clean India would be the best tribute India could pay to Mahatma Gandhi on his 150th birth anniversary in 2019 “.
And thus on 2nd October 2014, leading the mass movement for cleanliness, the Prime Minister exhorted people to fulfil Mahatma Gandhi’s dream of a clean and hygienic India and along these lines launched the Swachh Bharat Mission at Rajpath in New Delhi and throughout length and breadth of the country as a National Movement.
In the course of the first survey held in 2016, amazingly, Imphal was ranked 15th position among other cities of India and topped among the North Eastern India However, the ranking slipped to 122nd position in comparison to other cities of India yet again among the North Eastern States, the state slipped to 3rd position during 2017 survey.
And in view of the above premises, the Municipal Administration, Housing and Urban Development (MAHUD) Minister appealed to the media persons to spread awareness a propos the survey so that the state can attain top ranking among the total number of 27 towns of Manipur participating in the third survey, i.e., ‘Swachh Survekshan 2018’. It discussed on Swachh Survekshan (cleanliness inspection), which is a survey conducted to rank cities on various sanitation and cleanliness parameters.
And another interesting addendum the Minister added was re the social media linked to the survey where the populace of Manipur can use mobile application called “Swachhata App” to instantly lodge any complaint by uploading a picture of littered areas which can be viewed without more ado by the officials.  After cleaning the specific location, the status report will be available on the Swachhata App. Though the officials had said that the app can be downloaded from Google Play Store till 31st December 2017, I presume the APP can still be downloaded. The usage of this app will also help our State in securing marks in the survey.
MAHUD Director Gitkumar and DIPR Director Meghachandra also spoke on the occasion wherein the cash awards for ‘Mission Imphal Keibul’, a cleanliness competition of the urban local bodies during the recently concluded Manipur Sangai Festival in November end this year, were given away to Municipal Councils of Kumbi, a sum of Rs 80,000), Nambol, Rs 50,000 and Moirang Rs 30,000. And three consolation awards containing a cash prize of Rs 10,000 each were also given to Municipal Councils of Bishnupur, Ningthoukhong and Oinam respectively.

Speaking on the occasion minister Shyamkumar reiterated that licence would not be issued to the shops without dustbins, starting from 2018 and sought help from the masses in making Imphal as one of the cleanest cities in the country.
Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA), formerly ministry of urban development, had conducted Swachh Survekshan 2016 among 73 top cities of India followed by Swachh Survekshan 2017 covering 434 cities. MoHUA now proposes to conduct its third survey ‘Swachh Survekshan 2018’ to rank all 4,041 statutory towns of India - competition among 500 AMRUT cities under Swachh Bharat Mission-Urban (SBM-U). The survey will be conducted anytime by a third party within 4th January 2018 to 31st March 2018.
The cleanliness survey was launched in 2016 as part of the Swachh Bharat Mission. Under the first survey, Swachh Survekshan-2016, 73 cities with over 10 lakh population and all the state capitals were ranked. Mysore  had topped the list.
A reliable source said that huge negative marking will be introduced this time to ensure that cities do not make false claims about improvement in sanitation infrastructure. If claims of a city government about any parameter are found to be incorrect by independent assessors, it will get zero marks for that parameters. Also, it will attract 33 percent negative marking on the total obtained marks. The 2018 survey will be the first such pan-India exercise and is the largest in the world, Tomar said as he stressed on making  Swachh Bharat Mission a people’s movement. Detailing the changes in assessment weightages, Housing and Urban Affairs Secretary Durga Shanker Mishra said the weightage of citizen feedback has been increased to 35 per cent in the 2018 survey from 30 per cent in the last one. Similarly, the weightage of direct observation is also increased to 30 per cent from 25 per cent in previous survey. However, ‘service level progress’ has been reduced from 45 to 35 per cent.
The source further mentioned that for 2018, a new element of ‘innovation’ has been introduced with a weightage of 5 percent to encourage cities to take up innovative sanitation practices and solutions. The weightage of ‘processing and disposal’ component has been increased from 20 to 25 per cent. The weightage of ‘Open-Defecation Free’ component will remain unchanged at 30 per cent, while ‘information, education and communication (IEC)’ and capacity-building components were kept same at 5 per cent each. The collection and transportation component has been reduced from 40 to 30 per cent in this survey. The results of the survey will be announced in March next year.
The source also said that the script for “Swachhata Ki Jyot Jagi Hai” song has already been written by renowned lyricist Prasoon Joshi and visuals have been provided by producer Mukesh Bhatt. Shankar Mahadevan has given music and the singers will range from Supriyo himself, Udit Narayan, Shreya Ghoshal, Alka Yagnik, Akriti Kakar and Shann Banerjee among others. The song features messages from Amitabh Bachchan and Sachin Tendulkar.
Swachh Bharat Abhiyan has become a “ Mass Movement” receiving tremendous support from the people. Citizens too have turned out in large numbers and pledged for a neat and cleaner India. Taking the broom to sweep the streets, cleaning up the garbage, focussing on sanitation and maintaining a hygienic environment have become a practice after the launch of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan. People have started to take part and are helping spread the message of ‘Cleanliness is next to Godliness.’
An anecdote from the Gandhian era will be quite relevant here. In 1925 Mira Behn, the daughter of a British admiral Sir Edmunde Slade joined Mahatma Gandhi in his Satyagraha Ashram, on the banks of river Sabarmati.
In 1936 Gandhi shifted to Segaon in Wardha where he set up another Ashram known as Sevagram. The Ashram was located in the midst of very backward villages. This was Gandhi’s way of drawing the attention of the people towards the pitiable state of our villages. He encouraged the inmates of the Sevagram Ashram to work in the surrounding villages to help mitigate the misery of the village folks. Teaching cleanliness was a top priority. Mira Behn, too, adopted a village close by and started work there. Few months passed by when she requested Gandhi to visit her village to see her work. One day Gandhi decided to go and see the village. But it so happened that Mira Behn was out of Wardha on some urgent mission. When Gandhi entered the village he was shocked to find the lanes and by - lanes littered with Garbage.
He enquired from the villagers why the streets have not been cleaned - they replied, ”Mira Behn has not come for the past couple of days.” When Mira Behn returned Gandhi pulled her up and said ” You have only been working for the villagers and not working with them.”
This anecdote has a lesson for all of us. A true transformation of society is possible if the government can put its ideas together and then rope in the private sector civil society, trusts, individuals and social activists to drive the campaign.
Mahatma Gandhi may have run his cleanliness drives by wielding the broom himself to break the caste system ingrained in centuries of social life in India, but his successors must bring in the sweeping reform in order to promise every Indian a better life, regardless of caste and creed. Towards this, there is much to be done. Rivers must not be dirtied by using them as drains to carry waste. The air we breathe must be cleaner and devoid of organisms from stealthy dumping or burning of hospital waste. And such abominable practices as human beings going down drains to clean them and carrying night soil must stop. This is where technology can help most.
The writer is a lay Buddhist & Human Rights Activist for People Who Use Drugs (PUD).

Another rape accused shot dead; UNLF claims hand

Imphal, Jan 4: Unidentified person shot dead a person identified as Loukrakpam Sananingthem Singh age 37 years, son of L. Inaobi of Lamshang Makha leikai at Lamsang Khunou area under Lamsang police station at around 11 am today. The person is alleged to have been involved in the raping of a married lady at around 8 pm of April 26, 2015. Proscribed group United National Liberation Front (UNLF) claimed responsibility of the shooting.
The deceased Loukrakpam Sananingthem Singh runs a bamboo business at Lamsang area. The dead body was found lying  inside his vehicle, which he use to ferry bamboo. A police team who rushed the spot found the dead body lying. 6 empty cases of bullets were recovered near the dead body.  
The deceased Loukrakpam Sananingthem was arrested in connection with the rape case  and was detained in police custody till May 4 of 2015. But he was released  released on bail after some days. This is the first strike to rapist by proscribed group UNLF in 2018. The group had already warned capital punishment to all those involved in rape crime and had even awarded capital punishment to its own members.
In 2008, February middle week, the rebel group claimed killing of two of its former members for indulging in rape crime. Salam Biren alias Mangal and Heikrujam Mono were killed at Khordak in Bishenpur district on February 13, 2008 on charge of rape case.  
Last year, the rebel group had claimed responsibility for shooting of one Irom Bobo, who was accused of raping a 12 years old minor girl. The shooting took place on July 29 of 2017. On August 8, 2017, another rape accused identified as Sandam Bhogen (42) son of Sandam Bheiga of Sairem Khul, Imphal West was shot at around 2 pm at Tera Khamnam Leirak along Sagolband road while he was returning after appearing at POCSO court. Bhogen was the accused in a minor rape case which occurred on December 3, 2013 at Sairem Khul Mayai Leikai.

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Nation-wide cleanliness survey begins

Imphal, Jan 4: A nation-wide cleanliness survey ‘Swachh Survekshan’ commenced today.
The survey will be conducted in over 4,000 cities and with the population of more than 40 crores to evaluate the achievements in the cleanliness level in urban areas. The survey will run till 10th of March this year.
Municipal Councils and corporations of Manipur have also launched hectic preparation in the run up under the supervision of MAHUD department. In his last ‘Mann Ki Baat’ programme on All India Radio, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had urged the youth to come forward and contribute to the survey so that their cities do not lag behind in survey rankings.
Mr Modi had said, the survey would be done by assessing the parameters like management to curb open defecation, transportation facilities to collect garbage, scientific ways of processing the waste and others.

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Poumai Naga organizes grand reception for Chief Minister N. Biren and team on ‘Poumai Thouni’ festival

IT News
Imphal, Jan 4: Poumai Naga, one of the major ethnic community of Senapati district is all set to organize a grand reception programme for Chief Minister N. Biren Singh and his colleague on occasion of the ‘Poumai Thouni’ the oldest customary festival of the Paomai Naga on January 5.
The reception pogramme is scheduled at Thingba Khunou in Senapati district. Besides, Chief Minister N. Biren Singh, Works Minister Th. Bishwajit Singh, Tribal Affairs Minister N. Kayisu and PHED Minister L. Dikho are also attending the reception programme.
The Poumai Naga is a very old Naga tribe settled in trans-border of Manipur and Nagaland. The generic term “Pou” is the name of the ancestor and “mai” means “people”. Thus, his descendants are known the Poumai Naga.
Poumai Naga has a rich cultural heritage having many customary festivals like Thounii, Taitounii, Loukanii, Rounii, Daonii, Khünii, Paonii/Paoki, Laonii, Donii, etc. celebrated on different occasions at village and regional levels. Thounii is one of the oldest and the most popular customary festivals of the Poumai Naga Tribe. It is celebrated on 5th of January every year with much gusto, pomp and gaiety.
Thounii has multifaceted meanings and significances. The name of the festival derives from the word ‘Thouniikhou’ which is the first month of the year. The word “Thou” means “new”; “nii” means “festival”. Therefore, it can be translated as “New year festival or the festival of dawn”. It is celebrated after storing up paddy and all kinds of food grains and crops. The festival is an occasion of thanksgiving to our deity for good harvest and good health. One of the reasons why Thounii is considered the biggest and grandest festival is because of the attribution of pleasant climate, availability of abundant foods, drinks and festive mood of the people. Thounii also marks the initiation of a new village settlement after considering the various aspects and observation of omens, dreams, signs, divinations, etc.
In the past, Thounii celebration lasted for five days commencing from 18th to 22nd of Thouniikhou. The first day of the festival is known ‘SHAA’. The day was marked as the preparation day for the festival. The house, village surrounding, street, public park, etc. were cleaned, repaired and set in order for public gathering. The prepared rice beer vessels for the feast were tasted and blessed on this day. In the evening the family members sat down together and baked bread on a flat stone and were mixed with sesame cream for better taste. The second day of the festival is known ‘CHIZIIYU’ means the sanctification of house. All animals for consumption during the feast were slaughtered and divided among relatives and neighbours. Libation and Oblation were performed at the corner of the house called Rii (family altar) by head of the family with cooked meat and rice beer served on plantain leaf to the family deity as thanksgiving for the bountiful harvest. The guests, sisters and relatives from the neighbouring villages arrived in the evening and the feast of eating and drinking began by lighting bonfire in public ground.
The third day is known ‘SHEPAO’ means sent off the guest. The brothers presented cooked meat to newly married sisters which were offered to her husband’s relatives. The guests, sisters and relatives who attended the festival were dropped off till the village boundary. The youth played and participated in traditional games and dances during the day time and re-gathered in the evening at public park for drinks, singing, dancing, narrating stories of heroic deeds of forefathers, history of origin, migration and listened to the exhortation of the elders.
The fourth day is known ‘NIIDAI’ means day four of the festival. The menfolk went around the village whooping in full traditional attires and the whole villagers came to the public ground in the evening with their rice beer and food stuffs. The youth collected firewood and made bonfire at night where the villagers gathered and shared their foods and drinks with one another. Eating, drinking, merriment and various cultural events continued.
The fifth day is known ‘NIINGOUTO’ means the last day of the festival. On this day, the village menfolk went to the jungle to chase and catch a particular bird called ‘Seitu’ with bare hands. No weapons like gun, bow, arrow, spear or catapult, etc. were used while catching this bird. The one who caught the bird was considered the lucky man of the year. He beheaded the bird and body was then thrown to the group which torn into pieces and shared among the group members and the members who did not got the flesh piece were shared the feathers and stained blood on their pole. As they returned, they went around the village in whoop, signifying victory over the adversary and later the pole were erected at the village gate. When no bird was caught on the first day, hunting continued the next day till the bird is caught. Thus, the festival came to an end. Thounii heralds the coming of spring and reminds the farmers to go back to work in the fields.
Poumai Naga was one of the oldest Naga tribes with a glorious past. They were amongst the most advanced communities who played the lead roles in promoting economic activities before they came into contact with modern civilization. They were a self-reliant, self-dependent and self-sufficient people who produced food-grains for their annual needs. They also produced salt, chilly, rice, crops, grains, potteries, crockeryies, clothes and tools, etc. and even exported to the neighboring villages and communities as economic activities and the articles were named after the tribe known as Pouli (Pot), Pouvo (Pig), Pouphou (Spade), Pourei (Axe), Pouhou (Spear), Pouyao (Rice bear), Pouraokhao (Bread), Pouhih (Rainproof), Poutai (Salt), Pousoushi (Chilly), Poubao (Barn), Pourou (Bakkit), Pouro (Carrier), Pouzha(Mat), Pousü (Basket).
With the coming of christianity, modern education, science and technology the traditional technologies and cultural practices of Poumai Naga are vanishing out which the younger generations could not get the opportunity to see the richness of our culture. In view of reviving and promoting the traditional technologies and practices, there shall be exhibition-cum-sales of Poumai handicrafts, handlooms, food products, exposition and demonstration of cultural events during the festival.

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