Friday, 27 September 2019 - Imphal Times

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Imphal, Sept. 27

First Central Executive Council (CEC) meeting of (North East Forum for Indigenous People) NEFIP held at Kohima on September 25 has reiterated its stand against the passing of Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB). The meeting held at Kohima also resolved to begin public protest against CAB on October 3 in the entire region of Northeastern states.

The 1st Central Executive Council was chaired by Ningthouja Lancha, President of NEFIP. CEC begins with the nomination and election with the taking of oath by newly inducted office bearers of NEFIP.

The meeting deliberated thread bare on the recent development in regard to the very contentious Citizenship Amendment Bill 2016, the recent appeal by the Union Home Minister of India on Hindi Language imposition and the issue of UNDRIP (United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples 2007) and various other issues related with the functioning of NEFIP.

A statement by Khuraijam Athouba, Secretary Media, NEFIP said that the meeting the NEFIP CEC unanimously resolved to reiterate the resolutions passed earlier against the Citizenship Amendment Bill 2016 which was submitted to the Prime Minister of India on August 9, 2019.

The NEFIP also demands immediate withdrawal of Citizenship Amendment Bill 2016 and condemn the statement given by Mr Amit Shah, Union Home Minister and Mr Himanta Biswa Sarma, Finance Minister of Assam and Convener of NEDA claiming that the Union Govt. will reintroduce the very contentious Bill on November/upcoming parliamentary session.

The  meeting unanimously resolve to launch movement against CAB in the entire Northeast Region with a Public Protest on 3rd of October, 2019 to mark the beginning of the campaign against CAB.

The meeting also resolved to sensitize indigenous people of Northeast region on the ill effect of CAB, while strongly opposing imposition of any language to the people  opposed Home Minister’s appeal to use Hindi as National Language.

The NEFIP also demands to all the State Legislative Assembly of NE States to adopt a resolution in the house urging the Union Government to take necessary steps to implement UNDRIP in letter and spirit in NE Region.

The meeting resolved to request for the United Nations Organization – UN Intervention to stop continuous acts and practices asserted by the Government of India that will be Genocidal for the indigenous peoples of the region.

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Imphal, Sept. 27

At what could be term as a thrashing blow to the Chief Minister’s Green Manipur Mission, a fully grown tree at the footpath adjacent to Johnstone Higher Secondary School was chopped today afternoon probably for convenience in lifting of iron bars of Foot Bridge.

The tree was grown around 10 feet away from the iron pillar of Foot Bridge. None of the persons engaged for the construction of the work agreed to talk to this reporter, when asked if they get prior permission from the forest authority for cutting of the tree. When asked to the concern government officials supervising the work at the construction site, gave positive reply instead told this reporter not to take photograph of the scene.

Imphal Times tried to contact the urban forestry DFO, but did not pick up the call.

In August, this year an eight years old girl Elangbam Valentina cried after she found her two Gulmohar trees cut down. A video of hers uploaded through social media drew the attention of thousands and the Chief Minister of Manipur N. Biren Singh was so touched that he sent District Police and other authorities to give sapling to the little girl who cried for the tree. The Chief Minister even appointed her as the Ambassador of his Green Manipur Mission.

The tree, fully grown one, in the middle of the Imphal city just adjacent to Johnstone Higher Secondary School was cut down today just for convenience of lifting iron bar for construction of the Foot Bridge.

This reporter finds the tree growing about 10 feet from the pillar of the Bridge and moreover the tree was already grown at the time when the Foot Bridge was yet to be constructed.

When the world today is on Global Climate Strike, When 15 years old Greta Thumberg of Sweden sails from Europe to USA to fight climate change; when 8 years old Elangbam Valentina cried after she found her trees being cut down and  when the Chief Minister himself showed his love for the environment and initiated Green Manipur Mission by encouraging plantation across the state, cutting of the trees, that too in the middle of Imphal city showed how serious is the Chief Minister.

The tree was not properly uprooted for re-plantation but butchered which showed that this government have no mercy for the trees and that ‘Green Manipur Mission’ is just slogan to get applause and not to save the environment.


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Imphal, Sept 27

JAC formed against the mysterious dead of Babysana has resumed its agitation demanding justice for Babysana by handing over the case to CBI. Yesterday large number of students began black badge protest by hoisting black flag at Thangmeiband.

Today too, students wearing black badge along with the JAC members thronged to the Chief Minister Bungalow . However they were prevented from entering the CM Bungalow by security force.

The JAC has been demanding handing over of the case to CBI and the Government of Manipur had also accepted the demand and forwarded intimation to the CBI for taking up of the case. However, till today the CBI had not officially made any announcement regarding the taking over of the case.

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Chandel, Sept 27

The inter District Road of Chakpikarong Sub Division Head Quarter, connecting Chandel District Head Quarter Via Sugnu Thoubal District is in such condition that is very deplorable.

The Chakpikarong road is uniformly riddle with potholes, in many places entire roads have been dug up. There are pits, ditches on the road everywhere, the condition of the road become very worse during rainy season. Moreover, these pits on the road provides breeding ground for mosquitoes, thus leading to outbreak of many diseases.

The people of Chakpikarong need immediate attention, that the road which had been poorly repaired with low quality last year is now under deplorable condition. The Commuters, school going children and women, day by day earners, are the worst sufferers with this dilapidated road condition.

Social activists of the area urged the state government to maintain quality of work while initiating repair, so that it last for at least one complete year.

Published in News
Friday, 27 September 2019 18:02

Swachata hi Campaign Held

IT News

Thoubal, Sept. 27

District Administration, Thoubal today organised cleanliness drive in and around the DC complex as a part of Swachata Hi Seva. The cleanliness drive was conducted in all the offices located in and outside the DC Complex. Deputy Commissioner, Thoubal N.Bandana took part in the cleanliness drive.

Cleanliness drive was also conducted in all the Police Stations and S.P office Thoubal under the supervision of SP, Thoubal Dr. S. Ibomcha Singh.

In the cleanliness drive, plastic wastes were collected and placed in the proper place to be collected by the National Highway construction authority. 

District Information Office, Thoubal also conducted the cleanliness drive. DIO, Thoubal and his staff conducted the cleanliness drive in the office and its premises. 

It may be remembered that Swachhata hi campaign was earlier launched by the Deputy Commissioner Thoubal on the 11th of this month at the DC office  Complex. The campaign will continue till the 2nd of October.

Published in News
Friday, 27 September 2019 18:01

ADC Chandel celebrate Swachhata Hi Sewa

IT News
Imphal, Sept 27,

Autonomous District Council Chandel in collaboration with Manipur Government Tribals Affairs and Hills Department today celebrated Swachhata Hi Sewa by cleaning Japhou Bazar Chandel area.
Under the supervision of Swachh Bharat Mission, a cleanliness drive was organised on the theme Plastic Waste Management.
The programme was attended by ADC Chandel, Chairman, D.Ringo Lamkang, Member of District Council Chandel, Sh.Manglem Monsang, ADC Chandel, Chief Executive Officer, Ksh.Siddarth among others.
At the programme, ADC Chandel gave shirts and boots to the workers of Solid Waste Management and also constructed the road of Indoor Stadium Chandel gate.
ADC Chandel, Chairman, D.Ringo said that we should have the habit of our surrounding clean. He added that a step is taken to provide plenty of dustbin at the earliest possible time at Chandel and Moreh Town.

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Friday, 27 September 2019 17:59

Adapting with the changing time

With the increase in reach and dependence on information technology in the present world, detailed descriptions and knowledge on any subject matter can be had at the touch of a button.
The virtual world has shrunk to such an extent that anyone can receive and relay information on someone or something as it happen, anywhere in the world.
This has led to an unexpected broadening of one’s views and opinions of other people, places, religions, beliefs and customs.
A more tolerant temperament is the result of the ever shrinking virtual world today.
The world as we know now is ever evolving and changing, and it is upto us to adapt and make the best of it.
But just as everything that is continually changing, there emerges a breed of hardliners who are insisting on carrying on with the traditional way of life, and even thinking.
While the concept of preservation of culture and tradition for posterity and more importantly, for the preservation of one’s own identity and those of the community is without doubt, a vital part of our responsibilities to the future generation, yet the insistence on keeping up and following the traditional way of thinking, to restraint ourselves to the set dogmas and beliefs is nothing short of denying ourselves the freedom to grow- spiritually and intellectually, to think and use our rationality and to pursue our dreams.
It is basically denying ourselves the freedom to life as we see fit, so long as our beliefs and practices does not infringe on that of others.
Change is inevitable, and the sooner we accept and embrace it, the better will we be prepared to face the future, uncertain and unpredictable as it will be.
Resisting change and attempting to cling on to the old ways of thinking which at one point of time would have served its purpose or even prove vital for survival would prove futile and even regressive.
Our way of life changes with the changing times.
What was once a necessity, like the caste system which was vital for preservation of communities and races, becoming more rigid to keep the increasing intruders and invaders from mingling and diluting a particular race, has now become a major roadblock in the effort to integrate the nation which is intrinsic to its progress.
The time to walk the line without questioning the rationale behind the diktat is well and truly past.
It is time to develop and encourage a scientific temperament which questions and provides a reason for the things we do and think.
Tolerance and understanding other’s point of view, while, at the same time, retaining the liberty to follow and practice one’s beliefs and principles will pave the way for a more inclusive society bound by trust and understanding.
How one lead one’s life should not be a subject of discussion, it should rather be an accepted personal judgment that needs to be respected.
There are more important and pertinent things to occupy our minds and collective concerns in these volatile times.
Progress is not made by adjusting the changes to suit our needs and beliefs.

Published in Editorial
Friday, 27 September 2019 17:58

Lai Khutsangbi, female power and punishment

By Rubani Yumkhaibam

One persistent ideology of the male-dominated society is the punishment of the female excess. Cinema, literature, everyday idioms, etc., are imbued with cautionary tales of women who have extraordinary hunger for freedom and agency. These women are punished and vanished from the domain of the civilized society, thereby weakening and suppressing their presence. Very often such tales are imparted to young children for the future maintenance of the societal status quo. The story of Lai Khutsangbi, a bedtime story for children, is the tragic story of one such woman who exercises power and freedom.
In the everyday parlance of the Manipuris, Lai Khutsangbi is used as a metaphor for unpleasant and unacceptable show of female agency, and in a similar manner Lai Khutsangbi is an accursed symbol that negates female modesty and beauty. The question is – who is the real Lai Khutsangbi?  She does not have a name, she is known so because of her unusually long hands, she does not have a lineage, and she lives alone in the forest. Lai Khutsangbi’s story raises multiple questions, none of which is adequately answered in the narratives – Is  Lai Khutsangbi a mortal? Is she a demon? Why does she attack mostly children and livestock? What is her power? What is her weakness? It is in these questions and their inadequate answers that we have to retrieve the identity and importance of a powerful and frightening woman in our collective memory.
The analysis of Laikhutshangbi in this brief article is drawn from two recent sources – James Oinam’s New Folktales of Manipur (Notion Press, 2016) and Pupu’s Folk Tale’s short digital film on Lai Khutsangbi ( Although there are other sources of the story, the sources here are chosen for the lucidity of the narratives. Let us analyse Lai Khutsangbi’s character. Lai Khutsangbi is characterised as a demon-like human who does not behave and think like a rational human, and one who feeds her hunger on the raw flesh of humans and animals. Lai Khutsangbi lives in a remote geographical area where the wilderness of the untamed nature meets the human dwelling, a heavily forested, sparsely populated village community. Although she lives in the geographical proximity of the everyday human beings, she is set aside at a safe distance from the villagers. Being a grotesque flesh eater, she cannot mingle with the people in the story, and so she lives in the shadiest and thickest part of the forest.  The intriguing abode and cannibalism are further linked with her inexplicable and hideous demeanour – tall stature, unusually long hands, unkempt hair and eerie laughter. She kidnaps young children and kills animals, and she has an inordinate appetite for human flesh, from which the village women and children have to be protected. In James Oinam, she is also portrayed as snatching dead bodies of children from the burial ground (which also shows that the story of Lai Khutsangbi goes back to the time when dead bodies were buried). Her isolation from the harmony of everyday living is evident from the uncooked food she eats and the dreaded dwelling in the thickest part of the forest. Every child dreads her. Notwithstanding her extraordinary character, she is never portrayed as a magical, immortal soul; she is portrayed as an extra-human, demon-like, evil witch; she is a mortal woman with immense faculty (long hands) and evil prowess.
Lai Khutsangbi is a denizen of the wild nature. One can hear recurring attack on the nearby village from the accessible distance between the village and her dwelling. The village is a natural extension of her forest dwelling. One wonders if she preys on the wildlife in the forest. And if so why does she attack children and livestock?  In a brief yet insightful reading of Lai Khutsangbi, James Oinam opines that Lai Khutsangbi’s attack on the village children is “driven by poverty and hunger”, which leads her to “survival cannibalism” (“Kabui Keioiba and Lai Khutsangbi: Stories of Hunger?”, www. In such a state of material existence, it is only consequential that Lai Khutsangbi attacks the nearest village community, and the caution and repulsion of Lai Khutsangbi among the villagers is also the required precaution.
The story of Lai Khutsangbi is tendered for the young audience as a cautionary tale to stay in the safety of the home. The moral lessons of Lai Khutsangbi teach children to be careful, and to be obedient to the parental advices. In the olden times when the locales in Manipur were largely rural intertwined with  the thick growth of forests and jungles, and also the impending danger from the  wild  animals lurking in the seamless expanse of villages and the wilderness,  such tales must have resounding relevance. Like a carnivorous tiger, Lai Khutsangbi is a constant danger. Ultimately, Lai Khutsangbi’s aggression is projected as pure evil in the process of the real story telling. However for the modern readers, the subterranean implications of  power and resistance of the female agency are not far from detection. That Lai Khutsangbi has an inordinate appetite for human flesh is evidenced from her dissatisfaction with small meals of small animals, and hence she sets out to prey on her victims (young children and livestock in the village). She uses her long hands as weapons to kill her  prey. Her powerful long hands are not the hands that nurture; they are the killing hands of terror and sensual satisfaction (of eating). She wields the power of her long hands in the boundless wilderness of the remote forest. On the other hands Satchi’s (Satchi is the child protagonist in Pupu’s Folk Tale) mother feeds Satchi with loving and protecting hands. Her long hands defy the danger of the dark and thick forests. When all the villagers are sleeping, she prowls in the night landscape (in our times, a woman could be raped or molested in absence of a male guardian!). While being a figure of violence and terror, she is also a figure of self-sufficiency, and in this sense she hunts alone with her bare hands.  Such embodiment of horror and agency makes her a transgressive figure, a woman who crosses domestic confinement).
However, our cultural sensibility has to punish such a figure of female transgression. In both James Oinam and Pupu’s Folk Tale, Lai Khutsangbi withdraws in the wilderness/burial after her hands have been  severed by the fathers of Naocha and Satchi. Lai Khutsangbi is not inherently weak, but in absence of her hands she is reduced to tears and helplessness. Once her hands are cut off she flees in fear. It should not be considered a con-incidence that her power is destroyed by the  male head of the family, husband/father. Satchi’s mother can only withstand Lai Khutsangbi for a while through a witty connivance of misinformation; she waits for her husband to destroy Lai Khutsangbi. We do not find women standing against the evil incursions of another woman in Lai Khutsangbi’s narratives. In the early days, when men were far away from home on military duties, women were responsible for maintaining the household, and this is a cultural marker of the courage of the Meitei women. However, the protection of the village from a female terror is physically invested in the hands of the male members, and this is factored as a masculine responsibility. Eventually the destruction of the female devilry is symbolic of the repression of female agency and triumph of masculinity. In the end, Lai Khutsangbi is a tragic figure who stands at the crossword of female assertion and the necessary male suppression. She is figure that has to be reclaimed from demonization and cultural erasure of complex female characters.   

I express my deep gratitude for Santa Khurai, an indigenous nupi maanbi activist, for her encouragement in writing this article.

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Published in Guest Column

IT News
Imphal, Sept. 27

With the support from Manipur State Film Development Society, Film Society of Manipur will screen English film-HUGO (2011) directed by Martin Scorsese on September 30, 2019, Monday at 4 pm at MSFDS Auditorium here, under the monthly film screening programme with interactive session towards the promotion of good film movement in Manipur. Earlier it was fixed on September 21, 2019.
Hugo is a historical adventure drama film  adapted for the screen by John Logan. Based on Brian Selznick’s book The Invention of Hugo Cabret, it tells the story of an orphan boy named Hugo Cabret who lives alone in a railway station in Paris in the 1930s and wrapped up in a mystery involving his late father and an automation. His journey leads the discovery of Georges Méliès, the father of Special Effects in Cinema. Hugo received critical acclaim and 11 Academy Award nominations including Best Picture, more than any other film that year, and it won five awards: Best Cinematography, Best Art Direction, Best Sound Mixing, Best Sound Editing, and Best Visual Effects.
School children from a few schools in Imphal will also attend the film screening and the interactive session so that they can learn the film medium and what the good film is about.
Eminent personalities from the Critics Forum, Manipur and Film Society of Manipur will share the space of the interactive session to be conducted after screening of the film.
All concerned are informed to attend the screening with their family and children and to take part in the interactive session.

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